Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | News Video | Crime | Employers | Housing | Immigration | Legal | Local Govt. | Maori | Welfare | Unions | Youth | Search


Maxim Institute real issues - 13 October 2005

Maxim Institute real issues - 13 October 2005


* One employment system for all
* Co-operating for Justice
* Taking order seriously

One employment system for all

The contrast between big government and small government was highlighted this week in Australia, when Prime Minister John Howard announced the Federal Government's plans to reform Australia's workplace relations system. Called "WorkChoices – A New Workplace Relations System", the framework aims to decentralise and simplify Australia's industrial relations system.

WorkChoices has three major elements, including: the introduction of a national workplace relations system for the first time; the simplification of the agreement- making process; and a better balancing of unfair dismissal laws. There are currently 6 different workplace relations systems in Australia, as well as 130 different industrial relations laws and 4000 collective awards. A new and independent Australian Fair Pay Commission will be established to deal with such matters as minimum award wages.

The system whereby the Australian Industrial Relations Commission (AIRC) must be involved in every collective agreement, even when employers and employees are in complete agreement, will come to an end. Both collective and individual Australian Workplace Agreements will take effect from the date they are lodged rather than the date of certification or approval. Nonetheless, employees will not be prevented from belonging to a union if they wish.

By introducing these reforms, the Federal Government has taken a step toward ensuring that workplace relations are underpinned by the principles of choice and flexibility. This means that state regulation is being used constructively to protect workers conditions by setting standards, rather than entangling businesses in red tape. It may also mean the relationship between employers and employees will be less adversarial and more co-operative, as WorkChoices will give them the opportunity to negotiate fair workplace agreements without interference from the state. Consequently, the WorkChoices scheme is an example of the positive effect of limited state intervention to foster individual freedom, which is also a building block for a prosperous society.

To download a copy of the Australian Federal Government's WorkChoices booklet that explains the scheme, please visit:

  • Work Choices
  • Co-operating for Justice

    There seems to be an increasing trend of disregard for the consequences of breaking the law. This week the first of the 'Bali Nine' charged with heroin smuggling have gone on trial. The Australian police are facing criticism for co-operating with the investigation. Similarly with the case of Australian Schapelle Corby, much of the Australian public called for the Australian government to do more to protect her.

    While there may be an issue of punishment being proportional to the crime, at the same time, all nine must have been aware of the severity with which drug offences are treated in Bali. The consequences were clear before the individuals chose to engage in the act. Bali has tough sentences for offences involving illegal drugs, and it is possible that if found guilty the nine could face the death penalty. Australia does not have the death penalty and this has seen calls for the Australian police to abstain from co-operation. In reply, the Australian police have noted that they frequently rely on foreign co-operation to help their investigations.

    With the use of drugs becoming an increasing problem in many Western nations, it seems somewhat surprising to hear such an outcry of sympathy. If the outcry were over the issue of a fair trial, or specifically about the suitability of the sentence compared to the crime, it would be a little more understandable. In fact, the outcry seems to be a reflection of the abandonment in the West of the concept of personal responsibility; the understanding that people's actions have consequences that must be faced. Asking the government to protect even those who have chosen to commit illegal actions is one more step along the path of undermining this concept.

    Taking order seriously

    Standards, manners, good order and evidence in a courtroom; is there a relationship? There certainly appears to be. The Principal Judge of the Family Court, Peter Boshier is insisting on more formality and respect in the family court. Simple things like asking lawyers to stand, not sit, when they address judges will become common practice. There will be a return to judges wearing gowns, he hopes.

    Certainly the family court is different from other courts, but good order remains critical. Mediation should not undermine authority. Boundaries should be clearly defined without threatening a useful degree of informality.

    All this is common sense, but Judge Boshier's concerns are not peculiar to the family court. The identification of informality with compassion and formality and manners with uncharitable authority is a confusion that helps no-one. In a family court, deep-seated respect for authority remains critical for no less reason than its role in protecting children. More just outcomes are likely to follow. Judge Boshier is doing all of us a good turn by insisting on more formality, clearer standards for evidence and good all-round respect.

    To read Judge Boshier's speech, please visit:

  • Justice Boshier's Speech
  • THOUGHT FOR THE WEEK - Benjamin Disraeli (1804-1881) Sir, I say that justice is truth in action.


    © Scoop Media

    Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

    Covid-19: Auckland Back To Alert Level Three After One New Community Case Revealed

    Auckland will move to alert level three for a week at 6am tomorrow morning after two new Covid-19 community cases announced this evening could not be directly linked to earlier cases, the Prime Minister has confirmed.
    The rest of the country will move to level two.... More>>

    Gordon Campbell: On The Rivals For The Covid Saliva Testing Dollar

    If you want a good insight into what the limits of tiny, barely discernible steps to reduce poverty actually look like, delve into the latest Statistics Department figures on poverty in New Zealand Most of the nine measures utilised reveal little or no progress in combatting poverty over the 21 months to March 2020... More>>


    Government: Main Benefits To Increase In Line With Wages

    All measures of child poverty were trending downwards, prior to the COVID-19 lockdown, across the two years since year ended June 2018, Stats NZ said today. The COVID-19 lockdown in late March 2020 affected Stats NZ’s ability to collect data from households ... More>>

    Government: Reserve Bank To Take Account Of Housing In Decision Making

    The Reserve Bank is now required to consider the impact on housing when making monetary and financial policy decisions, Grant Robertson announced today. Changes have been made to the Bank’s Monetary Policy Committee’s remit requiring it to take into ... More>>


    RNZ: Alert Levels Remain

    There are no new community cases of Covid-19 today, the Ministry of Health has confirmed.
    Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins says at least half of the Papatoetoe High School community have been tested and the results that have come through so far have all been negative... More>>


    NZ Initiative: New Report Highlights How Our Housing Crisis Could Worsen If We Don’t Act Now

    If New Zealand politicians thought the housing crisis in 2020 was bad, the worst is yet to come, warns a new report by The New Zealand Initiative. In The Need to Build: The demographic drivers of housing demand , Research Assistant Leonard Hong ... More>>

    Parliament: Kiwi MPs Among The “Most Educated In The World”

    New analysis of MP qualifications reveals New Zealand’s Parliament is one of the most educated and highest qualified in the world, and significantly more educated than Australia’s. The research, by Mark Blackham of BlacklandPR and Geoffrey Miller ... More>>

    The Dig: An Illogical Ideological Struggle

    Dig beneath all the trade wars and the arguments to the effect that the USA should not permit China to achieve economic and technological superiority, or even parity, and you find the real reason behind the conflict... More>>

    Travel: Government Eases Visa Restrictions For Visitors In New Zealand

    Visitor visa holders will be able to stay in New Zealand a little longer as the Government eases restrictions for those still here, the Minister of Immigration has announced. More>>




    InfoPages News Channels