The Minister for Workplace Relations, Kevin Andrews is deliberately deceptive in his recent press release regarding changes to industrial relations in Australia. He claims that Workchoices is;
“designed to ensure that Australia’s productivity continues to grow. The Productivity Commission said in a recent report that if we continue this sort of reform in Australia then it can lead to an increase in household income of up to $22,000 dollars for Australians.�?
This is blatantly misleading.
First, the Productivity Commission has not done any research on the Workchoices legislation.
Second, the increase in income that Mr. Andrews refers to is from the Commission’s Review of National Competition Policy Reforms, a report focussing on infrastructure reform. The number is an estimate of what Australia’s household income could be if Australian labour productivity levels were the same as those in the US. The report doesn’t say that labour market reform would achieve this.
Indeed, the Commission says that;
“[r]eform is important in other key areas, including industrial relations and taxation but there would be little pay-off from new nationally coordinated initiatives�?.
It is apparent that the Howard government is merely continuing the Workchoices spin campaign. Perhaps it is time to do some actual research on this?