On the subject of...

Industrial Relations

3
Jan
2016

More Needed than Heydon RC Recommends & Turnbull Proposes So Far

So far I have read only Volume I of the Overview and introduction of the final report of the Heydon Royal Commission into Trade Union Governance and Corruption. Volumes 2-4 largely deal with specific cases and Volume 5 with policy and law reform. Based on the Overview there appears to be a first rate analysis for the Turnbull government to use in framing major reforms of regulatory arrangements covering the role of trade unions and relations between employees and employers.
22
Dec
2015

Turnbull – Consistency with Menzies Centre ? Recognition of Religion Influence in Indonesia? Unable to Understand Business Economics?

The Menzies Research Centre says it supports “principles of individual liberty, free speech, competitive enterprise, limited government, democracy, and the family as the foundation of a stable society” and, although it does not endorse the Liberal Party per se, it claims that its publications “go to the heart of Liberal Party policy-making”. Today, its Executive Director, Nick Cater, has had published a critique in The Australian of Lewis’s attempt to set “appropriate” limits on public debate on the influence of Islamic religion on terrorism (see article below). However, while Cater naturally does not mention that the current leader of the Liberal Party, Malcolm Turnbull, has made similar statements to those by Lewis, he is very much on the right track.
8
Sep
2015

Coalition Needs Major Policy Initiative

It is becoming increasingly difficult to see how Abbott can survive on the basis of existing policies and the way they are presented. After a period of public debate over the Royal Commission, during which Shorten and various unions were exposed as having behaved very poorly, Newspoll is still unchanged on a TPP basis (46/54) and Shorten remains Better PM (41/37). In addition, while 68% want the RC to continue, Heydon himself gets bad marks for his mishandling of the invitation to a Liberal Party function. Further, the support for the China FTA (only 43% and 22% uncommitted) indicates a failure to fully explain that it exposed virtually no risk from foreign-sourced labour ( Robb’s explanations yesterday on the ABC’s Insiders was excellent but he should have been more upfront earlier).
2
Sep
2015

RC Outcome Provides Golden Opportuinity

Apart from Heydon’s decision to continue as RC, the most important part of his rejection of the apprehended bias claim is the detailed analysis he made of the submissions by unions. That analysis can fairly be said to have left the unions standing on only one leg, at least from a legal perspective. His 67 page judgement justifying his decision sets out three reasons, argued in detail:
25
Aug
2015

Can Union Power be Diminished?

Like me, Mick Jagger was once a student at the London School of Economics (not long after I left there). He once wrote “you can’t always get what you want, but if you try sometimes, you might find you get what you need” (I would have said “if you keep trying”). My point here is that there are at last some signs that increasing numbers, even inside the ABC and other leftist media , are accepting that there is a real need to do something about the quasi-monopoly power unions have acquired. But can Tony Abbott recover his polling by increasing his recent attack on the Labor-union connection and identifying the problems with existing workplace relations?
23
Aug
2015

Increased Challenges Faced by Abbott -Responses Needed

As indicated by its failure to have the Senate re-instate the powers of the Australian Building & Construction Commission, and by anti-coal groups’s revealed use of legislation to stop coal projects and purporting thereby to protect “the environment”, the Abbott government is facing increased difficulties in implementing existing policies, let alone maintain policies which have hitherto been widely accepted as important to on-going development and employment. As Greg Sheridan points out (see “Shutting the door to growth” below), “Australia has created a public–political culture in which the avenues to block something from happening are endless”. More strictly, it is that certain groups, not Australia itself, which have created this culture and are now actively moving to apply it.
20
Aug
2015

Game On?

My Commentary yesterday drew attention to the apparent adoption of a more aggressive Coalition policy strategy and the publication by News Corp of detailed information on union activities. Today’s media exhibits remarkably different priorities, with Fairfax press and the ABC barely touching on either Coalition strategy or the Heydon issue and News Corp going full blast on unions and Labor.
18
Aug
2015

Abbott Polling Down-Bolt on Labor’s Attack on Heydon, Shorten- C Change Debate

Today’s poll in Fairfax press shows the Coalition at 46/54 on a TPP basis, the same as in the previous poll, but Abbott is down one point at minus 24% on his net rating and Shorten is at minus 10%. In the Australian, Phillip Hudson notes that Howard had a similar experience after his first two years and suggests that it might help Abbott if he adopted a major reform strategy as Howard did by announcing a risky GST.