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Balance missing in Reith's second wave.

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Media Release

Hon Arch Bevis MP

Federal Member for Brisbane

Shadow Minister for Industrial Relations


30 th JUNE 1999




Shadow Industrial Relations Minister, Arch Bevis today branded the Government’s second wave indu strial relations laws as un-Australian, divisive and biased.


Mr Bevis said that the amendments further undermine the independence of the Industrial Relations Commission and try to force workers onto individual contracts, without union or Commission protection.


“Mr Reith has a history of criticising and trying to intimidate the Commission — as he did over Junior Rates of Pay and in his leaked letter to the Prime Minister. This proposal goes one step further by stripping the Commission of much of its conciliation powers, placing Commissioners on term appointments, and even providing for temporary Commissioners. No doubt a probationary test to see if they meet with Mr Reith’s approval,” said Mr Bevis.


“The Government’s proposals take away some of the few remaining basic conditions left after his 1996 laws. Even conditions such as long service leave and paid jury service are earmarked for removal from awards. The removal of these types of conditions, together with the 1996 removal of other conditions such as blood donor leave and defence force leave, will ultimately affect the type of society in which we live.


“The Government also proposes to make it more difficult for unions and workers to be able to take industrial action, but easier for bosses and employers to take such action. Employers and bosses will be able to use transfers or roster changes as part of dispute tactics. This hardly provides for a balanced industrial relations system and is just another example of the biased approach which has become the hallmark of Mr Reith arid this Government in industrial relations,” Mr Bevis said.


“These attacks on basic conditions come on top of Mr Reith’ s 1996 laws which have already been criticised by the International Labour Organisation as failing international minimum standards.


Today’s amendments will drive us closer to the bottom of the international industrial relations community. This tilts the industrial relations field even further against ordinary workers.


“Mr Reith simply wants to leave workers to negotiate their own conditions, without a union and without an independent umpire”, Mr Bevis said.


For further information contact: Arch Bevis 0418 785 122. David Tansey, 02 6277 4518, 0416 136 164, Moira Farrelly, 02 6277 4528, 0408 440 580



rw  1999-07-01 11:21