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An Open Letter to Bob Day

Dear Bob Day,

I would like it known from the outset that this is not a letter of congratulation. I will not be showing any joy at the news that you have been elected to the Australian Senate.

The reason for my letter is to point out to you that those who voted for the two-word-slogan ‘Family First’ might be a little alarmed at finding out what you really stand for.

Do they even remember that when you stood for the Liberals in 2007, you turned the marginal seat of Makin into the safest Labor seat in the country with a swing against you of 8.63%?

It does trouble me that many Australian voters are so uninformed that literally the sum total of campaign research carried out by them was to read the two words ‘Family First’ and to think ‘that sounds good’.

And this is why I think it’s important that you be made accountable for your values, even if it’s subsequent to the public’s opportunity to choose whether you are a suitable representative for the interests of Australians.

On your website, your slogan is ‘Strong Families. Strong Values. Strong Australia’. I notice ‘families’ is mentioned all over your website and in your policies. However I was wondering if you could clarify for us exactly who counts as a ‘family’?

I have a husband and three cats. Are we a family? Before I had a husband, and after I left my parent’s home, was I family then?

What about if I happened to never have children? Or if I was in a homosexual relationship living with my partner? Or if I was an old-aged widow living on my own with no children? Or if I was single at the age of 32, still looking for the right man? Or if I was single at the age of 32 and contentedly not interested in living with anyone? Are any of these living arrangements something you would call a ‘family’?

Are families just a collection of individual Australians living together or apart? Or, do your ‘strong values’ dictate that a family is a married man living with his wife, with children at home? I suspect only the latter are the Australians you are hoping to represent in the Senate. Am I right?

Keeping in mind that your policies are defined for your special, un-inclusive brand of ‘family’, I would like to scrutinize how exactly it is you think your Family First policies are going to benefit ‘families’. And by my definition of families being any individual with friends, relatives or animals in their life, also how your policies will affect all Australians. Each and every one of us.

It didn’t take me long to research your policies on the Family First website. They are what I would charitably call ‘concise’. Let’s scrutinize two of these concise policies:

Climate change. You don’t believe in it. Apparently, you think you’re smarter than 98% of the world’s climate scientists. I’m sure you’ve been told you’re wrong on this issue before, and you’ve ignored this advice.

But have you been told that your wilful denial is going to be remembered for generations to come as the very attitude which contributed to a planet too hazardous for future generations to live on?

Have you been told you’re a dangerous extremist before? You have now. I’m fairly sure a warming world is going to have just as detrimental an effect on families as it is on everyone else.

Especially since your definition of a family seems to include heterosexual couples who have procreated and who are therefore bringing up the very people who will be most adversely affected by the catastrophic effects of climate change. Pity.

How many people who voted for you knew they were voting for a climate change denier who will obstruct action to reduce the damage? How many of them knew they were voting for the destruction of their children’s future?

Employment. It was when I was reading this policy Bob, that I recalled that you are a former board member of the HR Nicholls Society.

I wonder if we polled the people who voted for you, how many of them would know that a) you have been a long-time supporter of this right-wing think-tank and b) what exactly it means to be right-wing and c) what the HR Nicholls Society stands for.

When I read your Family First employment policy, it actually sounds exactly like the HR Nicholls Society’s introduction on their website. Funny coincidence don’t you think? Just to refresh your memory, the HR Nicholls Society stands for this:

“The HR Nicholls Society believes that in a modern society there is no intrinsic imbalance in bargaining power between employers and employees and the regulation of workplace relations should be minimal. That is in the interests of both sides and in maximising economic growth for the economic and social benefit of the nation.”

The content that struck me as similar in meaning in your employment policy is this:

“Family First believes it is time to acknowledge the inevitable and create, enshrine and protect in legislation employees and employers right to have the freedom to determine what is in their common interest.”

The thing that upsets me most Bob, is that you’re not even trying to deny that you would have been just as opposed to Work Choices as the union movement was, but for the reason that it didn’t strip workplace protection enough, not because it threatened collective bargaining.

You would no doubt destroy the union movement if you could. You would no doubt put every employee on an individual contract, and you would no doubt fight to remove the minimum wage if you were given the chance.

I wish people who voted for you understood this. I wish they understood that when you say you are supporting families by stripping away the regulation that you say makes it hard for them to get a job, what you’re really saying is that the employer should be able to do whatever they want to the employee, including firing them at will for no reason, and that the employee should have no rights to defend themselves.

For you to say you are ‘Family First’ with this attitude is insulting. The stability and prosperity of families rely on the adult’s ability to find and keep stable employment, and for that adult to have negotiating power in a situation where he or she does not have an equal relationship with their boss.

Your buddies at the HR Nicholls Society are not only looking to increase the power of the boss over the employee, who might just so happen to be a mother or a father or a son or a daughter. They would also happily destroy every right that workers in this country have fought for.

I note your employment policy also includes this paragraph:

“The traditional employee – employer relationship, has become so regulated that we have, in the words of Richard Epstein “……created a legal edifice of stunning complexity. Protective laws abound on every conceivable aspect of the subject: health, safety, wages, superannuation, unionization, hiring, promotion, dismissal, annual leave, long service leave, retirement, discrimination, access and disability. The volumes of regulation, rulings, and cases on each of these bodies of law would take a treatise to summarize fully.””

These protective laws would no doubt all be at risk if you were given enough power. Health and safety laws. Wages (which you would like taxed at a flat rate of 20%, the same rate as the boss pays). Superannuation. Unionisation. Hiring. Promotion. Dismissal. Annual Leave. Long Service Leave. Retirement. Discrimination. Access and Disability.

I would have thought these are all the protective laws your ‘families’ rely on for their security of employment. The security of their employment is their security in putting food on the table for their ‘family’.

Of course, you’ll never admit that the simple truth is that you couldn’t be less interested in families and their welfare.

The HR Nicholls Society agenda is to smash the protective power of governments so that there is nothing publicly funded except a Defence and Police Force. And a user-pays capitalist system of education and health only for those who can afford it.

Maybe you should change your party’s name now that you are their poster boy. Just to be a little bit more transparent for those voters who can’t be bothered finding out what you stand for. Maybe you should change your name to the ‘Family First as long as you’re rich and not a worker and don’t care if your planet fries to a crisp Party’.

Yours sincerely

Victoria Rollison
(someone who clearly did not vote for you)


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  1. John Ward

    Mr Corbett Member of the Liberal Party in Tony Abbott’s branch, Director of Walmart, Woolworths and Chairman of the SMH part owned by Gina Reinhardt, put this “Evidence” up to discredit Craig Thomson and therefore change the Government since the 2010 election result.

    Tony Abbott refused to accept the result and holds democracy in contempt, by today calling on the ALP to respect his mandate and not oppose his democratic right to implement his policies.

    This FAKE “evidence” that the Sydney Morning Herald put forward in Court as evidence of wrongdoing by Craig Thomson, it (the “evidence”) was provided to the SMH by the HSU to discredit and defame Craig Thomson, his name was misspelled as ThomPson, (the forgers first blunder) it was purported to be evidence to prove a transaction with a brothel using Health Services Union funds.

    Craig Thomson correctly defended his reputation and SMH settled out of court and declared himself vindicated. This document was never examined “forensically“ in Court by his defence lawyer and the judge.

    This little piece of paper caused years of turmoil in parliament. Tony Abbott even though he knew it was a crude set up, made it key, to a disgusting three year campaign of smear (goes to Abbott’s character). The Coalition have attempted to drive Thomson to bankruptcy with legal proceedings, (so as to have him disfranchised and rejected from Parliament), the media have hounded him and printed lies, and he has become a human punch-line, the butt of a million jokes.

    Lets look at the ‘evidence’ Abbott relies on. The rejection code 211 is what banks use once they are called by a sales person, the banks will ask you to write this number on the front cover of the slip. This number (the forgers second blunder) indicates and instructs you that NO transaction should proceed.

    The slip is coloured pink, (the forgers third blunder) indicating it is the slip that should be sent to and held in the bank’s records. It would not, in the ordinary process of business be in the possession of the (HSU) customer.

    Because it has blue and black pen ink on what is actually, a carbon copy, (the forgers fourth and fifth blunder) It becomes clear that this ‘evidence’ is fake.

    I am shocked by the deliberate avoidance and refusal to examine or publish any reference by the Australian mass media to this first crude attempt to bring down an elected parliamentary member, for whatever motive was involved.

    The reporting of this stupid forgery as ‘proof of guilt’ defies imagination, and is evidence of the criminal manipulation of the people’s perception by billionaires who own our media, and are attempting to own our minds.

    The thing that really amazes me is the person who oversaw the Fair Work Australia investigation into Craig Thomson was the Vice President of Fair Work Australia, and HSU Secretary Kathy Jackson’s partner Michael Lawler, a Fair Work Australia judge. Michael Lawler, is brother to the very same John Lawler who was AFP Deputy Commissioner of National Security in 2007 when Dr Mohamed Haneef was charged with terrorism offences — a decision later slammed by the Clarke Inquiry, and lately the Essendon fishing expedition) Michael Lawler FWA had been appointed by Abbott, Michael Lawler is the lover of Craig Thomson’s union opponent Kathy Jackson. She had sworn to ‘get ‘ him when he was elected to parliament after he had exposed her as ripping off the HSU.

    Kathy Jackson has been a respected Guest speaker at the the HR Nicholls Society. For those who are unaware HR Nicholls Society is a Liberal Party think tank. Contributors include Peter Reith, Eric Abetz, Peter Costello, Mal Brough, Andrew Bolt, Michael Kroeger, barrister Stuart Wood who is providing free legal services to Jackson, and of course Tony Abbott.

    As the Vic Police investigation cranks up a notch, it is becoming clear that people want to distance themselves from both Kathy Jackson and Michael Williamson, as things unravel.

    Now Abbott says he will stop taking Tobacco industry money, but only if Rudd stops “propping up Craig
    Thomson” and stops taking help from the HSU. He never stops and its about time He did.

    What a scandal, it is yet to land on the LNP smear machine. If it ever got on the MSM it could change the outcome of the Election.

  2. CMMC

    Leverage that White Trash, piss on democracy and go feral with the hate – speak, that will garner you enough redneck votes to ram-raid Parliament.

    The Coalition deliberately adopted this sham – naive polity with their “Real Solutions” campaign.

  3. John Lord

    I assume it is the same Family First that Steve Fielding represented. If so it has its origins in the fundamentalist Assembly of God Christian Church. They are out of zinc with the mainstream churches with literal Biblical beliefs. Hence their family policies.

  4. Carmela Leone

    There are a large number of single parent families sliding into poverty as each day passes. I wonder if Family First would consider these parents and their children ‘families’ and speak out for their rights?

  5. EcoLandManager

    Interesting article John Ward. Can you point to any evidence to back up your claim about Craig Thomson’s name being misspelled?

  6. kayelee1

    Family First have some rather …ummmm….interesting ideas about Aborigines too.

    “Life in mainstream Australia means life in cities and towns, not isolated communities.
    This will require a fundamental change in attitude from two distinct groups of
    Australians – city dwellers who are happy for Aborigines to be ‘out there’ in
    communities (in other words ‘not here’ in town with us) and academics and
    romantics who believe in preserving idealistic notions of ‘traditional Aboriginal ways.’

    All over the world urbanisation is on the march. Fuelled by the prospect of a better
    standard of living people are moving to where economies are at their strongest and
    home ownership and employment are accessible. We cannot expect that an
    economically richer life and greater opportunity is to be found in a remote
    community or small rural centre.

    Without a move toward the mainstream, the isolation, addiction, violence and
    passivity that infects life in many remote areas will remain. Despite the unpopularity
    and difficulty of a more interventionist approach, in the interests of a generation of
    Aboriginal children we can no longer look the other way.”

    Apparently they believe all Aborigines would be happier living in cities where they would of course be able to find jobs and buy homes????? I gather by “a more interventionist approach” they mean we should round them all up and truck them into town for their own good.

  7. kayelee1

    Oh for an edit facility. Sorry bout that…cut and paste sometimeds has its problems.

  8. sulphurcrested

    Thank you Victoria, another excellent piece. Your work and that of others in the fifth estate is much appreciated and greatly needed, even more so in the dark time facing us now.

    It is difficult to fight a foe who has no honour or normal range of human feeling and empathy, or respect for the law of the land. I think the latter must continue to be used as much as can be to push back against apparent corrupt practices, despite the underwhelming success of it so far in the Ashbygate and Jacksonville affairs.

  9. richo

    Another excellent piece Victoria. Thanks for shining the light!

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