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Transcripts from the Prime Ministers of Australia

Transcript 5635

WAGE DETERMINATION AND INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS STATEMENT FROM THE PREMIERS' CONFERENCE

Photo of Fraser, Malcolm

Fraser, Malcolm

Period of Service: 11/11/1975 to 11/03/1983

More information about Fraser, Malcolm on The National Archive website.

Release Date: 13/08/1981

Release Type: Media Release

Transcript ID: 5635

> 51> 1ST RA IA&
PREME MENISTER.
FOR MEDIA-:. THURSDAY, 13 AUGUST 1981
WAGE DETERMINATIO N AND INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS
STATEMENT FROM THE PREMIERS' 1 CONFERENCE
The Premiers' Conference meeting in Canberra today expressed
strong support for Australia's established system of wage
fixation involving Commonwealth-and State tribunals.
It was the responsibility of all Governments and all parties
involved to make the system work.
The Commonwealth and State tribunals provide an avenue through
which wage and other claims can be appropriately processed and
in which due-regard is given -to equity and fairness and by which
protection is provided to the lowest paid workers.
There is a system in place already. It will work if it is
allowed to and if it is supported by all parties. Until such
time as a national wage case is concluded, an industry claim
needs to be brought forward quickly to enable principles to be.
determined following the abandonment of waqe indexation.
The Conference asked the ACTU and the CAI to consult about the
orderly handling of claims to come before the Conciliation and
Arbitration Commission. In doing this they should have regard
to the need to resolve some of the sharper pressures presently
in the system, notably the need to establish conditions that
would contribute to maintenance of living standards while
ensuring the interests of the less industrially strong were
appropriately safe-guarded.
The Commonwealth informed the conference that the CAI had
expressed the view yesterday that the Metal Industry Award
could be broughtforward speedily for listing and hearing before
the Commission. This could clarify principles on * which indus~ try
cases would be based. It would also be a clear demonstration
that the current system is working and can contribute to an
orderly and equitable resolution of disputes.
The Governments committed themselves to seeking common principles
so that there can be orderly processing of claims and consistency
of treatment in both Commonwealth and State tribunals. They
agreed that they would ask the presidents of their various
tribunals to meet as-soon as possible in order to assist in -this
process.

r They also committed themselves to working for the establishment
of agreed principles which can be put to a national wage case.
All Governments have asked their Ministers for Labour to meE~ t
in an endeavour to resolve this matter.
It was also agreed that there was an urgent need to establish
machinery to resolve demarcation disputes more effectively
and expeditiously.
The Premiers'-Conference indicated that the major parties,
the employers and the trade unions, must accept significant
responsibility for the orderly settlement of disputes within
the f ramdwork established by Governments and called upon the
parties to contribute to achieving that end.
Governments recognise that they all have obligationd to see
that the benefits of economic growth are distributed throughout
the Australian community and that the large and powerful, be
they corporate or union, should not be in a position to gain]
unfair or-unreasonable advantage. They also recognise that
ther,-e are limits to the growth of wages possible in any one
year. Claims for wage increases need to be balanced against
other calls on resources such as those from welfare
beneficiaries and the need for investment funds by businesses.
All Governments supported the concept of a wide-ranging
national enquiry into wage determination and industrial relations,
but recognised that this was a longer-term exercise. It did not
detract from the need for all parties to work to ensure the
present system operated effectively and equitably.
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Transcript 5635