Keystone Copout: Labor Abuses High Court To Evade Rorts Probe

VICTORIAN LABOR’S ethically bankrupt 2014 campaign will drag on into yet another year, with the Andrews government to seek a High Court injunction to kibosh an Ombudsman’s inquiry into whether Labor rorted public resources by sending electorate staff to marginal seats to campaign for ALP candidates. The move is an abuse of process, further underlining the hypocrisy of a rotten regime elected on a premise that is tantamount to fraud.

There are those readers who object to my characterisation of the ALP — and the union thugs and henchmen who bankroll it — as “filth,” but when it comes to Labor’s Victorian division and the government it formed after the 2014 state election on a platform that has proven tantamount to a fraud, that loathsome party’s depravity appears to know few boundaries these days.

I am talking — this time — about the risible scheme cooked up and carried out by Labor from opposition, at the 2014 state election, to redeploy electorate staff in safely Labor-held seats to campaign for ALP candidates in marginal Coalition electorates, which on any reasonable interpretation cannot be said to pass the so-called “pub test” even if (as idiot savant and Premier Daniel Andrews claims) the grimy plot complied with Parliamentary guidelines.

First things first: for those unfamiliar with the background to this issue or with this latest development yesterday, some background reading may be accessed here and here; the obvious observation to make is that having been referred to the Ombudsman by Victoria’s Upper House for an investigation of the scheme to take place — an action upheld in the Supreme Court last year, and subsequently by Victoria’s Court of Appeal — the Andrews government’s mooted application to the High Court for an injunction has the distinct reek of corruption emanating from it.

(Having grown up in Queensland and watched the excesses of the Bjelke-Petersen regime play out in real time, it’s not an overreach to say so).

But the news that Victorian Labor is desperate to evade scrutiny over what any fair-minded individual could only describe as a rort ought to surprise nobody; after all, the present state government won power after waging one of the dirtiest and most ethically bankrupt campaigns in Australian political history, and having made it nearly two-thirds the way through a four-year term by governing with a similarly brazen outlook, any expectation it might conduct itself with a bit of decency now would be a forlorn hope indeed.

After all, this is a party that co-opted CFMEU brutes to masquerade as emergency services workers to harass and bully people into voting for it; had “nurses” telemarket the old, the frail and the sick to scare them shitless with jumped-up lies about the Liberal Party’s record and plans in the Health portfolio; and has to date saddled Victorian taxpayers with a compensation bill of more than a billion dollars for cancelling the contract to build Melbourne’s much-needed East-West Link, despite solemn promises the contract “wasn’t worth the paper it was printed on” and that “not one cent” of compensation would be payable for abandoning the road project.

And that’s just for starters.

But the running saga of another of the Victorian ALP’s power-crazed stunts — sending taxpayer-funded staff into marginal Coalition electorates as campaign workers — can only be viewed through the prism of the rest of its sordid, dishonest election campaign; Andrews has never explained how this was compliant with parliamentary guidelines despite his claims to that effect, and neither has a single member of his government.

Not even under parliamentary privilege, where they can evade prosecution for lying about it: the inescapable conclusion is therefore that no such compliance exists, and Andrews and his goons know it.

I’m not partisan enough or naive enough to insult readers’ intelligence by suggesting the Upper House’s decision to refer the government to the Ombudsman isn’t, viewed one way, a stunt of its own; after all, this is how opposition politicians play, and both the Coalition and the Communist Party Greens who between them control the Legislative Council stand to gain from any opprobrium that can be attached to Labor over this issue.

And it goes without saying that this entire episode — irrespective of who committed the offence, or who it is baying for blood over it — is merely the latest tawdry example in a seemingly endless recent sequence as to why politics, and politicians, are held in such contempt by the voting public.

But in a breathtaking hypocrisy, it was Labor — then in opposition under first the hapless John Brumby, and later the amiable boofhead Steve Bracks — which, in 1999, made the Kennett government’s emasculation of the Ombudsman an issue that rightly generated community outrage; yet today, Labor’s Attorney-General, Martin Pakula, is quoted in the Herald Sun article I’ve linked as saying that the Court of Appeal’s decision to allow the Ombudsman’s inquiry into allegations against the ALP to stand accords Parliament “too much power to require the Ombudsman to probe any matter.”

So let’s dispense with the mock outrage, and nudge the discussion back into the real world.

The simple truth seems to be that Victorian Labor — in its mad lust for power at any price imaginable, backed by the utter thuggery and bastardry of its Trades Hall chums — appears to have taken it upon itself to fortify its filthy campaign of lies and deceit by misusing the resources allocated to it for electorate purposes to provide an additional bulwark against Denis Napthine’s government in the seats it needed to win to secure office.

That’s the charge: and given Andrews and his mates have not only admitted the practice occurred, but insisted (without substantiation) that the practice was legal, those allegations must be tested.

To this end, Labor’s intended recourse to the High Court, in a desperate last stand to try to shut the Ombudsman’s investigation down, not only smacks of panic but can only be characterised as an abuse of process.

Like everything about the Andrews government, this episode serves to highlight the decaying and rotten foundations upon which it is built: and Victorians, and Australians in other states watching the goings-on in Spring Street, are justified in feeling disgusted by yet another elected government caught out playing fast and loose with resources paid for by an over-taxed public that has yet again been taken for granted.

As for the opposition Liberal Party, two points must be made.

One, if — as the Andrews government defence seems to imply — “they’re all at it too,” then miscreant Liberal MPs must also be subjected to rigorous scrutiny; if Labor has evidence of similar practices being employed by the Liberals or the Greens, as it claims, it must produce it. The fact it has failed to do so, however, is strongly indicative that “they’re all at it too” is just an attempt to deflect blame by smearing others, and Andrews has exhibited a contemptible lack of leadership by permitting such baseless accusations to be made.

But two, if — after everything Andrews Labor has gifted them to work with, the staff rorts probe we’re talking about today notwithstanding — they remain unable to puncture the ALP’s election-winning lead in reputable opinion polling, then the Liberals have a problem.

This column enthusiastically endorsed Matthew Guy as leader in the aftermath of the 2014 election, and we remain hopeful he can turn the Coalition’s fortunes. But if it continues to trail badly in another 12 months’ time, some hard decisions will need to be made.

After all, an honest assessment of the Andrews government already shows it unfit to hold office. To allow its re-election late next year through poor leadership and a misfiring political apparatus would be nothing short of unforgivable.

Labor has already reaped the fruits of the intellectual fraud it foisted on Victoria in 2014. It is the Liberals’ responsibility to ensure it doesn’t happen a second time.


Lawless Thugs: Just Deregister The CFMEU

A CFMEU PLOT to “own” the ALP and not “piss-fart” around in pursuit of its desired political outcomes is nothing new; with Labor “leader” Bill Shorten beholden to the lawless, militant union and its increasing threats to replace Labor MPs who stand in its way — replete with one-fingered salutes to Courts seeking to impose the law — the CFMEU is no better than the BLF, and equally counter to the national interest. It should be deregistered.

In news that will surprise nobody, The Australian is today reporting on a campaign by the Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union to take “ownership” of the Labor Party to impose its “will,” and to replace politicians who get in its way; this is nothing new, and merely signals the continuation of a process that has been underway for many years.

A glance at ALP state governments in Victoria and Queensland (where the supposedly pro-worker CFMEU is costing tens of thousands of jobs) offers ready proof of that.

But the CFMEU — whose objective, ostensibly, is the pursuit of power, not workers’ rights or (God forbid) safety — has been the subject of well in excess of 100 adverse Court judgements in recent years, with millions of dollars in fines imposed against it effectively ignored, and it is impossible to argue that this bastion of thuggery is even remotely interested in quaint notions such as the rule of law or even the advancement of workers’ rights as it claims.

Were the CFMEU bothered with such quaint ideas, it wouldn’t be donating money to every Tom, Dick and Harry who might be able to do its bidding — and deputise for its dirty work — in Houses of Parliaments across Australia; most recently, CFMEU money has flowed to literally anyone it might be able to induce to scuttle the restoration of the Australian Building and Construction Commission, for which the federal Coalition has received two election mandates.

It may be indelicate to point out that the only individuals or entities with anything to fear from the restoration of the construction watchdog are those bent on thumbing their nose at the law and engaging in precisely the kind of lawless thuggery and militant recklessness the ABCC is contrived to stamp out.

Yet the CFMEU, with its long history of delivering a one-fingered salute to the Police, the judiciary, and to any elected government which seeks to curb its excesses, perfectly fits the template of a quasi-criminal lynch mob determined to elude (and even smash) any attempt to impose the rule of law upon it.

The unions do not run Australia. The CFMEU most certainly does not run Australia. Yet as we have seen and discussed time and again, this is exactly the belief that underpins its activities, and fuels the entitlement mentality obviated by the ranting edicts from the apologists for illegal behaviour who form its “leadership.”

So-called Labor “leader” Bill Shorten can bleat about his “zero tolerance” policy toward illegal behaviour by unions and union officials all he likes, but the simple reality — as The Australian notes today — is that Shorten is irretrievably compromised on this issue by undertakings he has given to the CFMEU to oppose the ABCC as a condition for its support of his “leadership,” and has failed to use whatever influence he continues to exert with the union to force its compliance with Court decisions and the (justified) penalties imposed upon it.

There is no “obsession,” as Shorten puts it, with “creating an ‘easy-to-hire, easy-to-fire’ society” on the part of the Liberal Party, although the union delusion that companies run into the ground on the end of union demands should nonetheless provide rock-solid employment to its members in perpetuity is based in a convenient fantasy, not reality, whatever he and they might otherwise think.

And Shorten and others who persist with the fatuous notion of a Liberal Party “anti-union” agenda might reflect that were rancid outposts like the CFMEU to behave as sober, rational and law-abiding entities, there would be no movement to crack down on them at all.

As for “fairness,” this ridiculous and frankly offensive excuse for Shorten’s slavering and pandering to a group that is little more than a criminal gang can and should be dismissed with the contempt it deserves.

There is a relatively recent precedent for the disbandment of a lawless union; in 1981, the then Thompson Liberal government in Victoria moved to have the Builders Labourers Federation (BLF) deregistered: an action taken up by the Fraser government federally, and later overseen to conclusion by the Hawke government — a far more responsible incarnation of the ALP than the abjectly pathetic assortment of union-compromised quislings sitting to the left of the Speaker in federal Parliament today.

The BLF continued the long tradition of militancy, violence and complete disregard for the rule of law that for too long has characterised the very worst excesses of the trade union movement in this country, and for too long has taken form in the most militant, lawless (and yes, violent) unions to whom hacks like Shorten solemnly pledge solidarity and fealty in preference to the national good and the benefit of all Australians.

The filthiest dregs from the BLF bucket — including some of those who spent time in gaol for their trouble — were eventually, and inevitably, recycled into the CFMEU bucket where, once again, they sit like a slime at the very bottom.

If Malcolm Turnbull has any spine at all — and if his rhetoric against the illegal conduct of this noxious showpiece of the union movement has any substance behind it at all — he will move to emulate the Thompson/Fraser/Hawke governments’ actions, and move to have the CFMEU deregistered.

Hundreds of officials charged and convicted. Millions of dollars in fines that have either been ignored or paid from vast war chests designed to shield individuals carrying out heavy-handed and anti-democratic activities. It isn’t as if there are no grounds to rid Australia of this blight on the industrial landscape.

And what it simply cannot be allowed to do is enact a root-and-branch takeover of one of Australia’s major parties — making de facto control of that party absolute, rather than virtual — and placing it in position to inflict God only knows what vandalism upon Australia’s institutions and system of laws in its own interests.

It remains to be seen whether legislation to restore the ABCC passes Parliament or not, but even if it doesn’t, there remains at least one avenue for recourse open to those who refuse to allow one section of the community to ride roughshod over the law, Australia’s economic welfare, and the national good.

Just deregister the CFMEU. It’s not as if it has been without opportunity to fix its act.

It has repeatedly, and malevolently, refused to do so. When it is gone, there are few who will miss it.

Needless Chaos: CFMEU Thugs Do Not Run This Country

CHAOS caused yesterday by CFMEU goons to “support” 55 sacked Carlton and United Breweries workers offers a timely reminder that wanton anarchy in the union movement must be smashed, and that union thugs do not run this country — whatever they think. A limited show of support was warranted, but gratuitous chaos unleashed in Melbourne and in Brisbane smacks of no more than an unjustifiable “lesson” of who unions believe is in charge.

As readers will have surmised, I am absolutely flat strap right now; we may be able to partially redress some of the issues we have missed over the weekend, but for now at least I wanted to make some very brief — and blunt — remarks about what the CFMEU got up to yesterday.

Supposedly “in solidarity” with 55 workers at CUB in Melbourne — who, according to reports, have been sacked and offered re-employment on contracts, and on lesser conditions than they enjoyed as employees — the unions, led unashamedly by the CFMEU, staged demonstrations in Melbourne and in Brisbane, causing gridlock in the Melbourne CBD yesterday as they marched on Parliament House in Spring Street and in Brisbane (1,750 kilometres away, for goodness sake).

Making declarations such as “I love a fucking revolution” and “We just love a fucking blue,” CFMEU officials led ragtag mobs through the commercial centres of both cities, ensuring each was thrown into chaos that lasted (in the case of Melbourne at least) for hours, and — aside from the fact CUB operates relatively small brewing operations south of Brisbane — with no justifiable reason for spreading their protest more than a thousand miles to the north.

I am obviously not party to the minutiae of the industrial dispute at the heart of yesterday’s demonstrations, but the unions’ version of it is enough to render judgement upon; if full-time employees have been fired, and offered re-employment of contractors, it is a matter for the employer to sort out — with the union directly involved, should the affected employees opt for a union to represent them.

But this in no way justifies two capital cities being thrown into disarray for hours over what is, on any reasonable assessment, a minor industrial dispute.

It is significant that these protests occurred in Victoria and Queensland, the states run by ALP governments so beholden to violent and militant unions for their very existence as to have no practical choice but to acquiesce to whatever those unions decree.

And on that basis, it is certainly interesting that no such tomfoolery was engaged in in Sydney.

So-called Industrial Relations ministers — former union cat’s paws implanted into state Parliaments — do not provide “leadership” by publicly siding with the unions over the company, but rather simply form additional prongs of a tawdry and one-sided multilateral attack aimed at demonising employers irrespective of any substantive case that might exist to justify their own side of the dispute.

It is significant, therefore, that ALP figures in Queensland — where none of the affected workers are even based — were gushing in their praise for the wildcat industrial action the unions took in their state.

And “wildcat” is the correct term: whilst Police were apparently notified in Queensland of the unions’ intentions, the actions that threw inner Brisbane into chaos were, by the unions’ own admission, an impromptu exercise.

Trades Hall filth will attempt to excuse yesterday’s actions as a “national issue,” and will claim the ramifications are important for every wage and salary earner in the country.

Yet Labor’s own industrial laws — pointedly, crafted at gunpoint and created from a union wish list — offer ample redress, at little or no cost, to employees who have been unfairly or unlawfully treated.

In the final analysis, yesterday’s actions can only be interpreted as a flexing of union muscle, led by the most insidiously criminal and wantonly violent outfit this side of the waterfront — the notorious CFMEU, which repeated tsunamis of successful court actions and a corresponding flood of multimillion dollar penalties seems unable to curb.

The plight of the CUB workers aside, the only acceptable response from government — any government — is that the CFMEU does not run this country, and secondary pickets and wildcat industrial actions ought to be met with the full force of the law.

It would serve the Turnbull government well, and its industrial relations ministers especially, to take up this argument with gusto this morning.

Regrettably, like so many of the key issues it faces, however, the Turnbull crowd will likely botch its handling of the matter or ignore it altogether.

If, that is, it manages to avoid a counterstrike with some new self-inflicted debacle of its own.

And meanwhile, the “grip” unions like the CFMEU think they are perpetuating over Australia will simply strengthen — with no moral, ethical or legal justification whatsoever.

As Margaret Thatcher — who knew a thing or two about managing unions — would say, it’s a funny old world.


Union Filth: CFMEU, Trades Hall Bid To Rig Election

WITH Bill Shorten vowing to block a restored Australian Building and Construction Commission and “any special inspectorate” to win the ALP leadership, it’s fair to suggest the CFMEU will run Australia if he wins on Saturday; ominously, unions also fund a range of “Independents” in what can only be seen as an attempt to rig the election. Unions are entitled to want Labor to win, but not to derail democracy by working to create a one-party state.

When those of my fellow Liberal Party members look askance at me for criticising the party (and particularly at this time, its insipid election campaign), the issue I want to touch on today should serve as a clarion call as to the reasons why.

For once I am going to say something nice about Jacqui Lambie — and more on that later — but for all the trenchant criticism this column has levelled at the regrettable Tasmanian Senator and the deserved charge we have levelled at her of being the stupidest individual ever elected to any Australian Parliament, Lambie at least had the good grace to provide a straight answer to a straight question, which is more than can be said for most of the rest of the scum seeking to leach up to $1.2m out of the taxpayer for the six years on Easy Street that a Senate berth offers.

But The Australian today carries revelations of undertakings given by Bill Shorten back in 2013 — apparently in return for the backing of militant construction sector unions, including the CFMEU, for the ALP leadership — that Labor under his stewardship would oppose any restored incarnation of the Australian Building and Construction Commission, the Fair Work Building and Construction inspectorate, or “any separate industrial inspectorate for the construction industry” (and disband these if they existed upon election to government) on the breathtakingly hypocritical grounds that he did not “believe in laws that unfairly discriminate against workers in different industries, including providing different powers for regulatory agencies.”

It sits in stark contrast to Shorten’s gung-ho, string-the-bastards-up approach to a Royal Commission into the banking sector, which in turn we suspect is nothing more than a diversion from the entrenched violence and lawlessness that is endemic in the union movement, and in the construction sector in particular: as we noted yesterday, dozens of Shorten’s old union buddies are facing prosecution on charges arising from a Royal Commission into Trades Hall; as The Australian notes, quoting FWBC chief Nigel Hadgkiss, 948 breaches of federal workplace laws were committed mostly by the CFMEU last year in what Hadgkiss characterised as an “alarming rate of lawlessness.”

The notion of the CFMEU forming the muscle and direction behind current-day Labor governments is not new; state Labor outfits in Queensland and Victoria are beholden to the thuggish junta, having accepted manpower, vast sums of cash and other support to help achieve their return to the treasury benches in those states, and the CFMEU — on one level, unsurprisingly — wants its pound of flesh and its share of the spoils once the power and patronage of government have been secured and can be carved up.

Yet unlike the unions — and especially under the kind of regime apparently proposed in acquiescence by Shorten — the banking sector is well-regulated and is subject to regulatory oversight by corporate watchdog ASIC that, whilst imperfect, has weeded out more than its fair share of rotten eggs from the depths of Australia’s financial services industry.

On the kind of regime that might apply to unions if promises of abolishing specific oversight of a perennially troublesome sector are kept, the militant unions would face the Police — always under-resourced when it comes to investigating the kind of industrial breaches to which Hadgkiss alludes, which are for the most part not the jurisdiction of the states anyway — and little else to keep them in check.

Which, of course, is precisely what these lawless monsters want: they believe, wrongly, that they run this country, and that the only law that counts is the one they decree; this is a situation that cannot and must not ever be allowed to eventuate, let alone be tolerated, and the assurances of just that to help win his party’s leadership merely reinforce the reasons why Bill Shorten is an utterly inappropriate candidate for the Prime Ministership, or any other responsible public office in Australia.

I wanted to raise this issue today because it dovetails with a little research exercise I conducted during a break last week: or at least, I tried to conduct it, for the co-operation factor was virtually nil when it came to asking questions of candidates purporting to stand on accountable platforms for public office.

But it has been widely discussed in recent months that unions (and not just the most militant ones) have been pouring money not just into the Communist Party Greens — who are happy to take the wages of sin that the ALP shuns on “principle” whenever its union chums disgrace themselves — but also into the coffers of virtually every non-Coalition candidate who might stand a plausible chance of being elected at Saturday’s election.

First, I sent a note to Jacqui Lambie on Twitter, who directed me to a page of “recent donators” (sic) and, curiously, explained that she had turned down approaches from the MUA and the CFMEU.

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It took all of a mouse click to find out why she was anxious to tell me she had turned the MUA and the CFMEU down: this apparent aversion to dealing with the worst of the worst was clearly not a unilateral one, for the page of “recent donators” included $25,000, in two chunks, from the notoriously militant ETU.

Screenshot (2)

I said I would say something nice about Lambie, and I will; she deserves acknowledgement for answering a direct question, even if the answer was less than desirable. She didn’t try to hide behind a wall of obfuscation and for that at least, readers should pay credit — even though it seems her backers are just as unfit for purpose as she is a worthy candidate to sit in the Senate.

But whatever you think of Lambie — a nice girl I’m sure, if limited — there is no praise forthcoming for other, more credible candidates who perhaps forgot the answer to the same question when asked.

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I’m sure it won’t surprise readers that not one of the six — Nick Xenophon, Bob Katter, Cathy McGowan, Glenn Lazarus, Andrew Wilkie or Tony Windsor — even bothered to acknowledge the contact, let alone respond.

I just wanted to hear it from the horses’ mouths, with plenty of media coverage in recent times having suggested most or all of these candidates had taken union donations. Pauline Hanson wasn’t asked (I don’t know if she has an official Twitter presence and, if she does, whether it is manned). Derryn Hinch, I understand, has not accepted union donations, although I am happy to be corrected if evidence materialises that he did.

But whilst I am prepared to publish, fulsomely, an acknowledgement on behalf of any of these candidates who can substantiate that no union monies have been received by themselves and/or their campaign funds, the insidious flow of union cash into the coffers of any of these individuals at all places a very large question mark over just how “independent” any or all of them are.

And this, in turn, brings me back to the central point: the determination to evade any official oversight on the part of the union movement — using the ALP as an accomplice and an accessory before the fact — but also an apparent attempt by Trades Hall to rig the election altogether, by purchasing the allegiance of those it believes stand a good chance of being in a position to block any Coalition legislation that seeks to bring them to account.

What do these candidates — Lambie included — think they are expected to do: hold a tea and scones morning to show their gratitude? Whether explicitly articulated, or implied on a wink and a nod, these donations serve no other purpose than to oblige parliamentary votes on relevant legislation if and when the time comes, and to provide the unions with mechanisms for leverage (read: thuggery and standover tactics) if whomever the gullible unfortunate, who merely though he or she was taking a token of generosity at face value, refuses to play ball.

It raises a chilling prospect: no longer content merely to treat the ALP as its plaything, and to use it as a vessel for carrying out the legislative work required to shield itself from any accountability whatsoever, the union movement (or at least, the most undesirable elements of it) now appears determined to rig an election altogether, by donating funds to multiple parties and individuals beyond the confines of the ALP, in what can only be interpreted as an attempt to begin to drive Coalition candidates out of electoral contention altogether on as widespread a basis as possible.

For all the talk of campaign finance reform at the ALP and the Greens (which, conveniently, always excludes union money from any consideration of the matter), an obvious first step would be to ban any donor — corporate, union or private citizen — from giving money to any more than one political party (or independent campaign) at any given election: and in fact, such a restriction would go some way to cleaning up the regime of political donations at a stroke.

Of course, no such step will be championed by the Left now; its newest strategy is to spread the dosh around as widely as possible, and this is just another manifestation of behaviour that might be technically legal, but can hardly be construed as democratic.

And of course, no union can be accused of criminal misconduct if there is nobody or nothing to investigate and prosecute the misdemeanour in the first place; state Police forces are stretched enough as it is without having this kind of responsibility lobbed at them, and in any case — as I said earlier — most of the breaches that would be involved are not state matters at all.

Which is pretty much everything the unions, and their sock puppets at the ALP, are trying to engineer.

For now. I mean, who knows what might come next if this latest outrage isn’t jumped on and stamped out?

Yet having secured a double dissolution on union misconduct and the need to restore the ABCC — a promise for which a mandate was obtained in 2013, and which was more than validated by the findings of the Heydon Royal Commission — the Coalition, in round terms, has said nothing about the unions, the ABCC, or anything else to do with the lawless and evasive nature of these entities that really are the absolute filth of Australian society nowadays for the duration of this election campaign.

At some point in the future, the volume of money spent at elections will see the Coalition outgunned, overall, by multiples: and a majority of that money, the longer this practice is permitted to continue, will eventually emanate from the militant unions who think they own and control Australia.

It’s about time the government started talking about these matters while there remains time before the election to do so. After all, the recipients of the union monies are — Lambie excluded — obviously too ashamed or sensitive to admit the donations, and if the Coalition is serious about cleaning up union behaviour at all, this would be a reasonable place for it to begin a conversation.

But it won’t. You know it won’t.


Utter Contempt: Deregistration Must Follow CFMEU Charges

IRRESPECTIVE of the outcome of blackmail charges laid against CFMEU figures John Setka and Shaun Reardon, deregistration of the CFMEU must follow; this violent, militant union has repeatedly ignored and/or flouted the law, and its dissolution is well past due. Token “measures” announced by Labor “leader” and union thug Bill Shorten to clean the union movement up should be regarded as the utter bullshit they are, and ignored.

My comments this morning will be kept circumspect insofar as the charges are concerned, for they relate to matters that are now before the Courts and they should not — under any circumstances — be prejudiced, especially by anyone heartily fed up with the excesses of the union movement in this country.

But more broadly, the slow but incessant trickle of charges arising from Dyson Heydon’s Royal Commission into the trade union movement has now touched the highest profile identities to face prosecution to date, with CFMEU Victoria state secretary John Setka and his 2IC, Shaun Reardon, arrested at the weekend and charged with blackmail offences relating to the supply of concrete by Boral to Melbourne construction giant Grocon, a hated enemy of the CFMEU on account of its refusal to allow unions (and the CFMEU specifically) to dictate the running of its building sites, or to decide who will act as shop stewards on those sites.

Typically, Setka bleated publicly about being arrested in front of his kids, but law enforcement officers (got that John? LAW enforcement officers) don’t book a table for high tea with jammy scones and cream at the Windsor in the pathetic hope alleged miscreants will show up and exchange pleasantries — and then surrender themselves. The arrest has to happen somewhere, and if your kids happen to be around when the Police know you’re home, then that’s just how it is. Get over it.

My understanding is that Heydon indicated that in Setka’s case, there may be grounds for additional charges to be laid for coercion over separate breaches of industrial laws. It is not clear, at time of writing, whether those charges (or any others) have been laid in addition to those relating to the alleged blackmail offences.

First things first: partly owing to the sensitivity in providing a surfeit of comment, and partly because it’s a big issue — with the results of Heydon’s investigations now beginning to take form — there are a couple more additional links today than I would normally provide, and readers may peruse a selection of material from both the Fairfax and Murdoch stables here, here and here.

If convicted, Setka and Reardon face up to 15 years’ imprisonment.

What I do want to touch on briefly is the shocking record of industrial thuggery of the CFMEU more broadly, for this bastion of total disregard for the law has thumbed its nose at literally every attempt to force it to operate in accordance within a perfectly reasonable legislative framework. Setka and Reardon are not the first CFMEU figures to face charges as a result of the Heydon inquiry, and a fair expectation based on the balance of probabilities suggests they won’t be the last, and far from the “politically motivated with-hunt” the TURC has been smeared as from the top down in both the union movement and the ALP, the growing list of prosecutions it is generating merely underlines the validity of such an inquiry in the first place.

As The Australian notes today, the CFMEU has this year already paid $9 million to Grocon and $3.55 million to Boral to settle legal proceedings brought against it over its behaviour; these are not the only instances of restitution it has been compelled to make in recent years, and separate to those payouts the CFMEU has also been slapped with multimillion dollar fines for contempt of court.

Even those Trades Hall figures — and their associates — that I have encountered from time to time over the years refuse to dispute the assertion that the CFMEU is easily the most militant and at times violent union in Australia.

Like bookends, its excesses run from the kind of alleged misconduct Setka, Reardon and their cohorts have been charged with at the one end, right down to the growing tendency for CFMEU-uniformed thugs to spill out onto roads in front of oncoming traffic, instantly becoming abusive and threatening toward drivers if remonstrated with (or almost hit, due to their cavalier disregard for anyone or anything but themselves), at the other.

Already, there are two state Labor governments in office — in Victoria and Queensland — that largely owe their existence to CFMEU money, manpower and other resources; here in Victoria, the Andrews government refuses to act whilst CFMEU thugs run riot on construction sites across Melbourne. In Queensland, the Palaszczuk government has moved quickly to dismantle the Newman government’s so-called VLAD laws, which were in part aimed at outlaw bikie clubs with direct links to the CFMEU.

And for sheer weight of muscle — not just fists and guns, of course, although there has been plenty of that from this union over the years, but the firepower provided by the unrivalled ability to procure virtually inexhaustible streams of cash, however dubiously — the CFMEU has shown itself to be notoriously immune to monetary penalties handed out by Courts over its misadventures, and the forced restitution and fines for contempt of Court are regarded merely as a transactional cost of doing business.

In this sense, the so-called clean-up Bill Shorten announced would be imposed on the union movement if Labor wins the next election is fatuous; a regime of penalties that features line items such as fines for relatively minor transgressions increasing from $10,000 to some $18,000, with others at the top end of the scale for more serious criminal misdemeanours increasing to $216,000, is not going to be regarded by a union that has proven able to ingest more than $10 million in fines and compulsory payments with anything other than ridicule.

Shorten’s proposed “regime” — just like anything else he has to say — is utter, utter bullshit, and should simply be ignored.

It wasn’t so long ago that he, and his stooges at the ALP, sought to politicise the Office of the Governor-General by trying to implicate Sir Peter Cosgrove in a half-arsed attempt to shut down the Royal Commission before it could either report and/or recommend further charges against additional union identities.

The charges that have been laid against Setka and Reardon, had Labor succeeded, would in probability never have been laid.

And in fact, the Cosgrove attempt aside, given Shorten has spent the past two years trying to shut the Royal Commission down — and in view of the stream of charges that are flowing from it — anything he has to say about ALP efforts to clean up the union movement should be regarded with utter contempt.

If he were serious, Shorten would be leading the charge to deregister the CFMEU, in the same way the Hawke government took the lead from its Liberal predecessor (and the Thompson Liberal government in Victoria) in having the BLF shut down in the early 1980s.

Yes, the festering remnants of the BLF were reborn as the CFMEU and yes, something similar would probably happen today if the CFMEU is deregistered. Already there are plans to merge the CFMEU with the equally militant MUA, and this in itself might afford some cover to CFMEU figures who would be targeted and potentially barred from holding office as union officials in any deregistration attempt.

But Shorten isn’t serious. He is a con man and a consummate bullshit artist. And anything he says about enforcing union accountability, and the intent of any government he might one day lead in Fairyland to enforce it, is on par with the prospect of the sun rising in the West tomorrow morning.

If there is one thing the Heydon inquiry has starkly illustrated, it is the need for enforcement to stay one step ahead of the lawless thuggery and bastardry that seems endemic in the union movement in this country: and that lawlessness can be sheeted home, in large and disproportionate measure, to the Gillard government’s sellout to the unions on industrial policy and through the abolition of the Australian Building and Construction Commission, which must be reinstituted as a matter of urgency.

Gillard’s government was every bit in the control of militant unions as Shorten Labor, Andrews Labor and Palaszczuk Labor is today.

So let’s hear no more of the idiocy that Labor — especially under its current “leader” — will lift a finger to clean up the union movement at all, if (God forbid) it and he should win the coming federal election.

Dyson Heydon is to be congratulated for his inquiry’s pursuit, without fear or favour and in the face of defamatory smears and more malignant forms of resistance from the unions, of those with serious questions (and possible cases at law) to answer where the outrages of unlawful union misconduct are concerned.

The arrest and charging of Setka and his sidekick is to be welcomed and applauded. Decent unionists who have no truck with the illegal actions their leaders have allegedly and systematically indulged in over many years, should be cheering the loudest of the lot.


Unions Double Down To Fuel Recessionary Pressures

WITH A RECESSION looming for the first time in decades — and with it, if it comes to pass, hardship of the kind few under 40 have experienced or can envisage — Australia’s unions are doing their bit to fuel recessionary pressures, demonstrating their real economic value in the process: their propaganda and rhetoric simply don’t add up, but their greedy, job-destroying, economic vandalism is tangible, and its likely consequences all too clear.

Everywhere you look in Australia today, the pointers to a recession are unmistakable, and whilst a cynic might suggest Labor and the unions are only too happy to see a vicious economic contraction materialise and engulf their hated Abbott government in a political backlash that sweeps it from office, such a prospect amounts to a classic case of being careful what one wishes for.

I think — or at least, I’d like to think — that even a movement as utterly devoid of ethics and morals as Australia’s unions has enough invested in the avoidance of a recession that such a scenario ought to be left unsaid, and that to even contemplate the possibility the union movement would actively foment economic malaise should be able to discarded as baseless musings.

Yet the catalogue of unions’ recent economically destructive antics is thickening, and about the most generous conclusion a reasonable individual could draw from them is that at the very minimum, the unions simply couldn’t care whether their handiwork stokes recessionary forces or not.

Taken in concert with the unmistakable criminality being uncovered in the most militant unions in the country and involving some of their most malevolent and brutal mouthpieces, it is difficult to ascribe any value — economic, industrial, social or otherwise — to the union movement in Australia more broadly at all.

And that — notwithstanding the fact I detest unions — is a slap in the face to those who really do depend on them on account of their inability to represent themselves.

Following my article on Thursday — arguing that those elected to their Canberra sinecures have an obligation, in the face of perhaps imminent recession, to grow up and behave with some modicum of responsibility — I’ve been reading a piece in the Sydney Morning Herald this morning from respected economics writer Jessica Irvine; Irvine — who spent two years in a detour through News Corp until late last year — is a voice of astute judgement and common sense within the moribund Fairfax monolith, and I am featuring her article today because for once Uncle Fairfax has nailed the point.

There is an atmosphere around the small-medium business community at present that is reminiscent of the gloom that descended on Australia in 2009 as the Global Financial Crisis bit locally, only this time it is much more intense; it has been particularly noticeable to those of us who work in sales and marketing in the advertising/media space (which in turn provides one of the indicators of economic activity that is scrutinised for signs of movement in the economy) for much of calendar 2015.

And as one of the senior economists Irvine interviewed for her piece today — Laminar Capital chief economist Stephen Roberts — observed, there is a lag between the onset of actual recession and the time it ultimately shows up in GDP numbers, and by then of course, it’s too late to avoid it.

It needs to be remembered that even economists charged with assessing key indicators try to avoid talking the country’s economic prospects down, which is one of the reasons Irvine’s article asserts that “no-one’s using the ‘R’ word just yet:” and for the same reasons, I don’t want to be seen to unduly talking them down either.

Yet by the same token, the markers pointing in the wrong direction are simply becoming too numerous and pronounced to ignore, which is why I am beginning to think a recession is likely, probably imminent, and quite plausibly devastating.

And this is why I think it’s responsible — especially for those of us not directly involved in processes of governance — to talk about an increasingly likely recession now, rather than waiting until it’s already engulfed Australia before any consideration of how to deal with it is deemed an acceptable subject for public discourse.

In some respects, the forces that fuel boom and bust cycles in Australia are beyond local influence: the heavy recessions in Europe and the USA in the early 1980s and 1990s, for example, that took us with them, or the series of oil shocks in the 1970s that ultimately plunged the West into a slump.

External factors have insulated Australia, too, in recent times; the record boom in commodity investment and exports that was a direct result of unprecedented growth and demand from China is a case in point.

And closer to home, the debt-free, robust state in which the local economy was left by the Howard government not only helped fend off the “great recession” that followed the GFC, but provided unrivalled tools for government and the Reserve Bank to use in attempts to ensure the contraction didn’t take this country backwards (although that doesn’t change the fact the Rudd government’s so-called stimuli were poorly targeted, wasteful, and unacceptably expensive, or that the prospect of a downturn back then continues to be used by the ALP to this day as a fig leaf to explain away its abysmal mismanagement of the federal budget and the hundreds of billions of dollars of debt inexcusably racked up on its watch).

But today I want to highlight some of the recent activities of Australia’s unions, and how — if a recession in Australia comes to pass late this year or at some time next — that execrable movement will wear direct responsibility for at least a portion of the causative damage.

It is rare that Australia has ever seen an entity that is simultaneously as consumed with utter self-interest, hellbent on destroying a government at any cost and able to exercise economic muscle as the current incarnation of Australia’s unions, but this behemoth — which spruiks its “responsibility” and a “legitimate” role in the affairs of the nation — has chosen to exercise that muscle to cause trouble at an already parlous time, and it seems to have forgotten that its mischief in the states (including Labor states) all feeds into the overall national economic outcome.

I raise the states because the Rail, Tram and Bus Union has over the past month been taking steps to wreak public transport chaos in metropolitan Melbourne; to date the disruption has been minimal — although any disruption through union militancy is too much — and revisiting the scenario of the early 1990s when the Cain-Kirner government lost control of public transport unions in Melbourne altogether, as the CBD ground to a halt with trams clogging city streets from one end to another, has already been raised.

This is relevant because at a time of marginal economic conditions, every impost on economic activity counts; I don’t have figures on how much a transport strike costs in lost productivity and absenteeism caused through ordinary people being unable to get to their places of work, but it adds up.

And what is the outburst of militancy in Melbourne about? A refusal to accept a proposed pay rise of 17% over four years, which is 17% more than some employees will ever see; it is simply not good enough to justify this sort of adventurism through bald assertions that union membership delivers members more money: there is always a price, and in this case those who pay it are those responsible for generating the pie in the first place that greedy unions want more of than conditions warrant.

The RTBU has been parading what it clearly sees is its secret public relations weapon in the form of its stunning, beautiful 30-year-old secretary, Luba Grigorovitch, who is walking proof of the dangers of judging a book by its cover; a pretty face and an appealing voice she may have, but Grigorovitch exudes every sign of maturing into a nasty, conceited extremist in the worst traditions of the excesses of the trade union movement.

And proof of it came yesterday at a rally for striking train workers, when — sharing a podium at Trades Hall in Carlton with Grigorovitch — notorious CFMEU chief John Setka ranted that the looming AFL finals series offered a “wonderful time” for a train strike; Grigorovitch (either egged on by the company she was keeping or perhaps attempting to look as brazenly “tough” in his eyes) claimed she would have no hesitation calling on a public transport strike that wreaked havoc on the AFL finals, Melbourne’s eight-week Spring Racing carnival, and the Royal Melbourne Show.

CFMEU’s John Setka and Rail, Tram and Bus Union secretary Luba Grigorovitch.

NOTHING TO RECOMMEND THEM…notorious CFMEU thug Jon Setka and his beautiful but economically insidious understudy, Luba Grigorovitch. (Picture: Herald Sun)

What Setka was even doing addressing a rally for train drivers is anyone’s guess; they don’t fall within the remit of his own thuggish union.

But Victoria, like Queensland, is effectively a CFMEU-run state, courtesy of the money and might the union expended in getting the ALP elected; Setka clearly sees Melbourne as his fiefdom, and arrogates to himself the freedom to operate wherever, whenever, however, and roughshod over whomever he sees fit.

It is telling he described figures in the Victorian government as “morons:” it isn’t as if the Andrews government hasn’t bent Victoria over on the behalf of unions since it was elected.

But in a sinister warning for anyone contemplating voting Labor everywhere in Australia, this CFMEU involvement in a dispute involving another union brutally demonstrates that unless it gets 100% of any ransom list of demands it cares to name, all hell will break loose — even if it’s a Labor government that gets caught in the crossfire.

Again, it speaks to the anachronistic irrelevance of unions in modern Australia, and the extent to which they have departed their historic mission of simply advocating with an employer on behalf of their members.

Crippling Melbourne doesn’t fit that historic brief.

And for those who think I’m off on a tangent, I would point out that Melbourne’s calendar of Spring events is the pinnacle of the sporting calendar in this country; it generates billions of dollars in economic activity, and keeps thousands of people employed in tourism, retail, hospitality and accommodation, and spills into the wider economy nationally. Right now, trashing it in the name of petty and unreasonable union demands is a price Victoria — and the country — simply can’t afford.

Anyone swayed by what Grigorovitch looks like should put their eyes back in their head, and use their brains.

But what is going on in Melbourne (and we haven’t touched on the thousands of construction jobs that have been lost as a result of the union/Labor campaign against the former Napthine government’s East-West Link and the vast economic benefits it would have generated) pales in comparison to federal Labor’s reprehensible attempts to torpedo the free trade agreement Trade minister Andrew Robb has painstakingly negotiated between Australia and China.

This praiseworthy (if imperfect) deal will, if ratified, ensure open access for the export of goods and services to a market comprising hundreds of millions of Chinese consumers; to date the federal Coalition, the Liberal and National parties federally, all of the state Labor Premiers and the business community all support the deal, which only a fool would deny offers the ability to generate Australian jobs and economic activity.

Headed into a recession, it’s a significant consideration.

But lined up against it are federal Labor “leader” Bill Shorten — justifying, yet again, the moniker of “Billy Bullshit” his policy vapidity has come to earn him — and (surprise, surprise) the more militant of the country’s unions, including the CFMEU, which claims (despite the safeguard that Chinese workers who come to Australia under the agreement must be paid at local Australian rates) that the FTA would flood Australia with cheap Chinese labour working for a fraction of the conditions mandated by law, and creating millions of new Australian unemployed.

“Bullshit” doesn’t even come close to describing it.

The CFMEU, for what it is worth, has been running — paid for from the membership dues of its members — a series of xenophobic television commercials in metropolitan markets against the FTA which are almost completely devoid of any fact, and which border on racist, but never mind that. Torpedoing the FTA will hand the Abbott government an international humiliation and rob it of a potential plank for firing up the economy. The potential for damaging the hated conservatives is irresistible to the CFMEU. The cost in jobs, productivity and benefits to the country are irrelevant to it.

And in a pathetic effort to add “credibility” to an already lacklustre and deceptive argument, the unions have seen fit to co-opt “the head of the global trade union movement” — general secretary of the International Trade Union Confederation and business-hating former ACTU head, Sharan Burrow — to provide a few contemptible soundbites to add support to the union/Shorten position where there is none: and there are good reasons none exists otherwise.

To be sure, Burrow adds no “global” credibility or imprimatur whatsoever.

Like Shorten himself, Burrow is just another washed up union hack who has spent a lifetime working to destroy Coalition governments, and to shaft businesses in the name of “workers’ rights,” and should be ignored. Hers is not a voice worth paying attention to.

In the end, we’ve looked at just a couple of examples of “the union way” today but they are important, because they speak to the general modus operandi of the movement as a whole.

We have a Royal Commission that is uncovering evidence of widespread fraud, extortion, blackmail and embezzlement; evidence of systemic and institutionalised violence in the way some unions conduct their business; evidence of unions fattening the exchequer through shady (and potentially illegal) side deals with employers, whilst the pay of their members is slashed; and we have unions which, with complete disregard for anything and anyone other than the gathering and exercising of power, are prepared to bring the country to a halt to achieve their objectives: the kind of thing that should have died out in the 1970s.

Australia faces real challenges in the next couple of years. A recession is probable. A lot of people will involuntarily experience real hardship, and many will go bankrupt. Some will kill themselves to escape the stress. We know all of this because it’s what happened in the early 1990s, and the early 1980s, and every other time there has been a recession in this country.

A responsible union movement — like a responsible ALP — would be rising to the challenge of behaving in the national interest rather than its own.

But just as Labor under Shorten is obsessed with the destruction of the Abbott government for no better reason than to get the arses of its henchmen back into the gravy, so too is the union movement hellbent on demonstrating who’s boss: and in their eyes, it is nobody other than the “class” carrying a union ticket.

Aside from the obvious threat of prosecution, it’s another reason the unions are so hellbent on shutting down the Heydon inquiry: nobody tells them what they can and can’t do; not the law of the land, and certainly not a distinguished former High Court judge. To delusional unions and the sacks of shit who run them, Trades Hall sits at the very apex of society and governance in this country when in fact — representing just one employee in seven — it is little better than irrelevant.

Nobody denies the unions have much to be proud of over their history, or that they can rightly claim a proactive role in helping to shape modern Australia. In many respects, their willingness to work soberly and constructively with the Hawke government represented the zenith of their influence, prestige and credibility.

But from the infamous day in 1996 that ACTU thugs picketed a meeting at Parliament House between then-Prime Minister John Howard and their own leaders onwards, it has been downhill ever since.

Now, it has reached the point where union involvement in virtually anything runs counter to every conceivable interest but their own — except, of course, where the electoral fortunes of their stooges at the ALP are concerned. Even that is aimed purely at the concentration and extension of union power.

There is a recession coming. The unions will be central to the economic turbulence fast heading Australia’s way. But will an ounce of positive resolution emanate from Trades Hall when it hits?

Don’t count on it for a moment.


AND ANOTHER THING: Post-publication of this article, I’ve seen one of my favourite columnists — Piers Akerman at Sydney’s Daily Telegraph — has today also published on the subject of the unions, the CFMEU particularly, its campaign against the FTA with China, and the weasel words of Billy Bullshit in seeking to prosecute that campaign: framed in the context of the by-election for the Western Australian electorate of Canning, it’s well worth a read.

Stone Age: Knuckle-Dragging Unions Are Australia’s Filth

A DENIAL OF REALITY so abject as to motivate an attempt to expel of one of their best servants in Martin Ferguson from the ALP showcases the incompatibility of labour unions with any meaningful role in modern Australia; this archaic, feather-bedded, self-serving cabal of rent seeking Neanderthals is a pox on Australia, its governmental and social institutions, the ALP, and on workers they pretend to represent but rather compromise and imperil.

It is, perhaps, one of those delicious ironies that a group of thugs who profess undying hatred and contempt for “conservatives” should in fact be the most conservative band of troglodytes in this country itself, but this is the reality of the “modern” union movement in Australia.

Dwindling in size and number but clinging stubbornly and malignantly to long-outdated organisational structures that they refuse — almost violently — to submit to transparent standards of governance, Australia’s unions are today a byword for mindless attacks on business, compromising the employment of their members through frivolous wage claims, and the ruthless purging and victimisation of anyone in their ranks who dares speak out about the deep culture of thuggery that sustains an edifice that is predicated on a lie.

I suggested to readers a few days ago following a brutal onslaught on Twitter from union thugs and associated mouthpieces for the labour movement that I would have something to say on the subject at some point this week; I have been pipped at the post to a degree by the appearance of an excellent article in The Australian today by Janet Albrechtsen — no friend of the Left — and I will come back to that fine missive shortly.

But to fill readers in on the shitfight (an understatement if ever there was one) I got embroiled in on Twitter over the weekend, I must say that an attempt to discuss the fraught issue of penalty rates soberly and intelligently was responded to with some of the most ridiculous slurs and insults I have ever heard; I’m a big boy of course, with the hide of a rhinoceros, and this sort of thing doesn’t faze me in the least.

But for once, it’s noteworthy not because of the undiluted hatred and venom hurled in my direction, but on account of the bald assumptions made about me by people I don’t know and the total insistence among themselves (and presumably publicly, for Twitter is no private platform) that they were right that does make me shake my head, for if this is indicative of how the unions treat any individual seeking to engage in discussion then it’s little wonder they carry so little moral authority (or membership) among ordinary Australians today.

Weeding out the proliferation of Fs and Cs that were thrown my way, I was a “Tory arsewipe” who was on “six figures” who championed “slave wage rates” in my “brutal attack upon Australian workers;” penalty rates — about which I was said to have never worked in a role that attracted them — were something I cruelly and callously wanted to take away from decent people struggling to make a living. I was on a vicious crusade to destroy workers and advocate for business, which had “fat enough profits” to pay more without endangering the viability of individual enterprises: and when pressed on the struggle of small businesspeople to make a living, I was high-mindedly told that people should ensure they could pay all penalties and plan for wage rises before they opened a business, and that if they couldn’t afford to trade on a Sunday (for example) they shouldn’t bother going into business at all as Sunday penalties were a “right” of workers that is “stolen” by businesses who close “to avoid paying what they owe.”

I could go on, for that is just a small (and sanitised) selection of the “arguments” put to me: and whilst I admit to being “a Tory” every other assumption about me was false.

The point — simply stated — is that penalty rates are a relic of the time when Australia more or less operated from Monday to Friday between the hours of 9am and 5pm, and in an old story, the increasingly global nature of our world and the increasingly 24/7 nature of our society means that for wages to be sustainable, the concept of “ordinary time earnings” needs to be expanded, revised, and brought into the 21st century.

Unions love the idea of additional employment and available hours for workers that go with these evolutionary societal changes. But they refuse to acknowledge that they, themselves, must change; the one constant in an ever-changing world is the union movement, with its demands for usurious pay rises, obsolete penalties that no small business should have to place at the top of its list of budgeted expenditures merely to be able to open the door, and the culture of extorting what it wants by brute force, thuggery, disruption of the world around it, and — when all else fails — violence.

It should be noted (and here is as good a place as any) that unions now count just 15% of Australia’s workforce as members, which tends to explode the myth that unions are the only parties able to bargain with employers to secure satisfactory outcomes on wages and conditions, but they dispute that too: and for my trouble over the break, I was told by my assailants on Twitter that I was “delusional” and one of the “lucky few” people who weren’t ripped off by a boss if I thought that way.

So there you have it: Australia boasts tens of millions of exploited people. Who’d have thunk it?

At some point we will come back to the seismic trouble in Australia’s economy, its budget deficit, and the ballooning pile of debt left behind by the Rudd-Gillard-Rudd government, for which Labor presently refuses to take responsibility nor even acknowledge the existence of at all. It’s all another Tory conspiracy, you see.

But in the sense that some tough decisions must be made to aright the ship after Labor (in cahoots with its thuggy mates in the union movement) spectacularly and reprehensibly trashed it, once again, the staid conservatism of the unions is on show for all to see: the rest of the country can pull its belt in, and make sacrifices, and do it a little tougher for a little while as far as the union movement is concerned; they, meanwhile, will continue to go about their business of driving businesses into the ground, imperilling the jobs of countless workers by militantly pursuing ambit wage rises that are unaffordable and unsustainable, and seeing to it that Parliaments across the country are stacked out with Labor stooges guaranteed to do whatever they are told by their masters over at Trades Hall.

We have talked quite a bit about the unions and their bloody-minded crusade against reason and the real world in recent months; from their penchant for bringing whole cities to a halt to advance their insidious agenda, to the price they seek to extract from Labor governments indebted to them for the fruits reaped from their thuggery at the ballot box, and to the charade of “penalty rate flexibility” that merely redistributes the total cost of the penalty rate bill across the whole wage ledger of gullible businesses who bargain with unions in good faith, there has been an awful lot going on when one remembers this “bastion” of workers’ rights that claims to be fighting for its existence shows scant regard for the realities of modern Australia that are so incompatible with the spurious and ambit nature of its agenda.

(Obviously there are a lot of related subjects I could have included, but in the interests of concision we will leave them — for now).

But this brings me back to Albrechtsen’s excellent article (and if you didn’t click through earlier in this post, the link is replicated here); with an eye to the despicable campaign waged in unions’ interests in NSW against electricity asset leasing, we’ve already discussed the notion that expelling former ACTU head and Labor minister Martin Ferguson runs counter to every constructive consideration the unions might care to entertain — but it seems, bloody-minded as they are, that the unions will persist in having Ferguson thrown out of the labour movement anyway.

I urge readers to peruse Albrechtsen’s piece today, for in the context of the ground I have already covered, it fleshes out the case I had in fact intended to make anyway; as I said at the outset, I have been beaten to the mark to some extent by her article, but that’s fine: it’s all part of a conversation that needs to be had.

But Albrechtsen highlights the background of the militant CFMEU that now arguably controls the state government in Victoria, bought its way to influence through donations to Queensland Labor, and exerts a heavy influence over Labor in NSW — as evidenced by the campaign the union mouthpiece Luke Foley waged in that state in an unforgivably dishonest (and racist) campaign against asset leasing.

The fact such thuggish organisations wield such disproportionate power with just 15% of the population buying into them is a cause for alarm, not celebration, as Albrechtsen correctly notes in reflecting the triumphalism of ACTU chief Ged Kearney after the election result in Victoria became clear last year.

And when it is remembered that former union hack (now federal Labor “leader”) Bill Shorten was instrumental last month in scuttling legislation that would have enforced the same standards of governance on union conduct as applies to the business community — hardly an unreasonable proposition — the deeply enmeshed ALP is as much part of the problem today as it always has been, and no Labor government can ever be expected to institute responsibility where workplace relations are concerned whilst Shorten remains at its head, or whilst Labor’s present and unhealthy reliance on union henchmen for its daily riding instructions continues unabated.

Lest the import of my case today be lost in the detail, I conclude by restating the clear thesis I started with, and which the balance of this article — and its various links — flesh out: and that, very simply, is that the union movement in Australia is composed of knuckle-dragging Neanderthals who are a filth upon Australia, and a disgrace to what historically might be seen as a fine tradition of union representation.

“Modern” unions add nothing to this country, and it is time the debate about their role and influence is properly had; insults and bastardry are one thing, but as the lobby group for workers’ rights in this country the unions are a powerful agent for economic destruction: and far from advancing or enhancing the interests of anyone or anything — except themselves — Australia’s unions will, if left unchecked, simply destroy the very benefits they insist must be spread further and further among those they purport to represent but which, in practice, are mere tools to featherbed their own sinecures and self-interest.