PM Transcripts

Transcripts from the Prime Ministers of Australia

Transcript 5144


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: 16/09/1979

Release Type: Media Release

Transcript ID: 5144

Qver the past week the leaders of the trade union movement
have shown scant regard for the people they supposedly
represent the working men and women of Australia.
The wages policy adopted by the ACTU Congress in Melbourne
is a recipe for economic disaster. If successful, it would
lead to a massive increase in the numbers of unemployed.
It would push even further into the distance the time when
the unemployed can be offered jobs. It ranks of the utmost
foolishness and utmost selfishness.
Pu t simply, what the ACTU is saying is this: " Employersand
the Government should abide by the decisions of the
Conciliation and Arbitration Commission leaving union.
free to pursue any wage claim they want, over and above
increases awarded by the Commission". This dog-in-the-manger
attitude would make it even harder for employers to
provide jobs.
How could a union movement, supposedly concerned for the
welfare of its members, put forward a plan that would deprive
those very members of the~ r jobs.
Let's look back in the year to March 1975, when wages went
up a staggering 38 per cent in the space of 12 months. ./ 2

One can easily see that if wages go up by that much in
one year, it is going to cause a great deal of. harm to
Australian industry.
The ACTU has caved in to the extremists. It is this
left-wing element which is pushing for huge wage increases
irrespective of the capacity of industry to pay. They
remain blind to the simple fact that there is awell-established
link between wage increases and unemployment. The two are
inseparable. While the leadership may be blind, not so the rank and file;
the people who understand and feel the consequences. Of 800
members of the workforce questioned in a survey in May of
this year, 6 out of 10 agreed that wage increases these
days mean somebody else loses a job.
Two out of three believed that wage increases wouldn't help.
I don't believe that Australia's working men and women are
as uncaring and greedy as to deny a workmate of a job.
I don't believe that the " I'm all right Jack" attitude is
evident to any real extent in Australian society.
It is disturbing that the Labor Party has also caved in to
its more radical elements and come up with a wages policy
that is virtually identical and equally as disastrous as
that of the ACTU's.
Mr. Hayden seems to have forgotten that in February this
year, in one of his more sane economic moments, he observed
that" the unions must accept that the economy cannot bear
unreasonable wage claims". Yet, the Labor Party now has a
policy which, as a principal feature, avoids any reference
to wage restraint in any shape or form.

Transcript 5144