||Issue No. 137||24 May 2002|
An Aussie Icon
Interview: Just Done It?
Tribute: Lest We Forget
History: Solidarity Forever
Technology: Unblocking the Superhighway
International: Gloves Off
Unions: Out Of Work
Review: Strange Business
Poetry: The Lawyer's Lament
Satire: Government Mourns Loss Of Last Anzac
The Locker Room
Week in Review
Your Tools Page is Down
Big Dave Foster
Give Us a Click!
Will the Real Mark Latham Please Stand Up?
The Last Survivor
Not Hate Mail
The seldom-sighted Upper House MP has sidled up to Workers Online on several occasions, pleading for a gig in the Tool Shed, apparently a badge of honour amongst the publicity-starved Shadow Cabinet in Macquarie Street, who still subscribe to the philosophy of 'honour amongst rogues'. We have repeatedly told him that it's not that easy - the Tool Shed does not come as a right for every upstart Lib - they have to do something to pay the rent. For Gallacher, 'do something' were the words that proved the biggest hurdle.
If anyone notices Gallacher, they'd regard him as something of a misfit. A former police officer and active member of the NSW Police Association, he prides himself on being the only Liberal front-bencher to have attended a TUTA training course. Whether it was the intricacies of organising that ruined him; or the recognition of an ambitious upstart that the Liberal talent pool was more like a puddle, is unclear. Suffice to say, that he emerged from his union education as a Tory MP.
It is in this guise that Gallagher inherited the industrial relations mantle; first under the leadership of Kerry Chikarovski - then after leading the plot to unseat her under Baby John Brogden. Over this period, Gallacher has yearned the spotlight without ever delivering a single word of policy; a strategy that ensured that the IR debate was dominated by the unions and the ALP - the one's who actually know what it's about.
But at last week's meeting of the Industrial Relations Society, Gallacher finally came out with some ideas. Sure they were free-form, largely ill-informed comments, but they were comments. His thrust? There should be a state-version of the Employment Advocate and non-union enterprise agreements should be able to bypass the Industrial Relations Commission.
Objectionable? Sure. But, against the high standards of union-bashing set by Reith and Abbott it was all pretty lame stuff. Where were the secret individual contracts? Where were the attacks on the independence of the IRC? Where was the vow to hand over the NSW system to the feds? Was this man a Tory or a delo in disguise?
Memo: Michael Gallacher. If you want to spend quality time in the Tool Shed you need to do a lot better than this. You could start by studying Tony Abbott's Five-Point Plan for Perpetual Tooldom. For your benefit we have got our hands on the Mad Monk's blueprint.
1. Play The Man Not The Issue. Any breakdown in industrial harmony is an opportunity for political advantage. Attack 'union bosses'; 'the IR club' and 'lazy job-snobs'; never get bogged down in idle chatter about the best way to civilise the employment relationship. That's for wimps.
2. Unions Are the Enemy: None of this talk of not being anti-union - out with it man; unions are your class enemies and the only reason Labor Governments ever win elections. Hit them and you hit your political opponents. A moment working cooperatively with unions is a moment that could be spent attacking them.
3. Pursue Your Objectives With a Religious Zeal: Extremism works. The columnists love it. Think of what you want to say, exaggerate it, go crazy with it; then open your mouth.
4. Progress Through Chaos: It's not good enough to wait for a breakdown in workplace relations to occur. Make it happen yourself by geeing up mad-arse employers to take the unions on. Then watch the feathers fly and skate in on the back of it.
5. Year Zero Begins Today: The idea that Australia enjoyed 100 years of civilised labour relations is a myth perpetrated by the Left. Tear it down and build a new history - no tribunals, no unions, no awards. 1850 could be tomorrow - and remember productivity was way higher when we sent the kiddies down the mines.
So there you are; the ball's in your court, Mike. Start acting like a madman or stop bugging us for coverage.
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