Philosophical Conversations Public Opinion Junk for code
parliament house.gif
Think Tanks
Oz Blogs
Economic Blogs
Foreign Policy Blogs
International Blogs
Media Blogs
South Australian Weblogs
Economic Resources
Environment Links
Political Resources
South Australian Links
"...public opinion deserves to be respected as well as despised" G.W.F. Hegel, 'Philosophy of Right'

the ALP's no no no strategy « Previous | |Next »
March 30, 2006

What has suprised me about the both the ACTU's industrial campaign and the ALP's political campaign against the deregulation of the labour market is the strategy of total opposition to reform. It reminds me of their GST campaign-----that was a fiery passionate no no no, then quiet acceptance. Surely there is going to be some form of acceptance, as Australia does need to make the shift to a modern national wages system in a globalised world.

Yet the ALP Right gives every appearance of seeking to return to the pre-2006 industrial relations system with its 4000 awards eight, 8 or more federal, state and territory tribunals and layers of outmoded legislation. Isn't this a self-defeating strategy? Is this yet another example of the Beazley 's tactics of 'piss on them and piss off'?


Why not argue for a simplified modern national system that offers better protection than the Howard/Andrews pro- employee model, which is based on individual agreeements between employees and their employer and gives workers few statutory protections and rights? What will happen is the wages of those with low skills will be reduced as companies will increase their profits by chopping the wages and conditions of their employees.

Isn't a model that enhances productivity but protects the vulnerable in low skilled jobs a better political strategythan no no no?

After all only around 20% of Australian workers are in unions, and there has been a shift in the labour market has been to to a constituency of "enterprise workers" -the contractors, franchisees, consultants and a fairly large chunk of the private sector workforce, many of whom work from home. In this world we rely on our wits and not the unions to protect us.

Is not the way that we work changing? In this new world we do need protections, security and basic entitlements. But the old union model built in federation doesn't make sense---no matter what Sharon Burrows of the ACTU says. It is too rigid and centralized. . A new language needs to be forged---one based around rights.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 7:34 AM | | Comments (7)


you don't speak to the public by saying we'll amend it - that wont gain traction

that will be what we get if beazley gets in office though

the way Howard is going, Beazley may win for the same reason Howard won - arrogance

Other than that I agree with u, the model needs refining more so than removal

I dont see any constitutional reason to assume that the federal government has the legislative authority to implement Workchoices. It is anti-federalist and a further encroachment on the states. We are becoming more and more like London every year.

I would prefer that the states compete amongst each other over this sort of thing. At the least it offers a safety valve for people if a state really screws it up. Unitary outcomes are not good.

Unfortunately all the major parties are anti-federalist. None of them are interested in a federal system.

I also dont see how 700 pages of legislation is positive either. I read through it and shook my head at all the complexity.


I'm not sure no no no is a good media strategy to speak to the .public It's very negative---'we are going to rip it.' Images of paper burning thrown into rubbish bins.

If you rip it up then what do you replace it with? As nothing new is proposed that means the past stays.

You need negatives and positives cos you need to speak to more than 20% of the population.

there is a High Court case bought by the Labor states to test the use of the corporations power in the Constitution by the Commonwealth.

The High Court has traditionally been centralist but Howard has stacked it with conservatives. So it is test case for Australian conservatism as well.

Gary, I was aware that there was a High Court challenge to the legislation. I hope the High Court knocks it down as unconstitutional. If the federal government wants this power it should go to referendum to have the constitution amended and see if Australians trust them with that power. The "living and breathing" part of the constitution is only supposed to come through referendums, not federal grabs for power and high court activism.

I've been thinking about this and you are probably right

Something like "we'll overturn it anyway we can" would be more appropriate

In this talk Greg Combet gives one way to link the negative (Howards IR laws) with the positive.

On the latter he says that:

The labour movement needs to devote considerable time to this policy challenge. The goal must be to reposition Australian manufacturing in the global economy and take our industry up the international value chain. Squeezed at the bottom of the chain by low-cost production in Asia, the only viable future for Australian manufacturing is to innovate and compete on quality and technology. It is economically important, and it is a key to delivering jobs and better living standards for working people. And the Liberals will not do it. Repositioning Australian manufacturing will require much more than narrow debate about bilateral trade agreements.

And further:
The fourth priority concerns culture and perceptions. Many young people perceive manufacturing to be an old economy, smoke-stack industry, with boring repetitive tasks, low pay and no career structure. Media and communications courses seem far more attractive. Union and employer representatives in Australia on state-based manufacturing councils are forging partnerships with their governments to do something about it. With a national manufacturing council we could do much to encourage young Australians that the manufacturing firms of the future are far different to outdated perceptions. In addition, we need a new dialogue between manufacturing CEO's and manufacturing union leaders on the future of the company and their industry. Rather than opening old divisions with hostile IR laws, we need to restore a culture of trust and an ethos of productive performance.
So you link a new natonalindustrial relations system to the rebirth of a dynamic manufacturing industry.

Another way is to:

The central challenge will be to balance the imperatives of an open trading economy with respect for the rights of people at work. We must articulate to the Australian people the rights and employment standards that we believe should underpin our modern economy - the rights that should not be put into competition with our trading partners - the rights that define us as a society and a democracy. Basic community standards are at issue - four weeks leave, public holidays, the right to a meal break and a host of others.

There is very little talk from the ALP about basic rights.