the online presence of Don Keayes

Tag: unionists

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.


What’s with the Right?

I’m back! The pond has now been fully cleaned and is healthy again so we can all get back to business. And the first order of said business … what’s with the Right?

Stick with me for a while and you’ll soon gather that my perspective is broadly conservative. I have Libertarian tendencies and abhor hypocrites of any and every flavour. Which is why I just don’t get NSW Premier Barry O’Farrell lately.

Last week I attempted to gather all the shopping trolleys and car bodies from the muddy depths of my pond and have them recycled into more useful articles. Thinking I was doing myself and the environment a huge favour, I collected nearly one tonne of scrap metal only to find that the price here in Coffs Harbour is just $45 a tonne. That wouldn’t have been so bad, but before I can be rewarded for actually doing the hard yards for the environment, the EPA takes $35 a tonne so it can continue regulating my efforts.

What to do? I rang a bunch of scrap metal businesses, each of which told me they were not collecting any steel at present because it cost them more in fuel and labour to collect and sell the stuff than they receive for doing so. I checked out the local council’s “Waste Management Facility” but the recyclers went out of business 18 months ago and it now costs $180 per tonne to dump the stuff (of which, you guessed it, a significant proportion goes back to the state government as an “environmental levy”). Oh, and don’t forget the GST on top of it all. No wonder so many people dump their junk in National Parks!

So my issue with the Right is this: why aren’t you guys getting rid of these ridiculous restrictions on community-mindedness and entrepreneurial effort? I understand why the ALP and Greens of the Left want to keep unionised bureaucrats in power, but you guys are supposed to be against all that! Mr O’Farrell … DO SOMETHING! NOW!

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’.

Paul Howes finally gets it

Writing in today’s Sunday Telegraph, National Secretary of the AWU Paul Howes finally gets what the rest of us have known for ages … that in the real world the Greens are poison.

The Greens … have carefully built a political brand based on social conscience and concern for the environment. The benign, smiling face of Bob Brown convinced many that the Greens and Labor could co-exist as two sides of a harmonious progressive political movement.

But beneath the marketing spin, the Greens are run by hardliners who believe they know better than anyone else. Beneath the marketing spin, the Greens are fundamentally opposed to the core values of the labour movement. They openly want to crush the jobs of hardworking Australians in the very industries that support our national prosperity.

Of course, it’s all a bit rich coming from a guy who seems to have very little problem with the lowest paid employees in the country handing over their hard-earned so that union officials like his good self can live very lavish lifestyles indeed. [And that’s even before we get to Craig Thompson’s hookers!]

Oh, and then there’s his Party’s alliance with the Greens in order to form government … didn’t he know what the Greens were about before now, or was he in fact willing to put up with it while his own interests were being served? What Mr Howes has finally woken up to seems not to be the damage the Greens are doing to workers, but how his Party’s ‘marriage of convenience’ to them has effectively torn up his ticket to ride the parliamentary gravy train again next year. I think that’s the real message in this classic line:

The Greens juggernaut is now threatening to cause serious long-term damage to the cause of the labour movement and progressive politics in Australia.

If only Mr Howes and people like him would realise that all ‘progressive’ politics is about gaining and maintaining power at the expense of everybody else – friends included. And just as there’s no honour among thieves there are certainly no scruples on the totalitarian side of politics. The ALP is no exception!

Pond Life

There’s so much going on about the pond that I’ve decided to combine a few stories into single posts entitled “Pond Life”. Clever, eh?

1.   Those who seek to advance the Green agenda generally want to live their lives as fascists while we’re all supposed to be thrilled with socialism at our end of things. They’re nothing but a bunch of freeloading hypocrites! As though you needed any more evidence than you’ve already seen here and elsewhere, check out this story from the UK’s Daily Mail about New York Mayor Bloomberg:

You couldn’t make it up, but New York Mayor Bloomberg’s latest contribution to a greener environment is to attach a full-sized room air conditioner unit to the side of his SUV.

The low-tech solution to Mr Bloomerg’s famous dislike of the heat in fact causes less pollution than running the vehicle’s own air-condtioning while its engine is idle.

And in full view of confused and amused tourists and passers-by, workers outside City Hall yesterday attached the familiar looking air-conditioning unit to a specially designed out-sized box on the passenger window of the New York Mayor’s car.

Great photos of the reckless waste of taxpayers money are included at the link.

2.   Those who seek to advance their own situation while seeming to be acting in your children’s’ best interest are nothing but low-grade rent seekers. The Centre for Independent Studies has an excellent piece that shows just how far above the law Leftist unionists consider themselves to be:

Last week the NSW Teachers Federation went on strike to protest the state government’s changes to the operation of public schools affecting 750,000 students and their families.

Regardless of the merits of the protest, the issue at stake here is one of legality. The industrial action was deemed illegal by the NSW Industrial Relations Commission, but union officials decided to ignore the ruling and strike anyway.

Good points. There is no “universal right to strike” in this country, so

Unions cannot simply strike over any employment or political issue that affect its members. The matter must be within their enterprise agreement and the strike must be during the bargaining phase. Furthermore, the union must gain majority support from its members via a secret ballot, and obtain consent from the Industrial Relations Commission. If the commission rejects the bid for protected action, this ruling must be accepted.

If businesses, governments and labour institutions start ignoring illegal strike action, Australia will slide back to the bad old days when unions took strike action at will, disrupting businesses and inflicting losses in utter disregard for the law.


3.   And finally, in case you missed The Hon Dr Craig Emerson MP Minister for Trade and Competitiveness’ attempt to sell the Carbon [Dioxide] Tax we were promised would not be introduced I’ve included the link. In contrast, you may wish to see how grown ups approach the responsibility of governing our nation. (The good stuff is from 4:10 onwards)