PM lying says Beazley

PRIME Minister John Howard is lying to Australians about the need for sweeping industrial relations reforms according to Labor leader Kim Beazley.

Mr Beazley said last night parents should be deeply concerned about the changes, which would encourage employers and employees to negotiate individual contracts.

Mr Howard said the WorkChoice changes are needed to keep the economy growing.

But Mr Beazley says he is not telling the truth.

"The prime minister is not telling the truth about this because this has got nothing to do with anything good for the Australian economy," Mr Beazley said. "This is not about choice - it's about cutting wages."

Mr Beazley said there was no choice under the planned new workplace regime for many workers, particularly young workers.

"Australian parents know that their young people have no choice," he said. "You know that an 18-year-old with a few skills, sitting down with the boss, is not going to negotiate with the boss on an equal basis - it is not possible."

No parent wanted to see their child exploited, he said.

"And under this legislation that John Howard proposes, it's as clear as night follows day that young people, among others, will be exploited," he said.

Mr Beazley mocked Mr Howard's search for a barbecue-stopper - a policy that would stop discussion of everything else as families and friends gathered around the barbecue at the weekend.

"John Howard has found the weekend barbecue stopper.

"Those weekend barbecues will stop as workers are obliged to negotiate away their weekends, their hours, their penalty rates, under the legislation that he's put forward," he said.

"This is very family unfriendly legislation that John Howard is proposing."

Mr Beazley promised a future Labor government would wind back the changes and said the reported $100 million advertising campaign to sell the changes showed how flawed they were.

"If John Howard was confident in this legislation, he would not be spending $100 million worth of taxpayers' funds, effectively an open-ended cheque, in order to mislead absolutely everybody," he said.

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