||Issue No. 196||19 September 2003|
A Secret Country
Interview: Crowded Lives
Activists: Life With Brian
Industrial: National Focus
Unions: If These Walls Could Talk
Economics: Beating the Bastards
Media: Three Corners
History: The Brisbane Line
Trade: The Dumping Problem
Review: Frankie's Way
The Locker Room
A Secret Country
Revelations this week that this secret volume contains more escape clauses than an AWA should seriously undermine the Minister's case for 'reform', given it is based on allegations of union criminality which Abbott, himself, now admits he has not even seen.
Those who have seen the report assure us there is 'nothing new' in the findings against unionists, meaning they amount to little more than a series of unsubstantiated allegations of technical illegality - ie breaches of workplace laws designed to outlaw legitimate union activity.
And what does his $60 million dirt-digging exercise come up with - a series of recommendations based on evidence that 'might' lead to criminal charges; a washing of the hands if ever there was one.
Yet under the authority of this secret report the man who sees nothing wrong in running secret electoral slush funds to attack his political enemies, now grandstands about the need to stamp out union thuggery.
This legislation is destined to be blocked in the Senate, it is so outrageous and one-sided that any fair-minded democrat would simply reject it out of hand.
But from where Workers Online sits, this is exactly what Abbott has in mind, a secret agenda to add this legislation to the growing pile of bills that will trigger a double dissolution election early in 2004.
Alongside Telstra, Medicare, higher education and the king-hit of cross-media ownership laws, the Coalition will attempt to sneak through their CFMEU demolition job as just one of a lucky dip of nasties.
And as they can't get their neo-conservative agenda up through the established legislative processes, they will do so under the cover of security fears - both hyped and real.
We've seen the Fog of War in practice over the past week, secret intelligence reports leaked to friendly right-wing commentators, police investigations of whistleblowers inside the Transport Department and an ongoing refusal to come clean on the basis for committing Australian troops to a war with Iraq.
Meanwhile, our government will continue secret trade talks with the US which could well see the end of local cultural content laws and the pharmaceutical benefits scheme, and give US firms unfettered access to our public services.
The problem with secrecy is that the truth becomes a battle of spin - it's why we have representative government, so that we can scrutinise the actions of our decision-makers.
In the Secret Country that is Howard's Australia, this principle has been absolutely perverted.
|Search All Issues | Latest Issue | Previous Issues | Print Latest Issue|
© 1999-2002 Workers Online