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Game over for workplace relations 'political football': lawyer

Game over for workplace relations 'political football': lawyer

One of the country's top workplace relations lawyers has spoken out about the game of "political football" being played in with Australia's workplace relations system.

ONE of the country’s top workplace relations lawyers has spoken out about the game of “political football” being played in with Australia’s workplace relations system.

The President of the Australian Institute of Employment Rights (AIER), and Harmers Workplace Lawyers managing partner, Michael Harmer, has today called on all sides of politics to stop playing “political football” with the Australian workplace relations system ahead of the pending Federal election.

Harmer said Australian employers and employees face another major shift in the workplace relations system should there be a change in government.

Speaking at the 2010 Annual Conference of the Industrial Relations Society of NSW today, Harmer said: “Australian employers, employees and their representatives have spent massive sums in the last decade constantly adapting to changes in the workplace relations system.

“We need to stabilise our system, and focus more on improving the quality of the players within it, and the workplace culture they generate, if Australia is to achieve genuinely safe, productive and harmonious workplaces.

“Australia has many major advantages as a country in world competitiveness. We fail however to reach international benchmark standards in business leadership and workplace culture.”

Harmer says the country needs to invest more in cultural change, including increasing workplace flexibility, and reducing the levels of sex discrimination, harassment and bullying, “rather than in chasing a system kicked from one end of the political spectrum to the next”.

Harmer called on the Federal Government to convene a roundtable on workplace relations with a view to increasing consensus on a stable long-term mooring for the system.

Harmer’s address to the 2010 Annual Conference of the Industrial Relations Society of NSW came after addresses from federal Attorney General Robert McClelland, Federal Shadow Minister for Employment and Industrial Relations, Senator Eric Abetz, NSW Minister for Industrial Relations, John Robertson, and NSW shadow Minister for Industrial Relations, Greg Pearce.


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