|Issue No 34||08 October 1999|
Cabinet Capers in the Dark Tower
Bureaucrats and political staffers overseeing the passage of reforms to the NSW industrial relations system were this week invited to a talk by a right-wing commentator on the need for radical labour market deregulation.
The talk by Des Moore from the Institute for Private Enterprise entitled 'The Need For Radical Change To Labour Market Regulation"
It was hosted in NSW Government's Treasury offices under the auspices of the Economic Society. All members of the Cabinet Office were invited to the lunchtime talk.
A gushing promo for the talk included then following classics:
"As Australia's highly interventionist workplace relations arrangements clearly discourage risk-taking, there is a prima facie case that they are a principal cause of our relatively high unemployment and low employment."
"Further, contrary to popular perception, those regulatory arrangements have arguably delivered less equitable/socially desirable outcomes than more market-oriented arrangements would have. This adds substantial weight to the case for radical reform"
"The AIRC should be converted into a voluntary advisory/mediator similar to ACAS, the apparently successful conciliation/mediation body in the UK. Further, legislation should be amended to codify the common law relevant to workplace agreement-making so as to affirm specifically the rights of employers and employees to contract without significant constraint."
Reforms designed by the NSW trade union movement to sensibly regulate the labour market are currently before the Cabinet Office. How Des Moore's analysis will be applied to these proposals will make for some interesting philosophical debates.
NSW Labor Council secretary Michael Costa says he hopes nobody took anything Moore said seriously.
"Des Moore hasn't said anything of value on labour market reform since he left Treasury," Costa says. "I don't know why public servants would be wasting their time at seminars listening to ideologues when there are serious issues confronting the government."
News of the lecture heightens union concerns about the impact of the Cabinet Office - the body Bob Carr promised to scrap before the 1995 election - on the State Labor Government.
A favourite anecdote comes from those putting together the 1996 industrial relations reform package who swear Cabinet Office chief Roger Wilkins suggested - without a hint of irony - that they might like to look at the New Zealand industrial relations model.
Interview: A Crack to the Skull
Rail, Tram and Bus Union state secretary Nick Lewocki took on the Carr Governmentís radical rail refrom agenda and walked away a winner. He looks back on the week the trains stood still.
Economics: Green Backs and Dirty Dollars
Paul Ehlrich says the real culprit behind the environmental crisis isn't so much the huge numbers of people in the world or conspicuous over-consumption in the West but an economic system that confuses price with cost.
Unions: Tally Ho!
A landmark meat industry decision might not have the impact the reith cheer-squad hopes for.
History: The Western Express
West Australian historians are undertaking a project to chronicle that state's rich rail history.
Republic: The Referendum: A Spot of Reading
John Passant looks a the propaganda passing as information in the lead-up to the referendum.
Indigenous: Australia Snubs Nose at the UN
The United Nations General Assembly will be told that Australia has breached an international convention on racial discrimination that Malcolm Fraserís Government ratified 24 years ago.
International: Desert Flashpoint
The United Nations has confirmed that demonstrations were suppressed in Western Sahara last month.
Review: Temper Democratic
Humphrey McQueen has been a fearless critic of received opinions across a range of subjects for many years, and as a consequence has been criticised or more often ignored in debates in Australia.
Satire: Tax Cuts Come in the Nick of Time for Struggling Packers
Welfare groups have called upon on the Federal Government to bring forward the date of proposed capital gains tax cuts.
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Last Modified: 15 Nov 2005