Bishop urges Govt to tread softly on IR

CLICK HEREBishop Patrick Dougherty of Bathurst (NSW) has warned the Federal Government not to include material in the upcoming industrial relations legislation that will not be in the best interests of Australian workers.

He told the Catholic Weeklythat the Government's approach to matters which will form part of the legislation has triggered "lively discussion, notable concern and increasing agitation" in the community.

"It is clear that this concern and expression of it are not restricted to the unions, whose anger, and perhaps agitation, the Government would have foreseen," he said. The Government's undoubtedly costly efforts to assuage concerns - via, for example, whole-page newspaper advertisements - may be interpreted as a growing realisation that public concern is on a much wider scale than was expected."

The Weekly says some of this concern could be born from the powerful position that the Government now holds in parliament, with a majority in both the House of Representatives and the Senate, and "the potential danger, or temptation, to include material which may not be in the pondered interests of the national family's good".

It says the bishop hit back at what he referred to as "surprise and disappointment" on the part of the Government that Church voices have also expressed concern.

"The proposed legislation cannot be honourably assessed without taking into consideration its potential impact for or against the primacy of human rights and justice - a realm on which Christians and their leaders cannot be, in conscience, uninterested or silent," he said.

"As far as the Catholic Church is concerned, the aim of our comment - so that, in this preparatory stage of the preparation of the legislation's draft text, its contribution may assist towards a clearly just legislation - is not political, but built on the foundations of the Church's mission and its century-long study of workplace conditions in the light of the Gospel."

Over this time the Church has developed a "profound and detailed view of the ideal work-place".

Bishop urges Govt to tread softly on IR (Catholic Weekly 4/9/05)

LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
Catholic Diocese of Bathurst

Minister says full employment is Catholic "first principle" (CathNews 19/8/05)
Remote area voice sees PM 'off target' on IR (CathNews 12/8/05)
Commission answers PM's denial of existence of Catholic position (CathNews 10/8/05)
PM dismisses voice of Church (CathNews 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)

Editorial: Labor Day (America 29/8/05)
Labor Day message sees challenges to living the 'Gospel of work' (Catholic News Service 25/8/05)
Labor Day 2005: Time to Recall the Teaching of Pope John Paul II on Work and Workers (US Conference of Catholic Bishops 25/8/05)
Industrial relations and Church teaching (ABC Radio The Religion Report 17/8/05)
Federal Industrial Relations Reforms (Catholic Education, Archdiocese of Brisbane 15/8/05)
Tony Smith: The parable of the Bees (Online Catholics 17/8/05)

2 Sep 2005