Pell warns on curtailing unions

.- Cardinal George Pell criticized government policies and draft legislation related to labor, poverty and education.

The archbishop of Sydney, Australia, said the dilution of union power in labor negotiations has "gone a bit too far" and he encourages a "moderate strengthening" of the unions in order to deal with powerful multinational companies, reported The Age.com.

"Some of these trans-national corporations are very, very powerful indeed and I think we need strong and effective and humane and altruistic unions to continue to dialogue with these people," Cardinal Pell said Tuesday in an address to the National Press Club in Canberra.

The cardinal expressed concern at plans to cut a job seeker’s welfare payments to eight weeks if he/she did not turn up for interviews three times in a year. This policy would exempt people with special situations, such as home schoolers and people with a sick or disabled child.

This "pretty tough" policy would place added stress on family, friends and charities to support people during their payment suspension.

The cardinal also criticized Federal Labor's education policy, which proposed redistributing funding away from wealthy private schools to less well-off schools, saying it was unacceptable.

He endorsed the teaching of intelligent design alongside the theory of evolution in schools. He also criticized schools for teaching about films, magazines, advertisements and abandoning the great classics of English literature, denying youth a philosophical foundation for adhering to humanist values, reported The Age.com.

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