Labor’s IR scare campaign: can the souffle rise twice?
Kevin Rudd has a big political problem. Tony Abbott has thrown him off balance with a couple of short jabs and he is struggling to regain its composure.
Tony Abbott has achieved this by punching at the key failures of the Rudd Government. It has changed the dynamic on the ground all of a sudden.
Labor’s marginal seat holders who just months ago were dreaming of an easy victory in the campaign this year are now talking darkly about the PM’s performance and wondering whether Julia just might be better. They are demanding some action to turn this around. They want something done to stop Tony Abbott and his momentum.
So what will the Labor Party do? It will do what it does best – it will concoct a union funded scare campaign based on falsehoods. Why wouldn’t they? It helped get them elected in the first place.
Last week we saw the Deputy Prime Minster on a public relations tour, not selling Labor’s own agenda but rather, trying to resurrect the monsters of elections past. No doubt all dreamed up by the hollowmen who run his focus group tested government.
However there are two big problems with this idea.
The first problem is that the history of re-run scare campaigns is fraught. In the 1993 South Australian election the Labor Party was all but wiped out by the campaign run on the state bank by the Liberal Party. In fairness to the South Australian public, Labor did take SA to the brink of bankruptcy the year prior. In 1997 the State Liberals ran the same campaign and went to the cliff of losing government because the public rightly saw through a government running on history.
The second reason this scare will fail is because people are beginning to see just how ‘fair’ Labor’s system is and just how much damage it will do to our economy.
Last Friday Reserve Bank Governor Glenn Stevens stripped the facade of fairness from Julia Gillard’s so called Fair Work Act. He made very clear that the jury was out on whether Labor’s new ‘fair’ system would be able to achieve the economic results the Australian people have come to expect in recent years.
Julia Gillard’s so called Fair Work Act re-regulates Australia’s workplaces and takes Australia back beyond the reforms introduced in 1993 by the Keating Government all at the expense of the unemployed and those who soon will be because of unreasonable union demands.
The Fair Work Act has increased union power and since it has been in operation the only beneficiaries of these changes appear to have been union officials and lawyers as big unions and big employers fight it out in the tribunals and the courts.
Responding to questions over comments by MUA leader Paddy Crumlin that only “dinosaurs” believed wage increases had to be productivity-linked, Mr Stevens noted there was concern over union activity in the WA resources sector and the direction the labour market was taking.
Now in an election year as the public tires of the Rudd Government’s empty promises, failures in health, education and refusal to take responsibility for programs linked to the deaths of four workers Ms Gillard treats the public with contempt as the ACTU gears up to mount a scare campaign on Labor’s behalf against the Coalition’s industrial relations policies.
Who could forget Sharan Burrow’s comment in 2005 when she said she needed “a mum or a dad of someone who’s been seriously injured or killed. That would be fantastic.”
You could ask the rhetorical question is there any depth that Sharan Burrow will not sink to for a scare campaign.
As Julia Gillard prepares to unleash Sharan Burrow and the IR bogeyman she will hope the media don’t ask questions about the thousands of pages of legislation, regulations and rules in her so called balanced system that entrench the control of the unions and industrial tribunals and make employees worse off.
Let us look at her record so far. No worker will be worse off – wrong. No employer will be worse off – wrong again. The ‘fair’ laws will not damage the economy – the biggest fib of all.
Julia Gillard doesn’t trust employees and employers and has mandated a system governing every minute of every day of employees and employers across Australia. But she does trust Sharan Burrow and the ACTU to deliver their scare campaign.
While Julia Gillard denies employers and employees the basic democratic right to make an agreement together without the interference of unions and industrial tribunals the ACTU will be looking to cash in their IOU just as they did after the last election.
The ACTU co-operate only as long as it helps them achieve their goals. They are prepared to inflict damage, quite a lot of damage, to get what they want.
That’s the real bogeyman Australians should worry about.
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