March 12, 2013
Polls and leadership conflicts. Polls and leadership. Polls and leadership. Polls and leadership and crisis.
The narrative of bad poll new leader is the central concern of the Canberra Press Gallery and the mainstream media. It's the frame through which they understand politics. They write about the crisis ad nauseum because it increases the number of clicks on their online articles. They will drive their informed readership away in an attempt to stay relevant with their inflated junk commentary.
When it does come to policy issues--say the use of foreign workers on 457 visas the debate around the complex issues of globalization, the global movement of labour and migrant labour is reduced to xenophobia and Gillard's flawed judgment.
There is little acknowledgement that the creation of a global economy in the 1990s has produced a global workforce and that this has opened up a range of innovative responses to the squeezing of the middle class, migrant workers and the anti-neoliberal struggles against coercive and repressive work practices.
The dominant neo-liberal ideology hammers out the need for workers and their organisations to be ‘responsible’ and “encourage trade unionists to disavow as ‘subversive’, ‘irresponsible’ or ‘economically disastrous’ any but the most modest of objectives”.
Global neoliberalism has created a crisis for traditional unionism with its mode of governance based on capital mobility, free trade, flexible labour and the market-compliant economic governance of the minimal state and international financial institutions. This has been associated with de-unionisation, hostility towards unionism by conservative governments, and the casualisation of employment through flexible labour relations.
All this make it difficult to protect labor standards, especially for migrant workers. The ACTU highlights the way skilled workers on a temporary 457 Visa (a business can sponsor a skilled worker if they cannot find an appropriate Australian citizen or permanent resident to fill the skilled position) are being exploited by employers so as to undercut Australian wages and conditions.
The ACTU aim is to minimize the ability of employers to use migrant workers to undercut pay and conditions for Australian workers and to protect the interests of migrant workers. The media highlighted the popular nativist reaction of "Australia jobs for Australian workers”.