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(Wikipedia) The Elephant in the Room, Banksy exhibition, 2006 Barely Legal show, Los Angeles[1]

(Wikipedia) The Elephant in the Room, Banksy exhibition, 2006 Barely Legal show, Los Angeles[1]


‘If I ruled the world,
Every day would be the first day of spring.
Every heart would have a new song to sing,
And we’d sing of the joy every morning would bring.’
Composed by Leslie Bricusse and Cyril Ornadel

Yeah, yeah, if I ruled the world everything would be just dandy. Haven’t we all thought that at one time or another? I wonder if politicians start out all optimistic about what good that they can do if only they had the chance and end up doing whatever it takes to stay in power. Nah, most of them begin life as lawyers.

I want to talk about the elephant in the room called Work Choices. This is because, and I can’t work out why, nobody else seems to want to talk about it. Whatever has been said about why John Howard was roundly trounced in 2007, the truth of the matter is that it had nothing to do with the many issues of the day and all to do with one. Work Choices.

Actually it’s called the Workplace Relations Act. But we just love to give people and things nicknames. Call it what you will, Work Choices still sucks. The Workplace Relations Act was amended and the amendments legislated and put into effect in 2006. The Howard government (Liberals) wanted to rid itself of the unfair dismissal laws that protected workers and was a thorn in the employer’s side; it wanted one-on-one rather than collective bargaining for conditions that were once guaranteed for all and it removed the no disadvantage test that made sure that workers were not left disadvantaged by changes in the legislation.

Another week and we’ll have a government that wants nothing better than to turn people into workers living under third world conditions. Low wages, rights only as they can organise it for themselves, at the whim of their employers and everyone scrabbling for a living. Don’t think so? Then ask where big business has gone? Most big business has moved off shore (which is why both parties only talk about what it can do for small business). Big business can’t afford to pay us a working wage. Big business prefers slave labour. You’d think the current government would be shouting it out from the rooftops: Work Choices, Work Choices! That’s what got it into power in 2007.

Journalists that had made an issue out of it before the 2007 election did it because they wanted to rid themselves of John Howard and hadn’t been able to pry him out for over a decade. Now, even those who don’t care for Tony Abbott, the alternative prime minister are silent on the issue. I can only imagine that although they have their own union, journalists and commentators have always been on contracts. Why therefore should they care about the rest of the community?

Feminists are always going on about how long it took them to get the vote, but what are they doing with it now that they have it? Offer them paid maternity leave and they’ll follow you anywhere. Apparently, the government has no right to tell it if and when to procreate, but afterwards it’s the government’s responsibility to pay for the child’s and the mother’s maintenance. As long as politicians have a bucket of promises on offer both sexes can be counted on to follow those promises right into the polling booth where they evaporate once we have voted. Today, the polls have Tony Abbott finally catching up with and passing the current prime minister in the preferred stakes. The dumb populace has been veering from one side to another and as the hype reaches a crescendo, it seems the electorate has finally decided.

I’ve often said it and I want to reiterate – voting should never be a right, voting should be earned. People are easily manipulated and prodded into line. People are sheep.

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8 thoughts on “A vote for Tony Abbott is a vote for Work Choices

  1. Good one Mary. It is surprising that Labor haven’t gone to town over WorkChoices. Tony Abbott has only said a more moderate line on Industrial Relations is probably the go between both parties which is not a definitive rejection of WorkChoices. He also said that nothing would be changed in the operation of the Fair Work Commission during his first term of government. I guess this means it can all be changed second term without appearing to do a Julia. As is often the case, it is what the pollies don’t say that is important.

    • Thanks, Bruce. Julia Gillard wasn’t allowed to live down her broken promise about the carbon tax. She’s not the first politician who lied to us, just the only one I can remember who was so doggedly pursued over it. Perhaps because she did a turnaround five minutes after being voted in. Tony Abbott isn’t about to take chances. I imagine he will build things up slowly, so before we know it we’ll be in the middle of things and no going back. It’s all too darned hard.

  2. Not knowing much about English politics, I don’t have anything to say. But I can tell you that my own country was socialist not so long ago. And people voted for a change in a lot of the rules that protected workers, wanting to achieve a higher standard of living. On the whole, it seems to have been successful. But now there are a lot of complaints. Either way we choose, there will always be those who suffer, and those who feel it’d be better the other way.

    • I’d say that politics are the same anywhere in the democratic world, as are politicians and people in business. Knowing this, I’d say that if people voted for a change in the rules that protected workers it’s because it wasn’t in anybody’s best interest to explain the outcomes to them. This seems to be happening here.
      It’s more than achieving a higher standard of living. Most people are looking for a chance to feed themselves and their families, to pay their bills and possibly pay off a mortgage. If you’re not secure in your job or in your conditions how can you do it? There are more workers than employers, yet changing the system pretty much advantages the employers. As I see it the worker / employer relationship is symbiotic: one can’t do without the other. I therefore don’t see why the advantage should go only one way.

      • As I said, I don’t know how it is in England, and I’m not sure that it’s the same everywhere, as you suggest. I myself favored socialism, but in our case, people payed a lot of taxes to support the system, and there was also a lot of bureaucracy. People had the feeling that processes were too slow. They envied the Americans, because they were richer than we were. On the whole the standard of living has gone up since then, but the poor seem to have a harder time now, and there is a sort of nostalgia for the old system, though I find it hard to believe they’ll ever vote socialism back.

      • Actually Shimon, it is Australian politics, based on the British Westminster system. I’m just saying that basically politicians are the same everywhere. Given the current state of our country I don’t see what use they are, actually.
        PS. I passed a Shook the other day. It’s actually a supermarket with that name, nothing at all like the wonderful market you showed us in your photographs, but interesting things for sale.

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