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The letters Ed of The Australian kindly agreed to squeeze a version of my letter under a heading that is inconsistent with my intent viz, the Coalition policy is not sensible. True, it has succeeded in minimising political controversy (and in making Minister Shorten and ACTU Secretary Kearney look more foolish than usual in their mistaken critique of individual flexibility agreements, which Gillard stated  in 2009 are “not individual statutory agreements”).

My critique of the policy is summarised in the fuller version of the letter below. Perhaps the only addition that might be made here is that comments by business and media experts continually fail to make the point that there is no intrinsic imbalance of bargaining power between employers and workers.

Des Moore


Coalitionís workplace policy reflects a sensible line
(Letter published in The Australian, 11-12 May 2013.)
[Square bracketed bits deleted by Ed]

It  is difficult to understand the thinking behind the Coalition’s policy on workplace relations (“Abbott IR plan to restrict union right of entry”, 10/5). Since the [ridiculously named] Fair Work regulatory legislation started, unions have been able to increase their influence and power to the detriment [not only] of employers [but the majority] of workers.

[Although contributing to] Despite the deteriorating [polling] position of the government, Julia Gillard has continually demonstrated an inability to move away from her long-standing ties with the union movement, as have most of her ex-unionist ministerial colleagues. Accompanying this has been a marked slowing in employment growth and poor productivity.

One would have thought this provided an ideal opportunity for proposing fundamental reform across the board. No Productivity Commission report is needed. [OK, the Coalition is scared of letting individuals conclude employment agreements with employers. But why not regulate just that and get rid of the rest of the burdensome arrangements that will prevent the achievement of the Coalition’s stated employment growth targets and will inhibit productivity growth?]

Des Moore
South Yarra, Vic

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