Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
Wage demands threaten budget strategy



Download PDFDownload PDF

SmLIBERAL

TH E HON IAN M A CPH EE, MP

SHADOW MINISTER F O R EM PLOYM ENT A N D IN DUSTRIAL RELATIONS AND RESPONSIBLE F O R STATUS O F WOMEN

WAGE DEMANDS THREATEN BUDGET STRATEGY

In the light of the Budget the Government should make public its attitude to major wage increases involving the building industry and Heinz Australia Ltd.

The wage rises involve amounts of between $15 and $20 a week, and represent a major movement away from the centralised wage fixing

system endorsed by the Economic Summit.

The entire strategy of the Budget is based on wage restraint and the suppression of sectional claims outside national wage cases.

It is therefore essential to know what action the Government intends

to take to shore up its Budget against these threats.

Are these wage settlements, and the proposed flow-on of the building agreement, consistent with the Treasurer's projection of a 7 per

cent wage increase in 1983-84?

Does the Government intend to intervene in the Arbitration Commission

to see that these settlements are not ratified, and so do not destroy the wage fixing system before it has even begun?

Does the Government believe that the emerging trend of a $20 wage

round outside the Commission is consistent with its commitment at the Economic Summit?

. . . /2

-2-

How does the Government propose to achieve wage restraint when

it is, at one and the same time, both institutionalising future CPI increases through the indexing of excise taxes, and committed

to full half-yearly CPI wage adjustments?

Does this outbreak of sectional wage increases mean that the ACTU

is unable to control its own affiliated unions?

What do the settlements mean for the Prices and Incomes Accord?

The 1983 Budget is based on wage restraint. Without that restraint its assumptions are destroyed, and inflation and unemployment can only worsen at a time when economic recovery was in prospect.

The Government must make public its position on these wage trends

and state clearly what it and the ACTU intend to do about them. Otherwise it will be hard for anyone to have confidence in the capacity of the economy to recover. And without that confidence there can not be the investment in industry needed to create new

jobs.

24 AUGUST 1983

CANBERRA