PM flags review of industrial relations

Prime Minister Scott Morrison. Picture: AAP Image/Mick Tsikas
Prime Minister Scott Morrison. Picture: AAP Image/Mick Tsikas

PRIME Minister Scott Morrison is planning a review of the nation’s industrial relations system that will also examine the role of unions in workplaces, as part of a push to rev up the economy.

The Liberal leader is in Perth on Monday to deliver a speech that will include the announcement that Industrial Relations Minister Christian Porter will lead the review.

“Our job post-election is now very clear – to get Australians off the economic sidelines and on the field again,” he will say, according to a draft of his speech obtained by AAP.

This is the prime minister’s first visit to Western Australia since the coalition’s surprise federal election win on May 18 and his first major economic speech since being returned to office.

He will tell the Chamber of Commerce and Industry WA the government will prioritise its proposed Ensuring Integrity Bill – which will make it easier to deregister unions – when parliament resumes next week.

He will also continue to pressure Labor to back the coalition’s three-stage personal income tax plan in full.

The opposition front bench meets on Monday to consider its approach to the tax cuts plan, which will also be presented to parliament next week.

So far, it’s only prepared to support the first stage of the tax plan aimed at low- and middle-income earners, but not other cuts due in 2022 and 2024.

“It still baffles me why Labor can readily sign up to spending schemes that run for decades, yet cannot do the same to let Australians keep more of their own money,” Mr Morrison will say.

Under the changes from 2024/25, 94 per cent of Australians will pay a marginal tax rate of no more than 30 cents in the dollar, compared to only 16 per cent if stages two and three are not delivered.

“Or to put it another way, almost 80 per cent of hard working Australians will keep more of what they earn following stages 2 and 3 of our tax plan.”

Opposition frontbencher Joel Fitzgibbon says the focus on unions is a distraction.

“The government needs to start showing some initiative, start talking about what it’s going to do about productivity in the economy, rather than spend all of its time putting up these false debates,” he told ABC Radio National.

Mr Morrison will also note the recent call by the governor of the Reserve Bank of Australia, Philip Lowe, for the government to do more to stimulate the economy over the longer term.

The government has already foreshadowed a $100 billion infrastructure investment program that will fund nationally significant transport projects across the states and territories.

The prime minister will also repeat a government promise to cut red tape.

“We must bust regulatory congestion, removing obstacles to business investment,” he will say.

The focus will be on regulation and identifying bureaucratic processes that impose the largest costs on key sectors of the economy.