Cor Blimey, it’s war, or at least a good old-fashioned suburban footy game. As reported in the Oz:
Ms Gillard yesterday raised concerns that business could become propagandists for Mr Howard in an election year.
I’d be concerned if the business community got itself into the political fray … I’d be concerned if they became, if you like, propagandists for Mr Howard. I don’t think that is a wise position for Australian business to put itself in.
By this morning, Gillard on AM was back-peddling, promising to work with BHP, presumably patching up their injuries and tending their damaged egos.
Go, girl, go! Passing curious that we did not hear you telling the union bosses to butt out of the political discussion. What a howl of abuse would be heard if Peter Costello warned the ACTU to butt out of the political process in case they got themselves injured.
Today, Henry focuses on the major contribution of WorkChoices to the robustness of Australia’s economic gains from the China boom.
Australia is undergoing a fundamental change in the relationships between workers and employers. Consumers of course are workers, and as consumers they demand the opportunity to buy goods and services when it suits them, not when it suits a union boss who gets his jollies from telling employers what deals they will strike with their workers.
Suppliers, of course, are employers, and to service consumers efficiently (i.e. profitably) they need the freedom to operate without “instructions” from union bosses or their shop stewards.
The economic effects of WorkChoices have been masked by unreliable economic data. Statistics on even such a concept as total employment and total unemployment have been biased and inaccurate, as we have argued. Official wage and labour cost data, we suspect, do not fully take into account the loss of traditional benefits — “Union Rorts” might be a fairer description — such as long tea breaks, double or triple time after hours or on weekends, unrecorded sick days and other forms of working to rule or in some cases against the apparent rules.
Election of a Labor government in thrall to its union supporter base is a major threat to the WorkChoices reforms. Kevin Rudd is a clever bloke who works hard and so far at least has shown great discipline. Henry’s guess is that Kevin Rudd is capable of understanding the extent to which WorkChoices has helped the Australian economy, and the costs of rollback in this area.
However, while the jury of public opinion is still deliberating on this subject, the portents are not good. It seems if Labor wins the federal election that there will be at least some rollback, and this will reimpose the shackles on Australia’s growth and prosperity.
Read more at Henry Thornton.