PM dismisses voice of Church

Prime Minister John Howard has challenged the idea that the Church can hold a position on particular social issues, asserting that there's "no such thing as a Catholic or an Anglican view on anything. It depends on individuals".

The Sydney Morning Herald reports that Mr Howard has dismissed the concerns of two of Australia's leading religious leaders that the Government's workplace changes will hurt families.

The Catholic and Anglican Archbishops of Sydney - Cardinal George Pell and Archbishop Peter Jensen - said at the weekend that proposed changes to the industrial relations system could erode minimum wages, cut weekend family time, and restrict collective bargaining.

But Mr Howard said their views do not reflect the opinions of the wider Catholic and Anglican communities.

"I believe that there'll be a range of views inside the ranks of practising Catholics on this issue, and Anglicans, as there are on every other issue," he told ABC TV's Insiders program.

The Government plans to introduce a single national industrial relations system, change the way minimum wages are set and scrap unfair dismissal laws for some businesses. Individual contracts will also be encouraged under the system with fewer minimum standards, prompting fears workers' basic rights will be stripped.

Pell, Jensen don't speak for community: PM (Sydney Morning Herald/Australian Associated Press 8/8/05)

Melbourne Archbishop coordinating IR response (CathNews 3/8/05)
Minister tells churches to stay out of IR fight (CathNews 11/7/05)
Pell voices wages concerns (CathNews 4/7/05)
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)

IR reforms are govt power play: Labor (Seven News/Australian Associated Press 6/8/05)
Church backlash on IR a sign: minister (Townsville Bulletin/Australian Associated Press 7/8/05)
Conference to discuss extending counter-terrorism laws: PM (ABC TV Insiders 7/8/05)
Howard offers award option (Herald-Sun 8/8/05)
Melodies for Maria (Herald-Sun 8/8/05)
Government 'hopelessly out of touch' on IR (Sydney Morning Herald/Australian Associated Press 7/8/05)
IR protest picnic draws thousands (Sydney Morning Herald 8/8/05)
Labor hope IR will deliver 2007 win (Sunday Mail/Australian Associated Press 7/8/05)
Job reforms 'bigger worry' than terror raid (The Advertiser 8/8/05)
Howard's long service leave axe still high (The Age 8/8/05)
Unions plan national day of protest (The Age 8/8/05)
Kevin Rudd: PM fails in IR moral crusade (The Australian 8/8/05)
Howard rejects church leaders' IR claims (The Courier Mail 8/8/05)
Labor hope IR will deliver 2007 win (Sunday Mail/Australian Associated Press 7/8/05)
Community rallies against industrial relation changes (Ballarat Courier 31/7/05)

8 Aug 2005