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Eric Abetz: Industrial Relations After The Thirty Years War

The Minister for Employment, Senator Eric Abetz, has delivered a major speech on industrial relations to The Sydney Institute.

The speech came on the day allegations of bribery and corruption in the construction industry reignited the debate over unions and workplace regulation. [Read more…]

Howard Pledges Industrial Relations Reform, Derides “Cut And Run” Policies

Legislation to re-introduce the redundancy payment exemption for small business has been promised by the Prime Minister, in an address to the State Council of the Victorian Liberal Party.

HowardReminding his audience that winning a fourth term will be “a very big fight”, Howard said “there is no threat contained in alternative Labor Government at a federal level which is more lethal than what it would represent in terms of industrial relations changes. The abolition of Australian workplace agreements, the almost unlimited right of entry for unions whether they’re wanted or not, the removal of the secondary boycott protection under the Trade Practices Act which is so important for small business.”

On Iraq, Howard said: “It is not in the best interests of our country to cut and run from Iraq. It is in the best interests of our country and in the best traditions of our country to finish the job and to see it through until the circumstances have arisen where out of proper regard for the security of Iraq and proper regard for the interests of our allies and proper regard for sending a united, unambiguous message to terrorists that we will not have our policy dictated by threats of violence and the actuality of violence in other countries. [Read more…]

Unfair Dismissal Laws A Blot On The Escutcheon Of Small Business: Howard

In an address to the Council of Small Business Organisations of Australia in Canberra last night, the Prime Minister, John Howard, returned to the issue of the unfair dismissal laws, describing them as “a blot on the escutcheon of small business”.

HowardHe urged small business to lobby other parties in the Senate and promised that the government would resubmit the laws if they are rejected by the upper house.

Howard’s comments indicate that the government is preparing the ground for a double dissolution election trigger over the coming year.

In his speech, Howard said: “I want to assure all of you that we will not weaken or tire in our efforts to secure the passage through the Senate of further reforms of the unfair dismissal laws. They remain to me one of the great blots on the escutcheon of small business. I hold strongly to the belief that if we could get rid of the restrictions we’re trying to get rid of we would see more jobs generated in the small business community. There is no reason, according to our current advice and according to current economic indicators, there is no reason why unemployment in Australia can’t fall to a figure approaching six per cent by the end of this year. [Read more…]

High Court Upholds Industrial Relations Legislation

The High Court today rejected a challenge from the Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union to the Federal government’s simplification of industrial awards in the Workplace Relations Act.

High Court CrestThe decision was supported by 4 judges (Gleeson, Hayne, Gummow and Callinan) and opposed by 3 (Kirby, McHugh and Gaudron).

Except for Gummow, the majority judges were appointed by the Howard government. The minority judges were all appointed by the Hawke or Keating governments. [Read more…]

Beazley Announces ALP Industrial Relations Policy

Opposition Leader Kim Beazley has come under sustained attack in Federal Parliament following the announcement of the ALP’s Industrial Relations policy this week.

Beazley committed a Labor government to abolishing the system of Australian Workplace Agreements introduced by Industrial Relations Minister Peter Reith.

Whilst only about 90,000 Australians are parties to individual workplace agreements, otherwise known as individual contracts, they are an important symbolic feature of the coalition’s approach to industrial affairs. [Read more…]

John Howard’s Speech to the NSW State Convention of the Liberal Party

This is the text of Prime Minister John Howard’s speech to the NSW Convention of the Liberal Party.

Text of John Howard’s speech to the NSW Convention of the Liberal Party.

John HowardThank you very much Michael for those very warm words of introduction. To Shane Stone the Federal President, Kerry Chikarovski, the Leader of the New South Wales Opposition, to my many ministerial and parliamentary colleagues and most importantly of all my fellow members of the New South Wales Division of the Liberal Party.

Not surprisingly I would like to share with you this morning some thoughts on the past year and also some ideas about the year ahead at a national political level. But I would like to start my remarks this morning by addressing an issue that is very important to the future strength and survival of the New South Wales Division.

I want to congratulate the Executive of the party here in New South Wales for the decision it took last night to establish a committee of management to run the affairs of this party in the months ahead. [Read more…]

John Howard’s Second Anniversary Speech To NSW Liberals

This is the text of Prime Minister John Howard’s second anniversary speech to the NSW Division of the Liberal Party.

The Liberal-Nationals coalition defeated the Keating Labor government on March 2, 1996. The Howard ministry was sworn into office on March 11, 1996.

In his speech, Howard spoke at length about his approach to industrial relations.

Text of John Howard’s address to the NSW Division of the Liberal Party.

John HowardThank you very much Wil. To Michael Osborne, the President of the New South Wales Division of the Liberal Party, to my Federal Ministerial colleagues of which there are a number here tonight; Richard Alston, John Moore, Judi Moylan, Bronwyn Bishop, John Herron – I don’t think I have missed any of the Ministers. If I have, put your hand up. To my Federal Parliamentary colleagues other than Ministers, to Peter Collins and other state parliamentarians, Ian Armstrong, the Leader of the National Party in New South Wales, ladies and gentlemen. [Read more…]