Friday, June 03, 2005

313 Words of Wisdom

The following letter to the editor appeared in the Australian Financial Review today. It follows the publication of the article that appeared on this blog concerning the near-futility of Mr Howard’s war on unfair dismissal laws. That article can now be accessed at the following location …

At the time of writing, one reader of the Online Opinion article has responded as follows:

“Two things worry me here, first of all in small business it too hard to find good employees and a long and expensive process to train them. Why on earth would a small business dismiss them unfairly? Seems a HUGE amount of red tape is created that succeeds in little but creating loopholes for expensive vexatious claims.

Secondly, I have a great fear of the government when it says it is going to "simplify" things. Our "simplfied" tax system has blown the tax act out to four times the Melbourne phone book. My Business interests now require 20 tax returns per year instead of 4. They must have a different dictionary to me.”

Anyway, this is what I had to say in the AFR …

IR's legal lode

John Howard's industrial relations package reads great on paper. But if only he had sought advice from one of Australia's great industrial counsel (who also happens to be his deputy and treasurer), the PM might have realised that closing off unfair dismissal merely opens more floodgates for common law, unfair contract and trade practices claims against employers.

And if employers and their representatives realised this, they would not be cheering so loudly. But sometimes employer unions represent their members' interests as badly as employee ones can.

Still, whoever wins in this titanic battle for industrial relations supremacy, one thing is for certain - lawyers will always win in the end.

Irfan Yusuf, Sydney Lawyers Pty Ltd, North Ryde, NSW.

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