Work Choices Fair Pay Chief heavily criticised

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Work Choices Fair Pay Chief: Ian Harper

Professor Ian Harper the government appointed Fair Pay Chief has come under heavy criticism this week from the Labour groups and the federal opposition.

Professor Harper was a non-executive director of the Australian Derivatives Exchange (ADX) when it was put under administration in March 28, 2001. The company went broke owing workers more than $700,000. In the process ADX breached the corporations law by failing to maintain required cash reserves , although the company eventually gave workers their w:entitlements.

Workplace Relations Minister Kevin Andrews appointed Professor Harper in October, Mr Andrews spokesman Defended the appointment saying the government was aware of the economist's history with the company and said in relation Professor Harper role in ADX ’s demise: "There has been absolutely no wrongdoing," "The government was made aware by Prof Harper, and also by doing a check ourselves, of the company going into administration.” "We believe that Prof Harper is an eminently qualified person to head up the Australian Fair Pay Commission."

Wayne Swan the Oppositions treasury, who has attacked the government over the Robert Gerards appointment to the reserve bank affair,spokesman has said there were serious questions to answer about Prof Harper's appointment. "There is a pattern of behaviour here and a stench that surrounds the Howard government,". "This is a government whose actions and appointments are blinded by extreme ideology." Mr Swan said commenting on the recent history of important government appointments.

Sharan Burrow the president of the ACTU has told ABC radio that the government must better scrutinize Mr Harper’s business behaviour. "How on earth can they expect Australians to have any faith in their so-called Fair Pay Commission if the very head they've appointed, another government mate, is under a cloud,"

Controversial Government Appointments

  Wikinews Australia has in-depth coverage of this issue: Australian industrial relations legislation, 2005