On strike action in Australia

Richard Barlow writes: Re. “Effective strike action is dying in this country and it’s partly Labor’s fault” (Tuesday)

I am wondering if the usually sound Guy Rundle is batting for the other team when he criticises unions for being engaged in the oversight of superannuation, you know, keeping an eye on their members’ future incomes. It is Coalition policy that workers should not be represented on super boards so they can be more like banks. Oh, and unprotected industrial action, like unprotected sex, is high risk. [Industrial action can get you] individual fines of $12,600, in addition to being sacked. Change the rules!

On turncoats

Wayne Robertson writes: Re. “Australia’s most notorious political turncoats — Part I” (Tuesday)

My nomination for a turncoat is Albert Field, who was nominated by Joh Bjelke-Petersen to replace a Labor senator who’d died in 1975. As an irony, the person the ALP nominated for the casual vacancy was Mal Colston.

Field was a member of the ALP, but was very much a social conservative, vowing never to vote for the Whitlam government.

He was on leave from the Senate at the time of the Whitlam dismissal, there being some doubt that he was eligible to sit in the Senate owing to section 44 banning people receiving profits of the crown to sit in parliament. The opposition had refused to provide a pair, so they had a majority and were able to defer supply.

On Julian Burnside

Zut Alors writes: Re. “Up Yours: epitaph shopping with Julian Burnside” (Tuesday)

If we had to appoint a President of Oz, Julian Burnside would be the obvious choice due to his ethics, reasoned thinking, humanity and the fact that he appears not to have sold his soul.

There is a fascinating interview on ABC iview in the One Plus One series where Burnside provides valuable background explaining early influences which formed him.

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey