Papal twist in Parliament work debate

Catholic Social Teaching was invoked by both sides of politics in Federal Parliament yesterday, with Papal quotes flying across the dispatch boxes.

CLICK HEREThe Age, described "devout Catholic" Labor backbencher John Murphy as quoting the late Pope John Paul II as saying Australia's industrial relations system had "helped to defend the rights of workers and promote their wellbeing while at the same time taking into account the needs and future of the whole community".

But Prime Minister John Howard later hit back with his own paraphrasing of Pope John Paul II after some advice from the Catholics on his front bench.

"The late Pope John Paul II, writing in Laborem Exercens in 1981, said, 'The primary responsibility of government is to create the conditions under which everyone who wants a job can get one'," he said.

Stung by criticism from several top church leaders, Mr Howard said he agreed with them that relationships were more important than money.

"(But) greater flexibility will provide greater opportunity to balance work and family responsibilities," he said.

Family First senator Steve Fielding railed about the lack of penalty rate guarantees, despite assurances from the Prime Minister last month.

"Australian workers have been conned by the Prime Minister," he said.

But business leader Peter Hendy, from the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, slammed church leaders who have been critical of the changes.

After Sydney's Anglican archbishop, the Uniting Church president and the Catholic Church's employment relations commission all expressed concerns about the impact of the changes on family life, Mr Hendy said the churches were ignoring the direct correlation between poverty and unemployment.

Papal twist in work debate (The Age 12/10/05)

LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
Laborem Exercens

Govt IR detail fails to ease Commission's concern (CathNews 11/10/05)
Church body open to national industrial relations system (CathNews 12/9/05)
Church body slams IR policy proposals (CathNews 9/9/05)
Bishop urges Govt to tread softly on IR (CathNews 2/9/05)
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)

PM rejects attacks on IR changes (Seven News/Australian Associated Press 11/10/05)
Govt defends IR changes (ABC TV 7:30 Report 11/10/05)
Churches concerned about IR changes (ABC Radio AM 11/10/05)
Churches' IR concerns unfounded: Andrews (ABC News 11/10/05)
Howard defends IR policy after criticism from church groups (ABC Radio PM 11/10/05)
John Ryan (Radio National Breakfast 11/10/05)
Debate intensifies over social impact of IR changes (ABC Radio The World Today 11/10/05)
Editorial: A time for meddling prelates (Sydney Morning Herald 12/10/05)
PM has conned workers: Family First MP (The Age 12/10/05)
PM denies IR hurts families (The Australian 12/10/05)
IR changes worries Catholic Church (The Courier-Mail/Australian Associated Press 11/10/05)

12 Oct 2005