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Jumping the Shark with Robbie

‘Beware the great union comeback’ is the actual name of an actual article. On the front page of the Australian this headline was coupled with a dire warning that ‘Unions are using their ALP influence to make a comeback and it won’t take long for the public to understand the ramifications.’

It all seems to hint at a looming communistic overthrow of our local shopping centres and industrial parks, any moment now. Apparently, for writers and readers of the Australian, the word ‘Unions’ now stands in for all the corruption, thuggery, oppression of the masses, and failed business ventures, that have ever occurred, all across recorded history.

Right from the outset our intrepid journalist Mr Robert Gottliebsen so obviously wants you to shiver and be scared. The Unions are once again coming to kill off any possibility you might become stinking rich! The Unions are coming to kill your dreams! It’s well known that Unions just want to eat up all your well deserved prosperity. Unions eat prosperity and kill dreams. That’s what they do.


What can you do when presented with this sort of pap but to turn away and let a shiver run up your spine? Yet even as you turn the page you know you are likely just turning from one batch of pap to another, but you, like most every other Aussie, will persist regardless. This is what ‘reading a newspaper’ has become. Unfortunately, looking for news in our newspapers is now a hit and miss affair. Sometimes you can decode what really happened. Sometimes the veil of political smear and spin is simply too think to be able to work out what actually happened.

Our modern multi-media, all-singing-all-dancing, ideological extravaganza has shifted so far away from traditional reporting that the Daily Telegraph can boast, on its front page, a picture of Scott Morrison pictured as a Superhero labouring to save the working man; with no irony intended.

It’s hard to put a finger on exactly when the role of political commentator transitioned from acting as a reporter to being an ideological warrior, but now it is so blatant that many political hacks don’t even bother to try and join up the dots. It’s become both sad and scary.

There is nowhere left to go. Our political commentators, as a professional category, have jumped the shark. We all know that. In fact at times you have to put on an ideological filter just to be able to read the newspaper without being blinded by the apparent absurdities.

Newspapers like the Telegraph and the Australian have now moved into another realm of ‘reporting’ entirely. One where it is impossible to out-ludicrous the actual text. A part of our press where any attempt at parody appears to be a mere washed out imitation of reality. It might even be life threatening. It makes you want to guffaw and vomit simultaneously.

Which of course brings us back to how obviously nasty and horrible and despoiled and thuggish and naturally not-nice all unions are: Mr Gottliebsen addresses the situation of fire-fighters in Victoria.

He laments that: ‘Premier, Daniel Andrews, wants firefighting in the state to be controlled by the union [i.e. the fire-fighters]. Under the plan agreed to by the Premier and the fire union, members of the union [ie accredited fire-fighters] need to attend every fire.

There are some 60,000 volunteers available to fight fires in Victoria via the CFA and they are one of the best fire fighting organisations in the world [i.e. because they are all highly trained accredited fire-fighters]. Under the Premier’s plan volunteers will be controlled by members of the union or somehow unionised [i.e. will continue to be unionised].’

Obviously this is a recipe for disaster. The Victorian fire-fighters are going to remain unionised despite the obvious and pressing need for us all to become ‘aspirational, patriotic, working men and women of Australia’. Apparently they have not suddenly woken up in the middle of the night realising, in a fit of existential humility, that they simply cannot organise the fighting of fires without first consulting Adam Smith and their local LNP branch.

The model that the fire-fighters and the Government in Victoria have settled on is so obviously perverse that it cannot be in the public interest. It includes only the people who are funding the activity and the people who are engaging in the activity! All without any business being involved? It’s a total and outright travesty! No wonder Gottliebsen is getting annoyed. It’s the thin edge of the wedge.

The takeover of the fire-fighting capacity in Victoria by the people who are actually fighting the fires is downright anti-commercial. What next? Socialistic free water? Communistic free roads, rail, sewage, and telephone services? Free electricity poles? All without an added layer of commercial activity making it twice as expensive?

It’s absurd. Because Scott Morrison is a working class hero and Greg Hunt is a defender of the environment. And unions are bad because unions are bad because unions are bad.

Just a bit more than seven weeks to go before we vote and then get to enjoy another two months of non-stop political speculation and hoopla.


I better stop typing now. I’m feeling just a tad queasy.


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  1. Shaun Newman

    Australian workers mostly do not know the support that a union can provide in times of trouble, it’s a pity because our wages would not increase if we didn’t have a few strong unions who look out for all of us. I was in the ASU and found the union brilliant in their representation of my wife and I.

  2. Jennifer Meyer-Smith

    There’s no dispute that unions have been and are necessary representatives for paid working people in all salaried and waged enterprises.

    However, since much of our UNemployed workforce are forced into ‘voluntary’ work, I have not seen the same level of dedication to them.

    They also are on Labor’s blindside which accounts for Labor’s failure to thus far prove their dedication to improving Newstart payments for those languishing in UNemployment and UNder-employment.

  3. Kaye Lee


    Perhaps you are unaware that there is a union for the unemployed.

    “The Australian Unemployment Union is an organisation by the unemployed, for the unemployed.”

    AUWU Home

    You can contact them if you have been unfairly cut off from benefits. They help explain people’s rights.

  4. Jack Russell

    I think Labor, more than anyone, know exactly what they have to do (and undo) for the benefit of our country and it’s people.

    If this election gives them the win, and they can govern in their own right, then it will be done. If they lose it will be a disaster for the party, the people, and this country.

    Another LNP term will destroy the very foundations upon which a fair progressive society can exist.

  5. Michael Taylor

    Very clever, James. I love your style of humour.

  6. Jennifer Meyer-Smith

    Yes thanks Kaye,

    I am aware of the good work of the Australian Unemployed Workers Union, which is run by unpaid people.

    Where are the paid people working for improving conditions for unpaid people?

  7. Ken Wolff

    James, very well done.

    What many people don’t realise is that, although union membership is down to less than 20% of the workforce, more than 60% are actually covered by union negtotiated agreements. The neoliberal LNP should understand that in economic terms that is ‘free riding’, not something they would normally support or allow but when it comes to unions … oh well, it doesn’t matter!

  8. kerri

    I was driving on Eastlink yesterday and passed a semi loaded up with carpet according to its labelling and caught a glance of the driver and I thought!
    It’s simple really!
    Either you support a man (and his party) who looks at a truck driver, or supermarket cashier, or miner and thinks
    “there’s a person working hard and doing their job, at the very least they deserve to have all the things they need in life for themselves and their family and maybe a little bit extra to give them some enjoyment in their time off!”
    Or you support a man (and his party) who looks at a truck driver, or supermarket cashier, or miner and thinks “there’s a person working hard and doing their job but they don’t deserve what I’ve got!”

  9. Bronte ALLAN

    Look out the Martians, oops, the Unions are coming! What a load of cocky crap this so-called “Australian” “newspaper” (?) is? Sadly just another typical bloody mudrake rag! However, because it is printed & read here in Australia, it paints a very poor excuse for “real” stories. Unions are coming–WTF?? What ALL these right wing, flat earth, tea party conservative, anti Union, lying, inept idiots seem to forget is that without Unions, this country would never have got to where it is today! And lets not forget, a “happy” & contented workforce–which Unions have always strived for, is good for any country!

  10. kerri

    Bronte ALLAN
    In 2000 I had the extraordinary good fortune to win a trip for four to Disneyland.
    The kids were 5&7. Hubby, a blue chip, right wing voter and I stood in line for the kids to meet Donald Duck and watched as a tiny man, in typical American council employee uniform of white with a peak cap, tried to push a wheelie bin up a kerb. He was not a cast member but a cleaner or garbageman. The wheelie bin was not like the green plastic one you have in your back yard but more of the old metal type somewhere in size between a dumpster and your bin. The man could not have been much more than 5 ft tall and was quite skinny.
    Hubby commented on how ridiculous it was to expect a single person to move such a large bin and up a kerb where no ramp existed.
    It would never happen back home I said. Of course not he agreed.
    Because we have unions and health and safety regulations to prevent that from happening I said.
    Inside I high fived myself!
    An argument you simply cannot counter.

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