the online presence of Don Keayes

Tag: trade union leaders

The ALP and the Unions

It really bothers me when I hear the phrase “for the working man” being bandied about by ALP politicians. This Party is not concerned with “working families” at all but rather, in typical Socialist tradition, in advancing the cause of its union base and officials. Moreover, while they decry the riches earned by entrepreneurs and those who save rather than spend their wages, have you ever noticed how many lawyers and union functionaries on huge expense accounts are saying such things with a straight face?

According to the ABS, in August 2011 there were just shy of 7 million full-time employees in this country, yet only 18% of them were trade union members. When we add in those in less than full-time employment, we reach a total figure on just 1.8 million employees who are union members. How can it be that such a small number of people can have such an enormous influence on the polity of a political party? Easy: the ALP was created by and for the unions!

First off, the “by the unions” bit. The ALP Constitution notes that the Party’s origins are found in,

… the recognition by the trade union movement of the necessity for a political voice to take forward the struggle of the working class against the excesses, injustices and inequalities of capitalism.

Now the “for the unions” bit. The very first stated objective of the ALP’s constitution is to achieve,

as “a democratic socialist party … the democratic socialisation of industry, production, distribution and exchange, to the extent necessary to eliminate exploitation and other anti-social features in these fields.”

Ever wondered why the Labor Party doesn’t listen to you? You’re probably one of the 82% of the working population who is irrelevant to their objectives (other than at election time, of course!) In order to get that voice you have to be in a union. Again, from the ALP’s constitution:

6 (b) Members of the Party are encouraged to be members of a union or to employ union labour. State and Territory Branch rules should require members of the Party to be members of a union or to employ union labour to the maximum extent permitted by law.
(c) To further encourage union members to join the Party, State and Territory Branches should offer discounts in membership subscriptions for members of affiliated unions. [And they do in NSW … a 40% discount]

and this in addition to the fact that Affiliated Unions are still guaranteed about 50% of seats at all Congresses and meetings and you really get the sense that, like all other Socialist politics, the ALP is a very closed shop indeed.

Judith Sloan had an interesting piece in The Australian on 1 May 2012, in which she noted that, “Over time, the fall in union membership has been steep, almost precipitous. In August 1992, 43 per cent of male workers and 35 per cent of females were union members in their main jobs.” Now here’s the important bit to take away with you:

The mainstay of union membership are now teachers, nurses and public servants. The sector with the highest union membership is education and training, followed by public administration and safety. Tasmania, with its large public sector, has the highest rate of unionisation at 25 per cent.

No wonder  just about every single transfer of your wealth to somebody else now involves teachers (BER, student-free days, national curriculum, etc), public sector expansion, and health workers. Oh, and car makers. Ever wondered why Kevin Rudd gave $30 million to Toyota when they said they wouldn’t use it to build cars in Australia? He was looking after his union mates who were doing side deals as part of the bargaining process! Same thing with the Holden and Ford plants … every job supposedly “saved” by government intervention has cost a little over $1 million of your hard-earned money. “Saving” Australia’s car industry is nuts, because in total we manufacture only about 5% of what a single company needs to sell each year in order to survive in a global market … we maintain our motor vehicle manufacturing sector (and, incidentally, pay the highest prices for our vehicles in the entire world) purely and simply as a means of keeping highly unproductive unionised labour aboard the gravy train.

I could go on about the Superannuation Guarantee Levy, which increases the cost of employing somebody by 9% thereby reducing the capacity of wealth-generating enterprises to employ people while filling the unions’ “Industry Scheme” war chests with billions every year but, hopefully, you’ve got the picture by now. It won’t be necessary to write about the ICAC revelations either.


Sound Familiar?

It’s amazing what you find when you flip over the odd lilly pad. This quote from the London Times atop a copy of NSW’s The Land dated 20 August 1915:

Undoubtedly, if the Labour (sic) proposals are forced, Australia will be plunged into a violent contest, and the stream of abuse, innuendo, and recrimination which has already flooded the House of Representatives will overflow the whole of Australia. Meanwhile, in the trenches at Gallipoli, Australians will be fighting for freedom under an alien sky. The contrast may not be seen as strange to the Australian leaders as it does to us, but is it worth while?

Following on from yesterday’s comments by Paul Howes, I began to wonder if those seeking to impose on the rest of us a Progressive fascist (for them) and socialist (for us) existence have ever read a history book? Check out a few excerpts from Tom Orsag’s  very interesting article in Solidarity issue #42,

Labor under Gillard and Rudd has been a disappointment—and the sense that the Labor government doesn’t stand for anything is widespread. But the party’s history shows that Labor in government has disappointed its supporters right from its beginning. Few of the betrayals of Labor governments have been more bitter than that of Billy Hughes’ government during World War I.

From the party’s inception, Labor leaders had wrapped themselves in nationalism, declaring Labor the party of nation, as opposed to an identification based on the working class the party was meant to represent. This reflected the aim of the Labor Party to take hold of government, which, in turn, meant accepting the logic of managing capitalism, and looking after business owners and the rich. … But the logic of running capitalism clashed with the aspirations of working class Labor Party members and voters for genuine social change. The war exposed those contradictions even more graphically.

The hardships felt by working class people began to open up the divisions between trade union leaders and the Labor Party leadership. The union leaders themselves are no radical layer—their position as paid officials who negotiate with employers exerts a conservative influence on them, and there are plenty of careerists among their ranks. … The unions had been the basis for forming the Labor Party, as the big strikes of the 1890s were defeated. They looked to Parliament and political action to provide some defence from the aggressive employers. But once in Parliament, Labor politicians were more strongly committed to running the system, rather than legislating to defend the workers who voted for them.

Read a book guys! None of this is new because human nature has not changed and history thus always tends to repeat itself.

Those who seek to impose the ‘Progressive’ agenda on the rest are not interested in keeping promises – either to friend or foe. They are interested in one thing and one thing alone: being in charge. Whether the cloak of nationalism in 1915 or the green religion of the 2000s, eventually the betrayals are too much for the populace to bear and out they go for the next two or three elections.

Come to think of it, perhaps we ought to turf the ‘Progressives’ out of the education system as well. Our kids might then learn to read, learn from history, and learn not to believe a word that issues from the mouth of a ‘Progressive’.