Don’t pay any attention to the Liberals quietly reviving WorkChoices

Mourners over the (wildly exaggerated) “death” of WorkChoices will have been thrilled this week by Tony Abbott’s reassurance that he intends to bring it back:

Abbott bows to Reith on IR

TONY Abbott has yielded to pressure from fellow Liberal Peter Reith to abandon his low-key approach to industrial relations, promising he will take a ”strong and effective” policy to the next election.

What does he mean by that? He means whatever will make Peter Reith happy:

After Mr Abbott’s statement yesterday, Mr Reith tweeted: ”Abbott comments on IR policy are encouraging. I should lose elections more often.”

LOL. It’s funny because Peter wants to take away your rights at work on behalf of big business.

But if you’re thinking of getting worried about WorkChoices – about unfair dismissal, about losing your hard fought-for protections, about undoing even the comparatively minor changes Labor made to wind back the Liberals’ legislation – well, I’ve got two words for you.

Carbon Tax!

CARBON TAX! CARBON TAX!

Concentrate on that, and stop paying attention to the Liberals’ efforts to really make you worse off. Don’t you trust Peter Reith to advocate for your best interests? Shh, then.

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26 responses to “Don’t pay any attention to the Liberals quietly reviving WorkChoices

  1. What did Reith say? “You can’t have a rise in the standard of living without addressing IR reform”

    Que?

    Oh. I get it. a rise in the standard of living for the richest 20%.

  2. Splatterbottom

    Reith is right on this. Even Fair work Australia is getting on board by letting school kids work shorter shifts.

    The fascist IR police raided our shopping centre recently to punish wicked shop-keepers ruthlessly exploiting students. Can you imagine that the students’ parents were actually complicit in this outrage, and were quite happy for the kids to work short shifts so they could get on with study and sport? Now the kids who lost their jobs after the raid might get their jobs back.

    The country needs less parasitical union officials and more jobs.

  3. SB for every student who is happy to receive short work hours there are many students who struggle to fit their casual hours around study and who are unable to gain a regular roster around which to plan study and (god forbid) a life. Not even to mention that these short houred, irregular, casual jobs do not appear out of thin air. They come at the expense of real jobs, jobs where you not only have a regular roster but where you (… omg….) earn enough to live comfortably! Your libertarian nonsense is getting old.

  4. As the chasm between rich and poor expands yearly we still hear the same old line…”You must work harder for less”. IR reform is never for the benefit of the workers. Trickle down economics is basically that warm feeling you get when pissed on from a great height.

  5. Peter Reith calls stripping public sector workers of their right to appeal to an independent body “in the public interest”. I assume if he he were “advocating on behalf of big business” then he would be calling for the reintroduction of serfdom?

  6. At a company I worked for once, there was a motivational picture on the wall. It showed Depression-era construction workers eating their lunch sitting out on a beam on some under-construction New York sky scraper with a view out over the city, I suppose the picture was intended to imbue us with the glory of honest work or something.

    But it was what the picture didn’t show that was the most startling to modern eyes. No hard hats. No safety railings. Not so much as a rope to hold the men to the beam should a gust of wind blow in from the harbour. Given that this was the Depression, and jobs were scarce, the workers actually had a saying: if you fall off the building then your replacement would be up the elevator and doing your job before you hit the pavement.

    These days such a workplace would be targeted by a union work stoppage and the construction company would be in court explaining why they care so little for their workers lives in the pursuit of profit. If such a picture was taken today it wouldn’t be seen as the “glory of honest work”. It would instead be used as a front-page expose on corner-cutting in the construction industry.

    When big business talk of “IR reform”, or the evils of unions, that picture is the world they want to take us back to. Where workers are interchangeable units – if one dies or gets a little too uppity about unimportant things like safety and decent wages, then just hire another.

    Thanks, but no thanks.

  7. jordanrastrick

    These days such a workplace would be targeted by a union work stoppage and the construction company would be in court explaining why they care so little for their workers lives in the pursuit of profit.

    Which is a fantastic thing, that we all should be thankful for.

    When big business talk of “IR reform”, or the evils of unions, that picture is the world they want to take us back to.

    For some big businesses, yes, I’m sure they would like to go back to the days of no workers rights. But the majority are not completely devoid of ethics or public spiritedness, and not everyone who proposes IR reform wants to send children back down into coal mines, any more than people who would prefer a more left wing or right wing party elected are Communists/Nazis.

  8. jordanrastrick

    Not even to mention that these short houred, irregular, casual jobs do not appear out of thin air. They come at the expense of real jobs, jobs where you not only have a regular roster but where you (… omg….) earn enough to live comfortably! Your libertarian nonsense is getting old.

    Glynn, when I was in Year 10 I had a job at the local post office working back of house in mail sorting. There were two of us, a full time worker who was my neighbour and friend (how I got the job), and myself employed casually.

    The vast majority of work occurred between 5:30, when the office had to be opened and the PO Box mail delivery received, and 8:00, when we were required to have all that mail had to in the PO Boxes ready for collection by our customers. Throughout the rest of the day the duties were minimal – sorting and checking irregular deliveries of mail, retrieving parcels that were too large to go into the boxes, etc.

    Consequently I was employed to work 6:00-8:00 five days a week. It suited me perfectly – any earlier a start and I would have struggled with sleep deprivation, any later a finish and I would not have been able to get to school on time. It also suited the post office perfectly; the two of us had to work hard to get everything needed done by 8:00, but my co-worker only had just enough to keep him busy for the remaining hours of his shift, let alone occupy a second person.

    You would, I suppose, have outlawed this libertarian arrangement, and never mind the mutual benefits to the parties actually wanting to make it. You’d have happily denied me an excellent job (that had better pay and conditions than every other casual job I took for the next several years after leaving high school), and forced Australia Post to hire someone in a 38 hour position to do 10 hours worth of work a week.

    Of course I’m sure after inflating their wages bill so drastically and pointlessly, you would have gladly paid the massively increased prices of postage that would have then been needed to stop Australia Post going bankrupt, without a single word of complaint, right?

    I’m no fan of Peter Reith nor of Workchoices, and I strongly support trade unionism. But honestly sometimes I feel like backing the Libs on IR just to spite the ideologues on “my” side of the debate….

  9. “Glynn, when I was in Year 10 I had a job at the local post office working back of house in mail sorting. There were two of us, a full time worker who was my neighbour and friend (how I got the job), and myself employed casually.”

    Ah!!! The voice of experience. Gee I bet after a hard days grafting mail sorting you’d probably had to have a long hot bath with half a kilo of “Radox” to sooth those sore muscles, not to mention the mental torture.I can only imagine the migraine you must have had at the end of the day with all those executive decisions.And of course you’d be worried all that time about the Post Office going broke, and the rising cost of stamps.

    “I’m no fan of Peter Reith nor of Workchoices, and I strongly support trade unionism. ”

    Yea sure your not. What a laugh.

  10. jordanrastrick

    Your comment is too pissweak to really deserve a response, lynot, but for the sake of more reasonable people who might want to carry on a rational debate, I feel foolishly compelled to answer your bullcrap.

    Ah!!! The voice of experience.

    The argument between SB and Glynn was about students working short shifts organised around their studies. So I think the experience I quoted was pretty bloody relevant to that discussion. I wasn’t pretending for a second that the work was some awful migraine inducing hell; in fact my whole point was that it was a good job.

    For what its worth, nearly my entire working life has been spent in the casual labour force. I only ever had casual jobs until a year ago – that’s nine years of relevant experience total, for probably a dozen employers in total. I was living out of home and having to financially support myself in those jobs for 7 of those years, and not studying (and thus not receiving centrelink payments) for the best part of 6 of them.

    Even after quitting my last major casual job, I spent a large amount of time researching awards, EBAs and so forth with one of my close friends who was on the negotiating committee for the new agreement my previous employer forced through in the build up to the previous

    Yea sure your not. What a laugh.

    I have always referenced the Liberal party behind the ALP and the Greens, and have handed out how to vote cards for the ALP against the Howard government at Federal elections.

    In fact, as it happens I spent time (briefly) on the MUA picket line in support of the strikers during Peter Reith’s waterfront dispute.

  11. jordanrastrick

    Oh, did I mention my mother supported herself and raised me doing casual work her entire life until she got a full time job only a couple of years ago?

    How much actual experience do you and your family have of the realities casual labour, lynot?

    What a laugh, indeed.

  12. I remember a long time ago in a planet far, far away our employer tried to get us to sign AWAs. They were saying that working a minimum shift of only one hour was great for the employees because we’d get more work – we knew better because we knew it’d be barely be worth our time to work all of one hour.

    Guess what? No one signed the AWA, except employees who had to or they wouldn’t get the job (remember that old trick the employers could pull?)

    The three hour minimum was there to protect workers from explotiation – I hope the SDA wins the appeal.

  13. “How much actual experience do you and your family have of the realities casual labour, lynot?”

    Dear oh dear you were truly doing it tough weren’t you? I have have eaten bread and dripping for weeks on end. You 1. Probably wouldn’t know what dripping was.2. What being poor is really like. If and I admit a presumption on my part, you are about thirty yrs of age, you would not have experienced a life with out social welfare.I have and my family have relied on charity to survive.

    I don’t believe you have supported the Labor party period. Because if you did you wouldn’t put up the absolute diatribe about I.R. or indeed the political realities that only exist in the mind of a conservative.

  14. ” I hope the SDA wins the appeal ”

    Ditto.

  15. Jordan. I would appreciate if you didn’t attempt to deliberately misrepresent my opinion in order to create a straw man for yourself. If you are only capable of arguing against a straw man of an over-simplified “anything but full time work is bad” ideology then that is YOUR weakness not mine. :-)

  16. jordanrastrick

    Fair enough, Glynn. Sorry if I’ve misrepresented your stance, I was I’ll admit building a case based on few of your actual words.

    Not even to mention that these short houred, irregular, casual jobs do not appear out of thin air. They come at the expense of real jobs, jobs where you not only have a regular roster but where you (… omg….) earn enough to live comfortably! Your libertarian nonsense is getting old.

    My experience was of a casual job with short hours, although admittedly not irregular. It did not come at the expense of any real job worthy of the name. It seems to me to be the kind of arrangement SB is endorsing with his “libertarian nonsense”, in terms of an employee and an employer both benefiting from the capacity to have short shifts.

    Would you like to see the job I had, for instance, outlawed?

    And Lynot, you are right at least about my youth. I have had the great fortune to never experience poverty of that kind, thanks to being born in a remarkably prosperous era. I know what dripping is, though. My grandparents ate plenty enough of it in the Great Depression when my Great grandfather couldn’t get enough (awful, backbreaking) work in the coal mines. They were very appreciative for the drastic fall of poverty in their lifetime in this nation, and of course for the strength the welfare state that they had fought for politically throughout their lives, such that none of their descendants would ever be likely to suffer through what they had growing up.

    Anyway, your insistence that I must be outright lying about supporting the ALP simply because I don’t agree with you, is definitive proof that trying to debate you on this would be a complete waste of time.

  17. Not at all Jordan. There is definitely a place for part time and casual jobs but Workchoices is not exactly about protecting the rights of students who only wish to work a few hours a week.

  18. The suggestion that protecting workers might hurt students (read “won’t somebody think of the students”) has a name. It is called ‘concern trolling’.

  19. “Anyway, your insistence that I must be outright lying about supporting the ALP simply because I don’t agree with you, is definitive proof that trying to debate you on this would be a complete waste of time.”

    If it was just me you had to prove anything to that would be a different matter altogether. The whole tenor of your comments about the so called “Left ideology” makes it patently clear you must live in some parallel universe. The fact is you said ” But honestly sometimes I feel like backing the Libs on IR just to spite the ideologues on “my” side of the debate….”

    So what do you think makes a political ideology then? Your comments have the equivalence of Tony Abbott’s mangled opinion on global warming. I could care less if you debate me or not, but spare me the I”vie suffered, and I am a lefty”because you ain’t.

  20. Splatterbottom

    Glynn: ” for every student who is happy to receive short work hours there are many students who struggle to fit their casual hours around study and who are unable to gain a regular roster around which to plan study and (god forbid) a life.”

    So does this mean that those who want shorter shifts must be sacrificed?

    “Not even to mention that these short houred, irregular, casual jobs do not appear out of thin air.”

    Now this is getting to the heart of the matter. If you make them illegal, of course those short-houred jobs won’t exist. Jobs do not emerge from thin air. They come from the expectation by an employer that by employing a person business will increase and be more profitable. Imposing unnecessary constraints on employers makes employment more costly and results in jobs disappearing into thin air.

    “They come at the expense of real jobs, jobs where you not only have a regular roster but where you (… omg….) earn enough to live comfortably! Your libertarian nonsense is getting old.”

    I am a creature of balance in these matters. There needs to be minimum standards, but not so much regulation that jobs are hard to come by. The current system encourages unions to screw employers, protect bludgers and make the cost of employment so high that unemployment rises. Those with comfortable “real jobs” are profiting at the expense of the unemployed.

  21. SB I can only hope you are aware of how ridiculous the rubbish you spout is and that you are being paid by a conservative think tank to blindly espouse their views. Protecting the rights of workers by removing systems such as WorkChoices is not about making non-full time work illegal. To suggest that it is in order to bolster your argument is disingenuous. WorkChoices was not, is not and will never be about protecting the rights of workers to work part time, that is the most ridiculous claim I have ever heard. WorkChoices (what ever it happens to be called by the capital>ppl Liberal leader of the day) is about protecting the rights of employERS to get rid of reliable, full time, stable jobs in favour of casual, irregular ones.
    Selling it as a means with which to allow small businesses to make ends meet might buy you a semblance of a reasonable argument but your “won’t somebody think of the children” concern trolling about the ‘rights’ of workers to work casual hours with so stability is laughable. Yes workers should be able to choose those jobs, this is about giving them the choice rather than those jobs being the only option. Take your trolling elsewhere.

  22. But don’t we need to return to Workchoices to facilitate economic growth and increase employment and once again do away with silly inefficient unfair dismissal laws and collective bargaining and such? Because the union thugs are now running this country. Australia is riven with mass strikes and just general crazy commie chaos and madness…
    At least that’s what I assume as I’ve just awoken from a coma I slipped into after watching scary Liberal attack ads during the 2007 federal election campaign…

  23. But Peter Reith IS right – what we need to do is have some mercenaries and dogs invade the wharves, and then forget to feed them. So that the wharfies have to feed them, thereby paving the way for a nice little bit of Stockholm-Syndrome-induced cricket for the Sundays, and the IR-Spokesman du jour can be billeted to the singularly unchallenging position of Defence.

    Remind me again of why Stockdales job was considered to be in danger?
    And if Reith was the answer, of exactly what the question was?

    Glynn
    SB I can only hope you are aware of how ridiculous the rubbish you spout is and that you are being paid by a conservative think tank to blindly espouse their views.

    Then you hope in vain.
    Sock-puppets from think-tanks don’t redouble their efforts when all is lost. Nor do they keep saying the same thing and expecting a different reaction.

    As to your invitation to take his trolling elsewhere… it would be nice to have a dissenter who wasn’t a caricature, but this, after all, a blog.

  24. narcoticmusing

    Two suggestions: first, can’t we for once really consider storm troopers instead of dogs? Since the dawn of time, we have all longed secretely for this.

    Second, and on a more serious note, SB’s not trolling, he disagrees. I respect that. I don’t often don’t agree with what is said here. Rebut his view if you disagree, but some of the responses are not constructive to democratic debate.

    I’ll say straight up that I’m not an IR expert but have enough experience in this field, in particular I have negotiated, mediated and drafted both EBAs and MECCAs from different sides of the fence (ie pro-employer and pro-employee and the middle man – funder but not employer eg. government).

    Regardless of the view of workchoices, there are obviously concerns about the alternative too. Protection of workers involves more than protecting only a group of workers who want to work planned, rostered 3+ hour shifts. There is a legitmate concern here to ensure whatever system is put in place legitimately services the needs of both parties. Workchoices was too far in one direction but we don’t necessarily fix that by skewing things too far in the other.

  25. Narcotic. Same again. Trying to suggest that WorkChoices is about protecting the rights of a different kind of worker… apparently it just went “too far” in protecting those poor workers who desperately want short shift work and are been cheated out of it by those damn unions.
    Removing WorkChoices was about INCREASING choice for workers. Nobody is advocating for the removal of part time or casual work, no matter how many times you attempt to portray it that way it doesn’t make it true.

  26. Here we go:

    http://www.abc.net.au/unleashed/2797914.html

    “Many costly, crippling flaws in the not so Fair Work Act”

    Lets surf the wave of Juliar till work makes us free.

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