Is Eric Abetz or Mark Latham the spectre of WorkChoices?

To get a good handle on how the election is playing, your best best is to watch the first ten minutes or so of any commercial news channel (though Nine and Seven have a bigger footprint than Ten).

Tony Abbott won’t have been helped by signing a ‘contract’ not to reintroduce WorkChoices during an interrogation by Neil Mitchell. Not only is it a reminder of Mark Latham, but it’s also playing right into the trap he set for himself – only commitments he gives in writing can be trusted. Then there’s the fact that he’s talking about a toxic policy he’d tried to neutralise. Oh, and the ghost of Peter Costello mocking Julia Gillard’s accent is hardly a good look.

Spare a thought for Abbott. He was one of only a small number of Ministers to oppose WorkChoices in the Howard Cabinet. Whether that’s his Santamarian heritage, or whether he actually has a political antenna is moot. Nor would a Senate with The Greens in the balance of power contemplate a package of WorkChoices nasties. And the government does have to take a position on cases before Fair Work Australia, the legislation does require ministerial determinations and instructions, and it’s the second most heavily amended act after the Taxation Act. But Eric Abetz, the wrong person for the job if ever there was one, was very unwise to be talking about ‘tweaking’.

There’s something else going on here. Abbott has annoyed business by raising taxes to pay for his parental leave thoughtbubble, and non-mining business (most of it) by opposing a tax cut along with the RSPT and MRRT. The WorkChoices pledge will also gnaw at the Liberal base. Abbott’s strategy was to consolidate that first, then move to the centre. Whether a Liberal party led by him, and obsessed with its defeat on this issue by the ACTU, can ever do that is another question entirely.

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9 comments on “Is Eric Abetz or Mark Latham the spectre of WorkChoices?
  1. […] Is Eric Abetz or Mark Latham the spectre of WorkChoices? […]

  2. Paul Burns says:

    I’m supposed to have a comment here, which I did not make. 🙂 Abbott has been got by his tuth parrot. (If this comes up as the 2nd cxomment, I give up.

  3. Fine says:

    Costello was disgusting mocking Gillard’s accent. Just a reminder of what a smarmy git he is. But it certainly didn’t help Abbott.

  4. Thomas Paine says:

    If big business can buy and sell Prime Ministers how about Opposition leaders, please.

    Can we please have Turnbull for goodness sake. Abbott is painful.

  5. adamite says:

    My sentiments exactly Fine. Taken together with antics like the Paris Hilton comment today the opposition seems to be intent on showing itself as a bunch of maccho neanderthals. Also agree with the lead comment on Abetz – he’s about as subtle as the proverbial sledgehammer. The more you see of this supposed alternative government the scarier it gets.

  6. Fine says:

    Yes, why are these blokes obsessed with women’s virginity? It’s so distasteful.

  7. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    Abbott will bring in new,even more draconian,anti-worker legislation because that is what being on the Right isall about. Class hatred is the strongest, with the possible exception of race hatred,motivating force in Rightwing ideology. Abbott will get new anti-labour legislation through as the next leg of the ongoing and permanent Depression (made permanent by the greatest level of debt in human history, resource depletion and ecological collapse) produces the requisite atmosphere of hysteria and media propagandising.Either ‘Labor’ will ‘roll over’,Beazley-style, or the ‘realo’ faction of the Greens will split off, with suitable,but subtle,rewards from the grateful business class readily accepted. The UK is the model, Thatcherite class hatred laws to weaken unions were never rescinded by Thatcherite Blair (just like Gillard here,despite Rightwing media mendacity)and now the Cameron uber-Thatcherites have promised further,even more vicious, anti-worker legislation as they face a possible Greek-style social explosion as they destroy the wages,pensions,conditions and life prospects of the serfs.

  8. […] view from Channel Nine by kimberella on July 20, 2010 As I said on a previous post, the best way to get a handle on how most voters are perceiving the campaign is to watch the first […]

  9. Nickws says:

    I think we’re looking at the birth of the most important policy landmine for the Coalition Opposition. Up until now they’ve had to deal with the Workchoices fallout from the last government as ex-ministers, and there’s been a strange ‘government in exile’ vibe to the whole thing, as opposed to the genuine political reaction you’d expect from the slightly desperate party sitting across from the treasury benches.

    I honestly believe they’ve only just figured out how incredibly weak they are in this area. Political minority weak, not struggling government weak.

    The born-to-rule tradition is totally dead for the Coalition, certainly when it comes to being the ones who can restore the natural balance against the irresponsible sectional labour party. And I don’t see where the future backlash that will allow a ‘free enterprise’ IR policy to be implemented is going to come from.

    Oh, and the ghost of Peter Costello mocking Julia Gillard’s accent is hardly a good look.

    What is it with this particular man thinking he can mock Gillard’s otherwise flawless speaking? Off the cuff she’s about twice as fast as Costello ever was. And she never uses the cliches or pabulum he would throw up all the time in his ‘natural speaking’ (prepared texts are another matter).

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