The deceit, hysteria and corrupt actions continue to accelerate.

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

A stronger safety new for working Australians

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.

The Coalition has form in this area of course. If you wants some reminders of some of their previous efforts from 2005, revisit these previous posts.

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.

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27 Comments

  1. It seems rather strange for a Queensland senator to be attacking the Government’s position on industrial relations.

    Prior to the Government coming to office, the January 1996 unemployment rate in Queensland was 10.3%. This compares rather poorly to the current Queensland unemployment rate of 4.0%. During this period, real wages have risen by 19.8%.

    With respect to the proposed changes, the Government has indicated its intention to ensure such entitlements as:

    • penalty rates, including for working on public holidays and weekends
    • shift and overtime loadings
    • monetary allowances
    • annual leave loadings
    • public holidays
    • rest breaks
    • incentive-based payments and bonuses

    are “not traded off without adequate compensation” through a new fairness test.

    It’ll be interesting to see whether or not Senator Bartlett intends to oppose the introduction of this new measure.

  2. I presume this statement is aimed at the Labor party and their fascist co-horts the Union movement?: ‘one of the first things it has to do is clean up and ‘de-rort’ our democracy, before it becomes totally entrenched.’.

    The reason I say that is because for a start the Union movement under the ACTU is, essentially, Fascist. And secondly, because with ‘wall-to-wall’ Labor, and coast to coast Labor as well- the only thing facing entrenchment is a one-party state, and a republic built in Labors image with the support of the overbearance of the ACTU.

    An image to be engraved at the upcoming federal election.

    Am i correct in my assumptions?

  3. Thank you for demonstrating my point CU.

    You are right to note the benefits of the previous IR laws have brought over the past 10 years. It was the Democrats that were responsible for putting those IR laws in place, and keeping them there, despite various attempts by the Coalition to rip away some of the very protections they are now expecting to be praised for putting back.

    It’s nice of you to quote from the Coalition’s multi-million dollar advertising (paid for by the public, not them), although it is hard to see how the Coalition can be trusted with “ensuring” these protections are enforced, given that they took them away without warning the first chance they got.

    As the wording of the proposed law changes have not been made public as yet, (despite already being widely advertised as though they are in place), I can’t say I will support every word of them, as the Coalition record is such that one can’t trust them at their word – even when we are paying to be told what ‘their word’ is.

    However, I will obviously support any move back towards the Democrats’ IR laws that I helped put and keep in place over the last 10 years, which is what the Coalition is telling us their new policy involves.

    Gadget – My statement is aimed at the political system, not a specific party. Labor’s record at state level (and past record federally) shows they are just as likely to continue on in the same vein, which is why a newly independent Senate should prioritise this issue – a newly elected Labor government is at risk of just continuing the same rorts to their own benefit on the grounds that ‘the other mob did it to them’. The Senate should also deal with the rorts at federal level first, as this is the direct arena it operates in. This should include the corrupt use of public funds to promote policy proposals of political parties, but there’s plenty more than that which needs addressing.
    Most Labor state governments are degrading democracy just as badly at local level. Certainly Queensland Labor is seriously debasing things – which is made easier for them by the lack of an Upper House. The Senate needs to prioritise de-rorting is because the states often follow or reinforce what the federal level legitimises, as we are now seeing.
    (Your comment about the ACTU is a silly one which just shows you don’t know what ‘fascist’ means, so there’s not much point engaging with you on that point.)

  4. I think this one was easy to predict, along with the ‘generous’ child care rebates we’re suddenly now entitled to. I don’t think the public expect much better from the Liberals anymore.

    It happened last election. Voters were aware there was an attempt to manipulate them with that election’s bribe.

    The only reason the Liberals were relected was because Mark Latham handed that election to them on a platter. Women voters had serious misgivings with Mark Latham. Latham was mouthing off and offending many, not realising that lobbyists, whom he was attempting to impress, do not represent the many voices of the nation.

    I for one felt sick having to vote for Howard in that election. I realised while Latham was mouthing of on issues concerning women, Howard was being disturbingly quiet on the same issues. It was a gamble. And I think it was the right one at the time. It gave women a period of grace before the Liberals revealed their misogynistic tendencies … some distance after the previous election, but too close to the 2007 election for women to forgive them.

    AS for CU’s comments that real wages have risen by 19.8% … that might be the case for professions dominated by men, but women have not experienced this.

  5. And John Howard was treasurer with 11% inflation, 10.2% unemployment and 13% mortgages when he left the ALP with a $9.6 billion deficit in 1983 while simultaneously increasing the tax grab from 25% to over 27%.

    Go figure that CU would be interested in that.

    As for the union heavies Gadget- would you prefer Meredith Hellwoman and the James Hardie criminals who moved off shore to avoid compensation to dying workers, or Greg Combet who got the workers their compensation, forced Meredith Hellwoman to resign and face criminal corporate charges?

    Anything else boys?

  6. OK,
    thanks AB for response. I would reinforce my statement that the Union movement is a jackboot affair; they are indeed all fascist thusly.

    Marilyn;
    In Traralgon, Victoria, a High School is being dissembled because of asbestos. Pupils are attending the school during this process. It is a danger zone of the highest order, if the fascist Union movement is to be beleived.

    The reason that the school keeps going on fire, and that nothing is being done about the kids attending an asbestos removal work zone is because of Labor/Union corruption to do with the site.

    I would suggest that parents are allowing the school to get on fire, so kids will be ultimately kept away from the Labor/Union political danger zone.

    Question is, where is youbueat wonderful Combet/ACTU/Labor et al on this one?

    It is more likely that the driving force behind the James Hardie thing was not Combet, but the civilian. He deserves the credit, not Combet et al.

  7. What absolute rubbish about Traralgon school. I worked for the UTLC for nearly a year and all main union umbrella organisations have a dedicated asbestos unit.

    It has to be handled with great care or risk workers lives. And the stupid stuff was sold by the hell bosses of James Hardie so why blame the unions?

    Jesus, some of you are so pathetic it beggars belief. Are you 12 years old and unable to see beyond the ends of your noses?

  8. Just because you are a Unionist and feirce defender of the code, does not mean you are correct Marilyn. Go there, Traralgon High School. You will see a bomb wreck of a demolition job, childern/youths in the school yard; and no no Unionst within a mile of it; but ASBESTOS floating everywhere.

    Sorry to alter your realities Miss, but what you defend is debauchery and massive lies. Accept this as your aethist faith.

  9. One question that comes with the abuse of government-funded advertising (which isn’t unique to the federal government, by the way) is how best to bring it back under control?

    Any ideas?

  10. I agree it’s not unique to the current federal government, Robert. State governments do the same thing, as did the previous federal Labor government. However,the Coalition at federal level are taking this practice (and plenty of other ones involving using public resources to entrench themselves in power) to new heights/depths – and thus making it easier for state governments and for their successors at federal level to follow down the same path.

    If Labor is elected federally, the early stages will be crucial for putting in reforms, before they get too entrenched and comportable. A strong, independent Senate will be crucial in enabling this to happen.

    As to ideas about how best to stop/reduce the abuse of gvoernment funded advertising, there is a Senate Committee report into government advertising and accountability from 2005 which covers just those issues and provides a good template for how to do it (including a scrutiny role by the Auditor-General, among other things).

    Of course, since the Coalition gained control of the Senate, even having a Senate Inquiry into this topic would be prevented.

  11. Last week, I wrote to Steve Knott – Chief Executive Australian Mines and Metals Association (AMMA)about his comments on ABC 7.30 report and have since provided him with quotations of the Framers of the constitution, such as about “civil rights”, “Common law rights”, etc.
    Today, I received a 26 page response setting out why AMMA is opposing the ALP intentions. Sure the document was dated 22 March 2007 but while it argued about freedom of association, a State “common law right”, it failed further to rely upon State “civil rights” etc.
    to me it appeared to be bashing the ALP rather then being a well balanced document setting out what the relevant State provisions were it had been opposing, etc.

    I am due to publish now;
    INSPECTOR-RIKATI® on IR WorkChoices legislation
    A book about the validity of the High Courts 14-11-2006 decision
    ISBN 978-0-9751760-6-1 (Book-CD), ISBN 978-0-9751760-7-8 (Book-B&W), ISBN 978-0-9751760-8-5 (Book-Colour)

    IN IT I INCLUDE THE AMMA DOCUMENT ALSO AS WELL AS WHY THE SO CALLED WORKCHOICES LEGISLATION IS UNCONSTITUTIONAL AND HOW I VIEW THE JUDGES SWINDLED WORKERS OUT OF THEIR CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS. (on 16 April 2007 I provided the High Court of Australia with a DRAFt chapter 22 so they are aware of what I am on about regarding their judgment)

    This book is neither against employees and/or employers but rather against the unconstitutional conduct having gone on for far too long by all major political parties.

  12. As to advertising spending, perhaps all politicians should be aware that any advertising must be provided for in the budget of the relevant department it was costed for in the Appropriation Bills. As the Framers of the constitution made clear the government could not even increase the rate of taxation in event of a war, once the Appropriation Bills had been passed.
    I have yet to see a politicians to pursue this abuse.
    They all make some noises but well aware that they moment they are in power they will more then likely do the same.
    Where are the politicians seeking that Amanda van Stone repays her about $70,000.00 study fees to learn Mandarin, and speaking, where others have to pay back university fees, and whatever?
    How many more politicians are doing the same?
    also, tax deductions are in a way (de Facto) Appropriation Bills, as they cause moneys belonging to the Consolidated Revenue to be paid out.
    Many politicians criticise others but when will they act themselves to clear up the rot?

  13. Ho hum.
    So Coalition Unity wants to continue the manufa ctured furphy of rorted “low” unemployment figures.
    For the millionth time, the method of calculating unemployment is different to what it was twenty years ago.
    Today you only have to work an hour or two a week and you are considered “employed”.
    Scrapping together a couple of hours week is NOT the same as having full time secure work. Coalition DOES know this, but like so many of
    CU’s ilk, will peddle the fallacy of low unemployment, anyway.
    The apropriate measure, as I understand it from a member of federal parliament, is the “underemployment” figure, which is, of course, much higher than the so called “unemployment’ figure used by CU and others.
    Am surprised Andrew didn’t pull you up on this pooint for your romancing, CU!

  14. PW,

    Over 276,000 new jobs have been created since the introduction of the Government’s workplace reforms, 96% of which have been full-time. The Government’s record shows their legislative agenda has delivered in its promise to create more full-time jobs.

  15. I wouldn’t have voted for John Howard at the last election if the devil incarnate was running against him.

    John Howard is setting his cap at double income families again – only this time he’s giving child care rebates and tax cuts to those who aren’t quite as well off as the high income earners whose vote he bought last time.

    He’s also bribing the elderly with a tiny financial bonus – not much hope of votes there, I don’t think.

  16. I can’t believe that it is now apparently acceptable in Australian politics that people who are ‘genuinely’ on welfare for whatever reasons do not require any increase in payments, given the increases of rents, food, petrol,etc. Obviously, this is why people are being forced to work, whether it is physically possible or not. The ones that they haven’t been able to force into work are the ones they obviously couldn’t give a damn about. I would have thought that homelessness may have rated a little government concern, but, obviously they can just crawl into a hole somewhere (anywhere as long as it’s not visible) and rot. Liberals gave vast sums of money to overseas aid and yet they continue to deny the fact that people in their own backyards are also suffering, sorry, only people who do work suffer, eh!

    The Liberal party should be ashamed of themselves., but then, you have to have a conscience to feel shame. They won’t be getting my vote! Let’s see what Labour does!

  17. Coral

    When media were showing footage of Mark Latham, shouting down a single mother in a hall full of barracking plebs, any other single mother viewing that footage would have not choice but to vote Liberal, who at that stage were staying suspiciously quiet on the issue.

    It got to the point of self-survival.

  18. Then why are not unemployment figures calculated by the old method reproduced, in parenthesis?
    Every time the rorted ones are trotted out we could compare them to the ones calculated in the old way and realise how we are lied to.
    Or is a bit like the civilian death count in Iraq. They are now prevented from even calculating this (for fear of political embarrassment)?

  19. Coral, I am with you at last. I wouldn’t vote for Howard and his thugs if the pits of hell opened up under me.

    This budget is another example of the great hoax and gadget, I am not in any union.

  20. Jan – I am somewhat at a loss in understadniog your point. The single age pension was $347.10 per fortnight in March 1997. Today it is $525.10 per fortnight, and increase of 51%.

    Over that time CPI has increased about 25%.

    PW – however one counts the numbers i like to count the dollars. I suggest budget Statement 5 as a resource – no doubt company tax is signficantly increased but perosnal tax also – ergo more tax measn more peole working however you cut the mustard – particularly when the tax cust of previosun yeara are taken into account. While i have no doubt figuresa re cooked to give a favourable impression – money flowing into the CF cant be cooked (one hopes anyway) – individaul tax can only be increasing if theres more of them working – net of bracekt creep of course.

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  22. Hi Ken,

    The actual point that I am making is that there are people in this country who are homeless, often because they either can’t get rental accomodation, can’t afford rental accomodation, unable to work and paying up to two thirds of their payment in rent alone when there is little or no emergency accomodation available. There are many ‘genuinely’ disabled also who have extra expenses, i.e. doctors, specialists, pathologist visits on a regular basis that incur a number of extra expenses, i.e. fuel, parking meters, gap payments which are not claimable on medicare, etc., beinf that a number of services are no longer bulk billing.

    I believe that the budget should have made some provision in these areas to make life perhaps a bit easier and I don’t really believe that, in the case of genuine welfare recipients that the australian people would have a problem with that.

    Another area of concern is indigenous health, welfare, and homelessness. In this day and age is it really good enough that the lifespan of any part of our community can be up to 20-30 years shorter? Why are we not seeing that as an urgent situation that needs investigation and input. I will be interested to know your thoughts Ken.

  23. and just how long dose it take and how many lies dose it take untill we realise just how mr howard works
    can we realy trust this govt .
    we all know that they will say and do whatever it takes to get into power.
    how far will they go to retain power.
    Coalition Unity 276 000 jobs mmmm,i seam to remember that this govt counts anyone who works more than 15 hours per week as a full time worker.i wonder just how many of those ppl are realy in full time work.

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