||Issue No. 283||30 September 2005|
Revenge of the Footy Dads
Interview: Polar Eclipse
Industrial: Wrong Turn
Unions: Star Support
Workplace: Checked Out
Economics: Sold Out
Politics: Green Banned
History: Potted History
International: Curtain Call
Review: Little Fish
Poetry: Slug A Worker
The Locker Room
Hrowadís Meixd Msesgaes
Petrol Price of War
Last Long Weekend
The Demolition Man
Australia is John Howard's shed and if he wants to renovate it, he'll damn well do it his way, with his tools, in his own good time. Who needs a plan when you've got a vision!
If things are getting a bit lose over at the minimum wage bench, just whack out the screwdriver and screw it tighter and tighter and tighter.
If there's a few looses edges over by the unfair dismissals, no worries, the sledgehammer will get rid of them; anyway, that breeze coming from where the floor used to be gives some good circulation.
And if all these shelves and cupboards, keeping things in order, get too confusing, just whack out the hammer and bash it all into little individual bits. Far easier to clean up individuals after all, just sweep them up and put them in the garbage.
John Howard's performance on Four Corners this week was the actions of an arrogant man with too much power who no longer feels the need to conform to the normal rules of politics.
First, as ABC reporter Sally Neighbour conceded in the online forum after the show, Howard forced her to agree to run his interview completely unedited before he ordained to talk about his IR changes.
Having secured free rein, Howard gave Australia the political equivalent of a brown eye - refusing to respond to critics, instead falling back on his well-worn mantra of standing by his dubious record and refusing to guarantee workers would not be hurt by the changes.
The fact that the ABC failed to challenge the PM on his record - particularly his claim of 14 per cent real wages - when independent analysis shows all the benefit is at the top end of the labour market - was a major failing of the program.
But even where the challenges came - such as when one of the experts, academic David Peetz, pointed that AWAs will only reduce labour costs and do nothing to productivity - a point conceded even by employer apologists for the changes like Heather Ridout - Howard just shrugged it off.
How's this for gibber? "If you run your firm more efficiently, then productivity is lifted. And higher wages result because if you make higher profits and you want to maintain that higher efficiency, you'll pay your workers more so they'll contribute more. It really is getting it at a workplace level, rather than having arrangements imposed from on-high or in some kind of pattern across an industry."
It wasn't just that the emperor was exposed as having no clothes, he seemed to be taking delight in streaking!
I wonder if Australians really appreciate what a dangerous period we are entering - a leader with full mandate, no serious plans of contesting another election, with the means to fulfil a lifelong ideological obsession.
If you think letting Dad lose with the tools in the backyard is dangerous, you aint seen nothing yet.
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