Howard repeats dismissal of religious IR concerns

Prime Minister John Howard told Parliament yesterday that despite condemnation of his industrial relations proposals from the Catholic and Anglican churches, no faith can claim to speak with one view.

CLICK HERE"God is neither a Liberal supporter nor a Labor supporter. People who absurdly suggest otherwise do great injustice to religion," he said in a statement reported in today's Sydney Morning Herald.

"Men and women of good faith will of course reach different conclusions and, I hope, argue them with a degree of integrity," he added. "It does not really serve the purpose of a proper understanding of this legislation or of the attitude of Christian men and women in this country to suggest otherwise."

In August, Mr Howard 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 ABC reports that the Federal Government's industrial relations (IR) legislation is expected to pass the House of Representatives today, with the Government "set to guillotine debate". The legislation is expected to enter the Senate in about a fortnight, where the Government will need the support of the Nationals Senator Barnaby Joyce.

Meanwhile the Australian Young Christian Workers yesterday issued a detailed analysis of the proposed legislation, which concluded that it is an attempt to "put profits before people".

"Those who will suffer most from the WorkChoices system will be the most vulnerable members of the workforce and our society," said the statement that accompanied the analysis. "Those who suffer will be those in weak bargaining positions, those with low skill levels, and those who are forced to choose between bad conditions and total unemployment."

The statement said that young workers "clearly fall into this category and therefore we, as a movement run for young workers by young workers, call on the Government to change the proposals to protect the human needs of all workers around Australia and across the world."

Specifically the Australian YCW is calling on the Federal Government to:

* Meet young people and listen to their real life experiences at work.
* Hold a comprehensive, open and public Senate Inquiry that extensively listens to community concerns about the proposals.
* Ensure that the minimum wage is set as a family living wage rather than a single adult wage.
* Protect security of employment for all workers including access to unfair dismissal laws.
* Ensuring that all workers have a fair and equal bargaining position by protecting the ability of workers to collectively organise through strong and effective trade unions.
* Protect the rights of workers to have appropriate time for rest, leisure and family life by making breaks and holidays non-negotiable.
* Ensure that a culture is promoted where work and the economy are viewed as tools that can achieve the dignity of all people in our society, rather than a culture of people as tools for economic advancement.

IR change 'for our future' (The Australian 10/11/05)
AYCW Industrial Relations Statement (Australian Young Christian Workers 9/11/05)

LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
Young Christian Workers | An Economy for the People or A People for the Economy? Australian Young Christian Workers - Industrial Relations Analysis (9/11/05 - Word)

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)

Govt set to pass IR laws (ABC News 10/11/05)
IR reform: workers at risk of unfair dismissal (Catholic Weekly 13/11/05)
Fr Frank Brennan SJ: Is there a Catholic stance on any law or policy? (Catholic Weekly 2/10/05)
Editorial: Just not fair (Catholic Weekly 13/11/05)
Five-day week extinct: PM (Sydney Morning Herald 10/11/05)

10 Nov 2005