17 January 2010

Ross, stick to talking about areas you actually know

Ross Fitzgerald says that unions are gaining the upper hand in Australian workplaces. And since this is The Australian he has a big problem with that.

My favourite line is this
The reality is the Rudd government is squandering the legacy of flexible deregulated workplaces by turning back the clock on industrial relations. Its full agenda, still to unfold, may prove to be the most extensive legislative re-regulation of workplaces this country has seen.
Conservatives always like to conflate "not moving backwards" with deregulation. And anyone who doesn't like their version of deregulation automatically is "turning back the clock". Of course they cannot show any examples in the laws passed to prove this - because there are none. The Rudd Government's laws place primacy on collective bargaining and have streamlined the award system and brought in a truly national system (except for WA and that's their fault). And conservatives love to warn of the supposed evils yet to come, citing no evidence for them.

And Ross shows his true conservative colours by saying Howard was the one who introduced flexible industrial relations laws. Ummm...no, it was actually the Keating reforms of 1993 which ushered in the beginning of "flexible" industrial relations laws.

Fitzgerald is a professor in history and politics but the article is written as if he's an expert in industrial relations and economics. He's not. So saying that Howard's IR laws were the reason for low unemployment is overly simplistic nonsense.

And once again The Australian shows itself as the champion of the employers.

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