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Call For Labour To Enter Australian IR Debate

Sunday 17 July 2005

Call For Labour To Enter Australian IR Debate

“The Government must enter the debate in Australia in support of the Labour movement there as John Howard’s right wing Government brings in legislation to attack wage levels in Australia,” said Paul Piesse, co-leader of the Alliance party today. This is because Howard’s legislation must in turn affect New Zealand conditions.”

Mr Piesse was commenting on the impact of recent Australian Council of Trade Union (ACTU) rallies and advertisements against John Howard using his majority in both Houses of Parliament from 1 July, and the $20m advertising response from the Australian Government.

“The ACTU ads had such an effect that John Howard’s poll ratings slipped beyond anything that had occurred since he took office. His current advertising campaign is claiming that the ACTU is wrong and that his Industrial Relations changes will be better for business and workers.”

“The New Zealand Government is ideally placed to provide figures that show that cuts to overtime, penal rates, redundancy payments, and a liveable minimum wage were made after the 1991 Employment Contracts Act,” said Paul Piesse. “This will demonstrate to Australians whose advertisements are correct.”

“The New Zealand minimum wage of just A$345 per week versus the Australian minimum wage of A$484.40, is a result of the effects of the Employment Contracts Act The fact is that pay rates in New Zealand are 30% lower than in Australia having started from a similar base 20 years ago,” said Paul Piesse.

“The Alliance want the Government to put factual information about the ‘New Zealand disease’ in front of the Australian public,” said Paul Piesse. “Just as they are taking a strong stand against Zimbabwe so should they against the IR reforms in Australia.”

ENDS

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