Bill Shorten to hold urgent summit with unions, business as first act

Labor leader Bill Shorten will bring business and unions together for a summit on wages and the economy within weeks of coming to office, and has left the door open to offering former foreign minister Julie Bishop a job if Labor wins government.

In a pitch to West Australian voters at a business breakfast on Wednesday, Mr Shorten said the business and unions summit would be held in Perth in June.

Labor senator Penny Wong, Opposition Leader Bill Shorten, shadow treasurer Chris Bowen and Chloe Shorten at a campaign event in Perth on Wednesday morning.Credit:Alex Ellinghausen

“I want to get business, unions, small business in the same room at the same time,” he said, adding it would not be like the formal wages “accord” that former prime minister Bob Hawke made with the Australian Council of Trade Unions in the 1980s.

In a bid for the business community’s support, Mr Shorten also told the breakfast he would bring his cabinet to Perth and seek to amend the Fair Work Act to extend “greenfields agreements” for mega projects – such as mining ventures – with the aim of providing certainty over pay and conditions for multi billion-dollar projects with a life-span of more than three years.


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