Born to rule?

Imre Salusinszky wrote yesterday (not online but discussed in this post at PollieGraph):

… the Coalition started the campaign down a hole and now looks as if it is asking people to vote for an old-age pensioner and the cast of One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest.

Salusinszky described the behaviour of some Ministers as “unhinged”. Dolly Downer wasn’t quite like that on Lateline tonight, and I get the impression he actually does believe his talking points. Lower class trade unionists running a Cabinet? Quelle horreur! (Remember Downer is better at French than Kevin07 is at Mandarin…) His unconvincing, stumbling and defensive performance was interesting. It would have been more interesting if Tony Jones had asked the obvious question. If the “team” are so experienced in managing an economy through “difficult times”, why are interest rates going up? If it’s beyond their control, where’s the “economic management”?

That’s only one of the holes in their narrative. Another is the fact that the interest rates thing only makes sense if you assume it means WorkChoices will hold wages in check. Uncle Joe Hockey, who hopefully will never have the chance to resign as Minister as John Howard will have to hand in the commissions of the government as a whole to the GG (Governor-General, not Government Gazette – I don’t expect Howard to do a Musharraf and turn the country over to a junta of News Limited pundits), claims that Australians are “all researched out” and thus he won’t release economic modelling showing what WorkChoices will do to wages. Lordy, this mob are an arrogant shambles. There really is a contempt at their heart for the people when you consider what rubbish they want us to believe.

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Posted in elections
22 comments on “Born to rule?
  1. It has been my experience that workchoices has caused wages to rise.

    Those at my workplace who have accepted the boss’ AWA are paid more than those who got smart & vocally urged everyone to stick with them on the award rates & inflexible work times.

  2. kimberella says:

    Well that could be because a lot of employers deliberately don’t offer pay rises to employees who prefer to remain on collective agreements or awards.

    And some people with good bargaining positions and skills will do well out of AWAs (as they would out of common law contracts under Labor).

    But Hockey can’t have it both ways. If the argument about interest rates relies on keeping wages down, then how can he claim that WorkChoices leads to pay rises?

    It’s all incoherent bullshit. It’s no wonder they’re too scared to release their own research.

  3. Futt Bucker says:

    Steve, nice red herring. WorkChoices has nothing to do with the rise in wages as we all saw prior to their introduction just a year and a half ago.

    WC is/was designed to increase business profits at the expense of the most vulnerable. What leg do they have to stand on when “negotiating” with an employer? “Here’s what we’re offering if you don’t like it send in the next person in the queue on your way out”.

    While we all know AWA’s lead to an average loss of $106 p.w. for employees versus those on collective agreements the real impact of WorkChoices will not be felt until there is a down turn in the economy.

    But I’m sure you already know all this and are just feigning ignorance.

  4. kimberella says:

    What will be very interesting indeed is if an incoming Labor government releases all the stats and research Hockey, Barbara Bennett and the rest of them have hidden. Also looking forward to the Haneef enquiry!

  5. Futt Bucker says:

    I agree entirely, Kim.

    What I think will also be interesting is how this Howard Government will be viewed in say a decades time. I’m thinking a dictatorial laughing stock wouldn’t be too far off the mark.

  6. blogreader says:

    “..looking forward to the Haneef enquiry!”
    Me too.

  7. Amanda says:

    I’ve often said the best thing about K07 is the way he so unhinges Dolly. I was, though, ready for Tony J. to move on from who would be the next Treasurer after Cossie, of course he’s not going to put up his hand now. Its just fishing for a headline and very tiresome, the same as grilling K07 over Swan and Gillard’s position. Are there not some Foreign Affairs issues we could talk about? Oh, finally … Pakistan.

  8. Peter Kemp says:

    Are there not some Foreign Affairs issues we could talk about?

    Indeed there is Amanda. Rudd speaking Mandarin to about 100 million Chinese on CCTV. Impresses the hell out of them while simultaneously driving Dolly berserk. (He is unhinged IMHO)

    I’d call that a double dose of triumph in foreign affairs.

    (Ni how ma Dolly)

  9. Ambigulous says:

    K07 showed a tad of hubris earlier in 07 to say he wanted “to mess with he PM’s mind”, but by golly he was doing it then and he’s done it since and he’ll do it for the next 17 days.

    Is it plain gut fear that’s unhinging the boys? They’re all seeing private polling no doubt….

    Did Tony Abbott swallow dive into oblivion? From where I stood, he seemed to stagger off the 7m board, flail for half a second or so, then KLUNK as his ego crunched the 3m board, just before he whacked spreadeagled onto the water – or was the pool empty? Couldn’t tell, the TV kept showing slomo replays of the first parts, from different angles; with abiophysicist expert diagnosing his injuries. All pure speculation, but damn fine entertainment.

  10. murph the surf says:

    “If the “team” are so experienced in managing an economy through “difficult times”, why are interest rates going up? If it’s beyond their control, where’s the “economic management”?

    Please try and understand this point – the management is at the central banks -Like the aussie reserve bank. You delude yourself if you believe any politician is in control – see Gittens in the SMH this am for an attempt at an explanation.
    The pollies talk a load of rubbish about their role in the economy and I expect a better understanding from our proud if muddled citizen journalists.

  11. tigtog says:

    murph the surf,

    I think we citizen journalists actually do understand that the government has little to do with economic management very well, despite the pontificating.

    That is exactly why Kim wished that Tony Jones would actually point it out once in a while by asking pointed questions.

  12. Paul Burns says:

    Recently, I had to write a review of Bruce Pascoe’s “Convincing Ground.” which required me to make a professional historical jusgement about the early terms of the Howard Govt.,to refute some of Pascoe’s more exaggerated claims. My conclusion ran along these lines ‘an amoral political pragmatism which Howard used in an unspoken appeal to racism to differentiate himself from the Australian Labor Party in order to win his first election.’ That’s not an exact quote,as I don’t have a hard copy of the review to hand, but you get my drift.

  13. Helen says:

    Bloody hell!

    JWH refuses for a decade to use the S-word to the stolen generation, then it takes him one second to use it on the poor suffering homeowners (not that I’m downplaying the impact on the strugglers who might lose their homes, it just displays the man’s priorities)

  14. Helen says:

    Link didn’t display – here tis again

    http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2007/11/07/2083921.htm

    So you ARE able to say the Sorry word, are you JWH?

  15. No red herrings Futt. I am stating my experience. At times this grates with the ideological imaginations on this site, but that isn’t my problem.

    I do restate, for your benefit, that at my workplace, wages paid to people who have accepted a workchoices agreement (either a collective or individual) are higher than wages paid to people who chose to remain on the state award payments.

    I don’t know what will happen, as the state award system is more or less defunct/finished for us now. We are in limbo, not sure of where workchoices is taking us, but with nowhere to go back to.

    The award system sucked bigtime, but workchoices, though a step in the right direction, hasn’t straightened out the mess (which awards are/were) to anything like our satisfaction.

  16. Martin B says:

    looking forward to the Haneef enquiry!

    Me too.

    Sadly I suspect that a Rudd government to adhere strictly to the convention of not delving too deeply into the actions of previous governments, so do not expect to see such an enquiry.

    On the other hand release of research such as described above can be looked forward to.

  17. […] there are still holes in their story. As Kim Jameson at Larvatus Prodeo asks: If the “team” are so experienced in managing an economy through “difficult times”, […]

  18. […] there are still holes in their story. As Kim Jameson at Larvatus Prodeo asks: If the “team” are so experienced in managing an economy through “difficult times”, […]

  19. jo says:

    steve at the pub – a few cents, or even a dollar or two in the hourly rate, does NOT mean ‘higher wages’ – as you very well know!!

    the research undertaken on AWA’s in the report ‘Lowering the standards’: From Awards to Work Choices in Retail and Hospitality Collective Agreements – clearly shows that real wages have decreased.

    “A team of over 20 Researchers examined every collective agreement lodged federally between 26 March and 8 December 2006 in two industries where large numbers of workers were previously dependent on awards. Agreements were selected from the retail and hospitality industries, covering enterprises in New South Wales, Queensland and Victoria. They were compared with the awards and agreements that had previously (prior to Work Choices) covered the employees of these workplaces. There are 339 Work Choices agreements in the study compared back to 70 previous instruments.”

    “(b) Hospitality: the losses were between 6 and 12 percent. The only gains were union agreements and at most these were just over 3 percent.”

    “• Permanent part time waiting and bar staff in the hospitality industry working a 21 hour week of split shifts lost 12 percent on average.”

    As for the supposed negotiated aspect – between employer and employee:

    “It became clear that six ‘templates’ had been used to make nearly half of all the agreements in the study (49 percent).”

    “A quarter (24 percent) of the agreements studied had been based around a template devised by one consultant working both the retail and hospitality industries.”

    STAP – did your employees sign a template AWA, as per this report? If so, your employees signed away significant wages and conditions.

    http://www.wrc.org.au/O01P002/A01/V01/_Assets/_Documents/Final_sythnseis_report_13_Sept_2007.pdf

  20. Helen says:

    …And here’s how it works:

    You offer me an AWA which has a somewhat higher wage.
    It includes trading away certain benefits which are worth money: overtime loadings and the like
    Years go by
    Inflation chews up the “higher” wage
    No wage rise
    The end.

  21. TimT says:

    Well, I’m interested to hear SATP’s comments – his perspective, in my experience, is something very rarely heard in the mainstream media (the voices of business owners are usually mediated through lobby groups or the ideological positionings of politicians). And I’m finding the response to his comments somewhat baffling, possibly reflecting, on the part of the LP readers, an unwillingness to engage with this perspective.

    I dunno. Maybe it’s because Steve’s made clear from previous comments where he sits on the political spectrum – (to a position further to the right than that of most LP commenters.) Or maybe he has got into some huge blog stoushes in the past that I’m unaware of (he’s always seemed to be a fairly mild commentator to me).

    Has SATP traded away his workers rights in exchange for a few more cents per hour? Do his AWAs with workers contribute to the lowering of the wage? Maybe we should ask him – after all, general statistics and political arguments mean nothing if they aren’t applied to the situations of individual Australians.

    It could be that this apparent unwillingness to engage with the perspective of people like Steve is a real weakness for the political Left, just as the unwillingness to engage with workers and unions has been an ongoing weakness for the political Right.

    (And I don’t mean to be patronising in this comment, though maybe I have ended up being patronising after all – it’s just that I hate to see political complacency and the passing up of opportunities for dialogue in favour of ideological disputes.)

  22. Tim, I just state my experiences. I am not particularly political, I don’t visit most threads on this site as they bore me. I comment sporadically on about 50 blogs, only 3 or 4 of which are political in nature. I am interested in politics only as far as it affects or infringes on my daily life.

    There are some things in which I have first hand experience, and this experience differs from how those same areas are portrayed by commenters of this site, and those comments usually go unchallenged. Causing me to believe that commenters here are prone to talking the talk, but have rarely walked the walk.

    If I do state how I have found something to work in real life, I often get a response similar to the one left above by Helen, telling me that my recollection of my own experience is wrong. (more or less of the hands-over-the-ears-shouting-“I-can’t-hear-you” nature.)

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