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In Solidarity

By Christopher Langdon

You couldn’t have helped but notice the Turnbull Government’s continued attack on trade unions. This tactic is not new and has played out in other countries previously, namely the USA, where these tactics – along with media propaganda – have ruined both the middle class and the economy. The tactic being, simply; attack, discredit, and destroy the trade unions, in essence removing the collective voice. Once that is complete the sign up ‘free trade agreements’ that have off-shored jobs kick in. And why? Purely for profit. Corporations rush straight into developing countries where the exploitation of workers is rife.

The knock-on effect of this is no apprenticeships, no engineering roles, and no money in the country to grease the wheels of the economy as bucketloads of money go offshore.

Another effective tactic used by those corporations who lobby (effectively bribe) our government is painting the false illusion that there is a ‘skills shortage’. Keep in mind we have 750K+ unemployed and 1.2 million visa workers of varying kinds which has allowed them to open the floodgates and import labour. Don’t get me wrong, I have no problems whatsoever with people coming to the country and earning a living for their families. But I do have a problem with foreign corporations who pay no tax in this country whilst at the same time undermining our wages, which is what’s happening at the moment.

Over the past couple of years we have had massive amounts of layoffs all over the country, businesses failing, and vast tracts of farmland going to foreign investors. Are we not worried about our food, fuel, water, energy, security? The iron ore price jumped the other day adding $44 billion to the coffers of the big players. Does that mean more jobs here? No. Does that help improving wages and conditions here? I don’t think so!

Australia should be a powerhouse in the industrialised world, but this government (in particular) has sold off resources and infrastructure, and they are madly trying to privatise what’s left, all without consultation of the people that own those assets, namely you and me.

Are you aware that 86% of our mines are foreign owned or that 98% of our oil and gas assets are foreign owned? This is just the tip of one very big iceberg.

I don’t know about you but I don’t want to end up like the USA working for $8 p/hr, with no insurance, no medical treatment, an education system in ruins, prisons-for-profit or privatised energy companies. Can anyone say what happened to our inalienable rights? Once again just the tip of the iceberg.

The rhetoric you hear from these foreign corporations, and sadly our government, is that we are far too expensive to do business with and that’s why we have to go to China, Bangladesh, or India (for example) where workers get paid $2 a day. Why aren’t we shouting “if we are that expensive that you have to go and exploit people in developing countries, who get $2 a day, why are we paying prices for goods that are comparable to the cost of something locally manufactured?” An example, a smartphone costs on average $80-$100 to make in China yet we pay something around $1,000 for the finished product. Don’t these questions enter your mind? The above example can be expanded across the board to include a range of products such as cars, clothing and textiles, food … the list goes on.

Bottom line: where is the benefit to Australians by off-shoring ( and free trade agreements) all the jobs?

I hear our Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull bleating on about how militant and bad the unions are and yes, there may be a few ‘bad eggs’. But people in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones The corruption within our government and foreign interests is simply unbelievable. Travel and accommodation rorts, political lobbying (effectively bribes), little or no consultation with the people of this country when signing up so called ‘free trade agreements’ or selling of assets and privatisation of the rest. Once again the very tip of the iceberg!

As far as Turnbull’s latest attack on the working person goes, he might need reminding that Australia has just come out of the largest construction boom this country has ever seen. Did the union movement stifle that, Mr Turnbull? No, of course not. If anything, during those boom times, cost blowouts or corporate failures were more often than not the result of bad management practices than anything else. But hey, why not blame the unions? Why not keep up with the propaganda from the corporate machines that it’s always either the worker’s or the union’s fault.

All the trade unions are under attack (from the government, the media, and the corporate sector), and I am beginning to wonder if the attacks will ever stop until the unions (and our rights) are destroyed. What then? Lower wages? Lower standards in our working conditions? More money and jobs going to foreign entities?

We must resist! It is in ours and our future’s best interest to maintain the standards we have fought for and won, but are now seeing stripped away from us. We need to stand with our unions or we may as well say “hello” to the insidious casualisation of our workforce and worse still, the ‘Americanisation’ of our working conditions.

mexstralia

population-8yrs

 

15 comments

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  1. Jaquix

    And to rub salt into the wound, here they come again, attacking welfare recipients under the new name of “investment something or other”. Internships are another form of transfer of benefit/$wealth/cheap labour for companies, at the expense of the powerless. You only have to look at America where 25% of workers earn so little, they have to get food stamps. Thats where the Liberals are taking us.

  2. Trish Corry

    Thank you Christopher. This is one of the most pressing issues of our times. We cannot allow ourselves to be returned to the times of Howard’s work choices, which is exactly what Turnbull wants to do – or worse.

    Never. Ever. Forget.

    If people are concerned about the constant attack on the worker – join your union today.

    Do you have your own blog I can follow Christopher?

  3. Susan

    Great article thank you.
    I fought so hard against Howard’s work choices…. yet the majority of Australians still…. just don’t get it!

  4. jamess

    corporations are at WAR with the Australian population through their minions/traitors occupying the parliament.

  5. Matters Not

    Are we not worried about our food, fuel, water, energy, security?

    One would hope so. But let’s just take ‘fuel’ as an example. While we are committed to spend $55 billion on a dozen conventionally powered submarines (the most expensive subs in the world – and that even includes nuclear varieties) we now are totally reliant on other nations for the supply of fuel to power same. Yes, we now have no ‘refinery’ capacity in Australia anymore and have at best 30 days of fuel supply to fill our ongoing needs. We operate on the ‘just in time’ principle.

    In days of yore, a common tactic of an aggressor was the ‘laying of siege’ so that resistance was weakened and allowed for easy capture. Given that the vast bulk of our fuel supplies comes via the ocean from Singapore, one doesn’t need too much imagination to work out how easy it would be for China (as an example) to cripple our naval capacity within a month or so.

    As for our Air Force, one would think that they would suffer the same fate.

    Hilarious? But probably not.

  6. Matters Not

    I do have a problem with foreign corporations who pay no tax in this country

    Well you can rest easy because in the foreseeable future your problem will be solved. In the last budget, Morrison funded 100 extra positions in the tax department to ensure that TNCs could evade their obligations no longer. QED.

    Didn’t require any changes to legislation, the upping of penalties, the closing of loopholes and the like, all it required was a few extra bodies with sharp pencils, perhaps the odd calculator or two and a good, persuasive manner on the telephone. And we know it must be working because that’s the last we’ve heard on that score. It would seem that the Opposition is convinced also.

  7. MichaelW

    What Unions? They are gone kaput. Why have an investigation into something that this government has destroyed?
    If we need investigations lets start with our politicians entitlements and salaries.
    Workers wages have not increased for years, yet the present lunatics running the asylum carry on about bracket creep and other crap.
    Exactly what planet are this incompetent, out of touch bunch of cretins on?

  8. Gangey1959

    On the assumption that everything goes on according to plan A, and that after the next election nothing much changes at the outofworkandhavenothingtospendandthebastardsincanberrahavecutthepensionstobuggerall end of the population, who the hell is going to be able to buy the gazillion dollar northoftheequatorbilt cars, phones, clothes, food, and whatever else ?
    Got me f*cked, Batman.
    Is there a plan B ?

  9. Stephen Bowler

    Its all about money !

    Everyone and I mean everyone needs some money, even the most down and out begger begs for ‘money’.

    We are a consumer society, even if the Ayn Rand and the right wing free market individualists think, “there is no such thing as society”. We all need money to spend on consuming in this consumer society and the more you have, the more you ‘want’.

    The neoliberalists are not so stupid that they want to kill the goose that lays their golden eggs, they know that money comes from thin air and it comes from the government, why else do they lobby and corrupt and influance governments to pass laws that help them accumulate more money than they could have dreamed.

    Our politicians are in it for the money, nothing else just for the money.

    Thank you Chrostopher Langdon for reminding us that employees are only able to increase their share of the money train, with the strength of collectivism and the most successful collectivism that employees have is the union movement.

    It’s getting closer, that day when spontaneous collectivism takes to the streets, it has to happen because all of our political parties have secomb to the money.

    I hope that the time comes on my life time but I fear not!

  10. Kaye Lee

    Howard and Keating contributed to the demise of unions with their Accord.

    Until unions are willing to use their industrial power for political and economic ends, ordinary people will keep paying for crises of the system.

  11. diannaart

    Matters Not October 25, 2016 at 11:01 pm

    I do have a problem with foreign corporations who pay no tax in this country

    Well you can rest easy because in the foreseeable future your problem will be solved. In the last budget, Morrison funded 100 extra positions in the tax department to ensure that TNCs could evade their obligations no longer. QED.

    Didn’t require any changes to legislation, the upping of penalties, the closing of loopholes and the like, all it required was a few extra bodies with sharp pencils, perhaps the odd calculator or two and a good, persuasive manner on the telephone. And we know it must be working because that’s the last we’ve heard on that score. It would seem that the Opposition is convinced also.

    Really? Because we’ve heard nothing, our treasury must be overflowing with taxes? And we can trust Morrison??? How is the Opposition convinced?

    Nothing to see here, move along – is that what you believe, Matters Not?

  12. Andreas Bimba

    An excellent article that coincides with my beliefs. It is well past time to mutiny against the corporate neoliberal corrupters of our democracies throughout the world and to return to the more balanced social democratic model of three or four decades ago.

    The material progress made during the industrial revolution was as much to do with workers fighting for higher wages as technological and organisational progress. The higher wages brought greater consumption demand and therefore larger and more diverse markets for producers. A virtuous economic circle even if much hostility was generated.

    Churches and later governments also attempted to soften the greed and excesses of capitalism.

    The rise of the welfare state has also redistributed wealth to the needy and very importantly kept money circulating within the mass market economy. Again businesses also benefit from greater consumption demand.

    Capitalism on its own will concentrate wealth into fewer and fewer hands with time and economic growth will stagnate or decline due to a poorer customer base. This global decline has been masked by material progress especially in East Asia, technological progress, the resilience of people who have often found alternatives to sustain themselves and population growth.

    Labour and professional unions and progressive governments are not only better for working and middle class people but are better for the economy and the nation as a whole.

  13. Matters Not

    diannaart at 12:09 pm

    Sorry, I was attempting to ‘take the piss’. You will remember in the last election campaign, the failure of TNCs to pay even a minimum amount of tax was front and centre as an election issue. Hence Morrison’s ‘band aid’ in the subsequent budget.

    Of course the issue isn’t confined to Australia but is a worldwide problem that politicians fail to address in any meaningful way. Recent developments in Australia illustrate the point.

    A report released this month, Offshore Shell Games, The Use of Offshore Tax Havens by Fortune 500 Companies, found that most of America’s largest corporations maintain subsidiaries in “tax havens”.

    At least 367 companies, or 73 per cent of the Fortune 500, operate in one or more “tax haven” countries, the most popular of which is the Netherlands, followed by Bermuda and the Cayman Islands.

    Collectively these companies hold about $US2.5 trillion in profits offshore, and the report singles out some of the worst culprits as Apple, Citigroup, Nike, Pfizer, PepsiCo, Goldman Sachs, Walmart and Google.

    After all this time and money is spent Australians will not get a clearer picture of how US companies dodge tax here and elsewhere. Taxpayers will have to continue to rely on such reports and media leaks like the Panama Papers to get that.

    http://www.smh.com.au/business/the-economy/how-multinational-tax-transparency-got-killed-off-by-australias-business-lobbies-20161006-grwhq5.html

    If we want to get serious about legal tax avoidance, we must make significant legislative changes. (Extra staff might be necessary but certainly not sufficient). Increase penalties and that go far beyond ‘fines’ (which companies regard simply as a business expense) and start, for example, imposing gaol sentences for CEOs. Aborigines who ‘steal’ invariably go to the ‘big house’ while CEOs who steal from Nations invariably receive bigger bonuses.

    As for real tax reform, Morrison lacks the wit, wisdom or even the motivation to make a start.

  14. diannaart

    Matters Not

    I apologise on behalf of my brain which has been MIA, since Monday when attacks upon my sinuses resulted in a complete break down of humour, common sense and comprehension.

    Although, it is tricky to do satire these days…

    Still, upon rereading your comments – aaaaaagh, I got no excuse for stupidity

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