IR Changes to Improve Work-Family Balance: Howard’s New Year Message

Economic reform “must, and will, continue in 2006”, according to the Prime Minister, John Howard, in his New Year’s Message.

HowardHoward said that “stable and happy family life is crucial to Australia’s future”. He said that “more flexibility under the new workplace arrangements will enable Australians an even greater capacity to balance work and family life”.

In a further sign of his determination to remain Prime Minister through to the next election, Howard reiterated his government’s record in economic management, claiming that the “reform process was maintained to the full in 2005”.

Since gaining control of the Senate in July this year, the government has passed legislation to privatise the remainder of Telstra, radically restructure industrial relations, abolish compulsory student unionism, and reform social welfare.

Text of the 2006 New Year’s Message from the Prime Minister, John Howard.

Australians should greet 2006 with hope and optimism. This is a strong and respected country. Our nation’s standing abroad has never been higher. As 2005 showed it is also a compassionate country with a big heart.

The strength of the Australian economy is the product of many past economic reforms. That reform process was maintained to the full in 2005. It must, and will, continue in 2006.

We cannot fall into the complacent belief that the good economic times will be maintained without constant effort and, where necessary, change and innovation.

Stable and happy family life is crucial to Australia’s future. Strong economic growth has cut unemployment and lifted family incomes while interest rates and inflation have stayed low. All of this has helped Australian families confidently plan for the future.

More flexibility under the new workplace arrangements will enable Australians an even greater capacity to balance work and family life.

In 2006, while focussing on national security and continued economic growth, which benefits all Australians, the Government will not ignore those of our fellow Australians who, through no fault of their own, have not enjoyed the success and good fortune of others.

At this time let us all remember the great work of our police, firefighters and other emergency workers who do so much to protect us and make the Christmas and New Year holiday period as safe and as enjoyable as possible.

Janette joins me in wishing all Australians a happy and peaceful new year.

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