Open Labor Conference thread

Meanwhile, up here in Brisvegas, I’ve just noticed on my stumble home from the Valley Jazz Festival, The Curious-Snail headline for tomorrow is framed by a huge picture of Rudd, and the headline reads something like “This man will help you”. (I think there was just a tad more Rudd cheering to it, but I’ve had a few gin and tonics!)… The Queensland branch of the Murdoch Empire has obviously got the message.

Update: Here’s the actual headline, now that I’ve bought the paper:

My name is Kevin, I’m from Queensland and I can help

Check out this report puff piece:

QUEENSLANDER Kevin Rudd painted himself as Australia’s man of the future as he unveiled key election themes aimed at catapulting Labor into power.
In a landmark 45-minute speech, the Opposition Leader told party faithful that only “modern” Labor could solve the nation’s challenges and accused Prime Minister John Howard of being stuck in the past.

Mr Rudd launched into a sweeping speech about the choice Australian voters would soon face with an election due in about six months.

“There is a deep mood for change in our nation,” he told a packed auditorium at the Sydney Convention and Exhibition Centre.

“Our goal in one sentence is this: to build in Australia a long-term prosperity without throwing the fair go out the back door. That is the Labor way.”

The build-up to the address was enormous and Mr Rudd entered the auditorium to a new catchy campaign song and a standing ovation.

On the lectern, and behind the stage on large projection screens, was Labor’s new slogan of “fresh thinking”.

During the speech, Mr Rudd said repeatedly that Labor represented the future and that by contrast the Federal Government was out of touch and Mr Howard stuck in a time warp.

“Mr Howard does not believe in a single idea that did not appear on black and white television,” he said.

Mr Rudd, who is 18 years younger than Mr Howard, is expected to keep hammering this theme in the run up to the election. He said Mr Howard had been in office too long.

“He is prepared to do anything, to say anything in the months before an election in order to cling on to naked political power because that is what fires his soul,” Mr Rudd said.

Mr Howard struck back, dismissing the personal criticism and saying the speech lacked substance.

“Mr Rudd’s biggest responsibility was to outline to the Australian people a plan to keep the Australian economy strong and prosperous into the future, and he completely ignored it,” he said.

While there was no major policy announcements in the speech, Mr Rudd ramped up his attack against the Government over climate change, education and industrial relations.

He vowed that if Labor won the next election then the Government’s WorkChoices laws would be axed “lock, stock and barrell”.

The speech came on the first morning of the crucial three-day conference that will lay the platform for Labor’s policy at the next election.

Today the conference will debate the two most controversial issues: industrial relations and a push to allow new uranium mines.

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81 comments on “Open Labor Conference thread
  1. mick says:

    Question to all the Rudd staffers out there: where the hell is the YouTube footage of Kev’s speech? Did you guys miss the Web 2.0 memo. Oh wait, if you did miss the memo then you probably aren’t reading this either.

  2. Kim says:

    They missed the memo, mick!

    Mark and I stopped in at the Night Owl on the walk home from the Valley Jazz Festival and saw the paper up there – if I had a scanner, I’d scan the thing – but…! – the story in the paper doesn’t get the visceral impact across like the front page – it basically says “Vote Rudd – he’s from here”. That’s a very powerful message around these parts!

  3. mick says:

    Kim, I don’t think that “The Oz” branch of Murdoch’s glorious empire are playing ball. A brief glance at the Weekend Oz’s headlines shows that they don’t intend to give Rudd a free pass.

  4. mick says:

    Kim, you don’t carry a scanner around with you in the Val? Please tell me that you were at least packing a Blackberry?

  5. Kim says:

    No, they’ve been nuts over the past few days. The Anzac Day edition which basically no one would have read was wall to wall “Rudd is TEH UNION PUPPET” stories. But who gives a rats – do the voters in the marginals read it? They will be picking up the C-M tomorrow, if only to read the Broncos game reports and get the form guide, and every newsagent in Queensland will have Rudd’s smiling visage and the headline “This man will help you” displayed. Gotta be worth something.

  6. Kim says:

    Kim, you don’t carry a scanner around with you in the Val? Please tell me that you were at least packing a Blackberry?

    I’m awaiting the next generation of Prosthetic Leg 3.0 which will have such facilities installed in the knee joint, mick.

  7. Frank Calabrese says:

    I would expect the Curious Snal to play up the local angle, Kev being a local etc.

    It was a similar situation here in WA when Beazley was leader, especially during Latham’s meltdown/resignation which took place as the STate Election Campaign was in full swing as having Beazley in Canberra would assist the ALP locally – mind you that theory was proven wrong when Colin mentioned his Canal. And yes, the current Opposition leader has floated his idea for a non-costed Pipeline from the Fitzory river to Perth without consoulting his party colleagurs, just like Colin did. Do the WA LIbs have a Death wish or what ?

  8. Kim says:

    Frank, they have played up the local angle before with stories about Rudd and Swan, but this really is over the top free publicity. The kids at ALP headquarters would be cheering right now, if they weren’t so boring that they would all be asleep at 10am on a Friday night.

  9. Frank Calabrese says:

    I’m assuming the CM is the only local paper in town (much like the Worst Austrayan) that they are trying to make their mark as the “Voice of Queensland”.

    And speaking of the Rudd Theme Song, you can listen to it here:

    http://media.news.com.au/multimedia/2007/04/27_labor/index.html?skin=australian

  10. Kim says:

    Oh no, it’s far too late at night to listen to a Rudd theme song!

  11. Kim says:

    But the Courier-Mail has been around forever (or at least since the 1850s when it was the Brisbane Courier). Brisbane, in my life time, used to have three papers, the C-M, the Daily Sun and the Telegraph (an afternoon paper). Since 1991 (?) or thereabouts, there’s just been the C-M, the local Murdoch franchise. Chris Mitchell cut his teeth on it, with his “Manning Clark was a traitor who received the Order of Lenin” campaign before he took over the Australian…

  12. David Rubie says:

    Hello, my name is Kevin. I’ve got your saggy, old man cojones in my left fist and the unions in the right one. I’m squeezing, Mr Howard, and not even breaking a sweat.

  13. Kim says:

    your saggy, old man cojones

    Dessicated coconuts?

  14. pipsickle says:

    But the Rudd theme song is sung by Bernie Hayes! It’s never too late for a bit of Bernie…

  15. arleeshar says:

    Not to be a total post pimp, but I have made some comments about the theme song’s blandityover here.

  16. Christine Keeler says:

    And yes, the current Opposition leader has floated his idea for a non-costed Pipeline from the Fitzory river to Perth without consoulting his party colleagurs, just like Colin did. Do the WA LIbs have a Death wish or what ?

    God help us.

  17. Pavlov's Cat says:

    it basically says “Vote Rudd – he’s from hereâ€?. That’s a very powerful message around these parts!

    Hm. Here in Adders it’s more a case of ‘Don’t vote for Rudd, he thinks here is a waste of space.’

    Which is a very powerful message around these parts, and may yet come back to bite him on the arse on election night. It’ll be very interesting to see the numbers here.

    I did an online survey the other day that asked what my biggest reservation would be about voting for Rudd, and I couldn’t decide between ‘I don’t like his brand and practice of Christianity* and don’t trust him to keep it out of government’ and ‘He has openly expressed his contempt for the entire state of South Australia — just imagine what his plans are for it.’

    *Partly as per Kim’s comment on the Saturday Salon thread —

    He met his wife, who’s made a mint from the sufferings of the unemployed and the policies of the Howard government, at a bloody Christian shindig at ANU!

    — which reminded me that he’s an awful lot too much like the Happy Clappers and their ‘God wants you to be rich’ line for my taste, apart from anything else.

  18. Joe Hockey on why Australians shouldn’t trust the Workplace Advocate: http://www.abc.net.au/news/newsitems/200704/s1908748.htm

  19. Christine Keeler says:

    Federal Workplace Relations Minister Joe Hockey says he will not release data that shows the effects of Australian Workplace Agreements (AWAs) on employees because it does not give a fair picture.

    Ah yes Gummo, not fair at all. Of course you can’t compare apples with oranges, or cats with gorillas, or eels with trabants, or something.

    Given the lack of empirical evidence, one is given to wonder how it is that Jokin’ Joe and the Crodent can stump up and down the country telling us WC is the best thing since sliced apples oranges bread.

    In the latest instalment of the World’s Fairest System, the workers at Vopak are obviously just ungrateful wretches who don’t know how lucky they are:

    A dozen retrenched port workers have told of their dismay at being given 15 minutes to leave their work site after up to 26 years of service.

    Twelve men, who have worked for between 17 and 26 years at Vopak Terminals Sydney in Port Botany, were told by management yesterday that their services were no longer required for operational reasons. The men say they will be replaced by casual staff.

    They say they were given 15 minutes to clean out their lockers before they were marched off the site without being able to have showers first.

    http://www.smh.com.au/news/national/no-notice-sacked-for-operational-reasons/2007/04/27/1177459936545.html

    And, amazingly, the company wanted them to sign AWAs because it was “struggling for survival”, despite the fact that the international group made a 31% profit last year http://www.vopak.com/press/137_832.php . They wouldn’t sign, so it was out the door.

    We all know the Crodent or Jokin’ Joe can’t possibly give a running commentary on developments in every Australian workplace, so I think we’ll just flick this one off as more baseless propoganda designed to frighten kittens.

    (Originally reported in RTS http://www.roadtosurfdom.com/2007/04/27/2139/ )

  20. Why the hell aren’t they streaming the conference – at least the audio – over the internet?

  21. The best evidence is the information from the Australian Bureau of Statistics that says if you are on an AWA you are earning twice what you’d be earning on an award, Mr Hockey said

    Oh my this is funny!

    Joe. Mate. If you’re going to lie, you have to tell a lie that people want to believe.

    I imagine this figure includes all the top bosses on millions who are on individual contracts. ‘Cause my wages sure never doubled in the jobs where I was on AWAs!

    So it’s pretty cool that we’ll all be able to strike without the Rudd Government breathing down our necks. Oh, wait…

  22. Christine Keeler says:

    David, it’s the next best thing to saying ‘the best evidence we’ve found is here, under this rug, right next to the claret stain.’

  23. Pavlov's Cat says:

    Why the hell aren’t they streaming the conference – at least the audio – over the internet?

    Robert, I heard this being talked about on the radio on Thursday by a couple of disgrunted journalists. Apparently they (the ALP not the disgruntled journalists) want to tidy up and airbrush everything that gets said and done before putting it out publicly through the more conventional channels.

    That was their story, anyway. No idea if it’s true.

  24. Pavlov's Cat says:

    ‘disgruntled’

    (Though ‘disgrunted’ is actually rather good.)

  25. Christine Keeler says:

    It’s like debarking the dog. Cruel and vindictive obviously, but disgrunting can be occasionally useful in the case of such breeds as Ackershire Terriers, Pitbolts, and Albrechthunds

  26. BearCave says:

    In case you’re drowning in a sea of rhetoric from following Kevin Rudd’s speech, allow me to critically interpret some important sentences:

    “Australia is approaching a “Crossroads” – honouring our heritage, celebrating what we have achieved but always anticipating what we still must do to secure our future”

    I think “crossroadsâ€? is a highly useful metaphor for contemplating the future as it recognises “change processâ€? and phases of decision-making we all make when in transition.

    However, because I advocate the concept of “personal development” in my writing, I’m less enthusiastic about the following comparison made between Mr. Rudd’s party and the conservatives:

    Labor, Mr Rudd said, stood for the country and the planet where the conservatives “stand for their three great ennobling values of me, myself and I”.

    In reponse, Ed from The Australian asserts:

    “Mr Rudd’s speech was high on rhetoric but light on substance.â€?

    For once, Ed gets a free kick, because I challenge Mr. Rudd’s use of “Me, Myself and I” in the context of only being “an ennobling value” of aristocrats, rather than “an important and urgent, individual personality balancing actâ€? that needs to be valued to successfully balance transition against risk, (to borrow the wording of former recent author and Deputy Prime Minister Brian Howe).

    Small Business author Michael E. Gerber explains the lopsidedness that exists between three individual personalities (what I will define “Me, Myself & Iâ€?) inherent in all of us – and how this lopsidedness affects the balance between transition and risk.

    These personalities are the the entrepreneurial (competency in turning the most trivial condition into exceptional opportunity), the managerial (compentency in pragmatism) and the technical (compentency in getting things done).

    Because few of us are compentent enough to perform such an inherent balancing act, our reliance on “the other”, our relationships, becomes important to provide the balance needed to manage risk.

    This is a synthesis of ideas likely to be overlooked by Mr. Rudd by giving priority to lowest common denominatorâ€? criticisms” of the conservatives, not dissimilar to the rhetoric used by Mark Latham.

    My full article is on my blog.

  27. In case you’re drowning in a sea of rhetoric from following Kevin Rudd’s speech…

    …you can get a concrete buoyancy vest at BearCave’s blog, apparently. I’ll keep that in mind for when I decide to get around to reading the full transcript.

  28. Kim says:

    Here’s the actual headline, now that I’ve bought the paper:

    My name is Kevin, I’m from Queensland and I can help

    Also, Trevor Cormack has some good posts on the strike issue and Vopak:

    http://solidarity.redrag.net/2007/04/28/union-protest-strike/

    http://solidarity.redrag.net/2007/04/27/vopak-operational-reasons/

  29. Kim says:

    Dr Cat, I’m wary of voting for someone who says this so much:

    “Not on your nelly,” he said.

    http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,20867,21634452-601,00.html

    Plus, yeah, the religion thing.

    And I’m not happy at all that the farce of the Howard employment services policy is likely to stay – wife, etc.

    If only Gilly had run!

  30. polluted skies says:

    Pavlov’s Cat wrote -“Apparently they (the ALP not the disgruntled journalists) want to tidy up and airbrush everything that gets said and done before putting it out publicly through the more conventional channels.”

    Brrrrrrrrrr…… this is not good news .
    New Labor , New Kev , tight message control , stay on target , capture the moment media releases are all sordid and I’d have thought somewhat discredited ideas.
    Why have a conference at all?

  31. Geoff Honnor says:

    “If only Gilly had run!”

    She wouldn’t have got up – hence the Rudd/Gillard ticket.

    Sure the conference is stage-managed – they have been for decades as Alan Ramsey pointed out in the SMH today and sure, Rudd is addicted to spin and media management. But, if you want Howard out, this is the best opportunity that has offered in ten years.

    I’d much rather that energy went in to making that happen rather than indulging innerurbanati progressive agenda spats – with pretty much zero voter appeal – at Conference.

  32. David Rubie says:

    I’m with Geoff – there will be time for other things later, the main priority is ridding the country of Howard and so utterly destabilising the Liberal party they are forced to change for the better.

  33. glen says:

    apparently Rudd is launching a book at Gleebooks on Tuesday. I am working. Anyone got any questions you’d like asked (that is, if the opportunity presents itself so I can exploit it like a neoliberal drone)?

    These personalities are the the entrepreneurial (competency in turning the most trivial condition into exceptional opportunity), the managerial (compentency in pragmatism) and the technical (compentency in getting things done).

    pfffft, nonsense!!!!

    they sound like the competencies of some brainwashed neoliberal drone who is saturated in a culture organised an exploitative resource economy (ie see every contingency as an resource-opportunity which must be exploited and then demands the necessary logistical skills for such exploitation).

    “Me, myself and I” is a direct attack against the stupidity of the individualist materialism that refuses to take into account the ways we are part of the social and ecological environment. That is, every ‘opportunity’ is an exploitation of an ‘other’ (be it social or ecological) and this eventually a mortgage of our own future. I believe a culture of sustainability is meant to combat this…

  34. I wonder if Rudd wrote that part of the speech while listening to Joan Armatrading.

  35. John Greenfield says:

    I hate to say I told y’all so. But I told y’all so. Rudd’s ascension is the apotheosis of the neocon revolution. But the Useful Idiots will perform feats of cognitive dissonance that will stun multitudes between now and the election.

    This attempt to conflate “Fresh Thinking” with “It’s Time” is enough to make one book a seat on the same plane that Phillip Adams, David Williamson and the Usual Luvvies will no doubt promise to board should the election not go well for them.

  36. Megan says:

    Ah, if I got a dollar every time some Murdoch conceived news article on Kevin Rudd mentioned somewhere that his latest speech was ‘lacking in substance’…. And to think I got accused by an OZ blog moderator of implying The Australian’s ‘blanket coverage’ of the battle between Howard and Rudd was biased. Of course Howard is not lacking in substance, ooh no! – of the highly toxic, radio-active kind.

  37. Kim says:

    She wouldn’t have got up – hence the Rudd/Gillard ticket.

    Geoff, allow a girl her fantasies please!

  38. Frank Calabrese says:

    ALP Conference Theme now on the ALP Website as an MP3.

    [audio src="http://www.alp.org.au/download/now/laborpartysong.mp3" /]

    I note that the Curious Snail aren’t too happy wth the 12 months Paternity Leave plan. And Business is predictabley upset with the IR changes.

  39. blacklight says:

    ok that was scary

    it is sooooooooo Tony Blair..

  40. St Margaret says:

    Actually Frank Calabrese, that theme song strikes me as quite diabolical. It sounds for a minute like it might go into overdrive over how Kevin could be a great changer of the weather when really it is just talking about a change in the weather – who said anything about Kevin or God having anything to do with it?

  41. Katz says:

    Hatred of Howard is widespread.

    One of the consequences of Howard hatred is that it has provided Rudd with an opportunity to slaughter some ALP sacred cows.

    Two of the biggest ALP sacred cows were support for the Industrial Relations regime established in the Harvester Decision way back in 1907, and the Three Mines Uranium Policy.

    No doubt Rudd would like to slaughter some more ALP sacred cows, notably the institutional power of the union movement within the ALP and the ethos of nanny-statism. But he has left those issues alone, for the time being.

    Time will tell whether or not Rudd has damaged ALP culture to the extent that members will cease to belong and unions will disaffiliate. My guess is that these acts of desertion are of little moment in the context of modern politics.

    Rudd is outsourcing the conscience of the ALP. The party is now nakedly doing what it has done surreptitiously ever since the Hawke era: acting as an agent of political influence for whatever interests are prepared to give it material support, which for most is financial, but for media interests is in the form of favourable coverage.

    Most of those sacred cows that Rudd slaughtered were pretty sick. You’ll never see their like again in the ALP.

    Howard’s hatefulness has allowed a major cultural revolution in the ALP.

    That may be Howard’s most enduring legacy to Australia.

  42. Howard’s hatefulness has allowed a major cultural revolution in the ALP.

    That may be Howard’s most enduring legacy to Australia.

    Surely the responsibility lies with those who allow themselves to hate him so much?

  43. Katz says:

    DJ, it was an analysis, not a sermon.

    I don’t give a rat’s sphincter what ALP members decide to do with their own party.

    In any case, it’s the hatred that now motivates swing voters (that’s what I meant by “widespread”) in Australia that has given Rudd electoral room to manoeuvre his party to the dry side.

  44. Anthony says:

    “One of the consequences of Howard hatred is that it has provided Rudd with an opportunity to slaughter some ALP sacred cows. Two of the biggest ALP sacred cows were support for the Industrial Relations regime established in the Harvester Decision way back in 1907”

    I’m not sure you can count the IR regime as it existed in 1907 (the time of the Harvester decision) or at various time later in the twentieth century as an ‘ALP sacred cow’.

    The system was largely established by Victorian (both meanings) liberals distressed at class conflict, and the organised labour movement was quite sceptical about its advantages. At various times – eg, the 1960s – many unions were quite happy to bargain outside of the regime. And, ultimately, it was the Hawke/Keating governments that moved away from the fairly centralised system that emerged mid-century to encourage enterprise bargaining, underpinned by an award safety net.

    Rudd and Gillard sound only as though they’re moving back to a modified version of that enterprise bargaining system, albeit with a slightly more up-to-date set of minimum standards.

    So disclaimer: no sacred cows appear to have been harmed in the staging of this conference.

  45. Katz says:

    At various times – eg, the 1960s – many unions were quite happy to bargain outside of the regime.

    So? All parties knew that if these negotiations broke down, a system of arbitration existed as a backstop. It was impossible to bargain outside the regime.

    In any case, the system in the 60s was call the Commonwealth Conciliation and Arbritration Commission.

    The labour movement was to a large extent invented by the Arbitration system because it was necessary for workers to be represented by a union in order to gain a hearing. This requirement resulted in an enormous increase in the number of unionsed workers after 1907.

  46. In any case, it’s the hatred that now motivates swing voters (that’s what I meant by “widespreadâ€?) in Australia that has given Rudd electoral room to manoeuvre his party to the dry side.

    Katz, my gut tells me this is wrong. I don’t think the swing voters, who do appear to be abandoning Mr Howard (if the polls are reliable), hate Mr Howard in the same way that someone who routinely uses the demeaning name ‘Ratty’ for him does.

    It’s not their hatred that allows Mr Rudd to move the ALP to the right, but their own political leanings. Mr Rudd no doubt sees his moves to the right as moving the ALP closer to the views of a majority of Australians, and away from the views of those who routinely hate Mr Howard. Apart from Medicare, I don’t think most voters in Australia care much at all for most ALP sacred cows.

    I personally think that the gutting of the right to strike is a rotten thing to do. But it won’t lose Mr Rudd a single vote that would otherwise have gone to him. Those sections of the union movement who are appalled by this move of Mr Rudd’s will still loyally work for the removal of Mr Howard from office.

    My comment was also meant to be analysis. You said that

    Howard’s hatefulness has allowed a major cultural revolution in the ALP.

    which I think is incorrect. It’s the response of people who either hate or oppose Mr Howard that affects the ALP.

    If those who hate or oppose Mr Howard refused to support Mr Rudd’s agenda, then, at the cost of losing the upcoming election, they would have the chance of convincing the ALP and the voters of Australia that a more left-wing policy was appropriate.

    Or, they could decide (as they mostly appear to be) that the removal of Mr Howard is more important than pulling society and the ALP to the left, no matter how unacceptable they find some of Mr Rudd’s policies.

    But whichever decision they make, it denies their agency to say that ‘Howard’s hatefulness’ is the deciding factor.

    BTW, from the clips I heard of the National Conference, Mr Rudd is not very convincing at delivering a set-piece speech. This won’t directly affect the election, which is mostly TV-driven, but might hurt him in trying to dominate the House.

  47. Katz says:

    It’s not their [swing voters’] hatred that allows Mr Rudd to move the ALP to the right, but their own political leanings.

    Utterly naive. (Then your repeat the error later in the post.)

    It’s the response of people who either hate or oppose Mr Howard that affects the ALP.

    The word “affects” is startlingly vague. Of course in a democracy the voters decide who wins. But parties are renowned for formulating policy with ultimate popularity as only a subsidiary driver of policy. It so happens that in this present case the ALP heavyweights are so keen to rid themselves of Howard they are prepared to dump much tradition, principle and habit.

    Rudd isn’t combating swing voters in the ALP Federal Party Conference. He’s slugging it out with factionalised party heavyweights.

    These heavyweights sense that Ratty is on the nose with the punters and they [the heavyweights] are prepared to put a clothes-peg on their nose and accept Rudd’s nostrums.

    But whichever decision they [voters] make, it denies their agency to say that ‘Howard’s hatefulness’ is the deciding factor.

    Agency. How cute. The punters don’t have agency in this until they vote. However, I know that focus groups have been reporting back to the ALP that Howard stinks like rotten fish.

  48. Anthony says:

    “It was impossible to bargain outside the regime.”

    No, plenty of workers enjoyed over-award conditions in the 1960s and early 1970s precisely because it was always possible to bargain outside of the system for conditions above the award. The fear at that time was that the arbitration and conciliation system was becoming irrelevant because what was developing was a de facto enterprise bargianing system. (Such a system always bubbled along beneath the centralised system: how many awards were largely ‘consent awards’ or ‘enterprise awards’ in any case?).

    “The labour movement was to a large extent invented by the Arbitration system because it was necessary for workers to be represented by a union”

    No doubt union preference clauses and the closed shop under the Arbitration Acts led to a high union density rate in Australia for much of the 20th century, but to equate a high union density with the ‘invention’ of the ‘labour movement’ seems far fetched. The labour movement was strong and militant prior to the 1904 Act. To claim the 1904 Act or the 1907 Harvester judgement, which was in fact overturned on appeal to the High Court (and the agricultural implement makers union didn’t manage to get an award from the Arbitration Court until the 1920s), somehow ‘invented’ the labour movement seems a bit bizarre. Workers were collectively bargaining in the 19th century or even, in craft-based industries, imposing union rules on management fairly unilaterally.

  49. Katz says:

    (Such a system always bubbled along beneath the centralised system: how many awards were largely ‘consent awards’ or ‘enterprise awards’ in any case?).

    True, but they were usually registered with the CACC.

    I admit I exaggerated about the Arbitration system creating the Labour movement. However, it is true to say that there was a massive growth in union membership and in the creation of new unions that represented the previously unorganised, unskilled sectors of the workforce after 1907, and especially after 1911. (Sorry I can’t post those figures at the moment, but I will tomorrow.)

  50. It’s not their [swing voters’] hatred that allows Mr Rudd to move the ALP to the right, but their own political leanings.

    Utterly naive. (Then your repeat the error later in the post.)

    What’s naive? Suggesting that Mr Rudd is moving the ALP’s policies close to what he thinks the majority of voters support?

    These heavyweights sense that Ratty is on the nose with the punters and they [the heavyweights] are prepared to put a clothes-peg on their nose and accept Rudd’s nostrums.

    Yes, that’s just what I’m saying. Their only other option is to oppose Rudd and probably cede the election in trying to persuade the ALP and the country to a more left-wing policy. They won’t, and their decision to accept much less than they want is their decision, not forced on them by Mr Howard’s “hatefulness”.

    Agency. How cute. The punters don’t have agency in this until they vote. However, I know that focus groups have been reporting back to the ALP that Howard stinks like rotten fish.

    So the voters don’t have agency, yet the ALP’s focus groups feverishly try to find out what they think? You don’t think that these focus groups are a direct recognition of the fact that voters do have agency, and are an attempt to find out what they will do with it?

    I’d want to hear more details about the focus groups reports, especially as to whether ‘stinks like rotten fish’ means that people who previously voted for Mr Howard and now plan to vote against him are using phrases with that level of vehemence, or whether it merely illustrates your own dislike of him.

  51. Anthony says:

    “True, but they were usually registered with the CACC.”

    Obviously consent awards and enterprise awards were registered, but my wider point was a lot of over-award bargaining in the 1960s and early 1970s went on outside of the system: that is, as unregistered collective agreements – largely because militant and powerful sections of the labour movement didn’t see the CAC as serving their interests.

    You’re right that one of the main points of the system in the first few decades of the century was to extend some of the gains of already organised labour to unorganised labour, rather than to” invent the labour movement” per se

  52. Frank Calabrese says:

    As Predicted, Post Coverage of the Conference is decidedly Anti-ALP, despite Rupert’s Anointing.

    http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/

  53. Katz says:

    Yes, that’s just what I’m saying. Their only other option is to oppose Rudd and probably cede the election in trying to persuade the ALP and the country to a more left-wing policy. They won’t, and their decision to accept much less than they want is their decision, not forced on them by Mr Howard’s “hatefulnessâ€?.

    My formulation maximises the choice (“agency”, if you like) of the ALP apparat. It’s their decision whether they wish to dump some or all of their principles in order to woo swing voters.

    There’s nothing new about this process. Way back in 1969, Whitlam hissed at Jim Cairns, “There’s the bastard who cost me the election.” That was over Cairns’s outright opposition to Australian involvment in the war in Vietnam. The ALP had shilly-shallied over it, but Cairns came out strongly against it, with negative electoral consequences for the aLP.

    There are different levels of hatred and contempt. Just because person X doesn’t have as much contempt as person Y for someone or something doesn’t mean that person X isn’t motivated by hatred and contempt.

    And then this. DJ:

    So the voters don’t have agency, yet the ALP’s focus groups feverishly try to find out what they think?

    Me:

    The punters don’t have agency in this [ALP policy] until they vote.

    A sensible person would immediately perceive :

    a. DJ’s substitution of a contextual, contingent formulation (mine) for an absolute, universal one (his).

    and/or

    b. A definition of “agency” that is so broad that it becomes meaningless.

  54. My formulation maximises the choice (â€?agencyâ€?, if you like) of the ALP apparat. It’s their decision whether they wish to dump some or all of their principles in order to woo swing voters.

    You mean, I was right to say:

    whichever decision they make, it denies their agency to say that ‘Howard’s hatefulness’ is the deciding factor.

    in response to you saying:

    Howard’s hatefulness has allowed a major cultural revolution in the ALP.

    A sensible person would immediately perceive :

    a. DJ’s substitution of a contextual, contingent formulation (mine) for an absolute, universal one (his).

    and/or

    b. A definition of “agencyâ€? that is so broad that it becomes meaningless.

    Right, so even though the ALP is trying very hard to find out what people think right now, so they can alter their policies and positions to suit right now, voters won’t have any agency until the election?

    Perhaps a sensible person would realise that your “contextual, contingent foundation” is too narrow. The opinions of swinging voters are affecting the ALP today, and in our poll-driven politics they do so every single day. It’s not as if the ALP waits for the campaign launch to decide how it’s going to appeal to swinging voters!

    The desires, prejudices and ambitions of those swinging voters are being finely calculated and appealed to by the ALP at this very moment. They, not Mr Howard, are driving what the ALP is doing, and your original statement about ‘Howard’s hatefulness’ reveals an all-too-common desire to moan about the more right-wing of the two pro-capitalist parties, instead of a desire to actually work out what is going on, and how to get some power.

  55. Katz says:

    My original formulation:

    One of the consequences of [widespread] Howard hatred is that it has provided Rudd with an opportunity to slaughter some ALP sacred cows.

    DJ’s fantasia on it:

    They, not Mr Howard, are driving what the ALP is doing, They, not Mr Howard, are driving what the ALP is doing.

    Note how I make the agents the people who hate Howard. DJ, however, twists this formulation into a statement that asserts that Howard is driving the actions of the ALP, and then criticises me for his own misbegotten formulation.

    Oh, the frustration of it all.

    Perhaps a sensible person would realise that your “contextual, contingent foundationâ€? is too narrow. The opinions of swinging voters are affecting the ALP today, and in our poll-driven politics they do so every single day. It’s not as if the ALP waits for the campaign launch to decide how it’s going to appeal to swinging voters!

    Sigh.

    Again. The choice is the Party’s about whether to chase votes of a certain kind, and how to do it.

  56. Katz says:

    Some people find vegetables hateful. that doesn’t mean that vegetables hate those people.

    hatefulness, obnoxiousness, objectionableness (the quality of being hateful)

    Hatefulness means the quality of being obnoxious, i.e., being hated by others. That is, others do the hating, not the “hateful person”.

    Hatefulness does not mean the act of hating.

    Changes the meaning quite a bit, doesn’t it?

  57. Changes the meaning quite a bit, doesn’t it?

    No, it confirms the original meaning I attributed to the words. I didn’t say anything about Mr Howard hating people.

    I criticised the way you used the words ‘Howard’s hatefulness’.

    ‘Howard’s hatefulness’ clearly implies that there is some quality about him that necessarily inspires hate. That implicity rejects the idea that people have to take responsibility for their own actions: “I couldn’t help supporting a right-wing agenda for the ALP, Mr Howard is just so hateful!”

    The responsibility for abandoning left-wing policies belongs to those people who let their hate for Mr Howard, and their desire to remove him, over-ride their desire for a more left-wing agenda.

    It’s not ‘Howard’s hatefulness’ that has allowed a cultural and policy shift in the ALP. It is the reaction of those people who hate Mr Howard that has allowed it. The way you used that phrase gives a free pass to people who want to blame Mr Howard, rather than take responsibility for their own decisions.

    If they didn’t hate him so much, they’d be more likely to be able to see how little difference there is between him and Mr Rudd.

    There will be plenty of people over the next few months saying “Oh, I think Mr Rudd is too right-wing, but we simply have to get rid of Mr Howard”.

    You are helping people like that maintain their illusions, by failing to place the responsibility where it belongs – with the people who choose to move to the Right.

  58. Katz says:

    No, it confirms the original meaning I attributed to the words. I didn’t say anything about Mr Howard hating people.

    No, you alleged that I said that Mr Howard’s hatred of others was important in this discussion.

    Is it now clear that I said nothing of the sort?

  59. No, you alleged that I said that Mr Howard’s hatred of others was important in this discussion.

    No, I said nothing of the sort. Feel free to cut and paste anything where you think I implied otherwise.

  60. Katz says:

    Me

    Note how I make the agents the people who hate Howard. DJ, however, twists this formulation into a statement that asserts that Howard is driving the actions of the ALP, and then criticises me for his own misbegotten formulation.

    DJ in direct attempted refutation of the above:

    David Jackmanson on 30 April 2007 at 1:48 pm
    Howard’s hatefulness has allowed a major cultural revolution in the ALP

    Clearly DJ was attempting to use my words to prove inconsistency on my part. But I have cleared up that imagined inconsistency by providing the correct definition of the word “hatefulness”.

    QED

  61. Fiasco da Gama says:

    As always when arguing with Katz, if consistency on his part is critical, language must bend to the political exigency. We are now at war with hatefulness, we have always been at war with hatefulness!
    I read Jacko’s point to be that the ‘agency’ of people who sincerely hate John Howard (to the point of calling him Ratty) has been useful in allowing Labor’s Federal Party to sacrifice historical planks. Ironically, he’s agreeing entirely with your 29 April 8.08am comment.
    But please continue, boys. I love pantomime.

  62. Katz says:

    Ironically, he’s agreeing entirely with your 29 April 8.08am comment.

    Glad someone noticed.

    The alternative would have been productive of hatefulness.

    Pantomime hey?

    Katz: Yes it is.

    DJ: Oh, no it isn’t.

    Katz: Is so.

    DJ: Is not.

  63. Completely and utterly wrong, Katz.

    Your comment – 29/4 8.08am:

    Howard’s hatefulness has allowed a major cultural revolution in the ALP.

    My reply – 29/4 12pm:

    Surely the responsibility lies with those who allow themselves to hate him so much?

    Clearly demonstrating that I am talking about people who hate Mr Howard, not any hatred that Mr Howard feels or expresses.

    Your comment – 29/4 7.51pm

    In any case, it’s the hatred that now motivates swing voters (that’s what I meant by “widespreadâ€?) in Australia that has given Rudd electoral room to manoeuvre his party to the dry side.

    My reply – 29/4 8.34pm

    Katz, my gut tells me this is wrong. I don’t think the swing voters, who do appear to be abandoning Mr Howard (if the polls are reliable), hate Mr Howard in the same way that someone who routinely uses the demeaning name ‘Ratty’ for him does.

    Clearly showing that I am talking about whether voters hate Mr Howard or not, and I am not discussing anything that Mr Howard feels or does.

    Your comment – 29/4 9.20pm

    These heavyweights sense that Ratty is on the nose with the punters and they [the heavyweights] are prepared to put a clothes-peg on their nose and accept Rudd’s nostrums.

    My reply – 29/4 10.07pm

    Yes, that’s just what I’m saying. Their only other option is to oppose Rudd and probably cede the election in trying to persuade the ALP and the country to a more left-wing policy. They won’t, and their decision to accept much less than they want is their decision, not forced on them by Mr Howard’s “hatefulnessâ€?.

    This could possibly be read as my meaning ‘hatefulness’ to mean hatred felt by Mr Howard, if you ignore that fact that I had already used the word in its correct meaning twice, and if you ignore my comment of 2.53pm 30/4 where I demonstrated my understanding of the correct use of the word ‘hatefulness’:

    ‘Howard’s hatefulness’ clearly implies that there is some quality about him that necessarily inspires hate.

    Your comment 4.03pm:

    Clearly DJ was attempting to use my words to prove inconsistency on my part. But I have cleared up that imagined inconsistency by providing the correct definition of the word “hatefulnessâ€?.

    Clearly, you have completely misunderstood what I meant. I am not using your words to ‘prove inconsistency’ based on an incorrect understanding of what ‘hateful’ means.

    What I was doing was taking the correct definition of the word ‘hatefulness’, and asserting that your use of it in the phrase

    Howard’s hatefulness has allowed a major cultural revolution in the ALP supporters to support a right-wing agenda.

    implies that it is something about Mr Howard that forces ALP members and supporters to support a right-wing agenda.

    Whereas I say you are incorrect to say that, and that the responsibility for adopting a right-wing agenda must lie with the people who adopt it.

    If you wanted to imply agency to the people who are supporting a right-wing agenda, you could have said:

    Their hatred of Mr Howard has allowed a major cultural revolution in the ALP supporters to support a right-wing agenda.

    which would have implied that they own their own political opinions and responses.

    I never said a single word about Mr Howard hating anyone.

  64. St Margaret says:

    I thought Howard hating was something only a few people did.

  65. Frank Calabrese says:

    Latest Newspoll is out, and watch Murdoch salivate :

    http://www.news.com.au/perthnow/story/0,21598,21650348-5005361,00.html

    SUPPORT for Labor has fallen, but the Opposition is still the voters’ preferred party, according to the latest opinion poll.

    A Newspoll, published in tomorrow’s The Australian, shows support for the federal Opposition has fallen by two percentage points, to 57 per cent compared with 59 per cent two weeks ago.

    Support for the coalition has gone up by two points, from 41 per cent to 43 per cent, on a two-party preferred basis, over the same period.

    Primary vote support for Labor also has fallen two points, down from 50 to 48 per cent, while the coalition has enjoyed a two point rise, to 37 per cent.

    It still doesn’t look good for Ratty & Co.

  66. Kim says:

    Could well be statistical noise.

  67. Frank Calabrese says:

    And Dennis Shamaham is in overdrive over Newspoll.

    http://blogs.theaustralian.news.com.au/dennisshanahan/index.php/theaustralian/comments/slowing_the_rudd_juggernaut/

    It is possible that a slight fall in satisfaction with Rudd, combined with a fall in his standing as preferred prime minister, is a delayed reaction to the fallout over the furore of the “false dawnâ€? Anzac Day service, which may simply be a glitch.

    He Wishes 🙂

  68. Katz says:

    Oh, I think that coalition supporters are absolutely right.

    These poll results are very encouraging.

    Everything is going exactly according to plan.

    Mr Howard will be back in the Lodge for Christmas Pud.

    No need to change anything about their strategy for ultimate success.

    Really.

  69. Re the focus groups; My friend who is the cousin of a very popular labor Premier took part in one of those and was paid for the privilege…How good is the selection if that can occur? They are speaking to the converted and not to the ones who have to nervously make their mark on election day and vote for the lesser of two evils.

    Personally i think it is in Howards’ interests to have the definite underdog status and for the ALP to be over confident and ‘blind’ by the leadership light and listening to what they want to hear.

  70. No worries Katz, glad you could admit you got my argument completely wrong.

    Oh wait…you didn’t.

  71. Lefty E says:

    Well, I’ll say it: I think Kruddster needs to smooth things over with the big end of town. He’s has Ratty on the run, and doesnt need the noise from BHP et al.

    WIth his current polling, they’ll play ball on IR. Now, I’ve always Rudd should have reintroduced the no-disadvantange clause, and just watched AWAs slowly die everywhere (but boom sectors, which have no problem going above award). But I can sympathise with tearing it all up, so Ruddster, do remind those sectors about common law individual contracts, and set beefed up minimum conditions regulating their use. You cant prevent common law contracts being used, so might as well embrace them as an above award measure, and publicise it.

    Elsewhere, lo and behold!! Ratty on the road to Damascus discovers and wonderful land called “industry policy”. A belated convert to niche manufacturing!! Blimey!

    This is a plain admission of the gigantic holes in his economic management record, for the future. I expect and hope Rudd will drive a flottilla of tanks through that gap shortly.

  72. Fiasco da Gama says:

    Tight work, informally yours.

    How good is the selection if that can occur?

    You seem to have identified a constituency of the ‘converted’ who lie statistically outside the rest of the voting population and whose opinions must be artificially separated from some more genuine electorate for polling accuracy. That’s the only explanation I can think of for that bizarre comment. You do realise that ‘swinging’ voters only get the same franchise as the fanatical, right?
    Once, there was a dream that was an Australian electorate—you could only whisper it…</russ>

  73. John Greenfield says:

    informally yours

    I do not know anything about political focus groups, but surely it would be in any party’s best interest to have as unbiased a sample of participants as possible.

    They do not hold these expensive focus groups for propaganda purposes: they really want to know exactly what people are thinking.

    There is nothing to be gained by stacking the groups with Howard-haters if out there in the electorates, only 2% (or whatever) are Howard Haters.

  74. Fiasco da Gama says:

    I do not know anything about political focus groups

    Quite so, John.
    The more of the population you artificially exclude from your sample group, the less accurate a reflection of the electorate it is. If a pollster wanted to thoroughly discredit themselves, they’d do as much tinkering with their samples as they could.
    I don’t know where this myth has come from that somehow people with set political beliefs—such as loving or hating John Howard—have somehow a lesser part of authentic ‘swinging’ public opinion.

  75. John Greenfield says:

    Fiasco

    Indeed. It is the same with accusations of bias against the ABC. I think the ABC is biased, but not in a party political sense. They are biased towards luvviedom.

    Does anybody seriously think that Fran Kelly, Kerry O’Brien, Virginia Trioli, Stephen Crittenden, Tony Jones, etc. would not love to tear an incompetent lying ALP Minister to shreds? Of course they would! These people are all highly paid experienced, very bright and AMBITIOUS. There is no way they would knock back an opportunity to gain serious professional kudos just because they happen to be a die-hard Greens or Labor voter.

    It is the same with polling companies.After the next election, who is more likely to get big bucks from the ALP (or any party) to conduct its focus groups? Company A, which in 2007 stacked all its focus groups with Howard-haters only to see the Coalition returned with an increased majority. Or Company B, whose focus groups throughout 2007 kept telling Rudd and labor they suck?

  76. I wasn’t accusing them of bias. I was saying that the real issue needs to be decided by the undecided not the welded on. If they are talking to the welded on then the kind of information they are relying on will be skewed.
    Fiasco, sorry if i’ve offended you but you seem a bit hysterical.

    I am not saying that anyone is less or more worthy just that when evaluating political opinions of the swinging voters it is more useful if you start by screening out lib or lab voters as we know what they will say when asked to evaluate either their party or the opposition party prospective electoral material.

    The other thing is that when participants are paid they might have been asked the question how will you vote in 2007 and answer i don’t know or i’m undecided getting them in to the survey group it is hard to be truthful about your electoral habits when there is an envelope of cash on offer.

    John G exactly my point there is no point in this kind of exercise.

    Also fiasco this is not about sampling the electorate it was about evaluating electoral material and messages etc.

  77. Katz says:

    Focus groups aren’t designed to provide a statistically valid sample of any population.

    Qualitative research aims at finding how people form their opinions, how they frame them and how best to mobilise these opinions and prejudices in ways favourable to the client, whether that is a political party or someone selling time-shares.

    The pure gold of focus groups is formulations such as “of course Mr Howard is a very clever politician”.

    For all we know, first person to say that in a focus group may have been a rusted on Lib.

    However, this statement may have been rephrased and imported with different, more negative, meanings in the course of the conversation among focus group participants.

    Accute convenors of focus groups latch onto those verbalisations and use them to drive whole campaigns, as we have seen already with the “clever” crack.

  78. Mark says:

    Speaking as someone who’s been involved in convening and analysing focus groups, what Katz and informally yours are saying is spot on. Sometimes (for a number of reasons) it’s worthwhile having rusted on people as part of the group.

    It is the same with polling companies.After the next election, who is more likely to get big bucks from the ALP (or any party) to conduct its focus groups? Company A, which in 2007 stacked all its focus groups with Howard-haters only to see the Coalition returned with an increased majority. Or Company B, whose focus groups throughout 2007 kept telling Rudd and labor they suck?

    That’s nonsense, John. No one “stacks” focus groups. They’re testing messages and themes for resonance and trying to understand the process of opinion dissemination and formation. Focus groups are conducted for quite different reasons than polling or other types of quant political research. And parties are going to hire firms that deliver the best results – Newspoll, etc, aren’t really in that game. The qualitative political researchers tend to be politically aligned to greater or lesser degree – ie Crosby Textor – but they have to be, in essence, because they’re privy to very sensitive information about campaigns and strategies.

  79. Enemy Combatant says:

    “Australia is approaching a “Crossroadsâ€? –

    Went to the crossroads, fell down on mah knees
    Went to the crossroads, fell down on mah knees
    Make Keb’ mah new Boss Man, oh Lawdy Lawdy please.

    Blind Boy Mushroom.

  80. John Greenfield says:

    Mark

    Ah, which is what I just said.

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