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Youth wages: government's indecent haste.

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Media Release


Hon Arch Bevis MP

Federal Member for Brisbane

Shadow Minister for Industrial Relations


17 November 1998


Youth Wages: Government’s Indecent Haste



The Coalition Government is in danger of making a sham of its own inquiry into junior rate s of pay if it proceeds with its intention to introduce legislation locking in youth wages before the inquiry is complete.


Under the terms of the Government’s own Workplace Relations Act, the Australian Industrial Relations Commission (AIRC) is to report to the Minister by June 1999 on the feasibility of replacing junior rates of pay.


In releasing the Federal Government’s submission to the inquiry today — jointly with three States and two Territories — Peter Reith has again confirmed the Government’s intention to go ahead with his legislation while the inquiry is underway.


With this rush to legislation, the Government runs the risk of rendering the AIRC inquiry a complete waste of time.


It is also clear Peter Reith is trying to bully and intimidate the AIRC by running a Parliamentary debate on the issue concurrently with the inquiry.


The Howard Government has a habit of resisting proper inquiries into serious issues, as we have seen in relation to the GST.


Mr Reith should hold his ideological horses, and wait for the AIRC to do the work it was asked to do. I call on him to withdraw his legislation from the program for the current Parliamentary session.


We in the Federal ALP are prepared to await the outcome of the inquiry before declaring a formal policy position.


For further information contact Arch Bevis on 0418 785 122.