Barry Donovan writes: Re. “Rundle: no one cares about Shorten’s AWU days — and no one goes to the pub anyway” (yesterday). Unfortunately Guy Rundle has failed his own Melbourne pub test. In commenting on the claim that there is really no “pub test” today for the standing or lack of it for our national politicians because the punters don’t use them like yesterday, he landed renowned old drinkers in the wrong bars. Bob Hawke never drank in the “front bar” of the John Curtin Hotel because that was always occupied by Norm Gallagher and his merry BLF band. Hawke preferred the slightly more upmarket side bistro bar for his convivial sessions. And the jolly journos from the old Melbourne Herald and Sun News-Pictorial always drank in the upstairs bar with host Lou Richards at the Phoenix Hotel, making it even more perilous descending the stairs onto Flinders Street late at night. Rundle’s front bar — or downstairs — at that pub was the home of the production crews of the two papers. As an old journo who frequented both pubs in their heydays, at least that’s how I remembered them.
Richard Barlow writes: I wonder if Guy Rundle was scared by a unionist when he was a wee lad. I have worked as a union organiser for 20 years. I now feel like I am wasting my time each day organising workers to fight for better pay and conditions. I feel guilty now for giving members a voice in their workplaces. I hang my head in shame for every member I have assisted to stand up to bullies at work, who need help because of a workplace injury, or are struggling to get the hours they need. I am university educated, but so are many of my members. My union is not politically affiliated but I do get why some unions are active in party politics. Affiliated unions often represent lower paid workers where the “social wage” is a crucial component of their real incomes. Politics matters to people in a real way. I get that some union officials will want to become politicians, and some of them, like Shorten, will actually try and help people , for example, the NDIS , financial planning reform, and improvements to employment laws. It is not exactly an awful legacy. As the saying goes, “politics makes strange bedfellows”. If Shorten took donations from companies and got good deals for his members at the same time, and no-one has been able to show otherwise, then good luck to him. At least he didn’t piss it up against a wall at his local pub.
Good luck, Mayne
Geoffrey Heard writes: Re. “Mayne: the deck is stacked against my Macquarie tilt” (Tuesday). The behavior of the Macquarie board, presumably replete with a number of “independent” members, ought to give Stephen Mayne pause in his relentless pursuit of the notion of forcing the high achieving industry super funds to accept “independent” board members. These members would inevitably come from the directors’ club and would not be truly independent. They would want to see more of their own (often useless) ilk on the boards, preferably dragging the industry funds’ performance down to the industry average established by the general run of retail super funds which ought to be described as criminal organizations established to defraud members of their hard earned salaries — and their ability to retire in very modest comfort.