Topic: election Oz 2007
As our letter published on crikey.com.au earlier this year pointed out, union membership may be down, but unions are like doctors who you hope will put themselves out of business for preventative good health. But as we know doctors remain in demand. In the parallel union case if we had a preventative fair industrial relations structure unions would be redundant too, yet they remain in demand and as we also know workers do still get ripped off.
Membership of 17% in unions is hardly the end of the matter. We are nominal member of the leftish Australian Services Union. We abhor the right wing logger union. We notice plenty of free riders on the historical value of unions.
But we thank God and the Australian democracy and the ACTU's former secretary now candidate Greg Combet, activist Bernie Bantam and union lawyers for forcing both sides of politics, the legal industry and parliaments state and federal to address the industrial mass murder of asbestos victims.
Asbestos that roofs some old huts at the Addison Rd Community Centre today in Marrickville, that was an immigrant centre before that, and a Vietnam War marshalling barracks before that, and a WW2 base before that. That's in most buildings built before perhaps 1980.
Left, right, brown, green, young, old, boss, and worker all exposed to the dangerous stuff, and still today but with much greater care and management.
Rudd is already on record pointing to the asbestos precedent. We point to the silver lining of reform of national defamation laws: Opposed for quite a while by Phillip Ruddock as federal AG, forced to it by NSW AG Bob Debus, in turn forced to it by the NSW Labor Council in their targetting of James Hardie corporation, after Bob Carr's stupid govt waved through JH fraudulent offshoring through a NSW Supreme Court proceedings.
That was the union structure at their best, when things were at their worst for all Australians.
Say it long and loud: If unions didn't exist it would be necessary to invent them. We sledge union bosses here at times, we love them too in regular measure.
As Senator Penny Wong, who we met once in Kim Yeadon's office as Forest Minister in NSW in the mid 90ies, might have said in her otherwise smooth compelling interview with Fran Kelly just now - unionism as a smear is a deceptive half truth. We also lobbied now Shadow Minister Wong 12 years agon on unauthorised logging in the identified Deua Wilderness on the NSW South Coast in breach of the ALP 1995 election platform. She took that on board as we recall it.
A half truth, just like James Hardie are guilty as sin of industrial mass murder, but also supported by those same union enemies to trade on and as successfully as possible ... to secure that $4B welfare fund for victims.
Howard/Costello half truths are not a good way to run a country, so let's hear them praise the role of the unions on asbestos. That would be sound leadership, election phase or not. Nor is it sufficient for Costello to denounce Carr on the James Hardie corporate restructure legal trickery. Costello must denounce James Hardie in his own corporate cheer squad if he is to have credibility on other matters like the role of unionism, which to us is akin to the Aussie value of mateship only formalised. It's real moral leadership when you know it's your mates who have done wrong, and that goes for both union or business.
So how many of the Rudd election line up are from diverse walks of life too? That would be a measured characterisation, not least the leader who demands the right to appoint his cabinet, unlike previous situations.
And on the timing of this approach of the Howard Costello election team - their tax policy demand was due midday today Wednesday, a bluff turned to fluff, so they've turned literally vaudeville to mask that big climb down.
An ALP election tax policy is said to be essential to a proposed debate on pay tv, not free to air networks so far, this Sunday 21st October 07. I wonder if Rudd will send that kid from the ALP aligned Climate Institute advert to the debate on Sunday as his proxy until we get 3 fair dinkum debates in true democratic tradition? The innocent kid's accussing eyes would be some juxtaposition, and devastating tv, but hard to imagine 90 minutes worth.
But we wonder too given Howard's support for the Exclusive Brethren when he wouldn't for a minute let his own lawyer daughter Melanie be so oppressed by such as this disgusting 'sect'. Melanie who stood on the victory podium with him his whole now shrinking prime ministerial career.
It's starting to look like the big doughnut election campaign to us here, empty in the middle, a tumbleweeds kind of policy ghost town, where milky bar kid Rudd rides like an early Clint Eastwood spaghetti western into town with his shiny tax policy to find the place ...devoid of varmints of any real serious threat, already on boot hill having self destructed in the vaudeville saloon after all that fire water labelled TAX 40% proof, and UNIONS xxx with suitable death's head.
Where's the fun in that?