ACBC Plenary statement calls for revision of IR bill
The Australian Catholic Bishops Conference (ACBC) has called for the Government's proposed industrial relations laws to be rewritten to provide a buffer against "undesirable consequences" on the poor, the vulnerable, families and workers with limited job prospects.
The Sydney Morning Herald reports that, in a statement that ratchets up the pressure on the Nationals senator Barnaby Joyce, the 42 bishops have used their moral imprimatur to warn that the draft laws fail to provide "proper balance between the rights of employers and employees".
"It is not morally acceptable to reduce the scourge of unemployment by allowing wages and conditions of employment to fall below the level that is needed by workers to sustain a decent standard of living," they said.
Their intervention leaves the Government isolated from all mainstream church leaders. Even religious conservatives who have been closely aligned with the Prime Minister, John Howard, on other issues have expressed misgivings publicly.
The bishops' statement came at the end of a three-day meeting in Sydney. The Catholic leaders emerged to condemn the RU-486 abortion pill and warn that access to the drug would erode respect for the value of human life and damage women physically, psychologically and spiritually.
"Given the mixed reports about the dangers of this drug, our community needs the time for the fullest consideration of all the evidence and should not be rushed into legislative change," it says.
The bishops were also cautious about the proposed anti-terrorism laws, saying parties needed to ensure proper parliamentary scrutiny of bills and ensure the rule of law and the "very freedoms that terrorists seek to take from us" were not compromised.
They also defended unions, saying it would be wrong for laws to impede or frustrate their activities.
Bishops call for revision (Sydney Morning Herald 26/11/05)
LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
Catholic Bishops call for changes to workplace legislation (Australian Catholic Bishops Conference 25/11/05)
Your Rights At Work
Commission worried about outworkers under IR rules (CathNews 16/11/05)
Howard repeats dismissal of religious IR concerns (CathNews 10/11/05)
IR reforms to sideline body that Pope admired (CathNews 7/11/05)
Queensland religious join IR resistance (CathNews 19/10/05)
Archbishop warns priests warned not to become pawns (CathNews 14/10/05)
Papal twist in Parliament work debate (CathNews 12/10/05)
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)
Catholic bishops join church's concern over IR changes (ABC Radio AM 26/11/05)
Bishops attack workplace changes (The Australian/Australian Associated Press 25/11/05)
Anglican head calls for IR debate (ABC Radio PM 24/11/05)
Ex-judge cites Church stance on IR reform (Catholic Weekly 27/11/05)
Work and workers' rights - the Church and its voice (Catholic Weekly 27/11/05)
Proposed changes to Australian labor laws bring Catholic opposition (Catholic News Service 18/11/05)
28 Nov 2005