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Government's industrial relations bill a token gesture



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P A R L I A M E N T O F A U S T R A L I A

H O U S E O F R E P R E S E N T A T I V E S

PETER S H A C K . M .P. j

FEDERAL MEMBER FOR TANGNEY | SHADOW MINISTER FOR EMPLOYMENT,. TRAINING AND YOUTH AFFAIRS

COMMONWEALTH PARLIAMENTARY LIBRARY C. I . 5.

P.O. BOX 1206, BOORAOOON. W .A. 6154 SUITE 8, GATEWAY MELVILLE CITY CENTRE BOORAGOON TEL. 109) 364 5554

MEDIA RELEASE.

23RD MAY, 1988. 39/88.

GOVERNMENT'S INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS BILL A TOKEN GESTURE

The Hawke Government's long awaited package of industrial relations legislative reform will produce no substantial benefits, according to the Shadow Minister for Employment, Training and Youth Affairs, Peter Shack.

Leading the Opposition's debate on the Industrial Relations Bill in the House of Representatives today, Mr Shack said,"It is outrageous that after several years of inquiry and debate all that the Government has been able to come up with is an

Industrial Relations Bill which is as fatally flawed as its Australia Card Bill.

"And this is the piece of legislation which the Minister for Industrial Relations would have us believe is 'the most substantial revision of Australia's Federal Industrial Relations System' since 1904.

"If this is the case the Government should have allowed time for full and careful debate of such a landmark piece of legislation.

"Instead it is racing its proposals through the Parliament hoping that no one will notice that it is the unions, rather than the country as a whole, who will benefit from these so-called reforms.

"Well the Opposition has not been fooled by this Bill, nor will it fool the vast majority of Australians who are sick and tired of having to put up with unions which operate with impunity over and above the law.

"The most obvious shortcomings of the Government/ACTU proposals are that they are totally deficient in terms of giving the conciliation and arbitration system any effective means of enforcing its decisions.

"In addition, the legislation makes no provision for people not to join a trade union, or for the lifting of existing preference clauses or "closed shop" arrangements.

"The proposals for union amalgamations encompassed by this Bill are also rejected by the Opposition as we do not believe that they offer a means of addressing the problems of demarcation disputes.

"In fact, the small unions targeted for amalgamation are industrially moderate and rarely, if ever, involved in industrial action.

"The position of the Opposition is that the issue of industrial relations has not been addressed by the Government's legislation and unless the Government accepts our substantial amendments we will not support its Bill."

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