It’s time for Bill Shorten to come clean and rule out extreme changes to Australia’s industrial relations laws that would wind the clock back to the strike-torn Whitlam era.
As the ACTU prepares for its triennial conference, we’re beginning to get a clear picture of the job-destroying demands unions expect Labor to deliver.
They include a return to industry-wide bargaining, removing secret ballots before strike action and expanding unfair dismissal laws to tie up small and family businesses.
This would cripple the economy and take Australia backwards to a level of confrontation and chaos not seen since the 1970s – when the rate of industrial action was more than 40 times higher than today.
Labor leaders including Hawke, Keating, Rudd and Gillard have rejected such extreme union demands, but Bill Shorten is the puppet of the most militant lawbreaking unions and doesn’t have the ticker to stand up to them.
He’s already promised to abolish the Australian Building and Construction Commission and re-introduce laws to force non-unionised family operators in the road transport industry out of business. This would devastate the transport and construction sectors, push up everyday costs and shrink family budgets.
Adding to those costs is the fact that Bill Shorten has guaranteed to increase taxes on small and medium businesses. This is not the big end of town. Around 940,000 businesses with a turnover under $50 million will have their tax rate increased from 25 per cent to 27.5 per cent under Labor. This threatens the viability of the small and family businesses that are powering the economy and providing jobs to nearly five million Australians.
The record run of growth and job creation Australians have enjoyed under a Turnbull Coalition Government would come to a screaming halt if Labor is given the chance to let militant unions dictate how the country is run.