|Issue No 6||26 March 1999|
Opposition IR - A Dog’s Breakfast
A rattled Coalition goes to the State Election with two conflicting industrial relations policies.
One is a hardline grab from the Nationals, the other is a few pages pulled out of a Chikka speech.
Journalists seeking details of the Coalition's official industrial relations policy were faxed a three-page extract from a speech Kerry Chikarovski delivered to a business audience in the opening days of the campaign.
The document makes a series of specific undertakings without any unifying vision for industrial relations beyond a commitment to make it "more flexible" and to allow employers to negotiate "directly with their staff".
Commitments, as they are, include:
- providing a mechanism to cut unions out of enterprise agreements (although this is already there).
- abolishing unfair dismissal laws to place onus on the complainant (although this is already the case).
- establishment of an employment ombudsmen with totally undefined powers.
Tacked on the end is an extract from a separate policy document called "More Jobs, More Choices", which pledges to resurrect the discredited and ineffectual Building Industry Task Force.
The big unanswered question is whether these policy clippings over-ride the more substantial document released by George Souris back in February.
This was the speech where the National party leader uttered the immortal line: "it's time to reform industrial relations in favour of the employer."
That policy listed all the standards of hardcore labour market deregulation as well as aspects of Reith's proposed next wave like secret ballots before strike action and bars on donations to political parties.
At the time, a pressured Chikarovski, endorsed the Nationals crazy plan to avoid headlines of another Coalition split.
Where this leaves the Coalition's industrial relations policy is anyone's guess, although our bet is that they would bring in legislation mirroring the Workplace relations Act quicker than you could say "you're just a puppet of Reithy".
Interview: Jeff Shaw - Keeping the Peace in NSW
We talk to the Carr Government's best minister about his plans and aspirations for a second term.
Unions: Labor's IR Promises
Read the full ALP Industrial Relations policy. Only on Workers Online!
History: A History of Struggle on the Wharves
As the first anniversary of the Reith-Corrigan assault on the waterfront approaches, we remember that it was only the latest in a long line of attacks on the union.
Review: Rats in the Ranks
This Australian political masterpiece about the battle for power in an inner-city council is well worth going back to.
Campaign Diary: It's Time For a Real Labor Government
A returned Carr Government must use its increased majority to promote a genuine Labor agenda rather than just clinging to power for another four years.
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Last Modified: 15 Nov 2005