A Statement from Archbishop Peter Jensen on Industrial Relations reform

Margaret Rodgers

The matter of proposed changes to workplace relations in our nation can neither be disregarded nor taken lightly. For they affect the lives and income of a major section of the community, both individuals and families.

Good industrial relations rely upon, and certainly create good community relations. These relationships are the primary goal for all. When profit becomes the primary goal, all relationships will suffer.

So while we await the final details of the Federal Government's proposed workplace relations legislation, there are certain matters and principles that ought to be kept in mind and looked for in the legislation. Many can be found in the teaching in God's Word.

Vulnerable workers, or those who have less bargaining power need to be protected from unintended effects of the reforms.

It seems at this point that the proposals shift the differential of power in favour of employers, who can have a propensity to mistreat workers in the interests of the business.

Further increased casualisation of the workforce should be avoided. Casual workers are disadvantaged if there is a greater shift towards 24/7 work schedules because while it increases flexibility for employers it decreases future work certainty for casual employees.

This nation and its political leaders must be committed to ensuring optimum working conditions for the nations' workers; a living wage that will mean everyone has the ability to provide for themselves and their families the necessities of life; strong unions that will represent workers; and the preservation of leisure time for families to be together for rest and recreation and to maintain their relationships.

The erosion of Sunday as a day of rest and a day for worship of God is a matter of concern for Christians, The need for a day of leisure and rest, and for time to spend in family activities must always be a priority for our nation.

Optimal care for families and for the most vulnerable in our society must be absolute priorities for every Government and community.   


Contact: Margaret Rodgers 0411 692 499

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