Finance Minister Nick Minchin is the latest senior Coalition figure to promise there will be no further changes to industrial relations laws under any future Howard/Costello government.
Minchin’s backing of current laws represents a backflip on his comment to right-wing think tank The HR Nicholls society last year that there was “much more to do” to reform the IR system.
The comment has since been repeatedly used by Labor as evidence that the Coalition shouldn’t be trusted when it says there will be no further reforms of the IR system.
But it seems industrial relations will barely rate a mention at the formal launch of the Liberal Party’s election campaign in Brisbane later today.
Prime Minister John Howard is reportedly set to announce a plan to help families struggling with housing affordability as the centrepiece of the launch. Other items likely to be announced include additional funding for respite and day care, $5000 grants for teachers to receive more training in dealing with kids with special needs, and a $12 million package to assist high school students in rural areas make the transition to university.
Labor leader Kevin Rudd last night attempted to pre-empt the Liberal campaign launch with $510 million package to provide parents of teenage children with $150 vouchers for an annual dental check-up. The vouchers would be available to all families who receive the Family Tax Benefit A.