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Federal

Aug 28, 2012

When it comes to WorkChoices, Abbott can't take a trick

Tony Abbott can't turn a trick on IR -- he's in trouble no matter what he says, and plenty of it is friendly fire.

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Tony Abbott gets away with many things, his critics charge. The media too often fail to hold him to account, to pull him up, to challenge him. To the extent that that’s true on other issues, it isn’t on industrial relations. In fact, Abbott can’t take a trick on IR.

He’s the one who thought it was a bad idea in the first place when the Howard cabinet considered WorkChoices, the one who called WorkChoices “a catastrophic political blunder” in Battlelines, who in that book even questioned Holy Writ about individual contracts, saying “the much-touted abolition of Australian Workplace Agreements could be insignificant by comparison” with the requirement for good faith bargaining. He’s the “dead, buried, cremated” bloke.

And yet everyone, it seems, is conspiring against his resolution. Most of his party is well to the right of Abbott on IR, and wants movement on issues like unfair dismissal. The business community is talking incessantly about productivity and the need for flexibility. His former colleague Peter Reith is an enthusiastic spruiker of IR reform. And then John Howard beams in, from what according to Abbott is ancient history, to offer his own take.

Labor ministers, of course, were like seagulls on a chip with it. Too bad that Howard wasn’t even talking about WorkChoices, but primarily urging a return to the Reith-era Workplace Relations Act of before 2005. Too bad that the recent Fair Work Act review identified Labor’s “replacement” for AWAs, individual flexibility agreements, as too complicated and inflexible to use, and recommended a series of changes to them. That was lost in the mix, reflecting the exact problem that confronts Abbott — he can’t even talk about IR reform without every utterance being taken as code for WorkChoices.

That’s why when he does talk about IR reform, he sticks to a meaningless incantation. The Coalition thinks there’s a “militancy problem, a productivity problem, and a flexibility problem” but, he said yesterday, all it would do would be to make “cautious, careful, responsible change”. He similarly said they’d make “careful, cautious, responsible change” in May, and “careful, cautious, responsible change” back in February. The only deviation was when he slipped up earlier this month and added a “prudent” to “careful, cautious, responsible changes”.

Having built an entire, and successful, political strategy on what happens to a Prime Minister when visibly seen to break a high-profile commitment — voters may forgive you if you fail to do something you commit to doing, but look out if you do something you’ve promised you won’t — Abbott is the least likely of anyone in his party to decide, once in government, that it’s time to revisit WorkChoices. But voters don’t believe it. Even more Liberal voters think he’ll bring back WorkChoices in government than don’t. The incessant business lobby push for IR deregulation has lifted the proportion of voters very concerned about a return to WorkChoices to its highest level since 2010.

Kevin Rudd’s success as opposition leader lay in carefully picking a few clear points of distinction with John Howard and sticking to those while ignoring everything else. Abbott’s so-far successful strategy has been entirely the opposite. But on IR, he’s trying hard to do a Rudd and keep minimal distance between himself and the government. The problem is, no one, even on his own side, appears happy to let him keep doing it.

Bernard Keane — Politics Editor

Bernard Keane

Politics Editor

Bernard Keane is Crikey’s political editor. Before that he was Crikey’s Canberra press gallery correspondent, covering politics, national security and economics.

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136 comments

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136 thoughts on “When it comes to WorkChoices, Abbott can’t take a trick

  1. izatso?

    swingvoter is a pathetic Pillock of the First PassWater and should only be acknowledged as such, until it might produce some positive original observation of its own.

  2. Liz45

    @SWINGING VOTER – How many reports have you read about the effect of WorstChoices? Did you know that there were/are any? What do you know of the experiences of young people in the workforce re OH&S?

    People like you caused RSI to me and thousands like me. You’re probably ignorant about that too? Were you one of the people we had to put up with – their misogynist manner and their ignorance re all things medical, anatomical etc? Probably! What is the latest research re chronic pain?

    Instead of being a smart arse, go and broaden your horizons!

    I’ve just spent a couple of hours with my great grand daughter? She makes better sense than you – she’s 3 months old! Intelligent ‘chats’ we had while I was giving her a bottle! Drop dead gorgeous! You have her to thank for my ‘rosy’ treatment of your immaturity!

  3. swingingvoter

    @LIZ45 please don’t inflame your rsi injury by spending too long at your keyboard.

  4. Liz45

    @PETER ORMONDE – I totally agree. As we speak, teachers in Victoria are taking unprecedented action in the history of their profession – not only this, but support staff are also taking part, for the first time in decades, if not total history. This is due to the Coalition Govt there going back on an electoral promise – to make Victorian teachers the best paid in the country.

    I’ve just heard an interview via my local ABC radio re the recent changes to the Workers Compensation Act – not a breath or hint of a word prior to the Election last March. Injured workers in NSW will have to pay costs EVEN IF THEY WIN their cases in Court. The interviewee was a lawyer from the Law Society of NSW? Not someone from Unions NSW! The Public Service Association in NSW is taking the O’Farrell to the High Court re them only allowing workers 2.5% increases EVEN in the Industrial Commission. The argument will be, that to interfere in the business of a Court (it has many powers of say the Supreme Court etc) is Unconstitutional! I hope they win! O’Farrell did NOT mention this either before the ’11 Election.

    In Qld, the Newman Govt is disallowing the medical screening for TB, and I believe it’s more than a rumour, that they will no longer fund Breastcreening either. These are public health necessities – the ramifications are enormous. I will hold Newman responsible for any deaths where women could not afford to pay for early detection screening! In contrast, I have had a free breast screen mammogram every alternate year since I turned 50?

    The NSW, Vic and Qld conservatives did NOT mention any of these things prior to their successful election outcome – not one word! They are the same organisations as in the Federal Opposition. It is blatantly obvious that the Abbott Opposition supports these actions – not one word of dissent. Not one word that mentions the word “lied”? No outrage by the Murdoch rags, shock jocks etc either. Imagine if this was the Federal Labor Govt????

    The Federal Coalition keep on assuring us, that their policies/programs/budgets/ cuts etc will all be revealed in plenty of time prior to the next election. Like you, I believe that is total bs. Their mates in the States didn’t and were elected? The Feds have form too. Look at the costings last election or was it ’07? Too late (deliberately, of course) and by questionable means with more than questionable outcomes. SB is always rabbiting on about Labor’s overspending etc? What was Howard’s record of promises? Several million $$$$ every minute, from memory? No costings? No, where will the money come from?

    People like David Hand, Swingingvoter etc treat people like us with disdain at best, and contempt. They are joined by SB etc. Just because their bible is the Murdoch rags and commercial/corporate sponsored TV crap (main aim is to dumb us all down with bs) they think others only have these pathetic examples on which to base opinion, commitment etc. They usually lack any depth of compassion, justice etc. They’re ruled by the almighty dollar, and anyone who isn’t is suspect/not worth thought/expendable etc. Finally, they think we were born yesterday with no history or background experience to make assessments!

    Just because we’re not members/supporters of HR Nichols, we don’t have the right to input! They’ll probably also assert, that they believe in democracy, freedom, blah blah! Huh!

  5. Peter Ormonde

    Workchoices – or its next incarnation – is written into their DNA, Liz.

    The removal of legal rights and entitlements is the one thing that brings the conservatives together like a convocation of cardinals. After all, what is the point of having a proclaimed conservative government if they don’t let us make more money and allow us the freedom to tell people what to do? It is their core business this… goes to the very heart of the matter and always inevitably will.

    I generally eschew predictions – but here’s a cert: We will not have anything like a clear picture of the Coal-ition’s IR policies before, during or immediately after the next election. It will be confused, vague, long on promise and denial, short on detail and specifics. It will be a black box with “trust us” written on it … and maybe “This is not Work Choices” slapped on the side.

    This is because Abbott must promise all things to all people on IR – on one hand Work Choices is dead and cremated, but out in the back room we can still hear it shuffling about like a zombie – not quite realising it’s dead… nudge, nudge.

    I wonder if there is any journalist out there capable of dragging the shambling corpse out into the glare of public scrutiny.

  6. Liz45

    I’ve heard the ‘call to arms’ of the Sydney Institute, the Australian Business Council, the Retailers Association of Australia, the Mining Companies, speeches to different anti-worker/decent wages organisations, Employers First (now known under some other name) some Economists etc re the ‘problems’ with productivity blah blah! Don’t treat me like a moron; someone who’s deaf, dumb, blind AND stupid!

    I also hear the lack of any acknowledgement to the workers who’ve made this country the envy of the rest of the developed world. In fact, the only people in power who have given credit to workers are people in the Federal Govt.

    Join the dots! WorstChoices, maybe under a different name is still the goal of the conservatives – regardless of what they call it, or the spin! “A rose by any other name is still a rose”? Try not to be a smart a**e, there’s a good boy!

  7. AR

    Hand-on-it, have you renewed your membership in the Flat Earth Society? Their tenets would be more credible than NoChoices not being MM’s first priority.

  8. David Hand

    Liz45,
    I thought I’d let you know that Workchoices is not Coalition policy.

  9. Liz45

    Whatever!

  10. swingingvoter

    @LIZ45 intelligent thought …. Don’t flatter yourself

  11. Liz45

    @SWINGINGVOTER – Go to beddy byes dear! I should’ve known, that anything to do with intelligent thought; any history or the need to do some little research would be beyond people like you! Off you go! Get your teddy and have a rest!

  12. swingingvoter

    @Liz45
    YAWN…zzzzzzzzzzzz…..YAWN…….Oh I just had the weirdest dream….something about a tooth fairy?…YAWN…zzzzzzzzzz

  13. Liz45

    I have a little graph somewhere out of the SMH which showed, that profits increased during Howard years, while wages DECREASED by the same amount! The whole idea of WorstChoices was to do just that! Women still need to work an extra 64 days to have the same income as men. This day was a day or so ago! Last year it was 63 days. We’re back in the 80’s re equal pay.

    The workers ‘out there’ remember all too well what and how they suffered under Howard. I’m sure most, unless they believe in the tooth fairy, would be very skeptical about the No-alitions protestations of not going back there. Personally, I just think they’ll avoid the names, and use SPIN to try and camouflage their intentions? I’m not that gullible!

    One only has to look at Abbott’s incredible lies re the carbon price and mining! Not only has the investment in this area more than doubled, the members of the Parliamentary Liberal Party have shares, and the new Senator owns a coal company? How about those damned lies? And he keeps on telling them! Amazing!

  14. Mike Smith

    @Andrew – not a transcript, but a Youtube.
    youtube.com/watch?v=rgIGMOZKwpM

    Or did you want the one about ‘carefully scripted remarks’ where Kerry takes him apart.

    youtube.com/watch?v=Tc5ljcri6Nk

  15. Andrew ( )

    Price of Iron Ore in 2001 = $13 a tonne
    Price of Iron Ore in 2010 = $170 a tonne
    Now back to $100 a tonne.
    No wonder Gina and Co are rich.
    And they did not have to pay much more in royalties since it is based on quantity extracted not value.
    As Swan said he was only sorry for not going harder on the MRT.

  16. Andrew ( )

    “Even more Liberal voters think he will bring back WorkChoices once in government”
    Maybe too many people remember Tony Abbotts acceptance speach when he became leader. He reveals his thoughts on this issue within the first two minutes. I am trying to find a transcript of this speach, but can’t find anything on the Libs site. I wonder why?

  17. Hamis Hill

    What better way to better yourself than to ape your betters.
    The essense of Howeird’s aspirationals, all now going bad for them big time.
    The Big Debt Society.

  18. Hamis Hill

    When the cycle of untrammeled greed goes bad then the “meritocracy” resorts to violence.
    Abbott’s very position as LOTO indicates that this violence against democracy is already underway.
    If you are a slave there are no lessons from history because slaves have no history, this being part of what makes them slaves.
    You must understand that rich people are rich because they are “Better” than everyone else, they have better schools, better clothes, better food, better health, better lives.
    Who better to lead you into War? Do you feel better now?

  19. Owen Gary

    Yes Mr Hand,

    The top end of town seem to always do exceedingly well when the bottend are destitute.

  20. Peter Ormonde

    David…

    Merit? What’s merit got to do with it?

    You slavering bolsheviks might believe that people should get wealth from “merit” but everyone knows that is not how it works – not unless merit includes coping with a father like Lang Hancock.

    No no no David – the rich are only rich because they have had to tolerate growing up under less rich parents. Shameful and grubby origins – so we compensate them by ensuring they can sell the inheritance – that waterfront weekender or the odd mountain of iron ore.

    This is the divine order David … “merit” – as if!!!!

  21. David Hand

    Yes Hamis,
    You’re probabl y right about high wages and middle class wealth. Middle Austral ia did quite well out of a property boom that made everyone feel better off but as you say, debt increased massivel y.

    I still hold to my underl ying point however that as a community increases productivity, people’s wealth increases and they are better off.

    I also accept that increasing wealth has been uneven, with the top end of town doing extra-ordinaril y well out of all proportion to merit. This is something I would like governments of either persuasion to regulate.

  22. David Hand

    Yes Hamis,
    You’re probably right about high wages and middle class wealth. Middle Australia did quite well out of a property boom that made everyone feel better off but as you say, debt increased massively.

    I still hold to my underlying point however that as a community increases productivity, people’s wealth increases and they are better off.

    I also accept that increasing wealth has been uneven, with the top end of town doing extra-ordinarily well out of all proportion to merit. This is something I would like governments of either persuasion to regulate.

  23. Hamis Hill

    David’s claim of high wages increasing middle class wealth in the Howeird era is not bourne out by the evidence of the widening income gap.
    Which in itself is evidence of the low wages lead to high profits and high interest rates argument.
    Household debt increased fourfold in the “golden age” and household wealth only doubled.
    Higher middleclass wages obviously had nothing to do with this.
    Lower middle class wages is the only explanation.
    Low wages =high interest rates= capitalism= Conservatism.
    Interest rates have been higher in OZ than overseas indicating that wages are low.
    David’s high wage arguments are obviously not the same as Abbott and company’s.
    But then Abbott is a DLP stooge and not a real liberal at all.

  24. Liz45

    @DAVID HAND – What I did was repeat what was in quotes of an article about her and her father? Perhaps in SMH Good Weekend! He said it – get rid of them by putting ‘stuff’ in their water supply so there wouldn’t be any more! Her father said it, and WHAT I SAID was, that I hadn’t heard or read, or heard anyone else say, that she had denied it or was disgusted by it or repudiated it etc. Out of her adored father’s mouth! Mr Asbestos! Who also said that it was safe enough to eat, smoke or whatever! Revolting all of it! But he said it, not me!

  25. Liz45

    I have a lot of time for the CFMEU and just because of those at the top of the HSU is no reason to condemn the lot! That’s childish and unfair! I do NOT believe that one section of the workforce should have one set of rules, and the rest not – particularly the ABCC? As I’ve said before, during the Inquiry into the building industry, not ONE example of law breaking of workers was introduced, and not ONE penalty for putting builders/others lives at risk was even considered to be raised? I supported Ark Tribe when he was in danger of 6 months jail, all because he refused to disclose a conversation that was held OFF the work site and among colleagues. If you support that sort of injustice, then we have nothing more to discuss! I proudly supported Ark, and if I lived in his State I would’ve been at the Court hearing!

    People in the HSU are some of the most tireless, dedicated, committed people there are. They deserved better. I support them, and those working at the HSU to make their lot more just!

    I don’t support thugs and thieves, regardless of where they are – and that applies to some politicians, past and present! Oh yes, I don’t support their huge increases in income while they only want less and less for workers?

    Have I made myself clear? I was a strong supporter of my Union when at work, and certainly after I contracted RSI – without them I would’ve been stuffed! As I saw many women without this support! I repaid that by speaking at functions etc to warn other workers (all women) of the dangers of RSI? I still support unionism, and took as active a role as I could to turf Howard out! And if need be, I’ll get into gear again! Bring it on, I say! Abbott is workers worse nightmare! I don’t trust him and feel vindicated in that by his own words? Don’t trust him he said! Even when it’s written down! He can write in his own blood and it won’t change a thing!

    Now that should clear up any misconceptions – anywhere – by anyone!

  26. SBH

    David hand, At last we agree, at least on the first bit.

  27. Mike Smith

    @SwingeingVoter: There are definitely times I want to swinge the incumbents. Keating, Howard, Abbott (why not Gillard? She doesn’t annoy me as much as Abbott)

    (despite having voted *for* some of them)

  28. klewso

    A funny thing happened on my way through the supermarket yesterday – making my way down the “vitri-aisle” I stopped at the shelves and saw a packet of Left’s “Bile” there, Right next to Right’s “Because I’m Liberal Elitist”. So I grabbed a packet of each and had a look at the ingredients – they’re both the same!

  29. izatso?

    David Hand is disingenuous, and a vexatious pillock when his misogyny overides what little merit he might deign to bestow.

  30. swingingvoter

    Mike Smith

    I dip my lid to you Sir and give credit where credit is due. That is the wittiest post I’ve read.

  31. David Hand

    Well Liz,
    Until I see you withdraw that awful slur you placed on another thread that Gina Reinhart supports a final solution for aborigines, I will take nothing you sayas any more that class warefare driven hatred.

  32. David Hand

    SBH,
    I now realise that my IQ is too low to convince you that Workchoices is not Coalition policy.

  33. Mike Smith

    @SwingeingVoter[1]: There may not be a moral high ground here.

    [1] a misprint, but I thought it was funny.

    swinged, swinge·ing also swing·ing, swing·es Archaic
    To punish with blows; thrash; beat.

  34. swingingvoter

    LIZ45 there is no point trying to convince you of the merit in David Hands argument, nor do I seek to defend Gina Rheinhart’s comments or defend employers that act unethically or illegally; however the UNION reps can hardly claim the moral high ground. The CFMEU and the HSU, to name just two…..

  35. Liz45

    @MIKE SMITH – I used those examples as just that. The fact is that Australians work longer/harder than any other country in the western world. I’ll tell you what? Blokes in suits are the ones swanning around at lunchtime etc or going for their game of Friday golf?

    @DAVID HAND – Too many employers, right wing bludgers won’t be happy until Australian workers are paid as low as people in Asia? Take Gina Reinhart’s well publicised comments today! what a disgusting woman? The fact that she inherited heaps; can employ smart lawyers to ensure she pays the most minimum tax etc doesn’t give her the right to pass judgement on others. While she has the money to do business, I doubt she actually does any work herself. She probably thinks that Manual Labour is a mexican boxer? The gall of the woman!

    We all know that she wants to bring in migrants to do the shit jobs and so she’ll pay them the least amount that she can – and we all know what happens to these people. If it wasn’t for UNIONS, most of the horrific stories would never be known!

    Young people in my area working in US franchise places – had to provide their own ‘float’; be at work on time, but didn’t get paid until they had customers? If they didn’t tell their parents, who then went to SCLC these young people would still be treated this way – thanks to Howard’s WorstChoices! He gave unscrupulous people the go ahead to commit acts of bastardry. The franchise in this instance were fined and had to pay back several thousand dollars to the young people concerned. Such great role models – such encouragement in the morals of employing people? How to grow up to be good citizens etc? Bastards!

    Too often, so called free enterprise is just a ‘free for all’? Human beings are not cattle. They’re not to be prodded and poked, bullied and treated as a commodity!
    When Howard spoke of ‘traditional values’ he didn’t include hard working people who didn’t comply with his so called work ethics? And he certainly didn’t include union members or unions full stop! He had a pathological hatred for unions, particularly the more militant ones. I tell you who I’d go to first if I was in strife! Hard working union members!

  36. Mike Smith

    @Liz:

    A person can only cut off so much time making a sandwich or cappucino? How can they improve on that? How will AWA’s improve it?

    I get your point, but sandwiches and cappuccinos are at the end point of productivity gains. For instance, sliced bread, prepared fillings. Even the espresso machine is a cutting edge productivity machine, one of the fastest ways to make a coffee known! (consider it vs a drip filter) Can we do it faster? Maybe, but it won’t be something a barista does, but an engineer.

  37. SBH

    Sorry David Hand, flexibly working 45 hours a week and getting paid for 38 is really crimping my commenting.

    Just where did I call Abbott a fool?

    And yes the barcode bit is a simple example of a complex problem and like most such examples is just wrong.

    And while you’re so busy calling everybody else dim, did you ever stop to notice that there is no free enterprise nation on earth. All nations regulate markets, labour and otherwise, just like Adam Smith said they should.

    The problem with your much vaunted work choices is that people with little bargaining power, low wages and marginal jobs, lost conditions and pay because the market was not well regulated. rather than your ideological and ill-founded carry on have a look at what the analyses of work choices actually showed and (hint) it wasn’t an increase in productivity.

    The dry economics of it aside, as much as you want it to be else, Australia won’t cop a system that lets low-wage, disenfranchised workers swing for the benefit of the owners and speculators. Abbott knows this and that’s why he’s at such pains to pretend he wouldn’t, if he got the chance, have a go at doing just that.

  38. izatso?

    so Anthony Abbott is still everyones targeted Tosser then …… thats too easy, do you think it might be some kind of nasty neo-con-con again ?

  39. David Hand

    OG,
    I don’t understand why you have such a fixation on low wages. I absolutely believe in high wages for the majority and middle Australia became significantly better off under the Howard government. So to argue low wages are an aim of Coalition policy is plaing wrong. I believe a diverse, flexible Australian economy can deliver high wages for the majority. I absolutely agree with you that low wages for the majority will ultimately end in a depression. Liberal politicians do not want a depression.

    You are setting up a low wage straw man all on your own and then arguing against it.

  40. Owen Gary

    David

    We both know Slave-choice failed because not only does it stink, but also Lil Johnny tried to get it in quickly as possible & in it’s entirety.

    This goes without saying that future “Fib Govts” will bring it in piece by piece. They have since the time of unionism tried to stop unions via staving off their ability to collectively bargain.

    What has history taught us:- That Liberal Govts will never surrender their pursuit of this type of draconian legislation, it is in their DNA (i.e.) their ideology is built around it. (they are prostitutes to big business to the detriment of average working people)

    Their method (divide & conquer) thats the only way the majority is ever controlled & its currently what is happening at “Grocons worksite” where Grocon now will decide who the shop stewards are, you see the mode of attack may always be a bit different but the intended goal is always the same.

    What you fail to grasp is that paying low wages to the majority, will ultimately end in a depression so it’s a real catch 22 for you neo-cons at the end of the day

  41. David Hand

    Hamis,
    You’re getting it, mate.
    Scientists invented calculators to make their work easier and more productive. This is a great example of technology improving workplace efficiency.

    That sort of innovation is what drives enterprise in our free enterprise society.

  42. David Hand

    Owen Gary,
    Of course I’m not saying that EBAs are the same as individual contracts. I’m sorry my IQ is so low that I can’t explain such a simple concept to you.

    EBAs, as you rightly say, introduced a lot of flexibility into the Australian workplace, for the betterment of us all.

    I think the problem in this discussion is your obsessive compulsive preoccupation with Workchoices – an ill-conceived policy implemented two governments, three prime ministers and four opposition leaders ago, that will never be re-introduced. Once you move on from a relic of the past such as that, you might then be able to grasp ideas put forward by low IQ people such as me.

  43. swingingvoter

    ……Yawn…..ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ

  44. izatso?

    …… maybe science fiction will accomodate …….. ?

  45. Owen Gary

    David Handonit,

    Are you really trying to tell us that EBA’s & Individual contracts are the same
    thing?

    The EBA’s were collectively bargained through the unions under the ALP, they had the biggest step forward across Australian worksites.

    The fiberals model (individual contracts) is a system of slavery, how in this world would you compare them?

    It seems to me that your IQ isn’t large enough to provoke a thought, you are indeed a retard SWINGING from the same rope as the other Plonker, please dont leave your brain for science otherwise the scientists will scatch their heads wondering how we ever evolved.

  46. Hamis Hill

    Electronic calculators are a case in point for the engineering and science professions.
    But they developed them for their own use in order to, as with computers, avoid days and days of
    manipulation of the same seven figure log tables used by Lieutenant Cook to map the East Coast.
    They did not wait for their masters’ directions to increase this productivity, but the reality that they had better things to do with their highly valuable skills and time.
    Where is the external policy here?

  47. izatso?

    neat side stepping Mr Hand …… Barre work exercises ?

  48. David Hand

    Owen Gary,
    Yep, EBA’s had a dramatic impact on increasing workplace flexibility when the ALP government introduced them in 1991. We are enjoying the benefits of this shift from nationwide trade awards today.

    See? when you lefties start talking policy, the tone of the discussion improves and we aren’t so far apart.

  49. David Hand

    I agree, Hamis.
    Australia’s high wages attract investment in technology. This is how Australia will improve its productivity over the next 30 years and preserve its prosperity. It’s how we’ve been doing it for the last 30 years and there is no sign of it stopping.

  50. izatso?

    not my prescription, kid , but do let us know your thoughts, given your own ‘grasp’ ……?

  51. swingingvoter

    izatso? are you living in the same country that i am or are you living in russia circa 1917? clearly you have lost your grasp of reality!

  52. Worrierqueen

    In the dead of last thursday night the cowards of the LNP met in Queensland’s one-party one-chamber parliament to ram through their vindictive legislation destroying their own workers’ rights.

    Friday morning my partner was sacked from the Queensland Public Service. The family is distraught and the children distressed. Newmann calls it pooper scooping which says everything you need to know about what he thinks of workers in general and his own staff in particular.

    Tories don’t care about people, just money. As long as their job is safe everyone else can go hang. They talk about Government expenditure being just like a household expenditure. But I didn’t realise that that means a moral (at least by tory standards) method of balancing your household books is to let one of your children starve to death while comparing them to excretment.

    Wake up Australia, you’re next!

  53. izatso?

    ….. society is being de-skilled, education only for the relatively wealthy, rewarding employmentonly for the children of the wealthy, everyone else will become an operator to a greater or lesser extent, idealy on zero time contracts to hamper thier freedom, justice will become summary, with spot fines or imprisonment to swell the private enterprise satanic mills. the rich will be as they were just before the second world war, with all the time in the world and the rest of us wont have the time to think or effect any change because technology will be perfected to monitor and enable them to ‘farm’ us for our labour.Citizens rights will be reduced to the point of freedom from starvation if you conform to your ‘prison cell within the scheme of things’. It is the only way because capitalism has failed, and the entire financial system is bankrupt, it was only a Ponzi Scheme anyway ……. this thoughtfull rant stolen from a borrower who failed to attribute……. over to the vexatious

  54. Hamis Hill

    @David Hand. There is no incentive to replace lower wages with labour saving devices.
    High wages provoke labour saving devices.
    History, part of that neglected learning, shows that two millenia back, the Romans harvested wheat with slaves while the Celts in Northern Gaul harvested with horse drawn machinery.
    At the same time, in pre-Roman conquest Britain, visiting Roman traders were amazed to find that every village had a Blacksmith.
    Rome’s greater workplace flexibility, slavery, somehow could not produce the higher skilled smiths who invented all the woodworking tools, iron shod horses, iron rimmed wheels, the double edged Celt-Iberian short swords used by Hannibal to slaughter Romans, later to be adopted as the gladius.
    Freedom versus slavery David.
    Education tells us that a high value on labour creates the incentive for labour saving devices, not the other way around.
    Which political party is destroying TAFE’s around the nation?
    Which political party wants education for themselves and slavery for the rest?

  55. Owen Gary

    @SWINGINGRETARD

    Well your right hand rant is what it is the same ole same ole.

  56. swingingvoter

    Owen Gary
    Your rant is boring boring boring ……YAWN….

  57. Owen Gary

    @SWINGINGRIGHTARDT

    Why do you call yourself swingingvoter when its quite plain your diving off starboard side every time.

    It’s a case of chiefs & indians mate the indians will always survive on their own as the chief pales into insignificance.

  58. Owen Gary

    Steve Clark,

    Give it a rest, Grocon will allow shop stewards on site so long as they are not union members. Dangerous work practices now will suddenly become safe again. We know people like yourself couldn’t give a toss how many construction workers lose their lives, time to crawl back under your velvet lined rock.

    The Murdorc mendacity machine is forever portraying the union as thugs, but they do not follow up with big business forever conspiring with a No-alition Government to wipe out unions Australia wide, The “waterfront dispute” ring any bells. You can bet your bottom dollar if the time & money was invested in that one the courts would have been busy for years.

    It does not matter who the slow-alition leader is in office, the master & slave (born to rule) scenario will always be at the forefront of their ideology so keep serving up sh-ite as chocolate pudding for as long as you wish, the problem is of course it’s on the nose every time.

    @David Handonit or (empty hand)

    Save us the workplace flexibility crapola, everyone knows that little catchword flexibility = lower wages. The best workplace reforms were done under the Labor Govt through EBA’s. If we take your road & pay slave wages you have employees who wont give a toss. Nobody minds skilling up in the workplace it’s been done forever more but thats not what your really about is it?

  59. David Hand

    Exactly right Hamis.
    Productivity improvements such as bar coding eliminate low paid unskilled work and shift resources towards higher skill higher paid work. That’s why education is so important in 2012.

    Higher wages guys. That’s what greater workplace flexibility brings. Some people may need to upskill and change jobs though and we should help them.

  60. Bourke Mark

    Work Choices back from the Dead, Buried and Cremated. Where is that piece of paper he signed on camera ?

  61. Clarke Steve

    Fair Work Australia seems to be slowly breathing life back into militant unionism. The “above the law” attitude of the CFMEU in Victoria reminds me of the early 80s when rolling strikes and disputes were a normal part of industrial relations in Australia.
    A return to a highly adversarial system will probably keep our industrial lawyers happy, but it will end up being at everyone else’s expense.
    Against this we have a frightened Tony Abbott, too scared to make any changes that could be turned into a work choices scare campaign.

  62. James K

    but Swingingvoter… you implied that Mr Katter is a bit crazy, and yet you fail to acknowledge that he would rather be with Abbott than Gillard.
    doesn’t that say something about how close each of them is to the crazy man?
    Even his caveat implied that too.
    Mr Abbott will make John Howard look like a centerist, and Mr Malcolm Frazer a communist!

  63. swingingvoter

    Owen Gary …. Is that how they roll at the CFMEU?

  64. Owen Gary

    @SWINGINGPLONKER

    Once that barcode has been stamped on your thick head is there any chance of a wake up call then??

  65. swingingvoter

    James K …Katter supported Abbott with the caveat that if Windsor and oakshott supported gillard he would align with them as a block of independents.

  66. James K

    Blast … I mucked up a sentence in the above. 1st sentence 2nd paragraph should have said

    “I did not dismiss economic goals as UNimportant….”

    David… why not jump on my typo, and pretend it is what I meant!

  67. James K

    Swinging voter: The minority govt does NOT include Mr Katter! What are you thinking? HE supported Mr Abbott… dont you remember?

    David Hand: I did not dismiss economic goals as important. My point was simple: it is not all that life is about. You generalise and sum me up as if I dont believe the economy is important. That is being a bit naughty with the facts before you.

    And you missed another point: I said if an economy was growing at 4% one year and then it grows by 3% another year, IT IS STILL GROWING. It is not going backwards, it is just not expanding as fast as it had in a previous year. But the total value of all goods and services is still 3% more than the previous year, even if the previous years growth was 4% more than the year before that. HOW CAN A SLOWING OF GROWTH be misunderstood for NEGATIVE GROWTH? And even if it was just 1% – it is still more stuff than the year before. It is not going backwards. It is still expanding, but just not as fast as someone else might think it should!

    Are you even reading what we are writing? I mean, carefully…. not just a quick read to dismiss us with a throwaway line and another chorus of “Boo hoo…”

  68. Hamis Hill

    Labour saving devices, eg barcode machines, are the result of high wages.
    Just thought David Hand might want to argue this with Adam Smith.
    The same Adam Smith who argued that low wages lead to low savings and high interest rates because of the restricted money supply. (Boo Work Choices for wanting lower wages.)
    “Capitalists have an interest to deceive and oppress the public” Adam Smith-for the above reason.
    Boo David Hand for wanting lower wages!
    That is what you are arguing David?

  69. Yclept

    A return to the Howard golden era –hmmmm… Does that mean that the next time Abbott is asked about Workchoices his response will be “Never, ever”?

  70. izatso?

    well it allows our David to go Boo ! to make his point ……….. ?

  71. Liz45

    @DAVID HAND- Only one problem with that? Who devised the idea of using bar codes? Someone like the head of Qantas or BHP Billiton? Of course not! Somebody who was probably only being paid a more realistic sum of money? In fact, that’s a good idea? Go and do the research?

    Why don’t politicians ask the question of those in businesses who whine about productivity? What have they done re investment, re-education etc to improve their role? A person can only cut off so much time making a sandwich or cappucino? How can they improve on that? How will AWA’s improve it? Or cutting out penalty rates? The production line? How can that be improved? I’m a pretty good typist these days, how can I make my fingers move quicker?

    It’s all very well, and far too easy to blame the workers, when stats show that we already work the longest hours, both paid and unpaid than any other country. Australian workers have millions of leave hours owing! Enough to employ thousands of workers, and yet the Coalition and their supporters are always criticising them? People like CEO’s who never work on a weekend; too busy on their yacht and drinking MOET, but begrudge a few extra dollars going to their employees for long hours, working on weekends, or like teachers, use them as a punching bag for their need to fight and conquer?

    There were several reports undertaken during WorstChoices. Young people and women were the people who suffered the most. I don’t recall Howard or any of his Ministers for Employment congratulating workers for their good performances? Not once! Only whining that Laws should go even further! I’ve never heard Abbott or Pyne or that other whining oaf, Abetz make any positive comments about any workers? Probably applies to the workers in their offices too? All they do is whine, talk down their attributes and are only interested in their rich mates and what to do to help them get richer – while they of course, do as little as possible! Abbott would have to be one of the laziest people re personal research I know – and it shows! He just keeps on making dumb assed comments? Amazing!

    There’s also plenty of evidence that shows, that where workers have a say in the policies of Occupational Health & Safety, particularly in the dangerous areas such as building, police etc the number of deaths and serious injury decline.

    Under Howard’s WC, it was going to be illegal for unions to be able to run O H & S seminars etc. If that had been the case, the two men trapped underground in Tasmania would NOT have been rescued. What left a marked impression on me at that time and since, was not ONE Govt person was responsible for their rescue – all either fellow workers, senior people who’d all been educated as part of their training and/or professions with a strong union influence! That’s fact, go and do the research! Howard and his Ministers were impotent in that crisis!

    Howard now wants us to believe, that WorstChoices didn’t play as big a role in his demise and the results show? Well, good for him, if he wants to live in fairy land. The fact is, that the only other Australian PM who lost his own seat met his demise over similar anti worker policies/ideas/idealogy etc. Howard once said that employers should be able to conduct their businesses 24/7? Well, that may be OK, but he didn’t add – but they should have to pay well for it! Now why didn’t that surprise?? He’s still not given one hint of praise to workers?

  72. geomac62

    David Hand
    Why is it that there was no improvement in productivity when we had workchoice ? It was in long enough to do comparisons and no improvement . Instead of theories or ideological views the facts in practice , on the ground , disprove any benefit from workchoice .

  73. David Hand

    SBH,
    The fact that you need workplace flexibility explained to you when you seem so certain that Tony Abbott is a fool is disturbing. Quite often, I wonder whether you are having a laugh or are raising a genuine question.

    I’m happy to explain in the possibility that you truly don’t understand.

    Barcodes is a simple worked example about how a technological innovation has improved our lives though it has cost jobs, forcing workers previously employed to put price stickers on products to find new jobs. It represents the change to working conditions for employees that employers need in order to improve the productivity of their business and improve all of our lives. I put it in this thread in response to James K’ challenge about redundancy being a tool for evil corporations to supress lowly workers.

    It also represents the sort of change FWA makes difficult and though it has nothing to do with Workchoices, when a measure such as this is implemented, someone like you will shout “Boo! Workchoices!”

  74. MJPC

    David Hand, how about some facts in amongst the mistruths.
    Supermarket scanners; I have been in a Woolworths where I about 5 items. They had two open cash registers with lines of people with filled trolleys indicative of persons stocking up for the end of the world or a nuclear holocaust
    I spoke to the manager on hand to ask why the 15 items or less was not open and she stated I could use the self scanners (which, by the way, no one was using). I have an ideological objection to using technology that’s sole purpose is to take work from the most poorly paid in society, but obviously not Woolies (despite their touchy feely adverts).
    The classic was, the manager then stated she would put the items through the scanners. So they couldn’t employ another worker to give that foreign concept of ‘service’., but the manager could act as a scanner operator.
    The big supermarket chains are not about service, or cheap goods or anything else, its solely gaining market dominance, screwing the suppliers into the ground and making certain their bottom line is healthy so they can open another store in another area and do the same to the owned businesses that served the communities so well. I have no objection to paying a fair or higher price to get quality, or to help an Australian manufacturer to gain a fair price for their toil.
    By the way, what is Mr Abbott’s policy on supermarket duopoly, or is that covered in his return to work choices also (can’t have those workers being paid too highly).

  75. geomac62

    Ronson Dalby
    Obviously his seminary training didn’t include truthfulness or empathy (the latter proved by the fact that he is in the Liberal Party).
    I,m not sure that we have a liberal party anymore because it has morphed into a virulent DLP . Abbott would be quite comfortable with Santamaria style attacks which he probably watched on Sundays many years ago .
    On the bar codes thing I saw a piece about some firm making casuals wear bar code type tags . It was one of those dispatch companies where a worker is expected to get an item from the time the order is placed to the packaging area in some ridiculously short amount of time every time . It was in Melbourne I think .

  76. Ronson Dalby

    What if they election situation had been reversed, Swingingvoter, and Abbott had got his way and “cut a deal with lunatics from the left (greens) right (katter) and a couple of independents with vendettas (windsor and wilke)…I must admit i cant box oakshott”?

    Personally, I’m in favour of hung parliaments (at least this one) as it seems that politicians have to work a lot harder.

    How does any person get to be leader of a political party other than by ‘knifing the leader’ or behind-the-scenes machinations. That’s politics ego and ambition.

  77. swingingvoter

    Ronson Dalby,

    “Abbott will say or do anything to get the keys to the Lodge”

    like….stand before the electorate and chance his hand? Or do you prefer the Gillard way …. Get elected as deputy then knife the leader ….then go to the electorate with a platform that doesn’t get a mandate so you have to cut a deal with lunatics from the left (greens) right (katter) and a couple of independents with vendettas (windsor and wilke)…I must admit i cant box oakshott

  78. Ronson Dalby

    SBH,

    Can’t you see that barcoding workers (ie those who will not/don’t attend private schools), preferably at birth, will be good for the economy and employers?

  79. Ronson Dalby

    David Hand,

    If only we knew what Abbott really believes in:

    Tony Abbott, 18/8/12: “I’m wholly and solely dedicated to recreating the golden age of the Howard government.”

    Tony Abbott, 27/8/12: “John Howard is two prime ministers ago; John Howard is at least three Liberal leaders ago. That was then, this is now. There is no going back to the past.”

    Abbott will say or do anything to get the keys to the Lodge. Obviously his seminary training didn’t include truthfulness or empathy (the latter proved by the fact that he is in the Liberal Party).

  80. SBH

    Any moment now David hand will explain how bar codes have anything to do with WorkChoices

  81. David Hand

    “what bile have i launched at tony abbott ?……. the man can not tell the truth and is not fit to be pm of australia and is simply not a decent human being”

    Hahahaha. Good one.

  82. swingingvoter

    @izatso and cairn50judging by your personal attacks on David Hand i assume
    you couldn’t win the argument

  83. izatso?

    …… anger/confliction, much ? hows this ….. you may stick your sociopathic economic flexibility where *you* feel some pain, David, such is your willingness for others to suffer for your progress….

  84. cairns50

    david hand what bile have i launched at tony abbott ?

    all i have stated is fact

    ie the man can not tell the truth and is not fit to be pm of australia and is simply not a decent human being

    i stand by my statements

    dont you read the murdoch press ? if you did you would know all about vitriol, abuse and plain rudeness

    all towards julia gillard

    my thoughts of you are that you a just another right wing know all

  85. David Hand

    The vitriol, abuse and plain rudeness aimed at Tony Abbott in a thread like this just goes to prove that all that nonsense in the media about the victimhood of Julia and the mysogeny aimed at her is just lefty affectation. Meaningless. Spin and fodder dished up for the commercial TV news.

    And Cairns50’s fury at a perceived insult in this thread of insults is genuinely funny.

    Izatso? Of course I’m condescending and patronising in this thread. What other reaction to all this bile should you expect?

    In answer to a couple of points about policy issues-

    James K
    When you go to the supermarket and see bar codes on products, you are looking at technology that made the jobs of people who went round putting little price stickers on every item redundant. When you use the self check out, you are using technology that has made some check out operators redundant. These savings to the supermarkets come through as cheaper prices or greater dividends. We can all argue about the most equitable way to disperse the savings and I reckon most of them are in the price of goods. This makes your supermarket dollar go further and represents a real increase in income for you. That’s the sort of policy that economists refer to when calling for greater flexibility in the workplace and economic growth.

    Your questioning of the benefit of economic growth is a nice warm fuzzy trendy lefty view that does not recognise that any fall off in economic growth hits the low paid and poor far harder than the well off. You might hold such a view if you’re a public servant or retired but if you’re a small business owner or work for a small business, a fall off in economic growth has direct impact.

    And of course, you’ve joined the “Boo! Workchoices!” orgy by talking about it as though it is Coalition policy.

    Owen Gary,
    Retire from the rat race if you want to. No one is making you earn money to buy goods and services for your own consumption. You’ve been watching too many “evil corporation” movies.

  86. SBH

    “The minimum wage fixing arrangements established under WorkChoices have led to a real wage decline for most award-reliant (low wage) workers, but the full effect is yet to be seen. WorkChoices has been associated with a decline in average real wages, at least in the short term, despite the economic boom. It appears to have led to real wage declines in retail & hospitality, probably as a result of the loss of penalty rates in those industries, and in the short term at least a drop in real and relative earnings for women. Meanwhile profits are at record levels, continuing a trend established under the Workplace Relations Act.”

    David Peetz – Brave New Work Choices – What’s the story to date?

    So profits up, wages down Why would we cheer ‘Yay Work Choices’?

    just cause the moderator is out to lunch

  87. swingingvoter

    Cairns50 and izatso and Gary Owen. I’m sorry I guess my neocon psychopathology got the better of me.

  88. MJPC

    Well said James K, the economy might be the number 1 importance to the big end of town, but not to joe average worker who will never be a millionaire or billionaire, but wants a decent life for him, his family and children.
    We are starting to see the true face of the LNP in Queensland, and to a certain extent in NSW. The Labour party has so much advertising material supplied FOC by LNP shafting of ordinary people.
    As for Mr Abbott and co, the best comment I have heard in recent days is from one, ex-prime minister and seat loser J Howard who stated that workchoices (or indeed the Your Rights at Work campaign) did not have a hand in the LNP loss of government.
    That’s OK, I hope the LNP keeps believing that when the next election comes and there are mass rallies again against any chance to implement it again by any government in waiting. I will be out there protesting, someone has to make a stand against unwanton greed and exploitation.

  89. izatso?

    yes, swinger, you might want to do some work on that misdirected anger/confliction you’re expressing …..

  90. cairns50

    to swinging voter

    thats a pretty low comment to make against gary owen

    judging by it i would say that you are a pretty low person yourself

    what a disgusting comment to make against any one

  91. swingingvoter

    @Owen Gary
    you may think your a dreamer but your words echo those of Pol Pot.

  92. izatso?

    Ho ! David Condescension Hand, your boat leaks, the cap’n is telling porkies abott his area of responsibility, and your share price mirrors your style of management abrogation, do you have to be such a patronising git ? yes you do.

  93. Peter Ormonde

    AR

    G’day … yes there’s a mechanical automaton character to Abbott deep down – to the extent there is a deep I suspect.

    Same sort of deal with Mirabella on Q&A – so controlled, so aware of their public personas that every action and reaction must be considered… a pause for thought … how will this play?

    Can a sound-bite become Prime Minister? I suspect that Reagan showed the way in the US – but the President is very much a media creation – an elected king – weilding immense individual power – like appointing an entire executive.

    Very different here thank heavens. A team sport here – it’s your mates who get you elected. You owe them and they watch you.

    And they are seeing far more of the real Phoney Habbit than we are glimpsing. Homo politico. An empty vessel.

  94. klewso

    Sales : “Are you absolutely scrupulous about making sure what you say is accurate?”
    Abbott : “Of course I am.”

  95. Owen Gary

    Well said James,

    The whole set up was & still is an illusion to waste our one lifetime on this planet to an enslavement called materialism in which each of us is automatically born with a debt that we acquire through our wants rather than our needs.

    Look at our species today are we really any wiser than 20 thousand years ago??
    We have gadgets & trinkets but have we truly evolved & are we really happy??
    We were once tribal hunter gatherers who cared for not just one family but many in close knit units, we also understood & respected the land which sustained us. Enter Capitalism it is a word that has given a few control over how,where & why we live our lives, in short it’s enslavement but not that many recognize this beast for it’s real identity. It is also destroying the planet & the minds of everyone that lives upon it.

    Perhaps this whole game is about enslavement, well we know for sure it is. the word economy is nothing more than a subconsciously implanted alarm to make us jump out of bed & run our lives in accordance to that lovely little invention the mechanical clock, & with every second that passes another stroke in time has been lost forever in the pursuit of worthless trinkets. If 2012 is said to be the age of self awareness, I think part of this will be returning to farming at a subsistence level to some degree, eating our own organic produce would do more for our health than any big pharma sponsored GP or GM crop.

    Anyway “you may say I’m a dreamer but I’m not the only one” after all said and done we “are spirits in a material world”

  96. James K

    David Hand: I want to question your foundation assumptions here. You think that we have to “stay productive” even if it means ridding ourselves of “redundant jobs”.

    redundant jobs… interesting term that… how is a job “redundant”? In pure economic terms, it is reduncant if it is making something that is a bit dearer than the same thing being made elsewhere. Like overseas. where labor (and people) are cheap and where overheads are low (no pollution regulations, no OH&S to worry about, no sick pay, holiday pay, long service leave, ,…. nothing to get in the way of good old unbridled profit making!)

    I disagree with your starting points.

    I like to start with the question about “quality of life”. I am not so naive as to dismiss economic concerns as a contributing factor in that term. But economics is not the only factor. And economics is not necessarily the most important factor all the time either.

    So what if economic growth slows a little? So what? If economic growth one year is 4% and the next year it is 3%…. so what? We are still growing. WE ARE STILL GROWING. Just not quite as fast as … who?… tells us we should be!

    Maybe we dont even have to be growing. maybe we could be staying about the same each year? That might mean less pollution, less mindless materialism that destroys so much of the environment around the world for unnecessary rubbish that is tossed away within 12 months or so…. maybe it is not such a bad thing to slow down growth? maybe we should simplify our lives. Maybe we are caught up in a treadmill in a rat cage running after crap that noone really enjoys for long, and exhausting ourselves doing it… all the time making the very few very rich, and the rest of us “expendible as our jobs become redundant because they are not productive enough”.

    What makes a country a great place to live? Not just GDP! How about: how many hours a week people work? How much leisure time there is? How many parks and gardens are there in acres per head of population? How clean is the air? how healthy are the people? How happy are the people? How much crime is there? how safe do people feel? …. there is much more to a good life than unbridled capitalism … infact, I would suggest that obsession over “just the economy” is a sure way to make life less pleasant for most of the people in it.

    Work choices is a sick symptom of misplaced priorities.

  97. SBH

    David Hand, ‘flexibility’ in work choices went one way. Why you think that’s a good thing is beyond me but you’re beyond reason and you’ll not be able to provide anything other than your usual right-wing rubbish to back it up.

    For others who want to refresh themselves with a more rational point of view about how work choices systematically stripped rights and conditions away from workers, and the more vulnerable the more you lost, Google David Peetz excellent analysis of the figures that were released at the time which includes the following analysis:

    “The minimum wage fixing arrangements established under WorkChoices have led to a real wage decline for most award-reliant (low wage) workers, but the full effect is yet to be seen. WorkChoices has been associated with a decline in average real wages, at least in the short term, despite the economic boom. It appears to have led to real wage declines in retail & hospitality, probably as a result of the loss of penalty rates in those industries, and in the short term at least a drop in real and relative earnings for women. Meanwhile profits are at record levels, continuing a trend established under the Workplace Relations Act.”

    David Peetz – Brave New Work Choices – What’s the story to date?

    So profits up, wages down Why would we cheer ‘Yay Work Choices’?

  98. geomac62

    David Hand
    What you say may well be on the mark but Abbott has proven to be flaky with the recent didn,t read did read the report example . Surely if your example has merit it also would have been noted in QLD , NSW and to a lesser extent Victoria but all have broken promises . Of course there is also the addition left out in citing the PMs quote about being determined to put a price on carbon . Its a bit like Frasers often repeated quote of life wasn,t meant to be easy without the add on .
    Great minds think alike is well known but its full line has ” and fools seldom differ ” Makes a difference doesn,t it ?

  99. geomac62

    David Hand
    What you say may well be on the mark but Abbott has proven to be flaky with the recent didn,t read did read the report example . Surely if your example applies it also would have been noted in QLD , NSW and to a lesser extent Victoria but all have broken promises . Of course there is also the addition left out in citing the PMs quote about being determined to put a price on carbon . Its a bit like Frasers often repeated quote of life wasn,t meant to be easy without the add on .
    Great minds think alike is well known but its full line has ” and fools seldom differ ” Makes a difference doesn,t it ?

  100. David Hand

    Flexibility in the workplace will not occur under the next Coalition government because the Union movement, along with its political arm, the ALP has run a magnificant scare campaign called “your rights at work”. Or as I like to call it, “Boo! Workchoices!”

    The fact that this does a disservice to future Australians by locking people into unproductive and redundant jobs is the collateral damage the measure has inflicted.

    Abbott will keep his promise. I know you all think for some reason that he is the personification of evil but in my view, the wound Julia inflicted on herself by saying “there will be no carbon tax under a government I lead”, which she promptly abandoned, is an object lesson Tony has learned.

    I do expect however, that when the new Coalition government makes the mildest adjustment to any workplace regulation, 100 of you down here in the Crikey Crypt will start screaming “Boo! Workchoices!”

  101. Andybob

    I just can’t help but feel that as the pendulum swings back it is intended to collect the worker and smash her into a wall in the middle.

  102. AR

    I’m only surprised by the feigned surprise at his perfidy, stupidity and sheer mendacity.
    Did no-one else notice the return of the nodding head, incoherence tuther night when asked something so banal/simple that I can’t remember as I was too mesmerised by his synaptic short circuit.

  103. Bill Hilliger

    Tony Abbott quite distinctly said at a Liberal Party function a few days ago that he would bring back the golden Howard years for the Australian people. And that will presumably include work choices. If Australians vote for the return of that type of government they deserve to be shat on.

  104. Phil L

    To my mind if the Collation can run the mother of all scare campaigns on the carbon tax impact, then the Government are entitled to reciprocate on IR….

  105. James K

    owen: we can only hope so!

  106. Owen Gary

    The Libs are the biggest hypocrites, a few more polls like this & the fiberal faceless men & women will be sharpening the knives.

  107. jj mick

    “Tony Abbott gets away with many things ……. The media too often fail to hold him to account”.

    Never was a truer statement ever uttered by a journalist.

    Abbott has been protected by the media for the past 3 years. Work Choices may not be Abbott’s cup of tea but one has to remember that the coalition is owned by big business which pays the bills. Malcolm Turnbull was dumped in favour of a much less intelligent and articulate Tony Abbott because Abbott was the big business attack dog.

    So what about Turnbull who was not doing what his political masters demanded? Off with his head. Gone!!

    It is pleasing that the business owned media is (in part) now doing its job in exposing the rot for what it is. I dare say that there is plenty yet to unearth in the Abbott camp.

  108. Mike Smith

    @Zut: I’d only believe him if it was his own (blood) and if he used it all. There’s a political cartoon there, I can see it, him writing 1000 times on a blackboard, in his blood “I will not bring WorkChoices back”

  109. cairns50

    good point james k people are waking up to these so called genius lilberal premiers who say they will fix up the awful mess that the alp left there states

    same old cure, just sack people and throw them on the scrap heap

    blame the outgoing government and give there big business mates what they want

    heres hoping the people sacked finally wake up to the b….ds and dont vote for abbott and work choices

  110. drmick

    With you there Shepherdmarilyn; Mata Hari is a more generous and apt name for the political animal that has lost any pretence of looking after the people who vote for her. Same as Phoney bot boy in her lust for power.

    Why has no one mentioned Abbots paymasters, (big business, big tobacco, big alcohol, big mining and every other big ar$e loud mouth “expert”), continual claim that , “The pendulum has swung too far towards the worker in IR”. That the worker is even considered in IR is a first.

    Genuine red tape should be eradicated, but blatant abuse of uninformed victims should be punishable. Just like politics, there are exceptionally bad employees and and exceptionally bad employers who will both test the system.

  111. Mike Flanagan

    He admitted he can’t read, ergo the chances are he can’t write. so who on earth would accept his thumb print.

  112. Owen Gary

    Yes Marilyn she deservedly got caught with her fingers in the pie sat there spruiking her innocence endowed with diamonds & pearls.

  113. James K

    I think that Mr Abbott’s constant mantra that Ms Gillard went against her election promise, has taught a lot of Aussies that not just ms Gillard will go against what she says … rather ALL politicians will do that.

    And so the irony is that by harping on and on and on about the one big promise Ms G backflipped on, the fact is that now we dont trust anything any politician will say – and especially Mr Abbott.

    We have been trained to doubt. And the focus of the doubt was meant to be Ms G. But people are not stupid. When they think about it they realise that every Liberal premier elected in the last cycle of state elections has BROKEN PROMISES (to gays, in Qld; to teachers everywhere; to the police …). All political leaders say one thing and do another. Ms Gillard is not alone. All of them are UNTRUSTWORTHY. And if there are decent ones amoung them… they dont get to be leaders!

    So of course Mr Abbott will break promises too. He might be an Abbott but he is no saint!

  114. shepherdmarilyn

    You mean prudent and careful like applauding Kathy Jackson as a heroine to expose unions instead of the truth that she is one of the biggest shonks of all.

  115. Peter Ormonde

    Ah yes that horny old chestnut – what does Tony Abbott actually stand for?

    Short answer – everything. Mostly he’s been able to get away with just saying no and promising to repeal this and that and of course smoting public spending and shovelling money off trucks to the battlers on Struggle Street …

    But this one has it’s teeth firmly planted in his rump. A gnawing tribal expectation.

    This fence-straddling smudge style cannot see him into the scrutiny of an election. This bloke who runs away from Tony Jones and Q&A? Caught up on the wire.

  116. fredex

    ABS stats for ’09/’10

    640,700 people experienced a work-related injury or illness.

    Not a trivial issue.

  117. Owen Gary

    @Swingingplonker

    Is it now illegal to protest?? & what are they protesting for?? yet another neo-con psychopath.

  118. zut alors

    “dead, buried, cremated”… but did he sign it in blood?

    As we know, he’s a fickle fellow and can easily change his mind on major issues – remember the era when he was anti paid parental leave? Now he purports to be so generous to parents that the ALP’s ‘socialist’ scheme seems like penny-pinching.

  119. swingingvoter

    “Are you serious? Grocon will only allow shop-stewards on the worksite if they choose who they are, wake up mate thats akin to saying you can be safety officer but we will decide what is dangerous. (wakey wakey)”

    The question is are YOU serious? Today, in melbourne, union members acted ILLEGALLY and DANGEROUSLY. Wakey Wakey indeed!

  120. Gocomsys

    This is not about personalities. The ALP (Australian Liberal Party) has the runs on the board. The LNP extremists have managed to cause damage to our society and in the process have wrecked any remaining credibility of their brand of “fibberalism”!

  121. Owen Gary

    @swingingvoter

    “Abbott has also spoken about IR in terms of a pendulum. Work choices may have swung too far to the right but the fair work act has swung it too far to the left (not to mention that it encouraged the more hysterical elements of the union movement as seen in melbourne today”

    Are you serious? Grocon will only allow shop-stewards on the worksite if they choose who they are, wake up mate thats akin to saying you can be safety officer but we will decide what is dangerous. (wakey wakey)

  122. Gavin Moodie

    @ geomac62

    I agree. I have never travelled Qantas after that bastardry.

  123. Owen Gary

    @John Bennetts,

    I don’t know John I think (Talcum Churnbull) has been brought back into the fray of late with all the airtime he’s been getting. Who could forget the attack on the waterfront from Reith what a shower of shi-te that guy was. The conspiracy between big business & the federal Liberal government at that time has never been put to a royal commission & yet he is still in the background pushing this agenda via his big business ties.

    It’s obvious the fiberals are trying to bring some parts of workchoiceless back & thats why they refuse to give out any policy information.

  124. geomac62

    The Fairwork act is workchoice light and any change from the coalition can only be towards their preferred option , workchoice . The biggest act of industrial militancy I have witnessed in the past few years ? Joyce locking out his workforce and disrupting thousand of passengers without warning . If a union had done a quarter of the damage Joyce did it would called a wildcat strike and loudly condemned by business groups .

  125. klewso

    Who’s going to define “prudent”, “careful”, “cautious” and “responsible” re those “changes”.

  126. Gavin Moodie

    Labor and the unions have misleadingly called any Coalition proposal on industrial relations a return to WorkChoices. This behaviour degrades public policy as much as the Coalition’s exaggeration.

  127. swingingvoter

    Abbott has also spoken about IR in terms of a pendulum. Work choices may have swung too far to the right but the fair work act has swung it too far to the left (not to mention that it encouraged the more hysterical elements of the union movement as seen in melbourne today) Abbott is aiming to swing it back to the middle.

  128. Liz45

    BERNARD – It’s because via Abbott’s own mouth, he can’t be trusted on anything – anything at all! I recall the Health Rebate issue re contributions to Health Funds, was written in concrete or some such. A few months after the ’04 Election(if that) it was a ‘ooops, didn’t realise it would cost THAT much, sorry folks’ and it didn’t happen. He wasn’t castigated and called A-LIAR like JG has been; no shock jocks; no Murdoch hate articles etc etc! Don’t trust him! Wouldn’t trust him! Don’t like him! Full stop! He’ll say and do whatever it takes to be elected, and then……

    Also, he thinks we’re either suffering from dementia of some kind, or have a very short memory! Mark my words – if he gets elected, it’ll be on with a vengeance, and to hell with mandates blah blah! He has no conscience and has no need of one! And the Telegraph in NSW will be as quiet as an angel, as will Alan Jones and the others! Just like they are over O’Farrell’s lies over the Port Kembla Port sale! Not a murmur! Sickening!

    @CAIRNS50 – When I saw Abbott in the Parlt after the Leigh Sales interview, even I couldn’t believe that he’d change his story! Open mouthed I was! He told her at least once that he hadn’t read that media release and then said he did! Unbelievable! His tongue should be long enough to reach from Canberra to the Top End now – so many lies!

  129. arnold ziffel

    John Bennetts above: ‘My question is: If Abbott gets dumped by his party and Malcolm is a has-been, who will be next?’
    Perhaps it falls to Hockey – here he is as Minister for IR being interviewed by Kerry O’Brien http://www.abc.net.au/7.30/content/2007/s2049308.htm
    So he’s been drinking the Kool-aid too.
    They’re all wearing the opprobrium, and so they should.

  130. klewso

    Does Abbott have any shame – or conscience?

  131. David Allen

    It’s only last week Abbott was yearning for a return to the ‘Howard Golden Age’. This was the age abrubtly punctuated, with a full stop, as a result of ‘Workchoices’.

    Why would anyone ever believe anything he says. He’s in constant contradiction with himself.

  132. John Bennetts

    Speaking as one more Abbott nonbeliever amongst many, I almost choked on your last sentence, Bernard:
    “The problem is, no one, even on his own side, appears happy to let him keep doing it.”

    Of course not – his own side know him far too well to trust him.

    Now the wider electorate seem to have woken up, and about time, too!

    My question is: If Abbott gets dumped by his party and Malcolm is a has-been, who will be next?

  133. klewso

    “Work Choices dead buried cremated” – he scribbled, July 19 ’10 (then again he did write that, and we all remember him saying no to trust “anything he said”, just before he said only to trust what he “committed in writing”?) we all saw him do it in that radio stunt, meant to reassure us.
    Not “WorkChoices” – that sleeps.
    And what’s in name anyway – actions speak louder than words.

  134. Mobius Ecko

    Abbott = Liar
    Flexibility = WorkChoices
    WorkChoices = Big Business
    Big Business = Abbott
    Abbott = WorkChoices

  135. fredex

    ‘Dead, buried, cremated” {sic}

    [“TONY Abbott has signed a “contract” promising that Work Choices is dead and buried but he continues to muddle his message on the controversial laws.

    “Give me a bit of paper, I’ll sign it here,” Mr Abbott said to 3AW host Neil Mitchell as he tried to end questions about John Howard’s divisive workplace laws.

    But pressed again by Mitchell, Mr Abbott said: “I can’t give an absolute guarantee about every single aspect of workplace relations…….. ….”]

    July 19, 2010

    Thats why poor poor Tony can’t take trick.
    Because he contradicts himself [thats using a polite term] .
    In the case above within a minute or so.

    [” But voters don’t believe it {him}”]

    Gee, I wonder why?

  136. cairns50

    no one beleives him bernard because the man simply can not speak the truth

    kerry o’brien had that told to him by abbott himself

    leigh sales exposed him the other night, then the next day he backflipped on what he reckons he said to her

    slowly but surely people are finally waking up to him

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