Working For The Man – Talk of Coalition plans to attack workers and unions

Posted: September 18, 2013 in Politics

I don’t claim to be the next Nostradamus, nor do I read palms or tea leaves for a few spare bucks at the markets on the weekends. I don’t believe every rumour I hear, and I don’t put a lot of faith in idle gossip.

However there is one thing that I do believe that is the talk currently doing the rounds. That is the Coalition will declare war on the Union movement.

I suspect that this will come in the form of a Royal Commission and will probably come off the back of the Michael Williamson trial regarding the Health Services Union, and possibly the re-emergence of the Australian Workers Union allegations that were aimed at Julia Gillard.

This will come at the suggestion of George Brandis or Eric Abetz and be disguised as the Liberal Party protecting unsuspecting union members from factional warlords and thieving secretaries.

What it will be all about however is something different altogether.

Despite all of the mudslinging and fear campaigns whether those on the right like it or not, the Labor Party is still Australia’s most popular political party. One look at the primary vote count in pretty much every Federal any election and it’s abundantly clear which of the parties best represents the countries best interests and values.

Labor has not needed to form a Coalition with other parties in order to remain relevant and in the race to form government as others have.

So, the answer would be if you can’t beat Labor on policies, financial credentials, values, and balance, and ruthlessly attacking the character of the party doesn’t work, go for the hip pocket.

Given the Labor Party stemmed from the union movement and is seen as the political means of protecting workers and their rights, they are heavily funded by the nations workers through the unions. Any attack on these unions, whether through a Royal Commission or not, is an attack on the Labor Parties funding model and should be seen and taken as such.

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In fact if there is a Royal Commission to be had in the wake of the HSU debacle, it should be into the union turncoat Kathy Jackson her Fair Work Australia partner Michael Lawler and their ties to the Liberal Party. Alas, I’m not going to hold my breath waiting for that one.

I am all for stopping corruption and if there are Union secretaries that are rorting the system or stealing from the members than they should be exposed, I think that I have certainly performed my part in that process.

However any attack on the unions in general is a bid to weaken the unions by attempting to reduce their membership base. Weakening their membership weakens their income and therefore their ability to run political campaigns and protect their workers rights.

It is interesting that the Coalition have no issue with industry lobby groups having a say or wielding influence, but organisations that represent the interests of hundreds of thousands of workers are something that they feel they need to attack.

Under a Coalition government it vital to have effective unions, particularly given that Abbott has already told us that his Industrial Relations policy will see the balance move back to the “Sensible Centre” , right where his frontbench full of ex John Howard Ministers previously thought WorkChoices was. We know that Abbott has said that WorkChoices is “Dead, Buried, and Cremated”, but let’s face it, this is a man who believes in the resurrection.

We will need strong unions to protect not only our award rates, which Eric Abetz has already told should be able to be overruled by government, but also the countries workplace safety standards, our workplace agreements, our laws regarding discrimination, our penalty rates, our workers compensation (what’s left of it), workplace bullying and intimidation and the list goes on and on.

I understand some people are doing it tough and have financially bitten off a bit more than they can chew, and the extra cost, no matter small can be a burden. In that sense unions can be a bit like cops, when they are revenue raising people hate them, but when something goes down and you need one, all of a sudden they are the best thing in the world.

So what can we do to stop this?

Unfortunately probably nothing, in NSW under a Coalition we have seen the unions strength weakened, the same goes for Victoria and Queensland.

Under the last Federal Coalition government it was made illegal to attend a workplace union meeting with the threat of huge personal fines and even the possibility of a jail sentence, just for attending a meeting.

If there is a faulty machine on a factory floor that in a month has caused three people to lose an arm, it was previously deemed unfair to the factory that workers should attend a union meeting on a blatant safety issue as it would cost the poor factory revenue, so the Coalition made it illegal.

This is the sensible centre we keep hearing Tony Abbott talk about.

If that sounds like living in a free country to you, you probably voted for the Coalition.

It is clear that under this government we should expect the same.

Productivity should never be confused with slavery or working in a hell-hole for the least amount a company can get away with paying you. The most productive workplaces are usually those with the happiest workers.

Coming to a workplace near you

Coming to a workplace near you

One thing we can do however is make sure that others are aware of the Coalitions motives which are purely self-serving and have nothing to do with protecting anyone other than their sitting MP’s and their large corporate donors.

As I said earlier, we can expect the mock outrage to be brought on by the HSU saga and the possible emergence of new evidence in the AWU case, however the suspected upcoming  Royal Commission will stretch much further, and political favours will be repaid.

Unions that can expect to me targeted would be the CFMEU due to the mining companies support of Tony Abbott, The Australian & International Pilots Association and the Transport Workers Union should expect some flack, as Alan Joyce has been a vocal critic of Labor, the Finance Sector Union should brace themselves for political donations being repaid in kind, and the Australian Manufacturing Workers Union should brace for the worst as the Coalition seek to pay back the motoring industries anger at The Labor Parties derailing of the gravy train for those abusing the loophole in the fringe benefits legislation that allowed a few to dodge tax with unnecessary company cars while the rest of us paid for their privilege.

Everyone wants to see savings made, but apparently not when it affects the daughter of a millionaire having one of three company cars funded by the taxpayer despite her not even working.

The best way to ensure that this suspected Royal Commission ends up a hugely expensive waste of taxpayer dollars that falls flat at the Coalitions feet is to ensure that our unions not only remain strong, but actually grow as a result of any assault on our freedoms and our rights as workers, whatever form that assault takes.

If you’re not a union member join up, there is bound to be one in your industry, and tell your colleagues when you do join and why you joined. If you are already a member, let your workmates know what may be around the corner and suggest that they join up also.

In fact as I wrote this post, an article went up on the ABC site about new Employment Minister Eric Abetz vowing to stamp out union corruption as a top priority.

Not giving the priority to creating jobs, improving workplace safety, strengthening discrimination laws, bridging the wage gap between men and women, assisting with employment in regional areas, better training etc etc, instead union bashing is top of the list.

It seems it has already started.

We have all seen where the scales end up when Abbott puts them in his “sensible centre”, if you want the scales to be in your sensible centre rather than Abbotts and your bosses then invest in your own future by protecting it.

You may thank yourself one day.

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Comments
  1. You have pin-pointed the Coalition Government’s real intentions with unerring precision, Peter, as well as their spurious justification of it. You have also pertinently summarised the hypocrisy of their partiality:
    “It is interesting that the Coalition have no issue with industry lobby groups having a say or wielding influence, but organisations that represent the interests of hundreds of thousands of workers are something that they feel they need to attack.” What a profoundly true sentence.

    The Coalition did not invent the strategy of asserting blatant untruths with monotonous regularity so that when reported uncritically by a compliant mainstream media, they are taken as facts by busy people with little time to investigate the existence of any evidence which might support the claims. Their “ministry of propaganda” has clearly been very efficient. That is the real meaning of the MSM’s praise for the “unity” of the Coalition and the way all of its members “stayed on message”. The fact that there are some differences of opinion in the Labor Party suggests there is more genuine thinking and debate taking place in it, rather than that it is “a disunited rabble”, as most of the MSM have described it.

    Peter, you are an excellent investigative journalist and your words are powerfully educative.

  2. Heather says:

    Well said Wixxy. Listen up people and join your union.

  3. Frenzal says:

    Everything Abbott and his party do is to service a very small percentage of people (some Australian citizens , some not…Mr Murdoch)
    Most sensible people knew what they were doing before they did it.
    Sadly we weren’t wrong.

    Don’t get me started on leaving a day care center and overhearing excited pregnant bogans relishing the impending 75K government baby bonus.

    Murdoch did a great job misleading certain factions of the Australian public.
    I’d pay an arm just to be a fly on the wall when they discover they aren’t getting $75K AND the government they voted in wants to also stop Family Tax Benefit.

    Sadly the only backfire will be on those unwanted, uneducated, emotionally neglected children.
    Well done Rupert, you tricked the most gullible.

    • Marilyn says:

      Do those bogans understand they have to be earning $150,000 a year in 2015 to qualify, it if gets passed at all?

      • jane says:

        I strongly doubt it. All they would have heard is $75k.

        I’d love to be a fly on the wall when they find out a) they have to have a job, b) they have to be earning $150k/year to qualify and c) it won’t happen until 2015 if at all.

        I wonder if they’ll vote for the liars again.

  4. chris white says:

    Bringing back the repressive Stasi-like ABCC attack on building unions, and applying the provisions to all unions is a great danger. Remember Ark Tribe who defied the ABCC police. Story here, http://chriswhiteonline.org/2013/08/3621/ see other stories on my blog about Abbott’s attack on unions, following the extreme right-wing US Republicans.

  5. Dave says:

    I am old enough to have seen all this before. I am not too old to look forward to the fight again. There will be massive street protests against this government. I don’t believe Australians will accept a fascist dictatorship by Murdoch. We need a leader that likes to fight Tories and I think Albanese will be that leader. We need our fellow Australians to be engaged in the political process, not just vote for Murdoch’s choice. We need an independent media that will tell people the truth and we need a strong union movement that will defend our wages and conditions, our education and health systems. I am optimistic that Australians will very quickly see through Abbott’s lies and that the ALP will regroup and become a more democratic party in opposition. This LNP aberration will be a one term reminder of the alternative if we become complacent about our democracy.

  6. sue says:

    Any chance of the new HSU team in Vic going on the offensive by asking in the media when the Vic police will finish their investigation of irregularites by Kathy Jackson? They could point out until the police have concluded, the Union is unable to recover members money they believe has been illegally used.

    The only good thing about Julia Gillard now having left parliament is that she may decide to take legal action if Abbott/Murdoch resurrect the AWU saga.

  7. nifty_26 says:

    Wixxy seen this from the Northern Daily Leader. Did you attend this?

    To Michele Williams – the barrister given the job of prosecuting former federal Labor MP Craig Thomson over claims he used Health Services Union credit cards to pay for prostitutes – the situation is clear cut.

    Ms Williams, SC, told the Melbourne Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday the prosecution wants Mr Thomson to admit he was the one who used the credit cards.

    See your ad here

    She said the prosecution wanted Mr Thomson to sign a “notice of admission of facts” outlining how he was the person using the HSU credit cards.

    Ms Williams said that once Mr Thomson agreed to sign, the prosecution could then use this document as the plank to try to prove the second issue in the case which was whether he had the authority to use the credit cards to pay for personal expenses.

    If Mr Thomson did not sign the document, the prosecution would be forced to call numerous witnesses at his committal hearing in December to confirm he had used the HSU credit cards.

    Lawyers for Mr Thomson have said he would sign a “notice of facts not in dispute” but Ms Williams told the court this did not go far enough.

    “We want an admission, not undisputed facts,” she said.

    “We say there is an abundance of evidence that it is him (using the HSU credit cards).”

    Defence barrister Greg James, QC, said the case could now drag on for months given the prosecution’s position.

    Magistrate Charles Rozencwajg said if there was no consensus between the prosecution and defence then the parties would have to start from scratch.

    He adjourned the matter to 3pm to discuss the management of the case and the number of witnesses to be called.

    Mr Thomson, 49, who stood as an independent at the September 7 federal election to try to retain the NSW central coast seat of Dobell but was beaten by Liberal Karen McNamara, is facing a total of 173 fraud and theft charges.

    Mr Thomson is accused of using the HSU credit cards to pay for sexual services at brothels and escort agencies totalling more than $5600 between March 2003 and August 2007.

    He is also charged with using union credit cards to spend more than $40,000 on pornographic movies at hotels, food and drinks, cigarettes, flights, car hire, petrol, taxis, valet parking, cash withdrawals and hotel rooms.

    Mr Thomson’s bail conditions include that he not contact any employees of a number of businesses, including one that operated the Touch of Class brothel in Sydney.

    See your ad here

    The father of two has consistently denied any wrongdoing and vowed to vigorously defend the charges against him.

    Mr Thomson was the union’s national secretary from 2002 until his election to Parliament in December 2007. Court documents state that the alleged offences occurred between December 2002 and April 2008.

    A seven-day committal hearing for Mr Thomson has been set down to begin in the Melbourne Magistrates’ Court on December 2. He also faces a civil prosecution by the Fair Work Commission

    Notice the amounts in $ they allege Thomo spent o porno movies

    • wixxy says:

      Let me guess, a News Ltd report?

      The total is under $30K, but News Ltd won’t let the facts get in the way

      • nifty_26 says:

        No worries Wixxy, I know it is around the 28K mark, I have kept up to date with yours and IA great reporting on this subject. but why are the prosecution going down this path? How can we bring Jackson to the forefront same as lawler. Is it to prolong the court? Is this a abuse of process? I just find it strange that Thomo never gets a break from these News.Ltd MFs. We have to bring these orgs down so our democracy can survive, we have to rally, protest, take court action against these orgs, stifle there production, make them answer to us and make sure it costs them heaps for the answers, make them use resource after resource to ensure it costs them massive amounts of money and time. We have to do this before Abbotolah changes the laws even more in favour of these orgs. They get away with way too much and it is time we brought them to their knees just like they are trying to do to Thomo.

      • wixxy says:

        It makes things tough when the media tow the line like obedient lap dogs…

        Thanks for your support, we just have to keep pushing the facts, whatever they are and whatever direction they point

      • wirilda says:

        It was the Age……same thing 🙂

      • Marilyn says:

        Since when is extortion and blackmail to sign papers admitting to things he didn’t do legal? What sort of dumb magistrate and prosecution people are they? 100 witnesses? To what?

  8. Is there a union for the aged that I can join? I’m sure that those of us that now retired could sure use one. If there was one, I reckon that there are a lot of us that would welcome the fact that their voices could be heard once more. We will need for our voices to be heard, because what has happened today, with the new government sworn in, ready to rescind anything & everything they can, our futures for the next 3 years (hopefully less) will become more & more uncomfortable.
    Who would join a union for the aged – come on, put your hands up. I, for one, would.

    Wixxy, once again, you really see things as they really are, not like a lot of other people who continue to wear rose colored glasses.

  9. BillK says:

    “Labor has not needed to form a Coalition with other parties in order to remain relevant and in the race to form government as others have.”

    Geez you have a short memory Wixxy. I thought Labor formed a coalition with the Greens under Gillard, to be able to form a Government.

    Perhaps my memory is not as good as it used to be. Either that or your statement is false.

    • wixxy says:

      Labor did not form a Coalition with anyone.

      Gillard negotiated an agreement with one other party and a few independents that Tony Abbott had failed in his desperate attempts to woo

      My memory works just fine, thanks for your concern

    • jane says:

      Not only is your memory not as good as it used to be, but its pant are on fire.

      The Independents agreed not to support a vote of no confidence. Best not to repeat Liars Party propaganda to people who actually do the research and know the truth.

  10. […] Working For The Man – Talk of Coalition plans to attack workers and unions September 18, 2013 […]

  11. […] of you may have read a post I put up recently about the upcoming war that the Coalition will no doubt declare on the union movement, and the possibility of a Royal Commission on union corruption. This action is likely to be brought […]

  12. […] of you may have read a post I put up recently about the upcoming war that the Coalition will no doubt declare on the union movement, and the possibility of a Royal Commission on union corruption. This action is likely to be brought […]

  13. […] Working For The Man – Talk of Coalition plans to attack workers and unions September 18, 2013 […]

  14. […] I have written about before, Senator Eric Abetz is planning to launch an attack on union corruption as a major priority. We are as yet unsure what form this will take — a royal commission, a judicial inquiry, a Senate […]

  15. olddavey says:

    That “coming to a workplace near you” pic should have been used as a Labor campaign poster. Probably would have lost the Nasty Party a lot of votes.

  16. […] As I suggested in a previous post the Williamson case is being used as a trigger to mount a Royal Comm…. Kathy Jackson is being used as the Coalition puppet that pulls the trigger. […]

  17. […] As I suggested in a previous post, the Williamson case is being used as a trigger to mount a Royal Commission or Judicial Inquiry into union corruption. Kathy Jackson is being used as the Coalition puppet that pulls the trigger. […]

  18. […] As I suggested in a previous post, the Williamson case is being used as a trigger to mount a Royal Commission or Judicial Inquiry into union corruption. Kathy Jackson is being used as the Coalition puppet that pulls the trigger. […]

  19. […] I predicted before the election last year the political witch-hunt that is the Royal Commission into unions has been announced by the Abbott […]

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