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Labor can't be all things to all people.



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Hon Joe Hockey MP

Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for the Public Service 26 June, 2007

Media Release

Labor Can't Be All Things to All People

Labor’s workplace relations policy is a farce. If Julia Gillard was the least bit serious about curbing thuggish

union behaviour she would do what everyone else does and put it in writing.

Instead, Ms Gillard veers from press conference to press conference making increasingly vague comments in a

vain attempt to be all things to all people.

Ms Gillard’s latest remarks about the right of unions to enter workplaces are a classic example.

Asked about right of entry, Ms Gillard offered this gem: "There’s obviously a balance here and current

legislation recognises that balance in some ways too, but in a proper and orderly system unions need to have

access to union members whilst at the same time the employers have got to be able to go about their business

without undue disruptions."

This kind of rhetoric is best described as meaningless pap. It is clear Ms Gillard has no intention of keeping

the present system - which has served employees and the economy well - because she cannot afford to stand

up the union bosses in any kind of meaningful way.

Expressions such as "in some ways" and "unions need to have access to union members" are code for "I will

give union bosses exactly what they want".

If Ms Gillard’s was serious about standing up to union bullying she'd commit to:

z Keep the independent construction watchdog, the Australian Building and Construction Commission

z Actually retaining the Howard Government’s right of entry laws

z Limiting the content that can be included in agreements - for example automatic deductions of union

fees, and z Retaining the building industry code.

Ms Gillard is trying to sound economically responsible but it just does not wash.

Less than five months ago, she declared: "Unions should be able to go and advocate the case to working people

about why it would be better for them to join." (Adelaide Advertiser, 17 / 02 / 2007)

Under Labor’s Forward with Fairness policy, union bosses will be able to force employers into providing

them with information about employees - even if the employee is not a union member.

Under Labor, employers will be compelled to invite union bosses to be a party to every workplace agreement.

Employees will then be bound by union agreements even where they have chosen not to be a member.

The union movement is paying for Labor’s campaign, supplying Labor’s candidates and writing Labor’s policy.

Ms Gillard cannot be taken seriously unless she rips up Forward with Fairness and writes a second draft

without the help of Greg Combet.

For further information contact:

Emma Needham 0400 334 091