One thing you’d have to give the government is they’re very clear eyed about the prospect all this IR reform chat will go nowhere.
Attorney general Christian Porter told Radio National if you don’t swing at the ball you can’t hit a boundary.
On Channel Nine’s Today program, Scott Morrison responded to the Darryl Kerrigan suggestion (tell him he’s dreaming) thus:
Well look, perhaps I am. Perhaps I am. But you have got to in this circumstance. Because the country is up against a massive challenge. If that dream involves people might work together in workplaces to create jobs and secure better incomes for people into the future and we come out of this crisis as strong as I believe we can, then that is a dream worth having.”
Morrison also implicitly told the unions they were dreaming by trying to bring political debates about extending unemployment benefits (jobseeker) and wage subsidies (jobkeeper) into the IR reform process.
Well, that is not part of the discussions. What they are talking about is five key areas. I will be really quick to explain them. The whole issue of casuals and full- time work. The awards, which is what most people working in small and medium-sized pren diswork offment the enterprise bargaining system, ensuring people get paid properly and compliance. Those investments on new sites that they can go ahead. They are the five areas they are working on. That’s where I have asked them to come together. The government will be considering those other broader issues as we go to the Budget later this year and of course in the months ahead. Now we want to focus on what is happening in the workplace itself and how we could make those businesses work better so they can create more jobs and people can have greater certainty of employment in their conditions.”
PM can’t gurantee no worker won’t be worse off under proposed IR reforms
Perhaps the highlight of Scott Morrison’s round of interviews was the exchange with the ABC AM’s Sabra Lane about whether he would guarantee workers would be no worse off after this IR process.
We’re getting workers and employers together, their representatives, we’re getting them together in a room to work out how to get their enterprises and workers in a stronger position …
This is a process that will flow through – we’re getting people together to agree, to work together, so we’re looking to people agreeing to what goes forward … This is a process that wants to see workers better off, this is a process that wants to see employers better off, businesses better off. But most importantly this is about more jobs.”
Wants to see – but no guarantee. When Lane noted it was a simple yes or no, Morrison replied:
The problem with that position – and this has been the problem with the industrial relations debate for all time is it quickly descends into these sorts of issues and we need to get past all that, past the point it has turned into black and white discussions … We can’t have those old debates any more, and it’s the same for where the coverage of these issues comes from – that only gets in the way of people getting jobs.”
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