Quadrant editor and towering journalist PP McGuinness this month shares his thoughts on the IR fandango that is so occupying the political discourse. His conclusion contradicts Henry’s on the need for John Howard to sell WorkChoices as well as soften it:

The great problem for John Howard is to find a way not to sell his industrial relations policy to the electorate — this is probably impossible, as with the GST — but to persuade it that he should be re-elected despite the Workplace Relations Act. That will be his greatest test. It will also be a necessary learning experience for Kevin Rudd, who, if he can last the distance and not “do a Latham”, might well make an acceptable Prime Minister after the election of 2010.”

Paddy presents the economic perspective. Janet Albrechtsen gets down and dirty and discovers that money is the root of this matter.

Under Labor, workers will be caught in the same web, conscripted to the union cause. If you are a worker, you can expect to be paying bargaining fees to unions with a nice moiety flowing through to the Labor Party.

If Rudd is right that IR will determine the next election, the full ramifications of bargaining fees deserve greater attention.

Albrechtsen goes on to illustrate the massive financial implications for unions and the likely consequences for the futures of Comrades Rudd and Gillard.

Steve Lewis addresses the IR issue from a broader perspective. “Labor has misjudged its industrial relations campaign and, in the process, done perhaps irreparable damage to its relationship with business.”

On budget news, we’ve heard that there’s enough money for ‘almost every area’. The latest “surprise” is the strength of company tax receipts, supposedly rolling into Treasury at the rate of $2B per day! Clearly the Treasurer would need to be a man of steel not to let this go to his head.

More tonight, with Henry’s views (and perhaps those of his editor, if provoked), posted well before midnight.

Read more at Henry Thornton.

Peter Fray

Help us keep up the fight

Get Crikey for just $1 a week and support our journalists’ important work of uncovering the hypocrisies that infest our corridors of power.

If you haven’t joined us yet, subscribe today and get your first 12 weeks for $12.

Cancel anytime.

Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey