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No jobs in Reith's wage cut plans

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Media Release Hon Arch Bevis MP Shadow Minister for Industrial Relations

No Jobs in Reith’s Wage Cut Plans

The disclosure today of a plan to cut real wages and to further reduce the role of the Industrial Relations Commission show that Peter Reith is more concerned about cutting wages than creating decent long term sustainable jobs.

The leaked discussion paper by Mr. Des Moore was commissioned by Peter Reith to reflect his own views. Mr. Moore was carefully selected precisely because of his known extreme right-wing views. His long time association as a senior figure in the Institute of Public Affairs and the H R Nichols society are well known, as is his support for widespread deregulation of the labour market.

Whilst it's good to see Labor’s idea of a tax credit gaining further support, the view that you can reduce unemployment by lowering minimum wages has been disproved around the world and is not even supported by surveys of Australian businesses.

Surveys on small businesses conducted by federal government departments have shown that award rates of pay have virtually no effect whatsoever on decisions to recruit employees or not. In fact, only 0.2 percent of businesses identify the level of wages as the reason for not

employing more people. Not surprisingly, 89 percent identify insufficient work and no need for more employees as the reason for not employing anybody.

So far as junior rates of pay are concerned, the Australian Industrial Relations Commission has just commenced a major investigation into what changes if any should be made. In spite on the fact that they are due to report to Parliament before the middle of next year, Mr. Reith has announced plans to introduce new laws for junior rates of pay before

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Christmas. In his customary arrogant manner he is rushing in to attack ordinary Australian workers with little no regard to the role of the umpire.

Mr. Reith's haste to embrace these policies has a great deal more to do with cultivating support amongst the right wing of the Liberal party and his contest with Peter Costello, than with providing decent jobs and security for Australian men m women.

For further comment contact Arch Bevis on 0418785122 or 07 33001304