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Hold your horse Pete: let the Commission report on junior pay rates.

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Media Release


Hon Arch Bevis MP

Federal Member for Brisbane

Shadow Minister for Industrial Relations


11 March 1999




Labor Shadow Minister for Industrial Relations, Arch Bevis, today said Workplace Relations Minister Reith just cannot make up his mind about the Australian Industrial Relations Commission.


“Just three weeks ago Mr Reith revealed plans to replace the Commission with a hand picked tribunal. This week he expects us to believe he now wants to ‘enhance the powers of the Commission.


“Mr Reith should show his commitment to the independent umpire by waiting for the current junior wage rates inquiry to be completed,” said Mr Bevis.


“Mr Reith and the Government are determined to legislate a discriminatory age based wages system regardless of the evidence without considering a fairer system based on skill and competency.


“Contrary to Mr Reith’s claim, the Commission will have virtually no discretion in introducing junior wage rates into awards where they do not already exist. The Government’s own Explanatory Memorandum for the Bill makes it clear that unless young people are prevented by law or qualifications from performing the work (for example, driving instructor or engineer) then they have to create a junior rates of pay clause in the award.


“If Mr Reith was serious about the integrity and independence of the Commission he would wait until the inquiry was complete. The fact is neither he nor the Prime Minister have any interest in listening to the evidence”, said Mr Bevis.


“We’ve seen it with the unfair dismissal laws and now with youth wages, Mr Reith simply wants to bring on premature legislation,” said Mr Bevis.


For further information contact: Arch Bevis 0418 785 122 David Tansey 02 6277 4518 0416 136 164