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Rudd and Gillard overdone to industrial relations to be both efficient and fair

Comments on Corin McCarthy “Kev07's scab flick politics”, 3/07/2009, http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,25197,25724259-5015664,00.html

It is always easy to attack the deficiencies of known policies and propose an alternative with unknown effects if that alternative can be dressed up as better. That is normally opposition does.

Howard did that before the 1996 election. Rudd did that in the 2007 election. They were both successful, because the public were bored with the incumbent and were looking for alternatives.

In terms of work place relations, the Rudd government had a mandate to reform the Howard unfair system. Howard just went too far. It might have been good for efficiency, but it lost the society’s value of fairness. Efficiency and fairness or equity are the two fundamental issues of the economy. They need to be balanced.

However, Rudd and Gillard do seem to have gone too far in correcting the unfairness of the Howard industrial relations system. There needs to be a place for unions. But there is also a place for individual agreements. In fact, it seems more attractive to have a dual system in the work place, so employees can choose from them, if firms are big enough.

The phasing out in a period of individual agreements can minimise the impact of Rudd / Gillard reforms, although it will not remove all the negative effects on employment as well as productivity.

It seems that the Rudd Labour government cannot see the damages of its overdone reforms to the economy and the society or will not admit them. That is a regrettable and bad for Australians. The earlier the government realise that, and the earlier it take measures to remedy them, the better it is for the economy and for Australians as a whole.

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