The PM and Minister Andrews
continue to do the talkback and TV circuit selling their IR reforms
package (Kerry O’Brien officially off the PM’s Christmas Card list
after last night’s 7:30 Report interview).

In the
run-up to the 1996 election, party polling showed that – regardless of
the message – interest in whatever either then-PM Keating or
then-Opposition Leader Howard were saying dropped through the floor
whenever the term “Industrial Relations” was mentioned.

solution: Howard framed his discussions in terms of “Workplace
Relations” and there was nothing like the poor response, whereas
Keating kept on using IR and his message was lost.

So what’s
the spin behind reverting back to the old term? After all Kevin Andrews
is Minister for Workplace Relations, not IR. Perhaps expecting this to
be a tough slog, they want to keep their happy new term unsullied for a

Meanwhile, we have it on good authority that the State
Governments are privately not as unhappy as their public statements
would suggest with the new IR laws, which will allow them to “reform”
the public service.

Read the full article here.

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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