Workplace reform still bogeyman

SADLY unions and Labor politicians continue to use workplace reform as a scare campaign, while states like Tasmania are bleeding jobs every day.

A myriad of factors may affect employment in a region, but a salient factor is always our uncompetitiveness.

Labor and the Greens, for instance, have invested heavily in reducing our reliance on heavy industry in favour of ecofriendly tourism developments.

The same people refuse to debate the cost of production in the tourism industry, such as penalty rates.

The only discussion they will tolerate is a scare campaign featuring Eric Abetz, who doesn't help with his clumsy attempts to skirt around workplace reform.

Perhaps it goes back to the Howard government's arrogance with WorkChoices, and kicking all those Howard battlers in the teeth as some kind of black comedy reward for their support over 11 years.

John Howard later admitted that his big mistake with WorkChoices was to leave out an income safety net.

He eventually included it, but by that time the ACTU WorkChoices campaign in 2006-07 had taken off.

Unions remember the Groom government's shock changes to Tasmania's industrial laws in 1992 after winning an election with not a peep about industrial relations.

Prime Minister Tony Abbott has promised to take any workplace reforms to the next election.

His government should refrain from any major changes until then, as a sign of good faith.

If the federal Liberals keep faith with their promise, then let's have a debate.

Let's investigate why Australia is becoming increasingly uncompetitive and whether this is the reason why we are losing icons like Holden, Ford and maybe Qantas.

•Correction

In yesterday's editorial a reference was made that the Palmer United Party " said it would preference the Greens on Saturday when the Tasmanian electoral system doesn't allow for preferences". It should have read, "would not" preference the Greens on Saturday.

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