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Fibs, fallacies and fob-offs: Howard's IR policy

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c-WEALTH PARL OFF BRIS TEL:07-229-5961 28 Oct 92 16:43 N o .005 P .02



It is getting worse. Truth is now a regular casualty whenever Mr Howard or Dr Hewson open their mouths on industrial relations. Remember the purposes of their policy is to introduce individual employment contracts. That is the underlying principle. This is why they are having so much

trouble reconciling it with awards and minimum pay.

. Last night Mr Howard said awards will be varied so the minimum wage will remain protected,

Fib. See page 12 clause 2.12 and 2.13 of Mr Howard's own policy. '

Under these sections Mr Howard commits himself to legislate to eliminate awards. Most awards will cease to exist. And while the mimimum award rate will remain in the employment contracts it will not be able to be changed where the award has ceased

to exist. That's what Mr Howard's policy says.

Mr Howard has told a straight out fib. His own policy exposes it. .

. Watch for the fallacies.

Now he is caught, Mr Howard will try the smokescreen. He will say but there is a letout in clause 2.12.

This is a fallacy. The letout so called is that if the

parties to an award agree the award will continue. Sure, but his policy is openly and unambiguously aimed at ending an award system in Australia.

The truth is, if the only way of keeping an award is the

requirement that all parties have to agree then one party simply vetoes the continuance of an award. The award ends. This is how Mr Howard hopes to deliver his promise to end the awards system.

if a few awards survive because of some enlightened employers they will be narrow and pallid imitations of real awards and have limited usefulness. But under the Howard plan most people will not have awards at all. For these there will be no real miminums.

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Worse, if employers consenting to awards change their mind and withdraw, then Mr Howard's clearly stated objective of ending the awards system is achieved.

Mr Howard is trying to gloss over these facts but this is what his policy does.

The fob off.

Mr Howard's office says today (AFR) that minimum wage protection is implicit in the Opposition's policy.

That's an answer you give when you haven't got an answer. It is rubbish. There is no such implication to be found anywhere in his policy. ‘

What the policy in fact explicitly does, is marginalise the Industrial Relations Commission and prevent open access to it; undermine and then legislatively wipe out awards; provide no basis for fair minimum protection; and obstruct and prevent

adjustments being made to the substandard crumbs Mr Howard offers as his minimum.

Laurie Oakes on the Sunday Program (25 October) revealed Dr Hewson's ineptitude on mlnimums. Mr Howard's attempt to cover up has just made it worse. Fibs, fallacies and fob-offs cannot excuse it. Why don't they just admit they have got it

wrong and there is yet another gaping hole in their policy.

Contact Don Mackay (06) 2777320