Penalty rates, continued

Gary Bass writes: Re. “On penalty rates” (yesterday). A lot of opinion has been expressed on the Coles/SDA bargaining agreement. Very few have mentioned or know of the process. SDA is incredibly democratic. The process of forming the log of claims, (endless) negotiations, report backs and then the vote(!) for acceptance of “the deal”.

All observers have spewed forth opinions about the SDA obligations to look after “low paid workers” … wrong! SDA has an obligation to look after low paid members. The workers referred to as being dudded, are typically not members. Those that are, were outvoted. This occurs regularly across all industries. Observe the split in the AEU Teachers’ union between early years and senior. The only issue is that the EBA was illegal and approved by the regulating authority, so is it Coles, SDA or the Authority which needs to be under scrutiny?

Cosy deals have always been done, and continue to be done. This one was always public, it was no secret, it was registered and no one took any notice..

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On QLD premiers past

Sue Edwell writes: Re. “Beautiful one day, train wreck the next” (yesterday). There is a reference in today’s Crikey to two former premiers of Queensland: Russell Cooper and Sir Joh Bjelke-Petersen. The reference says that Russell Cooper deposed Sir Joh as Premier but then went on to lose the 1989 Queensland State election shortly after. If memory serves this is incorrect. Sir Joh was deposed as Premier by Mike Ahern in 1987. Mike Ahern was then Premier of Queensland until he was successfully challenged (in the party room) by Mr Cooper in 1989. The National Party — with Mr Cooper as Premier — then lost the 1989 election 73 days later.


Greens and Labor

Paul Johanson writes: Re. “Greens Derangement Syndrome: part III” (yesterday).  I was until recently a long-term member of the ALP. I left primarily because of their asylum seeker policies. The thing is my views haven’t changed over times, I’m still the same lefty I was as a student in the early nineties. If I haven’t shifted, then the party must have shifted away from me.

And you’re right about Jim Casey being the kind of person who would have been an ALP candidate decades ago. Recently I was at a Greens launch, where I met Adam Bandt and Alex Bhathal, candidate for Batman. They both talk like the Labour party of old, and — here’s the kicker — they’re both former members of the ALP. In fact everyone I met there was a former member of the ALP.

It was also fascinating to compare a Greens gathering to an ALP gathering. The latter has become a dower affair, seven members of a branch meeting in a back room. The Greens gathering on the other hand was a vibrant group of very diverse people, a genuine cross-section of the local community. The ALP shouldn’t be surprised by the rise of the Greens, they’ve completely ceded the ground. They’d better get used to it.

As a Crikey subscriber and someone who began working as a journalist in 1957, I am passionate about the importance of independent media like Crikey. I met a lot of Australians from many walks of life during my career and did my best to share their stories honestly and fairly with their fellow citizens.

And I never forgot how important it is to hold politicians to account. Crikey does that – something that is more important now than ever before in Australia.

North Stradbroke Island, QLD

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