I recently mentioned an experience I had of being criticised in the Senate by a Labor Senator back in 2004 for supporting “fascist” and “evil legislation”. This incident came to my mind again when Labor announced that they will maintain the Building and Construction Commission if they win the election, as this was the subject of the “fascist legislation” I supported.
Indeed, the measures which I supported in June 2004 – after a lot of negotiation and modification and somewhat reluctantly, but none the less willingly and with my eyes open (even though it was 2 o’clock in the morning when the legislation was passed) – had far more protections in place than what is the case with the now, as the Coalition later used their control of the Senate to make it far more hardline.
It reminds me once again that, as with their recent adoption of a long-standing Coalition measure requiring secret ballots before striking and accepting part of the Coalition’s even longer standing policy of gutting unfair dismissal protections, Labor has an amazing ability to suddenly advocate a position that they would have ferociously and vociferously attacked me for if I’d voted for it in the Senate any time in the last ten years.It is also another reminder of how valuable it is to have an independent voice in the Senate that will adopt balanced positions on the basis of evidence and rational principles, rather than blind ideology or political expedience, positioning or pressure. Family First have already shown they can’t handle important balance of power issues, while the Greens are busily courting large trade union donations and positioning themselves as more union than Labor.