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Dwindling in size and number but clinging stubbornly and malignantly to long-outdated organisational structures that they refuse — almost violently — to submit to transparent standards of governance, Australia’s unions are today a byword for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.