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Latham overturns IR review and pays lip service to economic reform.

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Media Release


Latham Overturns IR Review And Pays Lip Service To Economic Reform

"The overwhelming weight of public opinion we had in our research was that most Australians thought the country was headed in the right direction, mainly because of the economy."

Mark Latham commenting on the election outcome. 2UE, 16/11/04


Mark Latham may acknowledge a reality, but he is not prepared to embrace it.

The reason people "overwhelmingly" believed the country was headed in the right direction was because the Australian Government has reformed workplace relations that have seen workers earning $140 more per week in real terms and unemployment drop to a 27 year low of 5.3%.

It is because interest rates are at record lows and that more people are in work than ever before.

This does not happen by accident, but by policy design and implementation.

So it is disappointing to see that in the same interview despite saying "…main thing the Australian people want is a guarantee that the Government will keep its election promises and that they want the Opposition fighting on their side" Mark Latham is ruling out supporting the government’s reform workplace reform agenda.

Carlton: "You’ll try and stop them keeping some of their promises though won’t you. You won’t want them to keep their promises on industrial relations reform and so on?"

Latham: "Well the spending commitments, they’re the things that came out of the campaign….So I think that’s the thing that people are looking for, those other debates are very very old…"

So despite the fact that workplace reforms have helped give people generous wage increases, that unemployment is at record lows and employment at record highs, Mark Latham is not going to embrace reform.

Even more extraordinary, Mark Latham is now repudiating one of his chosen economic Ministers,

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Stephen Smith.

Carlton: "Mr Howard will want to press on with some of his most dearly held policies, industrial relations reform, the sale of Telstra and son on, and he claims a mandate for it. Hard to say he doesn’t?"

Latham: "Well these are old debates and the Labor Party members went to their electorates saying we wouldn’t have open slather in the industrial relations area…..So we’ve had long standing commitments, promises we have made in our electorates to the people that you just can’t walk away from those after the campaign.."

This puts paid to Stephen Smith who said on October 27 that:

"It is very important in the first instance after an election defeat that we have an exhaustive, thorough, sensible and intelligent look at whatever policy or presentation or campaigning mistakes we made."

He went on.

Reporter: "How much of your industrial relations policy is up for grabs now?"

Smith: "If I told you the answer to that question there would be no point in having a review, would there?"

Reporter: "Don’t you know the conclusion already?"

Smith: "There is no point in having a sensible review where you draw in the views of business, industry and the trade union movement if you have got a predetermined outcome."

It seems that Mark Latham has already drawn his conclusions and in doing so he is overriding his own Shadow Minister’s view about "predetermined outcomes."

Mark Latham has learnt nothing from the outcome of the election.

He is only paying lip service to key economic reforms and for the need for the Labor Party to reform key planks of its workplace relations policy, despite the fact that workplace reform has delivered results for workers and was instrumental in people thinking Australia was headed in the right direction.


For further information contact:

Russ Street  0417 044712




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