National IR plan unveiled

Business groups have concerns about the Rudd Government’s plan to create a uniform national industrial relations system.

A plan for identical state and federal laws covering most workers to be in place by 2010 is under consideration by the Rudd Government, according to newspaper reports.

Under the plan, federal and state governments would pass identical laws, or states would refer power to the Commonwealth. And changes would have to be negotiated with all governments.

But a constitutional referendum may be required at some stage to allow the federal courts to enforce state laws.

Business is reportedly worried that the plan would fail to create a proper national system because states would still be allowed to decide whether to refer powers to the Commonwealth or mirror Commonwealth laws.

Business groups would prefer all power to lie with the Federal Government – which would most likely require constitutional reform.

Details of the plan are contained in a report by constitutional lawyer George Williams released today.

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