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Independent contractors: Government plan even worse



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J O H N H O W A R D , M . P . M E M B E R F O R B E N N E L O N G

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n e w s RELEASE SH A D O W MINISTER FOR INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS, E M P L O Y M E N T 6r TRAINING

IRET 019/92

INDEPENDENT CONTRACTORS: GOVERNMENT PLAN EVEN WORSE

It now appears that the Keating Government's plans to drag independent sub-contractors into the net of the Industrial Relations Commission will go further and be even worse than originally expected.

Not only does the Government intend to give the Industrial Relations Commission the right to vet private contracts not involving an employer/employee relationship but the Commission will also be given the power to order a business not to engage

contract labour.

This incredibly autocratic step is the latest cave-in by Senator Cook to his ACTU bosses.

Interfering with independent sub-contractors is a naked attack on freedom of contract.

No doubt the actions of the Government are retaliatory spite consequent upon the Troubleshooters case which upheld the right of building companies to use contract labour employed by Troubleshooters.

In being a ventriloquist's doll for the ACTU Senator Cook is behaving more like the BWIU official he once was than a responsible federal minister.

He has also forgotten two vital facts about Troubleshooters.

Firstly, the employees of Troubleshooters were paid wages above the level of the award applicable to the type of work they undertook.

Secondly, the building companies only resorted to Troubleshooters in desperation because of the reckless pattern of strikes, industrial disputation and thuggery undertaken on Melbourne building sites by members of the BWIU.

If Peter Cook's old union mates had been willing to do a fair day's work for a fair day's pay, Troubleshooters would never have been created.

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This unjustified attack by the Keating Government is illiberal and a gross violation of the rights of Australians to freely enter into contracts.

It will deservedly draw the fire of every employer group in Australia and will be energetically fought by the Liberal and National Parties.

GLADSTONE 10 April 1992