Obviously IR and Work Choices will be one of the hot topics for the federal election. Many in the media are doing a poor job of putting voters in touch with reality.

In writing up Labor IR plans as if the election is the only hurdle to the Rudd vision, journalists do voters a great disservice. With respect to the fate of WorkChoices and what replaces it, the real hurdle is the Senate. The Coalition has a majority until June 30 2008, and although they could lose that majority from July 1 2008, Labor will certainly not have a majority then either. Those who hold the Senate balance of power will therefore be crucial.

If voters make Kevin Rudd Prime Minister because they want WorkChoices scrapped, if the media don’t educate them about Senate numbers, voters will be mightily disappointed.

If the fate of WorkChoices is the single biggest issue for this election, then the vote for the Senate balance of power is the most important vote of all.

Every IR media story should end with the line — “It all depends whether Rudd/Gillard can negotiate an acceptable IR outcome through the Senate, and when. Is either of them capable/skilled enough to achieve such a complex task? And if they aren’t, there are only two options — defeat or a double-dissolution.”

The Democrats want WorkChoices repealed too, but what Democrats will replace it with differs from Labor’s plans. And we will fight for what we want, which means Labor must compromise. (See my website for detailed material.). They know that, we know that, but the voters won’t know that — unless the media tells them.