||Issue No. 287||28 October 2005|
A Sick Set of Laws
Interview: Under Fire
Politics: And the Winners Are ...
Economics: The Common Wealth
History: Walking for Justice
International: Deja Vu
Legal: The Rights Stuff
Review: That Cinderella Fella
Poetry: Is Howard Kidding?
The Locker Room
PM's Fatal Flush
Sign of the Times
Labor's Love Lost
Business, As Usual
AMWU national secretary, Doug Cameron, delivered the message to industry heavyweights on the opening day of an Australian Financial Review-sponsored conference in Melbourne, last week.
Joining a panellists from John Howard's IR cheer squad, including executives of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Qantas and the Commonwealth Bank, Cameron told business it was on a collision course with core Australian values.
"Australian business is making a historic decision to tear up a social contract based on fairness and the sharing of economic success," Cameron said.
"This package of IR changes is a winner-take-all prescription and that's what you have signed up to.
"Business has chosen to line up with something that is deeply unpopular and will impact adversely on families around the country.
"You can spend another $20 million or $40 million on selling this package but you can't remove the stench that surrounds it and that is something the community will not forget."
Cameron asked corporates to consider what their support for an agenda of income cutting and undermining family-friendly entitlements would mean for social cohesiveness, against a backdrop of record profits and sky-rocketing executive salaries.
He made his address within days of Qantas threatening to use the legislation to shed 3000 Australian jobs, and barely a month after the Commonwealth Bank sent its CEO, David Murray, packing with a $17 million bonus.
Fellow panellist, Peter Hendy from the Chamber of Commerce and Industry, has urged Canberra to go even further in restricting collective bargaining, minimum conditions and the ability to challenge unfair sackings.
Cameron warned that government's taxpayer-funding ad campaign wouldn't wash and that, sooner or later, business be held accountable for the damage inflicted.
"You think what you are doing is clever," he told his audience. "But this is a historic change, and our campaign won't finish when you get your legislation through and the Government's advertising is finished."
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