An industrial relations dream

Finally someone is talking sense regarding the Australian federal government’s industrial relations reform agenda.
Tom Skotnicki [subscription required], writing in this week’s Business Review Weekly [Australia] makes the point that Federal Opposition Leader Kim Beazley might get a morale boost from his rousing speeches at the recent trade union protest rallies but it is likely to be personally counter productive to both him personally and his cause in forcing some changes to the government’s proposals.
Beazley is preaching to the converted and might just regain some eroded support from “Howard’s Battlers.” Skotnicki doesn’t accept it but Beazley needed to be there.
However, Big Kim’s address was largely symbolic. What he really needs to do, according to Skotnicki, is work the wavering government senators such as newly elected maverick National Party member Barnaby Joyce and get his message out to business groups.
Skotnicki argues that coming face to face with these employer groups would give Beazley the chance to demonstrate real courage and possibly also get his message across – ie “the changes are in his view unnecessary and will most benefit bad employers.”
Hear! Hear Tom!
It is just possible this is where real ground can be made in this debate and this is where the debate needs to be had. Employer groups are fair and square behind these changes. Anyone who has been in the place of an employer knows that we need to modernise our industrial relations system.
Equally, anyone who has worked in a union knows that workers need protection from bad employers.
Maybe, just maybe there is a leader somewhere out there who has the wherewithall to bring these two groups together.
Kim, have you got the ticker for it?

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