May 17, 2013

The op-ed rejected by the papers: unions and employers agree on skills

The newspapers didn't want to publish a joint op-ed by business lobbyist Peter Anderson and unions boss Ged Kearney on the need to upskill Australian workers. Crikey is happy to.

In a rare show of unity, Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry chief executive Peter Anderson and Australian Council of Trade Unions president Ged Kearney penned an op-ed in March on what they agree on: the need to upskill Australian workers. Anderson says the piece was rejected by The Australian and The Australian Financial Review because the media is only interested in controversy. In a speech that went unreported by Australian media last month to the International Labour and Employment Relations Association, he said:

“One would have thought that a joint collaboration between industrial protagonists on a workforce issue would be noteworthy, especially in an election year. However, despite our best efforts, the agreed opinion piece between the two national peaks has not been published. It simply does not contain enough controversy. It seems, common ground is not newsworthy, even on important economic and labour market matters.”

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7 thoughts on “The op-ed rejected by the papers: unions and employers agree on skills

  1. Mark Duffett

    “powerful forces combine…energy and heat”

    Um, heat is a form of energy (in the example cited, from the kinetic energy of the bolide). Maybe Anderson and Kearney should stay away from the physics metaphors.

  2. archibald

    Indeed. And it was rejected? Amazing.

  3. dazza

    Unfortunately murdocians hacks will not like any idea about business and unions talking to each other. Therefore any reform like the one proposed will be rejected by the conservative propaganda units.

  4. Mark Heydon

    What is stopping businesses from improving the skills of their employees? Similarly, what is stopping unions and/or individual employees improving their own skills? I think the answer is pretty clearly nothing. I can understand why no one would publish this. The issue is obvious. Why don’t unions/employees and businesses look after their own interests and get in and upskill rather than sitting back and whining that the government won’t do their job for them?

  5. Gavin Moodie

    The Australian Workforce and Productivity Agency’s report ‘Future focus: 2013 national workforce development strategy’ observed that Australian management is poor by international comparisons, that Australian managers are much less educated that those of many OECD countries, and that these were probably related. It proposed a review of Australian management.

    The Australian Government subsidises higher education substantially and so it should subsidise vocational education, if for not other reason, to prevent distoring peoples’ choice of education.

  6. John Bennetts

    Perhaps the reason for rejection of this piece by the MSM is its lack of structure.

    Am I the only reader who found it difficult to read and comprehend fully, starting with the “energy and heat” howler in the first para?

    These authors have at their fingertips many trained staff such as journalists. I suggest that next time they run the final draft past their best available ex-journo PR brains.

    One example:
    “Businesses need certainty that their future growth will not be impeded by lack of skilled labour. They also need to utilise skills efficiently and effectively. This requires strong leadership and management skills. It’s also a strategy …”

    What, precisely, is meant by the pronouns “this” and “it” in the above? The writing style is close to impenetrable.

    Apologies to journos: I am an engineer. Maybe I have this all wrong. It might just be me. (Those two words again.)

  7. Gavin Moodie

    I agree that the piece is poorly written, at every level.

    1 What is the main argument?

    2 Poor structure.

    3 Poor expression.

    Furthermore, pieces for the popular media should be written in an inverted pyramid with the main idea given at the top and ideas or information giving in descending order of importance so that most readers who stop reading after a few pars at least get the main points and so the sub editor can cut from the bottom without losing the piece’s most important points.

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