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

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May 26, 2007

Whatever has happened to Bill Leak? He's lost the plot on the IR issue-- and consistently.

Bill Leak

Is he trying to express the sentiments of a blokey patriarchal culture? One that is in favour of the stay-at-home woman. I see that the Coalition's strident hitters are trying to run the line that Rudd is attacking stay-at-home mothers and wives!

Surely, Therese Rain would support Kevin Rudd not John Howard. There were no AWA 's used by her companies, the underpayments appear a genuine oversight carried over from the previous owners that, most importantly, were corrected by Ms Rein when they were discovered. And this happened long before the issue hit the national headlines. So why would she support Howard and Costello in the boxing match?

We have stepped into the realm of the imagination or the conservative political unconscious.

Leak is representing strong, independent professional woman as bossy and aggressive. That's the blokey culture bit. Presumably, the blokes have spent so much time secretly surfing the net for porn at night that they need a women to sort the AWA thingy out for them.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 12:20 PM | | Comments (27)


This is Hilarious!

It is funny from many different angles. One being that it wrong. The confused look on everybodies face! Even the dog hates her leg!

Give the people what they yell for and they will cheer and yell your name. Chaos!

is it Leak or Rudd or both that are giving the people what they yell for?

My opinion is that it is Leak. He is a savvy political cartoonist. He sees that the people are tiring of the Rudd 57% Howard 43% line on stories and egad do we have to listen to that for 4 months. Enter a new character, like the intruders on Big Brother it changes everything. He sees that the peoples lives wont change much between now and the election so all the masses want is to turn on the TV and be entertained by it! Or they will switch off/out.
The people want chaos....they want to see the pollies slip up, make mistakes, cry and ask for, no beg for forgiveness!!

Well thats what I see in the cartoon. Others may see something else.

It's a fair enough interpretation---better than mine.

Everything is kind out of control and chaos eventuates. Isn't this what is feared by the politicians and their media minders---given they endeavour to control everything so tightly to achieve the desired effect. Continency is their nightmare.

I think your blog is out of control at present bordering on chaos. I fear that it may even soon reach the common man.

the blog is policy grounded but its not that highbrow surely?

It is very high brow I think but thats not a bad thing as long as you realise that public opinion usually isnt. I am not criticising your format or your blog work ethic as it is huge. I was looking at your hits the other day and I felt that your stat were very low considering the public opinion aspect.

Leak's interpretation of this incident, depicted by the cartoon, is that in the new climate of Howard’s neoliberal industrial laws, Rain attempted to exploit these workers in the interest of cost minimisation. What exactly distinguishes Rain from other employers this regard?
IMO Leak's interpretation is as valid as your own, in which Rain is portrayed as a benevolent employer who made a inadvertent error which just happened to benefit her company to the tune of $70,000 per annum. Leak’s viewpoint possibly arises from the knowledge that since Australia’s turn to neoliberal economic policy in the 1980’s, labour’s share of national income has been in decline.

Media statements like the one below were common.

KEVIN Rudd's wife deliberately shifted employees on to individual contracts last July, thinking the extra 45c an hour she was offering as a trade-off for losing some award conditions was fair.

I was genuinely puzzled by Leak's cartoon.I understood that my interpretation didn't much much sense of it ---as my interepretation of events was pretty much based around Rudd's interview in Thursday.

However, your interpretation is a better one.

That then really takes the wind out of the sails of the ALP attack on IR as the common law agreements favoured by the ALP do the same job as AWA's.

don't the cartoons give public opinion a low brow dimension? i would have thought that the images make junk for code very accessible. It is primarily a visual weblog.

As for the stats Extreme Tracker is worse than useless. It will go when I can afford the next upgrade of

I pretty much work off the detailed stats provided by my hosting company . The hits have dropped off a bit in the last two weeks, but they were around the same as Club Troppo in terms of new visitors a month last time Cam and I checked a couple of months or so.

Public opinion has been sidelined in the political blogs as the center is the Troppo, Catallaxy, Larvatus nexus. Public opinion rarely figures in the Crikey list of daily blogs, and is occassionally mentioned in the Missing Link feed run out of Club Troppo. It exists on the margins of the group blogs, which are where all the action is.

Junk for code is systematically ignored in the arts section of Missing Link ,for some reason. I reckon that says more about how Club Troppo crowd view the arts than it says about junk for code.

yes I am sure they do. perhaps I am wrong. It is hard to judge an impact of a blog. People vote with their clicks in a blogs direction and not necessarily their comments.
I have a blog that had 800 hits yesterday and it just has pics of my feet on it. What does that mean?

As mentioned in the above comments the centre of the political blogs in Australia is the Troppo, Catallaxy, Larvatus nexus.

What impact do they have on the poltical pundit, Canberra Press Gallery, beltway commentary opinion? Dunno.

They are read by the media but ignored in public. I presume that the blog readership in Australia continues to break down into the left-right political partisanship.

However, my feeling is that the Oz blogsopshere is small, self-contained and inward looking. It does not get the respect it deserves for the work that is often produced.

I do not know what will change that.

Steve has got it arse about I'm afraid.

Therese Rein did not shift any workers onto individual contracts, these were signed by the employees while under the previous management.

The new employees were given letters saying there employment conditions would continue, fairly normal for a new acquisition.

When the Fair Pay commission handed down their last ruling, Rein's company reviewed their existing contracts and found these ones were probably in breach of conditions. They then had them independently audited and then have attempted to make restitution to each and every employee affected, even those who have left the company.

All without any outside pressure or media scrutiny.

I would say that their performance has been fairly good in the whole affair, unlike the media who have taken it upon themselves to produce some of the worst reportage I have seen for awhile.

Details have been buried deep in reports, headlines have been sensationalist and anti-Rudd throughout.

I concur with your interpretation of events re Ingeus and the media.

However, the women journalists have changed the nature of the debate to one about modern families, independent women, and professional lives that is more favourable to Rudd and Rain. The Coalition is looking bad on this as it is explicitly defending the traditional form of the family as the form, despite many Coalition MP's living in modern families.

However, if we flip to the policy level, doesn't the fact that reductions can take place under common law agreements undercut the ALP's policy of worker protection under common law agreement as opposed to being exploited under AWA's.

What's your understanding of that? Is there detail on this anywhere?

I use sitemeter on a couple of blogs. The free version works well.

I think that is the big issue here.

The Common law contracts that were in place were most probably illegal - hence the review and compensation by the company.

Under an AWA, this agreement would have been perfectly legal and acceptable.

This is the real story here.

There's not much on it in the media is there? I had heard---from Rudd's original media conference, that the employees had been wrongly classified, hence the need for rectification by Rain's company after the mistake had been discovered.

Given that, do you reckon that the original company (Your Employment Solutions),which was acquired by WorkDirections Australia (a subsidiary of Rein's company Ingeus)had
tried to pull a swifty over its workers? Were found out through an inquiry? So who did the original inquiry?--WorkDirections Australia or a government body?

There is very little on this in the media. It's been fogged up to imply that Rein has done wrong in some terrible way.

I had sitemeter on the individual websites before they become part of the Thought Factory network. They were pretty much like Extreme tracker, marginally better, and equally under-represented my traffic flows by a long shot.

I have no need for them --my mosting company's control panel gives me all the info I need.


From all I have read, Work Directions instituted the inquiry, after they found the discrepancy.

This whole episode has been very sordid, with the media trying to play the hit man role, while the government has sat on the sidelines, quietly tut-tutting.

A change of tactics - getting the media to sling the mud and staying quiet - perhaps the Coalition strategy boys are learning.

It's not the media: it's mostly the Murdoch media that has to run the double standards line. It's the Coalition's outrage machine.

The Fairfax media, in contrast, has been quite supportive of Rudd and Rain, as it has focused on the modern marriage and conflicts of interest.

I would say that the Coalition is going to struggle to squeeze the issue back into IR and to manage the media. The outrage noise machine will work overtime.

Any cartoons yet of Therese as a big cloud raining on Howards parade?

Maybe. I didn't have time to do a big check. Does this one do the job?

I would love nothing better than to see Howard and his misanthropic "W-------s" thrown out, but as to the discussion between Big Bob and Steve Maton, must reluctantly side with Steve.
Latest events to reinforce this writer's sense of what's happened are circumstantial, but creative of unease.
Firstly, the inability of the usually scintillating Gillard to cope effectively with Tony Jones' questions on Lateline over Theresegate.
This is followed by the counter- strike against the left in the form of the hapless Mighell.
This is not to salute the bigmouth's oafish intemperance, which has gone and got him hung, or the culture that creates the mentality, or intimidation itself ( heaven knows the bossess and Howard have institutionalised coercion, at least against workers, in the "W---------s" legislation; so shamed now that it no longer "dares bespeak its own name".
Nor would one wish to compliment the scabs skulking around taking or hawking secret tape recordings, or those so eager to exploit them.
But the exposed selfishness involving in reining in Rudd's wife has, indeed, "taken the wind out of the IR campaign's sails", to loosely quote another commenter.
BTW, the cartoons. Afew are are so-so, but some are utterly brilliant!
My favourite would be the one of the lion tamer's cage with the travelling circus, housing a bemused moggie, as Howard recoils, protecting a childish representation of himself, in trepidation at the Great Beast meowing in the cage. This bedraggled feature is representative of the constructed "threat" of emasculated modern unionism. Thanks, Pryor- and Garry, still haven't stopped laughing!
Then there are moments such as the one offered of a worldly Gillard, unwittingly holding a plan upside down, advising Rudd on the continuing erection of an exponentially ricketty IR contraption. Finally, the goose-stepping ( guess who? ) Basil Fawlty one, with a moribund Costello looking more like Ruddock everyday Karloff and Joe Hockey as a lifeless, stuffed moose-like trophy on the wall.
Pictures say a million words and if, "laughter be the sauce of life; then reproduce on", I must exhort our lovable moderator.

yes I'm increasingly inclined to sign with Steve Maton in the interpretation of the Leak cartoon; namely in the new climate of Howard’s neoliberal industrial laws, Rain's companies attempted to exploit these workers in the interest of cost minimisation.

On the other side --the union one--- it does look as if those like the left-wing Victorian union leader Dean Mighell, are more interested in the union's interests than the broader policy issues that affect the wider community. The persona is that of being a swaggering working class rebel sticking it up the bosses and getting the best conditions for his union members. Their class war discourse is all about being in the jungle fighting with a gun.

Climate change is going to impact on his Electrical Trades Union members big time in the form of much higher electricty prices, so why isn't he arguing for good policies to address that instead of talking about standover tactics to force employers to adopt pattern bargining, expressing the desire for revenge and calling for a return to the "good old days" so as to get more money for its members. Why not also advocate energy efficiency in the homes and buildings they are helping to construct?

The problem for Mighell and co is that their fight for what is the best interests of their union members is just that: its about the union and not those outside the union. They give the impression that they only care for the union, and not for non-union workers or families struggling to make ends meet; and their stance implies a contempt for non-union working families.

Is (post) modernity the death of a fondly-imagined C.J.Dennis type working class culture?
In the era of the Sentimental Bloke and the Harvester settlement, the families were extended rather than nuclear, life operated at a geographically small community level and it was tacit that males were breadwinners.
Food and health issues were closer to the bone and necessity had communities altruistically clubbing together to share food or expel New Guard style thugs involved in callous evictions.
Nowadays, when people think of an "eviction", they tune into Big Brother on Ten, not the Big Brother of Orwell; of '1984' or 'Road to Wigan Pier'.
Nowadays we live in, comparatively speaking, a small rather leafy-green if slightly declining elite suburb in the global community and the real battles for survival take place in places like Manilla or Bombay.
Not wanting to sound latter day Rousseau-ian, but how much of Eric Hobsbawm's loss of context and proportion, that he describes as "loss of historical memory", is at play and how may this may bode for the future of Australians?

very important considerations you raise. Seeing the clips of Mighell on TV I was reminded how retro he looked. Yeah, it was a deliberate working class style (fashion) that said 'yesterday', 'authentic', 'rebel', blue collar, and macho. It reminded of the Bruce Springsteen of 'Born in the USA'; or big men in their big 4 wheel drives doing a bit of bush bashing on the weekend.

We--the authentic working class--- stand in the 1980s fighting the bosses and globalization, says Mighell. The modern white collar ALP sells out the construction workers, he adds.

The images and language reminded me of the wharfies in Bastard Boys standing on the threshold of fundamental change, knowing that the old violent ways did not work anymore, but unsure of what the new was.(It was the strategies of Kelty and Combet using the media and courts).

The ETU and Mighell are hanging onto the old ways and they reaffirm the old historical memories of class warfare in industrial modernity. The new way in postmodernity is the strategic way that Combet has fought Howard's Work Choices--it is so much more effective than Mighell's use of standover tactics for his particular union.

I failed to see what was "leftwing" about Mighell and the ETU. Being blue collar does not make you left wing when it's presented in terms of fashion, a rebel poseur and increasing the pay package.

Whaddya know!
the 'real world' is post- lapsarian Fukuyamian, after all!
( benign face in sky smiles, "always was, my wayward child"! )
Better starting paddlin' kiddies or the Big Wave will get us, too.
Actually you are quite right, Gary- if you want to survive and prosper you DO have to make the effort to learn to read and act accordingly the post-modern landscape.
DOES take effort but can be rewarding also, as we computer users, blessed with priceless yet taken for granted literacy, travel the imagined vistas of endless blog-space on a full belly.