Policy on Workplace Relations
A State Government has control over industrial relations, and so does the Australian Government. If the Australian Government is hostile to workers, the State Government can help out workers, and if the State Government is hostile to workers, the Australian Government can help out workers. The Mainstream Party is a party of the workers. Whether we are elected as a State Government or as an Australian Government, we will look after the workers.
The Labor Party was a party of the workers until about 2000, but not any more. Recently, a minister in the Gillard Labor Government, who is a former trade unionist, said that wages in the mining industry were too high. He said that unions were making the Australian mining industry uncompetitive. Our party on the other hand wants Australians to have very high wages. The Liberal Party wants employees to be constantly in fear of losing their jobs, so they will be deferential to executives, like the peasants in the Middle Ages. The Liberal Party just doesn’t get the idea of an egalitarian society.
If the Mainstream Party is elected, we will set up a Pay Board to arbitrate workplace disputes and set the rate of pay for employees, managers, independent contractors, company directors, students, and volunteers. There will be a forty hour working week. People who work over forty hours a week during the week will be paid at 1½ times their usual pay rate. People who work on Saturdays will also be paid 1½ times their usual pay rate. People who work on Sundays or public holidays will be paid double their usual pay rate. If Qantas Managing Director Alan Joyce wants to be paid more than $500,000 a year, he will have to work on the weekend.
At the moment, Catholic human resources officers in large companies are discriminating in favour of Catholics. We will introduce quotas of people who an employer has to employ. There will be a minimum proportion of mainstream people that need to be employed. There will be a similar quota for Aborigines. There will be a quota for men. There will be quotas for people in their teens, in their twenties, thirties, forties, fifties, sixties and seventies. There will be a quota for people who have not worked for over two years and for people who have not worked for over ten years. If you are over sixty, this will mean you will have a much better chance of getting a job.
Maternity leave will be unpaid. Employees who are dismissed will get one day of pay for every month they have been employed. A small business will not be able to dismiss more than one employee a month. Employees who are dismissed will not be able to bring unfair dismissal cases. Unfair dismissal is only seen as a problem because one-third of the labour force do not have a job.
Trade unions are on the whole beneficial, but trade unionists are mainly Catholics. We will expect trade unions to recruit Protestant shop stewards and organisers. Trade unions that do this will be rewarded with compulsory membership status. If a trade union makes too much of a nuisance of itself, we will organise a rival trade union and give it compulsory membership status.