Monday, October 10, 2005

Day of the robber barons

Australia is now, officially, legislatively, no longer an egalitarian nation. The process of building workers' rights and collective empowerment was one of the great civilising projects of the 20th century, and now, in this playground of the select and powerful, it has been torn back decades in a single stroke of the legislative pen.

The arrogance of power can cause the megalomaniacal to overreach. Hitler decided he wanted Russia and England, and ended up with neither. Only unwritten history will tell if this ferocious attack on the people who've given them power will be the undoing of the Liberals. Fielding has it in a nutshell:
Mr Howard has put his ideological prejudice ahead of the long-term interests of the 'battlers' who have put their faith in him.
Kicked them in the balls, hard enough to crack them open is how I'd put it.

Greedy robber barons are as safe a Liberal preference vote as green hippies are for Labor. That's why Labor can't point all its policies into the far left. This attack on workers is being welcomed with glee by people who wouldn't vote Labor even if Labor had a thousand magic geese that would lay golden eggs in every pocket of the economy.

It's a present to the hard right, the ideologues, at the expense of the people who've actually given the snivelling rats power. Well, we will see if such a gobsmacking act of arrogance goes unnoticed by the battlers...


MrLefty said...

Don't be silly. You know perfectly well it will be. A few months before the 2007 election Howard will suddenly throw money at them and they'll forget about how much he's screwed them over for the last eleven years.

Memories like goldfish.

Anonymous said...

Australia continues to change.

Over the last ten years, something important has been happening in Australian workplaces. Australian workers and Australian businesses have started to change the way they work.
As a group and individually, more employees and employers have been sitting down together, talking and working out their own workplace arrangements.
As a result, both employees and employers have benefited. There have also been more job opportunities created for women and school leavers.

A stronger economy.

This co-operative approach has been helping Australia build one of the strongest economies in the western world. We are exporting more. We’ve created over 920,000 new, permanent, full time jobs. Australia’s unemployment rate has been markedly reduced, reaching a 30 year low and interest rates are at historically low levels.

Securing the future.

Australia has come a long way, but we can’t stand still. More needs to be done. If we are to grow and prosper, we need to continue working together to implement fair, practical and sensible changes to our workplaces. These changes need to provide more choice and flexibility for both employees and employers in their workplaces, so we can find better ways to reward effort, increase wages, and balance work and family life.

A fairer system.

We also need to make our workplace relations system fairer and provide a better balance in the workplace for employees and employers. These changes must ensure that existing award wages and conditions, along with the right to be represented by a union, are protected by law. These changes should also provide extra help for employees to know their rights. And these changes must provide additional support for employees in cases of unlawful termination.

A simpler system.

We also need to make our workplace relations system simpler. Australia has over 130 different pieces of industrial relations legislation, over 4,000 different awards and six different workplace systems operating across the country. There are too many rules and regulations making it hard for many employees and employers to get together and reach agreement in their workplaces. We also have too much red tape, too much complexity and too much confusion in some parts of the current system. It’s bad for business, it costs jobs and it’s holding Australia back. For all these reasons, the Australian Government is moving towards one, simpler national workplace relations system.

It’s called WorkChoices.

Importantly, it will make it much simpler for employees and employers to get together, talk and work out the workplace arrangements that best suit them.

Improving our living standards.

By encouraging people to work together and by continuing the improvement in our workplaces, WorkChoices will also help continue the improvement in our living standards and quality of life. And that’s something worth working for.

I can't believe its not Liberal said...

People on Federal Awards.

If you currently work under a Federal award, your minimum wages and basic entitlements (such as annual leave, personal/carer’s leave, parental leave and a maximum 38 hour ordinary working week) will be guaranteed by law under the new Fair Pay and Conditions Standard. If your award differs from the Fair Pay and Conditions Standard, the more generous of the two will apply. There will be protected conditions such as public holidays, rest breaks, incentive-based payments and bonuses, annual leave loadings, allowances and overtime loadings.

{These protected award conditions can be the subject of workplace bargaining, though they can only be modified or removed by specific provisions in an agreement.}

If these entitlements aren’t mentioned in the agreement the award provisions will continue to operate.

- Excerpt from Libs new propaganda site (paid for by you an me). {} for emphasis.

Brutal (perhaps cruel) truth:

Employer: "Hey, you shithead whose position can be easily replaced by another shithead ... sign this contract which explicitly states that your employment conditions will not be underpinned by your relevant Award.

Employee: "What's that mean boss?"

Employer: "Well, shithead, it means that things like standard working hours, penalty rates, overtime payments and redundancy pay will no longer apply."

Employee: "Oh that's no good boss and can you stop calling me shithead."

Employer: "No, calling you a shithead might be unfair, but its not unlawful. So if you don't like me calling you shithead, then you know where the door is, shithead."

And now for something quite elitist...

Thank fuck I'm educated and have skills that not many other people do...

R H said...

There are only two rules to Economics:

1. Everything has to make money.

2. If you've got money someone else wants it.

(Social Commentator)

Dave said...

Re: Anonymous. Was I supposed to read that? Was it irony or just propaganda? Are you actually Kevin Andrews?

Seems to me that, whether or not the reforms are good for most in the long term, they're guaranteed to hurt a lot of people in the short term. Businesses are gonna use their new-found power to cut costs which means a lot of people get fucked over. The next election's in the medium term. Howard's got to push the changes through as quickly as possible to give time for them to shake out and for people to forget before the election - which means little due diligence on the wording and details. Which in turn means more people fall through the cracks and are forced to fight individual cases. Plenty of work for the lawyers, though.

The upshot? It's gonna be a painful time for a lot of people. But it's just vaguely possible that a lot of the Liberals will get their comeuppance for pandering so unfailingly to The Great Leader.

adam said...

I agree with you in that this certainly has "doorstep defacation" written all over it. I also liked the hitler ref...heh.

It'd be nice to think that Howard is leaving this one for others to clean up whilst he kicks back in (god forbid) retirement. It'd certainly be a fitting punishment for the sycophant majority in the federal Liberal party. However, I'm also loathe to wish ruin upon the witless suburban liberal voter, especially as this "wasn't part of the deal". But...meh!

Brownie said...

anonymous, if you wrote this yourself 'it will make it much simpler for employees and employers to get together, talk and work out the workplace arrangements that best suit them' then 1. you've never worked where there's a forklift, and 2. then you have a certain career in comedy / fantasy writing.

R H said...

Yes, it's funny alright: a suit romancing a pair of overalls.
A Strange deux l'amour, in Menzies tea rooms. Waiters pretending not to notice.