Sunday, November 11, 2007

Minchin stuffs big, fat, pregnant cat back into bag

Following Prime Minister John Howard’s disavowal of a further wave of industrial relations reforms should his government be returned to office in the coming election, Finance Minister Nick Minchin has disavowed his avowed view of last year that a further wave of IR reforms is desirable.

As is well known, Senator Minchin touted the need for further IR reforms in a speech last year to the H.R. Nicholls Society. But now we can confidently rewrite history and confirm that he didn’t say it, he never did say it, and he never will say it — well, certainly not during the present election campaign.

This is important, indeed momentous, because Senator Minchin is a man with an uncanny sixth sense about what the voting public thinks, wants and feels.

Defending the convention that politicians may claim travel allowance on the election trail right up until their formal party launches, the Minister oraculated:

I think Australians understand they want to hear the political messages from both sides of politics and to do that you’ve got to get around the country.

Given the fuzziness of Senator Minchin’s avowals and disavowals, we can’t be sure whether this is actually a defence of that particular convention, or laying the groundwork for jettisoning yet another convention.

We can only anticipate with bated breath further communiqués from this enigmatic articulator of the zeitgeist.

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Blogger Caz said...

What might be troubling, if one wished to dwell on it for an amount of time, is what would the Libs do to IR?

The ALP are entirely on the wrong track with their approach, however, if the Libs have thoughts of doing anything other than tinker a bit, it would certainly be nice to know exactly what they would do - what more could they do?

At least Howard didn't have a public hissy fit over Minchin's, err, honesty.

11/11/07 5:54 PM  
Anonymous Jacob said...

I liked Tim Dunlop's take on Joe Hockey's 'promise' to resign as Minister if a returned Howard Government made any 'significant' changes to their IR legislation.

Given that the 'Fairness Test' was, according to the Government, not a 'significant' change, but rather merely a minor adjustment, then they could upon re-election scrap the (unworkable?) Fairness Test, and Hockey could continue on merrily as Minister.

Oh well, I'm sure Uncle Joe would anyway, since the Govt's Ministerial Code of Conduct ceased to have any meaning... er, how many terms ago...?

I well remember an editorial in the Fin Review just after the '98 election that characterised the Government's IR policy as "the policy that dare not speak its name". It remains so.

11/11/07 10:37 PM  
Blogger Father Park said...

Half of the agreements since May - half - have failed to meet the "fairness test". This because employers are yet to "understand" their responsibilities under the "test".

What utter bloody nonsense. It shows just exactly what they understood their leeway to be originally.

This is the test that was, remember, never needed.

There will be changes if re-elected. The TAB is offering fixed odds of ninety cents back for your dollar invested.

Was going to write more but the comment will have become huge. I'll likely post a thread later.

12/11/07 1:36 PM  
Blogger Jacob A. Stam said...

Tim Dunlop has another interesting post on WorkChoices.

"So we now have the worst of all worlds: a system that still strips workers of their power to negotiate, but with the added burden to business of a sham fairness test process that is turning into a bureaucratic nightmare..."

"So here’s the scenario you are being asked to believe. The government is returned. Mr Howard retires; Mr Costello takes over. The government’s key constituency, big business, says to the new PM that the IR system as it currently stands is unworkable and needs to change. Mr Costello, with his long record of standing up to John Howard as proof of his mettle, steels his spine and says no, we promised that we wouldn’t..."

And here's the concluding para of that Fin Review editorial, 14 October 1998.

"But there is no doubt that further change is needed, and that it is time the Government brought its intentions into the open so that serious debate can begin. In a rapidly globalising world, a more flexible and efficient labour market is vital. It is also an important part of the response to the chronic unemployment problem, about which many a hand was wrung in the campaign, with very little solid policy to back up the rhetoric. The reality is that joblessness will not fall much further in this country until a government gathers the courage to push through further IR reform. Any thoughts, Mr Reith?"

Then, the driving nominal rationale was 'chronic unemployment'. Next time around, I guess it will be national productivity and the burden on business.

Any thoughts, Messrs Costello & Hockey?

12/11/07 2:15 PM  
Blogger Caz said...

Minchin isn't helping the cause by insisting that there's a labor shortage, but no skills shortage.

I'm not entirely sure how you separate-out the two.

Splitting and hairs, comes to mind.

12/11/07 7:24 PM  
Blogger Caz said...

It was obvious that the Libs were being blithering idiots when they started insisting that they WILL NOT make any further changes to IR.

Which fuck-wit thought that was a good idea?

Mind you, when they decided to "improve" on their original, they made a monumental hash of it, so goodness knows how much worse they might make things if they tried for a second round of "improvements".

Promising to NOT change something that is clearly broken is the single dumbest promise (or threat) that we've had this election.

Even if it wasn't already broken, insisting that something will not be changed is ALWAYS dumb, since circumstances invariably change over the term of a gov't. No gov't and no would-be gov't can ever make any promise about not changing things, unless they are utter dolts, or unless they have no intention of bothering to govern.

The Libs have hung themselves out to flap in the wind on this one.

12/11/07 7:32 PM  

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