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Labor's industrial relations policy.

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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 June 2000 94/00

Labor's industrial relations policy I am today releasing a copy of Kim Beazley’s industrial relations policy which was included in federal Labor’s draft platform and presented to its national executive meeting last Friday.

What we now see in the policy is the product of months of capitulation by Kim Beazley and Labor’s Parliamentary Party to its industrial wing - the ACTU.

Remarkably, it is a more pronounced regression into a closed and centralised industrial relations system than Labor adopted during its first term in Opposition, 1996-1998.

If implemented it would not just reverse the Coalition reforms that are working in the national interest, but would regress on major elements of Labor’s own policy when it was last in government.

It is a policy for a past era - a closed economy, a unionised workforce, a one dimensional labour market and a one size fits all labour force - none of which are features of the modern Australian economy, society and workplace.

It is a policy that would boost unbridled union power to a level not seen in Australia since the pre Accord and pre Fraser days of the Whitlam government of the 1970’s.

It is a policy that will put a handful of union officials at the epicentre of both policy and outcomes.

Those will be the same union officials that will decide to donate millions of dollars in the coming year to the Labor Party, so they can buy their way to influence over other people’s workplace contracts and agreements, labour costs and into AIRC appointments.

Attached is a schedule of the key features of the ALP policy.

Given that a policy like this can usually be expected to be crafted in sanitised political code to minimise electoral damage, the depth of policy regression is alarming.

There is no doubt that the policy would lead to massive increases in labour costs, more industrial disputes, less job security, higher inflation and higher unemployment.

Giving unions their wish list on workplace relations is no way to seek government in the national interest.

For further information contact: Brett Hogan 0419 484 095.

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