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Reith challenges Labor approach

SMALL business cannot trust Labor, says Federal Small Business Minister Peter Reith because it had refused to support the Government’s unfair dismissal legislation.

The Government proposes to exempt small businesses from unfair dismissal. It is believed such an exemption could lead to the creation of 50,000 new jobs.

Combined Small Business Associations of WA president Oliver Moon said such legislation would be a boon for small businesses.

However, he is not confident the legislation will be passed.

The Government unsuccessfully attempted to push similar legislation through prior to the 1998 Federal election.

Mr Reith argues the Government’s election win gives it a mandate to pursue the legislation.

The Government is also trying to stamp out union pattern bargaining.

A pattern bargain is an industrial agreement applying to an entire sector rather than an individual business.

Mr Moon said the pattern bargaining agreements in Victoria had been terrifying.

In one case Victorian unions demanded small business’ employees who were not members of a union pay $500 a year to the union representing their sector.

Australian Democrats Work-place Relations spokesman Andrew Murray said the pattern bargaining agreement amendments were unnecessary.

“The Democrats had previously announced they would closely monitor how the Australian Industrial Relations Commission used its existing powers to deal with unjustified industry-wide strikes that may eventuate from industry-wide claims,” Senator Murray said.

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