Pell voices wages concerns

Cardinal George Pell of Sydney has warned the Prime Minister to exercise caution when using his new powers in the Senate.

Australian Associated Press reports that that as John Howard's coalition government on Friday became the first in 24 years to control both chambers of Parliament, Cardinal Pell commented: "I think there's an even greater need for wisdom and magnanimity from the prime minister."

He said that considerable unease about the Government's industrial relations policy makes it necessary for wide consultationd. His major concern was that minimum wages would be pushed lower in real terms.

"The disparity between rich and poor is of some concern, but it is different if the minimum wage is still rising," Cardinal Pell said.

More reassurance and information was needed, he said.

Opposition industrial affairs spokesman Stephen Smith welcomed Cardinal Pell's intervention, after concerns expressed by the National Council of Churches (NCC) and other clerical figures.

"I think it's significant, following on, as it does, from the NCC intervention last week," Mr Smith told AAP.

Pell voices wages concerns (Daily Telegraph 2/7/05)
Pell comments reflect wider IR concerns: Labor (Sydney Morning Herald 2/7/05)

Canberra bishop speaks out on job insecurity fears (CathNews 1/7/04)
Church leaders worried about Howard IR changes (CathNews 29/6/05)
Bishop hits back at Minister's claims on IR reforms 1/6/05)
Catholic body seeks meeting with Minister over workplace laws (CathNews 30/5/05)

Industrial relations changes require careful consideration (The Southern Cross, July 2005)
Public concerned about IR changes: ALP (The Age 2/7/05)

4 Jul 2005