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This morning’s media suggests that the review of the FWA will be announced before Christmas. The new Minister, Shorten, is reported as saying he will take a “middle of the road” approach while former ACTU Secretary, Combet, has poked his nose in saying Labor would maintain its commitment to collective bargaining. By contrast, the PM told the week-end papers that the present scheme is based on enterprise bargaining (which it isn’t of course).

Meantime, Latham (whose important analysis is the subject of my letter below), is reported today as having attacked Combet’s $10 billion Clean Energy Finance Corporation as likely to be a slush fund that will “end up being the greatest waste of money in the history of the commonwealth”. More power to Latham!

Des Moore

Labor’s IR limitations
letter published in The Australian Financial Review, 19 December 2011

Mark Latham has identified the effective take-over of the Labor party by a few union officials who have no real connection with the dwindling party members (“Labor: running on empty”, Opinion 15 December). Labor’s almost total dependence on trade union officials has significant implications.

It suggests that the government is unable to change the extraordinary union bias in the Fair Work Australia legislation and reflected in decisions by the administrative tribunal against which there is very limited scope to appeal. This despite the development of what now seems close to a crisis situation in workplace relations.

And this means we are close to the situation recommended in the Hancock Committee report in 1985 that trade unions effectively be treated as above the law.

Moreover, while the then Labor Government rejected the Hancock recommendation and proceeded shortly after to start reducing the regulation of industrial relations, today there appear to be no leaders likely to follow that course.

Yet if the current situation continues, not only will Australia suffer but so too will the Labor Party and political government in Australia

Des Moore
Institute for Private Enterprise
South Yarra Vic

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