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Labor's policy slips 'geers'

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Joe Hockey Minister for Small Business and Tourism 2 June 2004 LABOR’s POLICY SLIPS ‘GEERS’ Labor’s economic credentials are in tatters and its promises to small businesses have been exposed as a sham, the Minister for Small Business and Tourism, Joe Hockey, said today. Labor’s Craig Emerson yesterday promised to fund redundancy payments for insolvent small businesses out of the General Employee Entitlements and Redundancy Scheme (GEERS) scheme. (Media Release, 01/06/2004) But in March Labor announced that it would scrap GEERS and use the money to fund its maternity payments scheme. So, how can it now be earmarked for small business redundancies? In policy statement titled “Jeers for GEERS” Craig Emerson said; “GEERS is fundamentally flawed. It was a hastily cobbled-together sham.” (Jeers for GEERS, 11/08/2003) But now Craig Emerson says; “In those cases where the small business is, in fact, insolvent, the redundancy obligations would be met through the Government’s GEERS arrangements.” (Media Release, 01/06/2004) These contradictions arise because Labor is trying to placate small business and at the same time do the bidding of the union bosses. Craig Emerson is trying to put something together on the run and it’s all falling apart. In response to small business concerns about being forced for the first time in twenty years to make redundancy payments, Labor announced it will set up a Senate inquiry. Craig Emerson announced yesterday that Labor will ask the Senate to “investigate simple ways of applying to the commission, such as electronic lodgement” to reduce the cost burden.” (Media Release, 01/06/2004)

The simplest solution for Labor is to support the Federal Government in the Senate and vote for legislation to reintroduce the exemption for small business. It is time Labor provided Australians with the details of its policy platform because small businesses and their workers need to know what they are voting for.

Media enquiries: Sasha Grebe, 0408 974 349