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tales of hope, freedom and prosperity « Previous | |Next »
July 14, 2005

A conference on industrial relations reform, but none of the speeches are online. So what was said?

I have found this op. ed. by Geroge Williams about the constitutional implications and the relevance to federalism. Williams talks about the legal hurdles in establishing a much-needed national industrial relations system without the co-operation of the states.


Presumably the government taxpayer-funded campaign on workplace reform will highlight the economic benefits of a deregulated labour market leading to paradise regained. Will this be similar to the NZ experience? Kenneth Davidson says that the:

"...economic impact of the NZ reforms was plummeting productivity as bosses switched from capital-intensive methods of production to cheaper labour and a growing skills deficit as the incentive for employers to invest in a disposable labour force diminished."

Does that not then that many working poor Australians will be left behind, as the country increasingly pursues wealth creation and prosperity through a self-regulating market, which works to privatize benefits and socialize harms.

Presumably, the St Vincent de Paul Society will have to continue sticking up for those on the margin as those on the drip feed regale us with tales of hope, faith, freedom and prosperity.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 8:54 AM | | Comments (3)


Unitary systems breed inefficient outcomes whose appeal, and failing, is non-competition. I hope the government dictating Industrial Relations from its anti-federalist pedestool fails constitutionally. I would also prefer the States remove the ability for the federal government to tax for them too. But the States are as drunk on federal tax revenues as the Feds are.

As opposed to a top-down, centralizing federalism, it is possible to have a flexible co-operative federalism that is in accord with the common interests of the states and the commonwealth--eg, railway lines, educational qualifications--and respects state differences and diversity.

There is nothing wrong with a federal industrial relation system in a national economy if such a law is achieved in partnership with the states.
It is how it is done and what it is that is the concern.

The Howard government is going to establish a national federal system without the co-operation of the states, even though Victoria has already signed over its laws to the commonwealth.

What is driving the Howard Government on this is a refusal to co-operate or negotiate. It is not interested. That is one consequence of gaining control of the Senate--a grab for power by the Commonwealth.

Gary, Howard having the Senate has only been recent, counted in days; but the political violence by the Federal Government toward the States has been a consistent aspect since Federation. We are now at the point where all the major federal parties, except the Nationals, have policies of dissolving the states and establishing a central political system. The Nationals have been poor speakers for federalism, due to their desire to remain in power with the larger Liberal Party.

It has not been helped that the Westminster system collapses undue power, across different arms of government into the Prime Minister, nor that we have activist judges who believe it is their right to decide on a living and breathing constitution.

That all leads to Australia having a centralised government system, with poor seperation of powers and unitary policy outcomes.

If the States think they can make themselves more competitive in the capital and labor markets by syncing their IR legislation up; then fine that is for the States to decide. It is not for the federal government to make that decision, nor impose their will on the states, through legislation or High Court activism.

The 800lb gorilla in our country is the Federal Government. It needs to be cut back to the bare essentials for national representation.