Federal

Jun 25, 2010

Mayne: will Gillard’s policy stocktake include union power?

Like with the appointment of a new CEO at a public company, one of the games going forward with Julia Gillard is to assess and track how much of the policy and personnel associated with Kevin Rudd she changes.

Stephen Mayne — Journalist and Founder

Stephen Mayne

Journalist and Founder

Like with the appointment of a new CEO at a public company, one of the games going forward with Julia Gillard is to assess and track how much of the policy and personnel associated with Kevin Rudd she changes.

7 comments

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7 thoughts on “Mayne: will Gillard’s policy stocktake include union power?

  1. Allison Finley-Bissett

    The labor party is the political arm of the trade union movement… personally I have no problem with workers through their union controlling the labor party… just as I am sure big business has no problem in controlling their political arm the liberal – national parties.

  2. Gavin Moodie

    This piece is misguided for several reasons.

    First, while it is true that the ALP remains the industrial arm of the labour movement as Allison observes, Mayne greatly overstates the unions’ influence over the ALP.

    Labor’s Fair Work Act 2009 is only a modest rebalancing of industrial law in favour of employees, the Model Work Health and Safety Act is mostly a national version of Victoria’s Occupational Health and Safety Act rather than NSW’s stronger provisions, and the ALP has retained the secret inquisitorial powers of the Australian Building and Construction Commission which are hated by the unions.

    Secondly, the most pressing issue for the reform of the ALP is branch stacking (which is also a problem in the Liberal Party), not unions’ block representation.

    Finally, the appropriate time to reform party machinery is in opposition, not in government when the electorate rightly expects the governing party to concentrate on national affairs, not on internal organisation.

  3. Allison Finley-Bissett

    Too right Mr Moodie, and personally I think it is a shame that the Unions don’t have more influence, especially in relation to the current industrial legislation in the federal arena. The labor party would be a far superior party if every parliamentarian had a core commitment to the tenets of unionism, unfortunately these days the parliamentary arm is crawling with non believers. No doubt due to those branch stacks… 🙂

  4. David

    Me thinks Mr Mayne you are stirring the pot. The question is why?

  5. Barbara Boyle

    I imagine such reforms( branch stacking and disproportional union representation) will be high on the PM’s to do list.
    Already I can Hear the news grab: ” Former occupiers of Sow Stall have developed wings and might use them to levitate and move through the air””

  6. Bob the builder

    Stephen, I agree with the gist of what you say, but you’re mistaken on a few basic matters. Rudd wasn’t popularly elected, he was elected by the electors in his electorate. People may have ‘felt’ they were electing him, but they weren’t (unless they were in his electorate). Secondly, the union representation is via the members – ‘working Australians’ – of the unions, so it’s not as if it comes form some self-appointed, unrepresentative power. In effect, these days, members don’t have much say or involvement in their union, so in reality the factional thugs do exert a lot of influence, but there’s nothing intrinsic in that, it’s just a result of our depoliticised society. The structure of the Labor party is open and accessible, so there’s no deceit involved – if an elector doesn’t like it, they don’t have to vote Labor.
    The less formal, less visible, power behind the Libs/Labs/Nats is corporate – I think that’s far more of a scandal than the rump worker’s movement having a big say in arranging the deck chairs.

  7. Paulg

    Stephen, how do you propose any PM could do something about poker machines? A referendum, maybe, take away their Centrelink payments perhaps? Maybe a Super profits tax on mining to reimburse the States for lost revenue? I mean get real. Ever read the constitution Stephen?

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