front pages are dominated by the prime minister’s return to work to
personally take up fight for his workplace changes – “facing demands to
produce evidence they will deliver more jobs and better pay,” as the Sydney Morning Herald puts it. The PM has appeared on AM with his latest version of “trust me,” pointing to the doomsaying that preceded the introduction of the GST.

All of which makes an interesting rumour even more intriguing.

understands that Howard’s key behind-the-scenes adviser Grahame Morris
expressed major reservations about the industrial relations reform
package while it was in its planning stage. We hear that Howard
initally followed his svengali’s advice, and only intended to introduce
a watered-down version of what eventually materialised.

But then, so the story goes, he was prevailed upon by none other than
his deputy, Peter Costello, who along with Workplace Relations minister
Kevin Andrews argued and convinced the PM to go with the hardline
approach to IR reform. Now it’s the PM who’s copping the flack.

The plot thickens.

Peter Fray

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Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey