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Minister Reith has lost the plot!

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Senator Meg Lees Parliamentary Leader and Senator for South Australia

Press Release Dated: 21 Jul 2000

Press Release Number: 00/430 Portfolio: Workplace Relations 

Minister Reith has lost the plot Surely the role of a Minister for Workplace Relations is to facilitate industrial democracy and to support and encourage co-operation and productivity in the workplace.

Workplace Relations Minister, Peter Reith, has lost the plot with his new campaign of lambasting employers who have reached agreements with unions, according to the Australian Democrats.

Democrats’ Leader, Senator Meg Lees, commenting on Mr Reith's targeting of the 200 top companies as possibly "recruits" in his anti-union strategies, said the Minister was not acting in the even handed way that both sides expect of a Government Minister for Workplace Relations.

"We can't even say he is barracking for the employer because he has now criticised employers for not being tough enough on the unions," she said.

"Most Australian employers and unions have developed productive and co-operative relationships based on mutual understanding of their interests.

“In fact, Campaign 2000 has not resulted in the industrial warfare predicted by the Government precisely because employers and unions have been able to work through the issues constructively.

"But that is not good enough for Mr Reith. For his own political reasons, it appears he wants employers to be out stirring up industrial unrest in an election year,” said Senator Lees.

"The Democrats reject such an ideological and political approach to industrial relations. Industrial relations should be based on promoting co-operation and productivity.

"If Mr Reith wants Senate support for further workplace relations reforms, he needs to show that the reforms are necessary, balanced and fair to both sides.

"His new campaign against co-operative employers suggests that such considerations could not be further from his mind," Senator Lees concluded.


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