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What the unions won’t do

Malcolm Turnbull is in campaign mode, which in ‘Liberal speak’ means that the scare campaigns begin. As expected, this election would see a scare campaign against the unions. On script, yesterday the headline boomed ‘Unions threaten the nation’s economic future, says Malcolm Turnbull‘ who himself goes on to say that:

“We can not allow Shorten, Labor and their union backers to stand in the way of advancing this nation’s long-term and economic future”.

Yes, damn horrible things those nasty unions. Trying to ruin all those great social, moral and economic initiatives the government has implemented. But try as they may, the unions cannot destroy everything. For (a brief) example, the unions cannot or will not:

  • provide you with one of the worst broadband plans in the world
  • axe the Safe Schools program
  • spend billions of dollars locking up children in detention centres
  • spend a half a billion dollars on a same-sex marriage plebiscite
  • spend hundreds of billions of dollars on jet fighters whose efficiency is under question
  • bring in $100,000 university degrees
  • cause the temperatures to rise by 2 degrees by the end of the century
  • peddle around the country promoting a book at the taxpayer’s expense
  • take helicopter rides at the taxpayer’s expense to attend a picnic
  • slash billions of dollars from hospital funding
  • slash billions of dollars from education
  • increase the gap between the rich and the poor
  • do away with penalty rates
  • destroy Medicare
  • sack scientists
  • attempt to destroy the ABC
  • implement economic policies that could lead us into a recession should the next expected GFC hit
  • allow the richest people or largest companies to pay zero tax
  • will not abuse 457 visa holders
  • will not give billions of dollars to the mining industry in ridiculous rebates

And unions will not axe:

  • the Social Inclusion Board
  • the National Housing Supply Council
  • the Prime Minister’s Council on Homelessness
  • the National Policy Commission on Indigenous Housing
  • the National Children and Family Roundtable
  • the Advisory Panel on Positive Ageing
  • the Immigration Health Advisory Group

Why? Because they’ve already been axed. Who axed them? The current government.

And neither will unions defund:

  • the Refugee Council of Australia
  • the Australian Youth Affairs Council
  • the Alcohol and Drug Council of Australia
  • the National Congress of Australia’s First Peoples
  • the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Services

Why? Because they’ve already been defunded. Who defunded them? The current government.

Here is Turnbull’s quote again:

“We can not allow Shorten, Labor and their union backers to stand in the way of advancing this nation’s long-term and economic future”.

Now ask yourself “who is really standing in the way of advancing this nation’s long-term and economic future?”



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  1. RosemaryJ36

    Just playing Devil’s advocate- Labor has been equally responsible for damage to refugees and shows no sign of changing those policies. And it has not been active enough in union reform and clean up.

  2. Florence nee Fedup

    Thanks for the list. Been badly needed. Most are due to disappear from this July on. Long after Abbott planned to hold election.

    Anyone have information in latest outcry against legislation that was to make the transport industry safer and provide level playing field for owner drivers.

    One can only be suspicious of outcry that has arisen this week.

    Was Shorten’s baby if I recollect correctly. Has been in operation over three years. I don’t recall any criticism until now.

    The history of owner drivers being ripped off over decades, along with massive disgraceful safety record. Drivers that did indeed put their homes on the line. yes, and always at the mercy of the big players in the industry.

    I know it is a court decision that has caused recent outcry. Has it worked up to now? If not, why haven’t we heard before.

    Has any consideration been given to fix any problems, not to attack and dismantle.

    Sorry, I suspect another attack on Shorten and unions in general.

    Shorten and union have been quiet. Maybe they are working behind the scenes. I was fully in support of the bill at the time.

    I believe that Cash and PM are attempting to wedge Labor.

  3. David

    Excellent reminder of the true situation, thanks Michael I have posted to Twitter

  4. Lee

    So you don’t want an inquiry about the banks misbehaviour, or to take a stand against schools or medicine becoming like the American system or or make it all most impossible to by a home for the young people starting out, yes I think the alp is appalling with regard to refugees but Rosemary u must look at the whole picture not just a small part of it.

  5. Michael Taylor

    Lee, I want all those but this was a rush job. I could have made the list a mile long, but I think you get my drift.

  6. Jane Turnbull

    Florence, Turnbull and the shrieking Cash announced today that they will abolish the Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal if re-elected as it would apparently bankrupt hundreds, if not thousands of small business owners!!!!!!!!!!! i.e. non-unionised former “employees”, by insisting on decent levels of pay for those contractors.

  7. Florence nee Fedup

    Jane being going on for a few days. I smell a rat.

  8. Backyard Bob

    If Turnbull wants to go to an election on an industrial relations/unions platform, more power to his arm, I say. The last Tory who tried that was Howard, and we all know how that went. Aside from the problems that exist in Victoria with unions like the CFMEU – and in Vic the problems are real – the Government has no ammunition. TURC was a turkey and will continue to do nothing but embarrass the Government. Anti-penalty rate rhetoric will harm them. People are rightly very protective of their pay and conditions.

    Those with the most ammunition at their disposal are Labor and the unions. I suspect the real problem for the unions will be that of having to make decisions regarding the plethora of options available to them (given budgetary limits) for campaign purposes. The pickings are rich indeed.

  9. Florence nee Fedup

    “Labor’s employment spokesman, Brendan O’Connor, said: “The Turnbull Liberal government has gone from seeking to delay the decision by legislation to now recklessly trying to kill off the tribunal, simply because Malcolm Turnbull doesn’t like its decision.

    “Abolishing the independent tribunal will set a deeply disturbing precedent and clearly shows the Abbott-Turnbull government has no respect for the concept of an independent umpire.”

  10. Mischelle Magrin

    Incorrect Rosemary..Labor’s new Refugee Policy clearly states that ALL refugees will be released from detention ASAP and the UNHCR re-instated to give them a voice helping them in their processing out of detention where they will be given a passport to migrate to any safe country of their choice including Australia, and our refugee intake will be doubled. Labor doesn’t USE refugees the Greens and the Liberals do..they have a policy which isn’t flaunted just easy to access. The Greens have done nothing for refugees other than spend masses of money on protest rallies and FB selfies..Using refugees as political pawns is immoral..Labor is their only hope and if the Greens really cared about refugees they would be supporting Labor instead of this human rights abuse govt.

  11. Backyard Bob

    Shit, say hello to fan…..

  12. diannaart

    Excellent list there Michael.

    @Mischelle Magrin

    If Labor did not use refugees as political pawns, just how did we end up with offshore island detention centres? Rudd closed them, then Gillard re-opened them in August 2012, along with arranging agreements with Papua New Guinea – with no possibility of attaining Australian residency.

    The LNP simply ramped up the misery – as is their wont.

    There are no innocents here – both the major parties have grimy hands.

    As for attacking the Greens on this issue – why not attack everyone who have protested the inhumane treatment of refugees?

    Are people supposed to remain silent?

    Any suggestions on changing the refugee policy to something humane, irrespective of whether Labor or the LNP win the 2016 election?

  13. RosemaryJ36

    If the ALP IS changing its policy on off-shore processing and detention then I will be delighted. I support neither of the major parties because I think they have too much influence from external sources – big business and unions, respectively and I want a social justice direction from anyone I support.

  14. Terry2

    The owner-driver situation with the Transport Workers’ Union is confusing to say the least : The Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal was set up to regulate fair working and pay conditions for owner drivers who have been exploited for years.

    Having made a determination that will increase the rates going to owner drivers, the government has now said that they will abolish the Tribunal and defer any rate increases until at least January.

    The situation is not helped by Michaelia Cash claiming that owner drivers and their partners have been pleading with her not to allow the rate increase to go ahead as they allegedly fear they will be dumped by the major freight companies who employ these drivers.

    Difficult to make any informed comment other than to say that I am personally aware of the way that owner drivers are exploited and rates driven down by unscrupulous employers – it’s not unusual for an East Coast owner driver to take a load to the West only to find he either has no return load or has to carry it for peanuts : these drivers certainly needed some protection.

    Anybody got a better understanding of this situation : what are the Owner drivers actually saying ?

  15. Matters Not

    Terry2, yes there’s claim and counter claim and reading the decision itself provides no great insight, particularly if you’re an outsider like me.

    When you say:

    claiming that owner drivers and their partners have been pleading with her not to allow the rate increase to go ahead as they allegedly fear they will be dumped by the major freight companies who employ these drivers.

    Seems to me that the dispute is between ‘owner-drivers’ who contract (not employed in the technical sense) to (let’s say) Coles or Woolworths or indeed any large company with more than 5 supermarkets to deliver ‘goods’ of all types. It would seem that there’s been a ‘race to the bottom’ re monies paid for services rendered. This ‘race to the bottom’ causes owner drivers to cut corners re vehicle maintenance, hours ‘behind the wheel’, taking holidays etc. It seems that this ‘race to the bottom’ is very much to the advantage of large organisations which ‘contract’ owner drivers.

    The Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal, in its latest decision, is attempting to provide a guarantee (to owner drivers) re rates of pay, (for both driving and queuing – waiting to load etc). It also involves fairly extensive ‘record keeping’ by all parties. A big increase in ‘red tape’, ‘bureaucracy’ and the like.

    In response, those with the ‘whip hand (the big retailers) say they will no longer use ‘owner drivers’. The owner drivers, many of whom are laden in debt prefer to have the ‘crumbs’ rather than nothing at all. fear of repossessions and the like.

    Mixed up in all this are certain unions (TWU) who while interested in the welfare of workers also have a vested interest in increasing or at least maintaining membership.

  16. David

    Terry2..given that Cash is a proven brazen liar, her word is worth zero

  17. Carol Taylor

    I believe that if Turnbull tries an election based on industrial relations then it’s all going to backfire horribly for him. Turnbull is trying to create a problem where none exists – there are minimal industrial disputes, not only is there no ‘wages blowout’ but wages are flat, employment is increasingly casualised, non-permanent, on a trial basis, housing increasingly unaffordable. Into this mix we have Turnbull attempting to enter the fray all hairy-chested and bleating faux outrage that would have done Howard proud, all the while turning his back on any attempt to limit tax rorts and upper class handouts.

  18. Robert LePage

    The temperature is already spiking up to 2C.

  19. David

    Wise words Carol. All the wet lettuce leaf PM is doing is ensuring the Union movement, workers and their families are united in throwing this absurd pathetic Govt out on its combined posterior.
    I suspect Turnbull, Cash and their low life colleagues forget it isn’t ‘just’ the working blue collar union members who will be voting against them, it is the thousands of spouses, partners, adult children, the thousands of clerical and support staff in union offices across the country.
    They do not realise the size of the backlash that is coming by picking this fight, let them do it, another ridiculous Turnbull miscalculation.

  20. diannaart

    I agree Carol

    While Turnbull continues to dance to the neo-con tune, he is trapping himself into a corner (unless he believes he can turn back the IPA agenda if he wins the election) – that does not seem likely if he wants to stay in the top job.

    Meanwhile, continuing to whitewash the very same policies (the thought bubble announcements of various tax reforms and the like) which were part of the the reason for the rejection of Tony Abbott, he’s not fooling anyone.

    It wasn’t just that Abbott was awful his policies stank too.

  21. wun farlung

    Just to put 2 bob’s worth in regard to the truckie’s issue
    The way I am understanding it from what I have read and carefully listening to Malfunction and the Banshee this morning.
    It’s all in the story being told
    The small business owners that appeared at this mornings press conference were small fleet owners and they are paying their subcontract drivers bugger all for unrealistic delivery times, the drivers get paid for a result, not per hour. Along the lines of ‘take my truck from Brisbane to Cairns, leave Brisbane at 0600 today and arrive Cairns 0400 tomorrow’.
    If you were to share the driving with one other in a reliable car and only stopped for fuel only(no meal or rest breaks) you may get there within 24 hours if there are no delays for road works etc
    When Malfunction and the Banshee were waffling about subbies, they were talking business owners that just can’t stand the thought of their workers being organised and paid a reasonable wage(if they could, they would pay nothing). Hence the reference to the TWU and Bill Shortens Union background . You all know the type, the ones that cry abou paying penalty rates, skills shortage and want to bring workers to Australia on a 457 visa
    Still the so called Journalists aren’t brave or aware enough to challenge the grubs and as a consequence the mug voter (50% give or take) laps the shit up like chocolate
    The upshot is they (LNP) are on a flogging to nowhere without a Royal Commission into the banking/finance industry

  22. Terry2

    Clearly Turnbull is going to demonize the unions in the build-up to the election.

    Just for the record, he said yesterday (on a clip on Insiders) that there were currently 108 CFMEU union officials before the courts facing over 1000 charges.
    He implied that these union officials were guilty of criminality but, as Kaye Lee pointed out last week, there was very little criminal activity revealed in the TRUC beyond Kathy Jackson at the HSU who, surprisingly, has still not been charged : perhaps waiting until after the election ??.

  23. paul walter

    Yep, these updates occuring from time to time are not negotiable… the sheer number of bizarre and even cruel initiatives makes it difficult when writing a posting with this mammoth collection, that must be sifted through like library cards when refuting trolls.

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