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Transcript of doorstop interview: Perth: Wednesday, 7 May 2008: workplace relations; Burma.



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The Hon Julia Gillard MP

Minister for Education. Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations Minister for Social Inclusion. Deputy Prime Minister 08 May, 2008

Transcript

Doorstop Interview, 9am Wednesday, 7 May 2008, Perth

Workplace relations, Burma

JULIA GILLARD:

I would like to respond to a story on the front page of today’s Australian newspaper. This is a story about a

Treasury minute dated the 18th of April last year. This minute purports to be an analysis of Labor’s workplace

relations policies. Well this doesn’t pass the most simple of commonsense tests.

Labor’s workplace relations policies were announced on the 28th of April last year and then our Policy

Implementation Plan was announced on the 28th of August. Anybody could work out quickly that a document

that pre-dates Labor’s policy can’t be about Labor’s policy. How can anyone analyse policies that hadn’t been

announced in full at the date the analysis is conducted?

What we know last year is that a desperate Howard Government went out of its way to make false claims

about Labor’s policies, to distort Labor’s policies and then to seek modelling on the basis of those false claims

and distortion. It was all part of its political desperation to defend its extreme Work Choices laws. Now the

Australian people saw right through this on Election Day; they knew the Howard Government wasn’t telling

them the truth and they knew Labor was going to bring a fair and balanced workplace relations system to this

country which was all about productivity and all about making sure that we were fighting inflation; that’s what

Labor is going to do. This Treasury minute has obviously been in the possession of Howard Government

Ministers, members of staff and given to newspapers as part of a desperate plan to distract from the fact that

the Howard Government has left this nation with an inflation challenge which we are dealing with by investing

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in skills and of course by making sure next weeks budget is a responsible one.

REPORTER:

Has there been differing advice since the policies, your policies actually did come out?

JULIA GILLARD:

Our policy is based on our understanding and of course economists would agree with this, that the best way of

having a wages system is to have it based on enterprise bargaining. So if you are more productive in your

enterprise then there are sustainable gains to be shared and those gains don’t feed into inflation. We

understood that on the day we launched the policy on the 28th of April, we understood that on Election Day

and we understand it now as we are delivering our fair and balanced system. And of course we have already

delivered an end to Australian Workplace Agreements, a promise we gave the Australian people; part of the

industrial relations extremism of the Howard Government which we have taken away.

REPORTER:

Is this advice that is on the front page of the paper, any evidence of perhaps advice telling governments what

they want to hear?

JULIA GILLARD:

I would say, if a government asked for advice, and we know the Howard Government did when it sought

modelling, that is based on false assumptions then obviously the advice you get can’t be right. And the Howard

Government was thrashing around, it had its extreme Work Choices laws, it believed in those laws, it knew the

Australian people didn’t want them, but it was doing anything possible to defend those laws.

Now we know they sought advice and economic modelling based on false assumptions, they made false claims

about Labor’s policy everyday up until the last election, the Australian people saw right through them.

What I think is interesting is of course today, the Liberal Party still believes in Work Choices and industrial

relations extremism and if they were ever re-elected then Work Choices would be back five minutes later.

REPORTER:

Are you worried at all that this will do any damage to the Party’s reputation, it is on the front page of The

Australian, whether it’s right or wrong.

JULIA GILLARD:

I believe this is of course part of a political play from the Liberal Party. They know that the Australian people

believe that they are the party that bought them Work Choices; the Australian people rejected that. The

Australian people are also coming to understand the Liberal Party gave us the highest inflation rate in 16 years

and now we are dealing with that legacy through investing in skills and through a responsible budget. I can

understand the Liberal Party wants to distract from that track record.

REPORTER:

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Do you have advice that suggests your government won’t be responsible for raising inflation through its

policies?

JULIA GILLARD:

Our Government’s policies are all about dealing with the inflation challenge that has been left to us by the

former government. The Liberal government didn’t invest in skills. We are making record investments in skills

with 450,000 new training places. The former government engaged in wasteful expenditure. We are going to

deliver a budget that delivers for working families but cuts back on that waste and extravagance. We are going

to invest in the productive capacity of our economy, in infrastructure, something that was neglected for eleven

long years by the Liberal Party. So we are fixing the mess left to us, we are dealing with these challenges and of

course the Liberal Party want to distract from them.

REPORTER:

Is it an insurmountable task though, is it possible to fix the inflation problem?

JULIA GILLARD:

It’s possible for government to be focused on fighting inflation. The Treasurer, the Prime Minister everyday,

are talking about the inflation challenge and how to fight it. And we know we can fight inflation if we invest in

skills and we are doing that. We know we can fight inflation if we do better on infrastructure and we are doing

that through our new body, Infrastructure Australia. And we know to fight inflation we need to deliver a

responsible budget, one that works for working families but is fiscally responsible and the Treasurer will do

that next week. Thank you.

REPORTER:

Can I ask you, on another topic, can I just quickly ask, we have all seen the natural disaster in Burma and

what’s become of that. Do you think Australia’s adequately prepared to deal with a natural disaster?

JULIA GILLARD:

My colleague Stephen Smith, the Minister for Foreign Affairs has been dealing with this matter. Australia

stands ready to assist. Obviously, this is a disaster of some magnitude and a great deal of tragedy involved. We

do stand ready to assist with an aid package and to help with the relief efforts on the ground. Thank you.

END

Media Contact:

media@deewr.gov.au

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