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Julia Gillard and the problem left too long to cure

I tend to think that the age union movement has made itself largely redundant and it has certainly earned the disdain and distrust that most people express at the mention of  its exemplars Like Craig Thompson. Its redundancy stems from the changes in the workplace that has seen so much work becoming casualised or based upon fixed term contracts. Employers too have long realised that its expensive to select and train its workers so they are awake to the advantage of paying valued workers above the going rate to retain them. All of these factors have led to a very marked decline in union membership during the course of my lifetime and now the unions are in a decline that is likely to be terminal.

Sadly for those who still believe in unionism there must be great disappointment in the news that the ACTU is to finally move to stop the endemic corruption and and a very cavalier attitude to the funds gathered from union members that is so evident from the FWA investigation of the HSU (east).

click for source

“The claims of misconduct, including kickbacks and rorting, had tarnished the entire union movement,”

Well Yes Prime minister  that is true but I tend to think that no amount of stating the obvious  is going to make any difference now and coming from a woman who has such a flexible view of telling the truth such claims have well, just about no credibility. Its rather sad for those who value the notion of a workers collective organisation that it has taken until now when the whole union concept is in serious decline for them to realise that integrity and good governance is important because the disease of corruption is probably too far advanced now  for meaningful redemption.

Cheers Comrades


  1. GD says:

    Is the union movement redundant?

    Pretty much. With only twenty percent of Australians belonging to a union, it certainly suggests that their influence shouldn’t affect too strongly the rest of Australia. Like the Greens, they are fringe, not mainstream.

    Back in the seventies it was a different story. Unions were all powerful. Every Christmas there was a pilots’ strike, along with a beer strike and usually a petrol strike. Christmas commuters, families and such, were inconvenienced. The average Joe had to queue to fill his Holden so he could get to work and there was even the annual threat of beer supplies being turned off.

    Such was the world of unionism. Bob Hawke rectified this state of affairs. As PM he made sure workers could get a beer at Xmas, a flight to see Grandma and petrol to drive the Kingswood. He established the Prices and Income Accord, whereby unions stopped making outrageous demands. He managed to do this without involving employers. He recognised that the unions were out of control.

    Now, however, we are seeing the unions once again out of control, although with 20% membership they are fast becoming a mouse squeak rather than the lion’s roar they once were.

    Unfortunately, given the fact that most of the caucus of the Labor government comprises young ex-union leaders, there is an annoying chance that unions are here once again to harass honest working citizens, to inconvenience the general public and to push their socialist anti-Australian agenda.

    Bob Hawke was an adult when he was PM. He recognised that confrontation was useless. Talking with Fraser he said, : “For Christ’s sake, why don’t we sit down and work out a more sensible approach, rather than going flat out for unions getting as much as they can and employers price gouging.”

    This approach, in line with his Prices Accord, lasted through the Keating and Howard governments. How many of you remember a beer strike, a pilots’ strike or a petrol shortage in the last twenty years?

    Now, however, we are seeing more industrial discord. And it’s entirely unnecessary, other than for the fact that we have nascent lefties running the government, lefties who don’t remember the Hawke years, and who are brainwashed by the current mantra of ‘global warming’, ‘climate change’ and ‘reform’.

    Not only have we returned to the industrial turmoil of the 70s, but now have the added distraction of the useless, and economically destructive, carbon tax. All thanks to a government consisting of ex-unionists and ex-unionist lawyers.

    It’s time to put the bosses back in charge.

  2. Ray Dixon says:

    Now, however, we are seeing more industrial discord.

    Got any facts to support that, GD? No? Didn’t think so.

    we (have) returned to the industrial turmoil of the 70s

    Seriously? In what sectors or industries? Name some.

    It’s time to put the bosses back in charge.

    They’re as much – hell, more – in charge than they’ve ever been. Read the Rich List lately? Christ, GD, which planet/decade are you living in?

  3. GD says:

    Solidarity Forever!

  4. Iain Hall says:

    Frankly I prefer this when it comes to stirring toons GD

  5. alan says:

    that was a no.
    the answer you get when you can’t answer.
    interesting reading here,….the extremists ignore anything they can’t answer, or more to the point, if the answer they know is true, is not the answer they want it to be, then no answer it is.
    weak as.

  6. Iain Hall says:

    Will you do us all a small favour?
    its simple really, firstly can you please make sure that you are responding to the right thread when you post and secondly can you make it clearer just who you are responding to. Putting that person’s name at the head of your comment works well for me.

  7. alan says:

    I was responding to GD, and it is the right thread.

    I was simply noting that GD is an expert at not answering questions where he does not like the truthful answer.
    Ray asked…..GD responds with nonsense.

    So the pattern to me is clear, and it detracts from his credibility, although it’s pretty obvious that he has none.

    But really, what else could you expect of somebody that thinks a bloke that reckons asbestos is harmless, as is passive smoking, is a genius!!

  8. Iain Hall says:

    Well Alan just make it clear who you are addressing in your future comments and it will avoid confusion won’t it?
    That is all I’m asking you to do.

  9. Ray Dixon says:

    Same goes for GD, Iain. I didn’t realise his video was in reply to me but it seems it was. Come on, GD, you made the statements, answer the questions. Where are your facts?

  10. Iain Hall says:

    When it comes down to it Ray Its something that everyone should do when commenting at any blog

  11. Ray Dixon says:

    Agreed, Iain. I will take it then that GD’s claims of industrial turmoil etc were just bullshit.

  12. GD says:

    Ray asked:

    Christ, GD, which planet/decade are you living in?

    Ray, it’s the Labor Party that’s living in the last century, and unfortunately they’re living in the 70s, and not even in the vibrant 80s when Hawke took leadership of the party and began the deregulation of the labour market. Keating took such reform further, and Howard embraced such reforms. Rudd and Gillard have overturned these bi-partisan reforms, instead turning the clock back with their return to regulation of labour with their introduction of Fair Work Australia. It seems that all Hawke’s reforms have been forgotten and Labor is back to where Labor was in the 70s.

    Is it any wonder their approval rating is in the crapper?

    That aside, look at what is happening today.

    Earlier this week, BHP Billiton chairman Jac Nasser slammed Australia’s industrial relations framework and called for an overhaul of the system to recognise the right of management to run businesses.

    In a speech to the Institute of Company Directors, Mr Nasser said the Fair Work Act was an obstacle to running an efficient and productive workplace. He stated BHP’s coal business in Queensland’s Bowen Basin had faced 3200 incidents of industrial action in the past year, and unions had hit the company with more than 1000 notices of intention to take industrial action, then withdrawn about 500 of these with less than 24 hours’ notice.

    Warning that Australia was increasingly one of the higher-cost countries in the world, he urged the federal government to use its review of the Fair Work Act to “move the pendulum back to a more appropriate balance” and stem the fall in the nation’s competitiveness.

    Accordingly the Australian Financial Review agrees.

    Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry chief executive Peter Anderson noted the number of days lost in the past nine months exceeded days lost in the preceding two years. “The Fair Work Act has extended workers’ right to strike, contrary to commitments by the Labor Party in opposition in 2007.”

    Australian Industry Group industrial relations director Stephen Smith said:

    “We are seeing a lot of disputes that go to the content of what can be bargained over such as restrictions on contractors, on labour hire, and outsourcing – the Fair Work Act has allowed strikes to be taken over things that were restricted in the past, and this is a significant part of the picture.”

    If you can’t be bothered reading the text, the graphs show how under the LIbs, industrial unrest was under control. Since 2007, with the abolition of AWAs and a return to the regulated labour market of the 70s, industrial unrest has taken hold and is again increasingly hindering productivity on a national scale.

    And a quick refresher of damaging industrial shenanigans in 2011:

    Wonthaggi Desal Plant
    Australian Nursing Federation
    Baiada Poultry

    International Freight Forwarder wrote this on their website. Note the date.

    Port Strikes in Australia 29-Apr-2011
    Unfortunately, Australia is experiencing wharf strikes and “work slows” this week, which coupled with the extended Easter break just experienced, is causing lengthy delays at the wharf and through Customs Clearance. Ships are at anchor or are bypassing some Australian ports at the moment. Please be patient – it is out of our control at the moment.

    Is that the message we want to sent to markets overseas, that we are out of action because we can’t control our unions?

    It seems the Gillard government care more about a farcical carbon tax than the economic health of our country. Bluefreight couldn’t have put it better:

    it is out of our control at the moment.

  13. Ray Dixon says:

    GD, your opinions of Labor’s industrial relations reforms are just that – your opinion. You also conveniently omit the fact that it was Howard (and Abbott) who changed Hawke’s & Keating’s good work with the introduction of WorkChoices, not Rudd & Gillard. If you think the Liberal alternative is better, well, why would I be surprised about that?

    Anyway, I asked if you had any facts to back up your assertion that “we are seeing more industrial discord” and you quote the head of BHP? That’s just his biased opinion and bullying – that is not eveidence of “more industrial discord”.

    Then you claimed “we (have) returned to the industrial turmoil of the 70s” and you meekly dig up a handful of examples (some not even actual strikes) and that’s after you’ve had 3 days to find the evidence of your ridiculous claim.

    And quoting the opinions of others (like company CEOs on company websites) does not an argument make. You know what, GD? More and more you’re adopting the classic right wing mentality of saying something that isn’t true and then – when you’ve been royally pwned and proved wrong – you simply refuse to concede. Well done.

  14. alan says:

    Yes I had to have a chuckle at that…….3 days work, and that’s all he could come up with.
    Still, he never quoted any Christopher Booker at least!!!!

    I wonder if he reckons Geoff Shaw should be booted from the Liberals(Vic) for his behaviour.
    If Thomson should go, as he surely would have if the parliament was not so tight, then I suppose those Lib supporters will agree that Shaw’s position is untenable, and he should go too.

  15. Richard Ryan says:

    No comment on that grub Senior Liberal Bill Heffernan! Bill when I hear him speak reminds me of the old saying: Better to remain silent and look a fool, than open your mouth and remove all doubt.

  16. Iain Hall says:

    aren’t you of the opinion that the Slipper and Thompson matters are just ‘beat ups”?

    I have no idea about the veracity of allegations against Bill Heffernan, but then neither do you.

  17. Richard Ryan says:

    Iain. For the record Heffernan is the Liberal politician who did a smear job, and a character assassination on leading Judge Kirby, under the cloak of the cowards castle—-parliament privilege—–Heffernan is lower than dog-shite, and I hope Karma takes care of him sooner, rather than later.

  18. GD says:

    Ray said,

    I asked if you had any facts to back up your assertion that “we are seeing more industrial discord” and you quote the head of BHP?

    Well, no that’s not the case. I gave Nasser as an example. I quoted the Australian Bureau of Statistics. If you’d bothered to follow the link to the Australian Financial Review website you would have seen the graphs showing the fall in industrial disputes from 2004 until Labor took power. From then, industrial disputes have grown exponentially, from next to nothing under Howard to an increasingly worrying 70s level of union based agitation. I ask you, how is this good for the government, and how is it it good for the populace?

    Ray, arguing is pointless, Labor is gone, done and dusted. It doesn’t matter what you say. The Libs will soon hold sway over industrial relations, immigration policies, and common sense will once again prevail.

    Yes, that’s my opinion. And what you say is your opinion.

    As for the snide ‘three days work’ comment, well, no, I don’t need three days to prove you wrong. I read a wide range of published and broadcast media, unlike your preference for the Border Mail and the AFL Weekly

    See you after the next election.

  19. Iain Hall says:

    I have no great love for Heffernan who I think is something of a troglodyte but that was not the point of my rebuttal to your last comment, You think that the Slipper and Thompson things are an invention based entirely upon your political bias and yet you seem to think that Heffernan must be guilty of the alleged behaviour why precisely?

    In any event what is he accused of?
    Calling a Gay man a Poofter?
    Oh please! that is of no consequence in the bigger scheme of things and any equivalence between that and the what Thompson and Slipper are accused of is entirely illusory unless you are a desperate leftist who wants to use anything possible to distract from the bigger scandal in your own team.

  20. Ray Dixon says:

    Oh, you mean this graph from the Financial Review article, GD:

    It speaks for itself GD – the number of days lost due to disputes under Labor has risen since 2007 but is still less than half of what they had reached under Howard.

    The article also states “There were fewer strikes”. Fewer, got it? That’s totally the opposite of what you said.

    That’s your evidence? And that took you 3 days? (4 now)

    And thanks for the backhander re my reading habits but at least I understand what I read and don’t go around misquoting it.

  21. GD says:

    Ray, that’s a rather slanted statistical analysis. The Work Choices legislation took effect in early 2006. The data clearly shows industrial turmoil increased after Rudd dismantled Work Choices and introduced the FWA. The ABS statistics are unequivocal proof that the Work Choices policy was working. However, as with other Howard policies, Labor put it to the knife.

    As for ‘fewer strikes’. Yes, there have been, but the damage has been greater. Which is more relevant?

    I used the term ‘industrial turmoil’ not ‘less strikes’.

    I find it hilarious that you’re counting the days in regard to my replies. Perhaps instead you should have counted the years that your Labor flunky Thompson has avoided a police investigation. Or the number of years it will take a Coalition government to pay back the unnecessary debt incurred under this poor excuse for a Federal government.

  22. Ray Dixon says:

    You’re the one with the slanted view, GD. Your claim that we have “returned to the industrial turmoil of the 1970s” under Rudd & Gillard is disproved by the very evidence you cite. Despite the short-lived – and publicly rejected – unfair WorkChoices legislation being “knifed” by Rudd, the fact is that “industrial turmoil” (by any definition) has not even returned to what it had reached for most of Howard’s 11 year tenure, let alone resembling anything like the strike-ridden period of the 1970s.

    You’ve basically just made a false statement, proved yourself wrong but refused to admit it. That’s increasingly your style lately, GD, and it’s not impressive. I’d suggest you review your even further shift to the extreme right because it looks to me that there’s no point arguing with someone who uses so much subterfuge, rhetoric & bluster.

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