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"...public opinion deserves to be respected as well as despised" G.W.F. Hegel, 'Philosophy of Right'

oh no, not roll back again « Previous | |Next »
October 11, 2005

This Petty cartoon misses the way the federal ALP is distinquishing itself from the Howard Government. The strategy is to roll back the proposed Industrial Relations legislation at a time when the Howard Government is further entrenching its hold on the levers of power.


Rollback marks the difference. That recalls the GST. The ALP blew up a storm on that one, year in and year out, and then quietly accepted it. We had the same blanket confrontation strategy with opposing the Budget tax cuts in June.

Now why would you roll back the shift to from state based system to a unitary national system? Why rollback the simplification of a complex award system? Why not develop a strategy of keeping the good bits of Howard's IR reforms and doing away with the bad bits?

That is not the ALP style these days. Their strategists go for the short term headline politics. As a result the ALP gets backed into a corner. They are there now. Labor is now tied more closely with its industrial wing, which covers less than 20 per cent of workers. That is not a strategy for re-election. It is an election strategy to irrelevancy. Or is the ALP calculating that the Howard battlers, who are not in a strong bargaining position over their wages and conditions, will desert the Government over the IR reforms and return to the ALP?

Should not the ALP say good things about AWA's- since they do work for some workers. So why not address their concerns---those contractors that Mark Latham expressed in terms of "the aspirational voter" who needed to be helped up "the ladder of opportunity" in an enterprise culture that favours greater self-responsibility and empowerment? Why not address the concerns of those who are employed on a part time basis who want flexibility and tailored working arrangement?

Why not talk in terms of modernising the industrial relations system and including AWA's within it for those who desire one? Why not also argue for reform rathering than being boxed into a corner that says no to reform? Did not the Keating Government introduce an enterprise -based bargaining stream in 1993? Why not build on that?

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 10:16 AM | | Comments (0)