Henry has just returned after a hectic weekend working in Singapore. (Memo ACTU – no penalty rates!) This was his first stopover in this outpost of semi-democratic capitalism since the Asian economic crisis, and it can be reported that the semi-permanent Singaporean boom is well and truly underway again.

But some things have changed. Henry was ripped off by a taxi driver who did not offer change, and when he did a short amount was offered. “There was a time when they’d have hung a bloke that did that” Henry’s old foreign policy mate commented.

It was a relief to get on the big Qantas plane at Changi airport, and to read that the privatisation of this wonderful Aussie icon looks as if it’s doomed – well done, fundies!

The whistle has finally been blown of drug abuse by footy players and the AFL’s million dollar administrator is looking dopey for not knowing what every casual spectator in Melbourne has been able to see from the outer as their teams gets flogged by the superhuman players from interstate for years now. (Memo Chief Demetriou, they hang them for drug abuse in Singapore – it is a great deterrent.)

In more wholesome news, Henry learned in the airport lounge that Australia thrashed the South Efricans at cricket, and four Aussie sheilas beat the formidable American relay team in a swimming race. And Labor has won the NSW election, and is attributing this to a backlash against the Federal government’s industrial relations (IR) legislation.

But the Boss is not for turning, according to The Oz:

… Mr Howard, standing his ground as he marks the first anniversary today of Work Choices, vowed he would make no substantial changes to the reform package apart from “fine-tuning”.

With possibly just six months to run before calling the federal election, the Prime Minister brushed aside claims that his laws had penalised employees, saying they were vital to help maintain national prosperity.

Mr Howard said he was not in favour of changing Work Choices because he was “stubborn” or “driven by ideology” but because it was good for the country. He likened Labor’s policy seeking to dismantle the laws as akin to reimposing tariffs, ending the floated exchange rate and dismantling the tax system.

Like the Boss, Henry is sticking to his guns on IR reform, reiterating that it is a major factor in the strong growth of jobs. “What’s unfair about that?” the Boss has asked, and Henry agrees. But the Boss is now in more strife than Ned Kelly, and what an irony if the Libs were thrown out because of a serious economic reform. It would be an historic irony is Labor then maintained the new IR framework and benefited from the continuing positive effects in generating jobs for years to come.

Read more at Henry Thornton

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Peter Fray
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