After giving no indication of its intentions during the 2004 election campaign, the Coalition makes some extremist changes to the industrial relations laws, a key one of which is to totally remove the crucial ‘no disadvantage test’ attached to AWA and almost completely remove other aspects of the safety net protecting lower income Australians.
Now, six months before the next election, the Coalition says it will introduce a ‘fairness test’, which restores some, but certainly not all, of that safety net. It has even used this as a reason to run a multi-million dollar advertising campaign with the totally dishonest headline of
This is akin to someone breaking both your arms, and then insisting they’re doing you a favour when they offer to help heal one of them.
As if inflicting this deliberate, pre-meditated deceit on the Australian people wasn’t bad enough, the government is once again using taxpayers’ money to fund this advertising campaign, even though it is clearly aimed at promoting Coalition policy.
This of course is standard practice now for this government, which used tens of millions of dollars of taxpayers’ money promoting their workplace relations policies in 2005. They have now changed their position, and are spending other people’s money to tell them about it.
Indeed, according to this article – PM to spend millions on IR ad blitz – in The Australian newspaper, “the Government could not commission its own campaign without changing the laws.” Changing the law just so you’ve got an excuse to legitimise spending tens of millions of dollars to tell people about your policy has to be a new low.
Of course, none of these law changes being advertised have even been introduced into Parliament, let alone passed by the Senate – another sign of the total contempt for the Senate, and presumably the supine nature of all Coalition Senators.
If the Senate can be made independent of government again after the election – whoever has formed the government – one of the first things it has to do is clean up and ‘de-rort’ our democracy, before it becomes totally entrenched.
PS If you’re wanting to read about the actual substance of the issues involved in workplace relations policy, as opposed to the endless newspaper columns analysing how clever or otherwise the various tactics of the politcal parties are, I recommend this post at Club Troppo.