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Reith is wrong again

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Media Release

Hon Arch Bevis MP Federal Member for Brisbane Shadow Minister for Industrial Relations

Reith is wrong again

2 December 1998

Mr Reith's claims today that the union movement is split over youth wages is wrong and misleading.

Shadow Minister for Industrial Relations Arch Bevis said today that Mr Reith's claims on ABC Radio's AM program this morning that the Shop Assistant's union (SDA) supported the retention of youth wages totally misrepresents the SDA position.


"This is typical Mr Reith - selective quoting and misrepresentation of the true situation. In this instance it's the SDA submission to the Australian Industrial Relations Commission (AIRC) inquiry into youth wages.

"The SDA's true position, as Mr Reith well knows, is strongly opposed to the retention of the current system," Mr Bevis said.

Their submission says: "We should not continue an antiquated 19th century practice into the new millennium."........."a junior who can, and does, perform the inherent requirements of a task/job and does so with an output equal to the norm for adults, must be paid the same as an adult."........."removal of junior rates would have the effect of removing a source of exploitation and actually open up employment opportunities for many of our nation's youth. There is no evidence to suggest that

industries such as retail, where the bulk of young people are employed, would be adversely affected on a long term basis by the abolition of youth rates."

"For Mr Reith to claim as he did today that the SDA supported retention of the current system is the act of a desperate Minister. He knows that there is little evidence that supports his position so he's resorted to misrepresenting the position of others.

"Mr Reith should stop bullying and intimidating the AIRC and the witnesses before its inquiry into youth wages and allow it to get on with the task he legislated for it to do," Mr Bevis said.

For further information contact: John Crawford 02 6277 4505 0419685789