||Issue No. 326||29 September 2006|
Interview: Australia’s Most Wanted
Industrial: The Fox and the Contractor
Unions: Industrial Wasteland
International: Two Bob's Worth
Economics: National Interest
Environment: The Real Dinosaur
History: Only In Spain?
Review: Clerk Off
Brush Big Business: Keating
Keating says workers have won nothing from the consensual approach to workplace reform, introduced by governments he was part of, and the ALP should go into the next election promising to legislate for higher wages.
He dismissed the Peter Hendy-led Chamber of Commerce and Industry as a Liberal Party front that wouldn't be placated by concessions.
He said Hendy, a key WorkChoices barracker, was an industry spokeman who trafficked in claims he could not and would not defend.
"Twenty years of co-operation from organised labour has not mattered a tinker's cuss to them," Keating wrote in a letter to the Australian Financial Review, this week.
"Kim Beazley and the federal parliamentary Labor Party should send the ACCI to Coventry, back to the Liberal Party, whose rancid industrial policies it argues for."
Keating said Australians should hope the High Court would green-light Canberra's industrial relations power grab so a Labor Government could use the same powers to lift wages, without reference to any third party.
Business, he wrote, could then "repent in leisure" at the real cost of their ideological support for John Howard's workplace agenda.
It had taken that line, he said, despite 20 years of industrial peace and a "huge share" of GDP going to profits.
"The lesson is clear," Keating said, "Federal Labor should no longer be wedded to a consensual wages model."
Keating was incensed by reports that Beazley and the ALP would have to jump through hoops to win ACCI support in the lead-up to the next federal election.
He said they shouldn't bother trying.
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