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Hobart, 26 March 1999: transcript [industrial problems; changes to industrial relations]



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THE HON PETER REITH MP

MINISTER FOR EMPLOYMENT, WORKPLACE RELATIONS

AND SMALL BUSINESS

LEADER OF THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

PARLIAMENT HOUSE

CANBERRA ACT 2600

 

26 March 1999

 

TRANSCRIPT OF THE HON PETER REITH MP

HOBART

 

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JOURNALIST:

 

In Tasmania recently it has had a lot of industrial problems in their minds, your proposed amendments, how would you see these stopping such problems?

 

 

REITH:

 

The Government’s record is a very good one nationally, we have just had announced from the Australian Bureau of Statistics the lowest level of industrial disputes since 1913. Sadly in Tasmania the Labor Government here is taking the State backwards and instead of less disputes in the future you are more likely to end up with more disputes, that undermines the competitiveness and the attractiveness of Tasmania and in the end that is going to cost Tasmania jobs.

 

JOURNALIST:

 

In that sense you’re saying how unions should be a facilitator for the workers and not some sort of quasi sort of workplace watch dog, your reaction to the Tasmanian Government’s or the Tasmanian Parliament’s vote yesterday to support the voluntary unionisation or unions at student levels?

 

REITH:

 

Well, whether it is industrial unions or student unions, a labour administration in Tasmania is more interested in the union than they are in either the students or the workers and the people who suffer as a result are the students and the workers and so compulsory unionism whether its in the workplace or at the university, ultimately, it’s good for the union bosses but it’s not very good for the people whom they claim to represent. And sadly if you think of the future for Tassie, you know this State has had it’s economic problems and unless there is a more realistic view about workplace relations by the State’s labour administration your problem is not going to go away.

 

JOURNALIST:

 

Tasmanian Senator Bob Brown has come out and said that the Democrats are thatching a deal with you over the new proposed changes to the industrial relations, your reaction to this?

 

REITH:

 

I don’t have reactions to Bob Brown, why should I?

 

JOURNALIST:

 

Were you saying in there that industries, in particular the coal industry simply have not yet taken sufficient advantage of the reforms that are already in place?

 

REITH:

 

They certainly need to do more, they are under a lot of competitive pressures internationally. There are examples where coal mines in Australia have done very well and have used all of the benefits under the Workplace Relations Act. But equally true the facts and figures are that there are many who can do much better and we encourage them to do so.

 

JOURNALIST:

 

Do you think the Government looking ahead to your reforms in the pipeline is in fact getting even ahead of industry sentiments then?

 

REITH:

 

Well, in one sense we have to provide a lead but it is also true that in the end the extent of reform in any business is the responsibility of the people running that business.

 

 

 

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