Re-establishing the Australian Building and Construction Commission, cutting penalty rates, privatising NSW electricity, and tightening controls on industrial action, are positions Martin Ferguson has supported in recent years. For a 40-year veteran of the labour movement, including serving as President of the Australian Council of Trade Unions and as a Minister in the Rudd Labor Government, they are controversial stands.
In an interview with Workplace Review (Spring 2015, Volume 6 Part 3), Ferguson frames his positions in terms of supporting the enhancement of productivity, competitiveness, and jobs creation in an “economy in transition” following the end of the resources boom. “We need to keep costs down,” he says, “and that includes wages.”
In the interview, Ferguson confronts head-on criticisms from within the labour movement about the positions he has taken. This proud son of a Labor family dynasty, also talks about his early life and the influences and experiences that shaped him. He is clearly secure in his beliefs. “There is no revolution or paradise around the corner,” he says. “It is all about achieving pragmatic things.”
The interview with Martin Ferguson is also now available on Legal Insight, a Thomson Reuters online space for legal professionals to discover intelligent information and best practice. It provides discussion and insights on current industry trends and aims to share and build knowledge, encourage conversation and most importantly, provide real time solutions to every day questions.
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