2007-06-16

Class Warfare back in fashion in Australia

Adele Horin is not always my favourite SMH columnist, but today she's right on the money. I have been quite dismayed in the last few weeks to hear the Coalition spin machine churn out terms like "Union thugs", and for public statements from the marketing arms of big businesses that indicate their wholehearted support for the government's IR legislation.

And yet, as I have said a few times previously, the average Aussie seems to be very unhappy with these laws. My own experience of talking with working class parents at school indicates a great deal of stress and fear over wage and job security that was communicated to them by their employers.

This quote from Horin sums up what I feel:

The political consensus that brought workers and employers closer over two decades, through the union accord of the 1980s, the end of the closed shop and centralised wage fixing, and the conversion of Labor into a business-friendly party that championed free trade, free markets and privatisation has been torn asunder by Work Choices.

John Howard brought ideology back into politics when he delivered all the power in industrial relations to employers. He smashed the consensus that governments must maintain a delicate balance between protecting workers' rights and employers' rights.


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