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Media Release

Hon Arch Bevis, MP

Federal Member for Brisbane

Shadow Minister for Industrial Relations


2 December 1999





Labor Shadow Minister for Industrial Relations, Arch Bevis, welcomed today’s decision b y the Government to withdraw Workplace Relations Minister Reith’s fundamentally flawed second wave industrial relations legislation.


“I am pleased that the Government has decided to withdraw the second wave legislation. As Labor has said all along, and this was proved comprehensively in the Senate inquiry, the Bill is unbalanced and unnecessary. As shown in the evidence major changes are needed to the 1996 laws to overcome the excesses of Mr Reith’s first wave.


“These laws should now be consigned to the political rubbish bin for good. Mr Reith should not go digging around next year to resurrect any it.


“However the fact that until as late as yesterday Mr Reith was still talking about pursuing his legislation shows just how out of touch he is with the Australian people. Mr Reith should accept that his industrial relations agenda has been widely criticised by the comprehensive Senate report and overwhelmingly rejected by the public.


“Mr Reith should now take note of the rest of the report that was highly critical of his 1996 laws and move to solve those problems. For example he could introduce changes that parties have to bargain in good faith and start with his own Department. Mr Reith’s Department has refused to negotiate a union agreement as requested by the majority of employees.


“While Mr Reith has wasted the Parliament’s time with his obsession about cutting employees conditions he has done very little to make good his promise to address the issue of protecting workers from loss of their legal entitlements. After the Oakdale workers dispute he said he would have a scheme operating by January 2000, but he hasn’t even introduced legislation into the Parliament.


“If Minister Reith is unable to produce legislation to protect workers entitlements then he should bring on the Labor private members Bills to deal with this issue next week.


“Mr Reith should give all Australian workers a real Christmas present and direct his energies to protecting employees from loss of their legally accrued entitlements,” said Mr Bevis.



For further information contact:

David Tansey (02) 6277 4518; 0416 136 164



md 1999-12-06  09:55