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IR reforms unnecessary and risky.

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DEMOCRATS MEDIA 05/281 THURSDAY 26 MAY 2005 SENATOR LYN ALLISON SENATOR ANDREW MURRAY AUSTRALIAN DEMOCRATS LEADER DEMOCRATS INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS SPOKESPERSONIR REFORMS UNNECESSARY AND RISKY The Australian Democrats have slammed the Howard Government’s hardline stance on unfair dismissals saying the workplace reforms are the pinnacle of an unjustified and risky workplace reform package. Senator Lyn Allison, Leader of the Australian Democrats said IR reforms announced by the Government today will excessively tip the balance of workplace relations to favour employers, leaving many workers vulnerable. "With these radical big bang reforms the Government risks interrupting industrial harmony and destroys any hope of the states handing over their industrial relations systems,” Senator Allison said. “It would have been far better for the Government to come to an agreement with the states on a unitary system in return for agreement of content, which we believe would have been to retain the current Federal system.” "We are bitterly disappointed that the Government intends to exempt unfair dismissal laws to employers with up to 100 employees and believe a Minimum Wage Commission is unnecessary in Australia.” Senator Andrew Murray, Democrats Industrial Relations spokesperson said the Democrats in the balance of power have been the honest brokers on industrial relations, working hard to find a balance between employer flexibility and employee rights. "We supported the 1996 reforms but only after 176 amendments restored a fairer balance,” Senator Murray said. “But it must be remembered that the 1996 reforms occurred at a time where the economy needed picking up. This is not the case now, the economy is doing well and we cannot afford to risk that by unsettling a Federal system that is working.” Senator Murray said the Democrats believe, apart from a unitary system, further radical reform is unnecessary and risky. “Basing aggressive reform on ideology and not evidence is bad government, the only guaranteed outcome is that workers will suffer," Senator Murray concluded. Media contact Katrina McGrath 0408 056 167