Brad Norington at The Australian writes:

In a letter to business groups, Labor deputy leader Julia Gillard has confirmed the party would give its proposed new workplace umpire the power to impose wage settlements when strikes caused employers “significant harm”…The original policy said a process to resolve disputes was needed when “bargaining participants” were harmed, but did not spell out the process. It said wage settlements could be imposed only when there was “significant harm to the wider economy or the safety or welfare of the community”. But in an emailed letter sent to business groups on Tuesday, Ms Gillard has added harm to “bargaining participants” as one of the reasons for Labor’s new Fair Work Australia tribunal to intervene and arbitrate. Ms Gillard’s amendment follows a policy U-turn this week in which she vowed Labor would ban compulsory bargaining fees for non-unionists to get pay rises negotiated by unions.

Gillard says, via The SMH:

Labor deputy leader Julia Gillard has angrily rejected reports she is planning further reworking of her party’s industrial relations policies. Ms Gillard labelled as “spectacularly inaccurate” [The Australian’s story] which said Ms Gillard had written to business groups to say her party would give its proposed new workplace umpire the power to impose wage settlements when strikes caused employers long-term harm. “This report is completely inaccurate and untrue,” Ms Gillard said … “There is no part of Labor’s policy which deals with wage settlements, that term is not used… I have never used that term, I have never corresponded with business using that term … this is a term that the newspaper is using and pretending it’s in Labor’s policy, it is not,” she said.