A CALL by ACTU secretary Sally McManus for unions and workers to break laws they find “unjust” is a clarion call to thugs and militants who think they run Australia; downplayed by ALP “leader” Bill Shorten and lauded by the Leftist filth of
Communists Greens, McManus has confirmed what most people always knew: unions are lawless. If ever there was a pretext to smash union power — rather than cloak it in fatuously soaring rhetoric — this is it.
There are a couple of issues I want to try to cover off on today, so I will keep it fairly straight to the point; yet again, my week has once again panned out in rather time-consuming ways, and with a Newspoll probably due out tonight or tomorrow — it skipped the usual fortnightly cycle this week in the aftermath of the WA state election — we need to come up to date.
But the midweek outburst from incoming ACTU secretary Sally McManus — an explicit sanction by Trades Hall for unions and workers to break industrial laws they think are “unjust” — was rightly and correctly slammed by federal Liberal minister Christopher Pyne as “anarcho-Marxist claptrap.”
Bill Shorten — always happy to play both sides of the fence when it comes to appeasing his Trades Hall chums — claimed he didn’t agree with McManus’ prescription for breaking laws she didn’t agree with, but left the open-ended assertion that “if you think the law is unjust or unfair, you change the government and you change the law” hanging as a clear wink-and-nod to both the position McManus outlined, and to expected lawless union tactics in the lead-up to the next federal election.
As is always the case, Shorten has tried to have his cake and eat it too: he deserves to choke on the crumbs.
And predictably, almost unqualified support for this new ACTU campaign of thuggery and thumbing its nose at authority was quickly forthcoming from that despicable hotbed of left wing extremism, the Greens, with leader Richard di Natale congratulating McManus and claiming she had said “what many Australians know and understand.”
Anyone who takes any notice of di Natale and/or his party needs their heads examined, frankly.
McManus pointed to “international labour standards” that she claimed enshrined the right of any person to “withdraw labour” as a justification for the secondary boycotts and other outlawed industrial behaviour that has led to the notorious CFMEU being repeatedly slapped with fines running into the tens of millions of dollars; I simply say that nobody should care less about these “international standards:” this is Australia, and Australia is governed from Canberra — not through some convenient assortment of international accords struck by unelected partisans, which too often provide excuses for the anti-Australian behaviour of the Left.
And that applies to a whole lot of other areas than just the whims of the bloody unions.
It is a disturbing new development to find Australian unionists (and leadership figures within their movement at that) dispensing with claims that their organisations always act lawfully, and instead now advocating wilful and knowing illegal behaviour.
It strongly suggests that Trades Hall is growing immune to the threat of prosecutions of its minions, and this — along with the quickly growing threat of a return of the ALP to government federally within the next couple of years — ought to alarm decent, law-abiding Australians who simply want to go about their business.
What makes it worse is the fact that unions now count just 9% of private sector workers among their membership: the union movement is now nothing more than a fringe movement. Comments such as those made by McManus during the week merely show (once again) that this minuscule and largely irrelevant little junta genuinely thinks it runs this country. It most certainly does not.
During the coal miners’ strike in the UK in the mid-1980s — an attempt by the Trade Union Council (the British equivalent of the ACTU) to bring down the Thatcher government — Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher famously characterised the TUC campaign as “an attempt to substitute the rule of the mob for the rule of law and that it must not succeed;” Thatcher won that battle, which is more than anyone can say about the present government and its adherents when it comes to curbing the excesses of union power.
Bleating about the Senate simply doesn’t cut it when the unions and the ALP raise money for high-profile national mass communication campaigns that cut through and win votes, when the Coalition and its business friends, quite plainly, do not.
Thanks to a Productivity Commission ruling that mandates modest reductions in penalty rates on Sundays for some workers — which currently see the absurd situation of restaurant workers being paid $60 and $80 per hour to make coffee, and clean tables, and wash dishes — the Turnbull government is being skewered by an ALP/union campaign against which it seems incapable of mounting a persuasive defence, and has been all but abandoned by its alleged allies in the business sector.
This would be the same business sector that begged the Howard government, in 2005, to use its Senate majority to enact labour market deregulation; WorkChoices was in fact a reasonably moderate platform, especially once the “no disadvantage” test was restored after an oversight. But to listen to the unions at the time, ordinary workers would end up being paid just a few cents per hour unless the laws were repealed. On that occasion, as on this, the business community and its various lobby groups and industry bodies sat on their hands, kept the coffers closed, and allowed the Howard government to be sacrificed to a $13 million union campaign that was mostly comprised of lies and fairy stories.
Unions claim their “role,” especially in the construction sector, is predicated on “safety:” on a recent flight back to Melbourne, I sat next to the wife of a very senior union figure, from whom the admission was eventually extracted that industrial injuries and deaths occur on union-controlled sites just as they do on non-unionised sites. There goes that theory.
Rather, the privileged position unions have ensconced themselves in is more aimed at riding roughshod over the companies that employ their workers, freezing out people who don’t want to join a union (which is in itself illegal), and driving up construction sector costs, which — using the international comparisons so beloved of the Left in this country — are the highest in real terms in the developed world.
Is it any wonder the unemployment rate in Australia is rising?
In other sectors — such as Education — unions work almost exclusively to entrench mediocrity, and to make it impossible to pay the very best teachers more than the no-hopers at the bottom of the pack who give the profession a bad name.
And I say “almost exclusively” because when they aren’t working to entrench the institutionalised socialist instrument of uniform pay scales irrespective of ability or results, teacher unions have in recent years evolved into a willing instrument for the propagation of contemptible left-wing doctrinal misadventures. The insidious “Safe Schools” program, with its agenda of destroying traditional values masquerading as an anti-bullying package, is a case in point.
In the wake of McManus’ remarks, take a look around social media: there is no shortage of hardcore union and socialist activists posting quotes from people like Martin Luther King to ennoble and promote the law-breaking spirit McManus has sought to foster. Such diatribes dishonour the likes of Dr King, and further cheapen the message from a union movement that starts from a position of very little value in today’s Australia anyway.
In truth, all McManus’ words are good for is to justify a determined assault on the malodorous presence of the union movement in Australia that far transcends its actual support or a proportionate degree of influence, when judged against that pathetic 9% take-up rate outside the ranks of the teachers and the public servants.
They should encourage and embolden, not deter, a renewed focus by law enforcement agencies and the likes of the Australian Building and Construction Commission to penalise transgressions of industrial laws even more heavily, for penalties are no deterrent if they fail to discourage recidivist actions.
And they should motivate the Coalition, and its followers in the business community, to get serious about tightening curbs on secondary boycotts, industrial thuggery and other militant (and often violent) union behaviour even further: it is not right, for example, that unions should bring whole cities to a standstill over relatively isolated incidents (such as the dispute with Carlton and United Breweries in Melbourne a couple of years ago), and especially when the marauding union pack is mostly comprised of workers with no direct connection to the companies, the industries, or even the actual unions involved in those incidents.
I’m known for my dislike of unions, and especially the more militant and thuggish ones; I’ve never shied away from that perception, although I have always maintained that people have a right to join a union if they want to: it is the way those unions behave that I take issue with.
But when one of the leaders of the peak industry body in this country openly advocates lawless, anarchic, gratuitously unlawful behaviour until or unless Trades Hall gets what it wants — to the exclusion of being held to account, facing penalty, or acting in a way that most people would regard as acceptable — then its time for the whole citadel to be smashed, and for incitements to union members to ignore the law at will to be heavily punished indeed.
If anyone wonders why I’m such an enthusiastic proponent of smashing unions and breaking the ill-gotten influence they enjoy in this country, McManus’ remarks go very close to the mark; and if anyone questions why I think unions are out of place in today’s Australia, or why I think they add nothing whatsoever to constructive economic and social outcomes, McManus couldn’t have served up a more fitting answer if she had tried.