The Howard Government is treating the Industrial Relations Commission with contempt by refusing to comply with a full bench direction to hand over a key wages survey conducted for the current minimum wage case.

In the same week when the Parliament debated a Government bill to increase
penalties for non-compliance with orders of the Commission, the Minister for
Workplace Relations is displaying rank hypocrisy in ignoring a direction of the

The Government’s survey of 1800 businesses reports on whether raising minimum
wages affects jobs.

A leaked pilot survey, conducted as a precursor to the large study, found
that businesses did not consider rises in the minimum wage would adversely
affect their employment decisions.

The Howard Government has a track record of suppressing studies that don’t
reach conclusions it likes.

By suppressing this wages survey the Government is seeking to defend its
position that Australia’s lowest-paid workers deserve a pay rise of just $10 a
week, which after tax and inflation is a pay cut of $2.10 a week.

The Australian Industrial Relations Commission said yesterday the Federal
Government’s delays were unexplainable, the Australian Financial Review
reports today.

The Financial Review quotes the AIRC as saying:

” It is difficult to imagine that the survey results would not have some
relevance to the proceedings. The other parties and the commission are entitled
to expect that the commonwealth will maintain the highest professional

The Commission has now given the Government until next week to
release the report.

The Government’s refusal to comply with the Commission’s direction follows
the defiance of the full bench by the Government’s Employment Advocate, Jonathan

Mr Hamberger admitted to a Senate Estimates hearing last month that he was
deliberately ignoring a full bench decision of the Australian Industrial
Relations Commission about the correct calculation of award entitlements.

The Howard Government is exempting itself from complying with the rule of