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Transcript of doorstop, Parliament House, Canberra

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JOURNALIST: Is this $8 dollar a week over three year wage rise enough?

BEAZLEY: All Australian families are going to be worse off after this. This is derisory. It means, effectively, the result of defeating us at the last election, means that families and their wages are going to be $18 a week worse off at the end of the three year period. And it's a very bad outcome. It

makes an absolute nonsense, humbug in fact, of the claim that John Howard is out there for mainstream Australia.

JOURNALIST: How much should it be?

BEAZLEY: Well, we were offering, under the Accord, $14 a week and that would have kept people in pace with inflation. And that's what the safety net, as it was...well, it's a factor in what the safety net is supposed to

provide. But I think one of the worst pieces of humbug in the presentation that we've had from the Liberal Government so far on this is the notion that workers in these categories are going to be able to make it up via the

bargaining process. Their industrial relations legislation is aimed directly at attacking the wages of workers in this category. So, firstly, they've got their safety net removed. At least, their safety net only partially compensated.

Secondly, they've got an industrial relations system that attacks their ability to do better than that.

JOURNALIST: What do you say about the people who earn, say, just over $677 a week?

BEAZLEY: Well, I think, obviously, what this safety net ought to be aimed at is dealing with the lowest paid workers in our society and, in fact, those lowest paid workers are the ones most at risk from the new industrial


relations legislation and it's them that our concerns ought to be directed to, and it's they who are going to suffer most from this.

JOURNALIST: With regards to the trade dispute, Mr Beazley, would you urge the Prime Minister to discuss this directly with the President when he meets him on Wednesday?

BEAZLEY: All things should be on the table with the President. The Prime Minister has got an opportunity to talk to the President at length, not just in formal meetings, but informal ones as well, dinner meetings and all the rest of it. And everything that is important on our agenda with the United

States ought to be raised with the President - and that includes all the trade matters.

JOURNALIST: How much clout does Australia have with Washington?

BEAZLEY: We have the clout. We've had the clout, in the past, of that capacity to mount a decent intellectual argument. And when we were in office we would constantly raise these issues with them. We had a sophisticated approach to those issues. It remains to be seen whether this

Government is capable of delivering in the same way.