||Issue No. 315||14 July 2006|
Give Truth A Chance
Interview: The Month Of Living Dangerously
Unions: Staying Mum
Economics: Precious Metals
Industrial: The Cold 100
History: The Vinegar Hill Mob
Legal: Free Agents
Politics: Under The Influence
International: How Swede It Was
Review: Keating's Men Slam Dance on Howard
The Locker Room
Howard vs World
Tough as ABC
Give Truth A Chance
Like Peter Costello, most of us swallowed the concept of honesty with our mother's milk. And what is the matter with that?
Without an acceptance of honesty, in our dealings, society simply breaks down. If we cannot rely on the premise that when our bosses, workmates, partners, friends or leaders give us an assurance, it will stick, we are reduced to a collection of autonomous individuals without support or, for that matter, very much hope.
John Howard's idol Margaret Thatcher nailed it when she claimed there was "no such thing as society". The follower has become the leader.
Think "never ever" GST, children overboard, weapons of mass destruction and, the grand daddy of them all, the long-running woppa that is WorkChoices.
Using terms like "choice" for non-negotiable AWAs and spending our money to tell us a whole range of conditions, are "protected by law", when, in fact, they're up for grabs, is plainly dishonest.
It is behaviour that destroys trust in our institutions and weakens Australia as a society, reinforcing the view, even amongst the dubious, that dealing honestly is a cute relic of a bygone time.
The feeling is consistently reinforced by the actions of the rich and powerful - James Hardie, the Business Council of Australia et al.
Just last week, operators of our neighbourhood supermarkets, joined the movement. After months of denying they intended closing their Central Coast Distribution Centre, the big wigs at Coles turned around and put 400 locals out of work.
Barely an eyebrow was raised.
Now the Prime Minister and the Treasurer are, effectively, calling one another liars over some arcane deal that was or wasn't done 12 years ago.
Fact is, while its stimulated the press gallery, most people don't give a rats because, after 10 years of this mob, they expect to be lied to.
In the labour movement we expect basic conditions, liveable wages, a share in the country's prosperity and avenues for redress against injustice.
But we don't just expect them as some sort of entitlement born of holy writ.
They are ingredients in the glue that holds society together and binds it stronger. And honesty, in a meaningful rather than legal sense, is the base material.
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