Churches set to clash with government over industrial changes

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by Bruce Duncan,

OnlineCatholics, Issue 78, 16 November 2005.

Churches set to clash with governmentRecent comments by Prime Minister Howard that there was no Christian or Catholic view on industrial relations have raised many hackles, for the churches have a long and robust history of involvement in industrial debates, articulating the values and moral principles involved. They see the defence of these as part of their core mission.

Catholic Church leaders generally have been reluctant publicly to oppose the proposed changes, preferring quiet diplomacy, and especially relying on the advocacy of Mr John Ryan at the Australian Catholic Commission for Employment Relations (ACCER) sited in Melbourne.

Yet despite the number of high-profile Catholics in the government, ACCER has met with little success. Just as it ignored Church opposition to the invasion of Iraq, the Howard government is dismissing Church objections to its industrial changes by asserting that it is all simply a matter of personal opinion.

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