Gillard didn’t always like OH&S reforms. What a difference an election makes. The current imbroglio between the PM and the premier of NSW should be viewed through the prism of the following resolution, passed at the 2009 ALP national conference:

Labor believes that the health and safety and workers’ compensation laws must deliver the highest standards of protection for all workers, and that the new national legislative framework must not leave any worker worse off. Labor notes that Australian unions have concerns about the following topics dealt with in the Workplace Relations Ministerial Council recommendation on the harmonised OHS scheme:

  • An unqualified obligation and onus of proof on employers to provide a safe and healthy workplace;
  • Workers and their representatives can independently pursue legal action under health and safety laws;
  • A requirement for employers to consult their employees over all work related matters that affect health and safety;
  • The rights and roles of elected workplace health and safety representatives will be fully protected; and
  • The regulatory framework is genuinely tri-partite and independent.

The notes state that relevant state and federal Labor government ministers will jointly consult with Australian unions on these topics as a matter of urgency.  The resolution was seconded by none other than the PM (who of course wasn’t the PM then).

In an address to business observers a couple of days before the resolution was moved, seconded and passed the then-deputy PM said: “Ahead of this conference, a similar range of apocalyptic predictions were made about supposed ‘great militant union fightback’ against our construction industry reforms, our occupational health and safety reforms and so on. But, just like these dramatic conflicts with business failed to emerge when the Fair Work Act started, the predicted dramatic conflict with the labour movement has failed to materialise. Instead, in the design and the negotiation of all our reforms, what you can see is a sober, step-by-step approach to working through the issues and building new systems that really work.”

So much for a step-by-step approach to issues in the post-election world. Let’s beat the crap out of the dissenters instead.

Rupert walks into a Storm. When Rupert Murdoch comes to Australia next week a high priority will be assessing who to hold responsible for the Melbourne Storm fiasco. Peter Blunden and John Hartigan ought to be feeling more than a little nervous. Was Blunden more interested in running a jihad against Bruce Guthrie than establishing what was happening within News Limited’s own patch in a city the HWT managing director likes to think he runs?

News Ltd received the investigatory report by Deloitte on July 15 and used it to further demonise former CEO Brian Waldron and sack all the independent directors. The full Deloitte report still hasn’t been made public, only the News Ltd interpretation of what it says. And News has also not disclosed the scale of its relationship with Deloitte, which was paid $US26 million globally by the company in 2009-10. When the client is that big, do you have a tendency to tell them what they don’t want to hear?

One particularly sensitive piece of work it did was advising News’ remuneration committee on pay levels. Yes, indeed, Deloitte was the external party which reckons $US33 million for Rupert and James Murdoch was a fair deal in 2009-10 for the lads ultimately responsible for the Melbourne Storm fiasco that it also investigated.

Fairfax journos look to News. Following on from your report on the Fairfax pay dispute yesterday, concern is rife at the community network’s central division office where the three most senior news journos have quit in recent weeks. All three have taken up other Fairfax postings (Ballarat, Canberra, Launceston) because Paul Ramadge et al have made their views very clear: no community journos have a hope of getting gigs at The Age.

You’re correct about Leader being in a good position to poach staff, but not just because of the pay differences: the journos see News Limited’s more integrated structure much more attractive than toiling away at Fairfax with little prospect of career advancement.

The long goodbye for Red Kerry. Kerry O’Brien’s last 7.30 Report in December will be a half-hour tribute. But not everyone at Aunty is happy:  if someone had died or was leaving you could understand the indulgence, but he’s only moving up three floors to Four Corners. The ABC  isn’t interested in generational change.

Truncating the digital channels. Why does The Australian not list all nine free-to-air digital TV channels in its TV listing page each day (page 19 today)? ABC2, ABC3, 7TWO, GO, ONE and SBS TWO are listed, but Nine’s GEM, 7Mate and ABC News 24 are missing. 7Mate is now the third most watched digital channel after GO and 7TWO, and attracts more viewers than most, if not all, Foxtel channels (Foxtel’s actual shares are not released).

Also, the listings for the six channels in the page are truncated, showing only from noon to around 5am the next day (for those remaining open; ABC3 closes at 9pm each day). Some listings are missing, for example the US football on ONE on Monday from around 4.30am and the baseball (ACLS playoffs) on ONE from 6am today. It’s made even more curious by the fact The Australian gives 24-hour listings for Foxtel channels (Fox 8, for example), including the various movie channels, and for Fox Sports 1, 2, 3 and the other sports channel, ESPN. GO, 7TWO and 7Mate have far more viewers than Fox 8, UKTV, etc.

Apart from AFL and NRL  games on Fox Sports, ONE has more viewers than the Pay TV sports channels, so the truncation is odd. It can’t be that The Australian‘s owner, News Limited, is a 25% owner of Foxtel and owns 50% of Fox Sports. Surely they wouldn’t be that petty. But the omissions and truncations are odd (and glaring), to say the least.

Peter Fray

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