Subsidies, tax breaks and Bill Shorten

My piece in the Herald Sun this morning (an abridged version was in the Daily Telegraph) addresses the now familiar issues of SPC and the long history of subsidies to the car industry, a rag-bag of green firms and others.  The dole that SPC Chairman Gonski sought was equivalent to an investment subsidy of 25 per cent.  The cost of this would leave a budget deficit of over 15 per cent even if the generosity were not to attract additional claims as a result of it reducing the cost of investing.

Now we have the news that the reason for the troubled cost structure of SPC is that the leader of the AWU, one Bill Shorten, took the workers out on strike 10 years ago during harvest time and won a 13.5 per cent improvement in conditions including another 8 days R&R.  Nice one Bill!

SPC and other cooperatives have some useful tax breaks stemming from their days as a cooperative.  Unfortunately for Coca Cola Amatil, the rents from these and more have been absorbed by the monopoly over employment that unions have seized/been given by management.

The only way to ensure that we have productive industry and employment is for the various concessions on businesses to be unwound and the labour relations placed on a footing that allows a market to prevail.

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32 Responses to Subsidies, tax breaks and Bill Shorten

  1. james

    It has been instructive to see just how the media has reacted to the spc issue.

    So many journalists seem to celebrate their ignorance of economics.

  2. stackja

    Detroit had UAW, Atlanta SPC had AWU.

  3. The dole that SPC Chairman Gonski sought

    Now where have I heard that name before?

  4. Baldrick

    … and here’s the 2004 AWU press release trumpeting 13.5% increase in pay and 8 extra days ‘leisure time’.

    “By taking legally protected industrial action for the last six days these workers have had a victory that will change the way they work at SPC forever. We are the AWU will be continuing our campaign to win greater leisure time for our members across the country.” (Bill Shorten AWU National Secretary)

  5. philip j. fry

    Was that our Bill, what done this?

    Now there’s a big fuss!

    Where’s our Bill now eh? (telling Paul to pull his head in?)

  6. Rob MW

    There should be a call out for the union to buy SPC from Coke-Cola Amatil as part of their seemly unlimited superannuation investment(s) for not only the national interest but also as an investment in their unlimited knowledge on how to manage and operate a commercial business under Australia’s current regulatory and central-planning/wage fixing regime.

    I’m sure that Coke-Cola Amatil would be willing to part with a failing part of their business, and at a more than reasonable price.

    It’s time for the unions to ante up on their business management and profit generating expertise when dealing with the purchase of otherwise perishable food commodities, manufacture, distribution and sales (export & domestic) of the final product.

    I’m absolutely sure that Ford and Holden would welcome the unions taking over, using their own exceedingly deep pockets and commercially operating and maintaining a profitable car manufacturing sector after all, isn’t that what “Industry” superannuation all about ?

  7. Ant

    Well said.

    Of course, with the last bit, you’re really saying that we have flush irresponsible unions down the ‘s’ bend.

    I’d willingly push the button.

  8. Baldrick

    I’m absolutely sure that Ford and Holden would welcome the unions taking over …

    Can’t wait for the Holden Trabant 601 or the Ford Tatra 603 … should be a hoot!

  9. philip j. fry

    Can’t wait for the Holden Trabant 601

    SPC chokos?

  10. Motelier

    So,

    Hypothetically, if Dolly Shorten becomes PM, then we have ten or so years before shit hits the fan?

    Count me out.

  11. Sparkx

    Brilliant, Baldrick, Brilliant!

  12. the sting

    Some years ago a well known fruitgrower near Shepparton caught on film an employee stealing fuel.He sacked the employee.The employee then went after his former boss for $4500 for unfair dismissal.A little man named Bill arrived on the scene and threatened that he would shut down this orchard business unless the boss paid his former employee the $4500.The boss relented.

  13. Sparkx

    I certainly wouldn’t take him that long Motelier.

  14. Alamo

    Totally agree that an end to subsidies and labour reform are the end goals, but the government and most commentators have the cart very much before the horse. Ending the subsidies without doing any labour market reform is just sending businesses to the wall left right and centre! Whole chunks of our industrial capabilities as a nation are being hollowed out.

    Surely the government ought to tackle labour reform as well as further deregulatory reforms THEN remove the subsidies. The government are taking the cowards way out by targeting the corporates without first attacking the unions. So many commentators seem content to blame the unions for the death of these important industries and move on. Of course the unions are to blame (duh!), but that doesn’t mean that we should be content to let the industries just disappear. On the contrary we need to fight the unions and win, so that these industries and businesses can survive in Australia.

  15. Squirrel

    “…..Now we have the news that the reason for the troubled cost structure of SPC is that the leader of the AWU, one Bill Shorten, took the workers out on strike 10 years ago during harvest time and won a 13.5 per cent improvement in conditions including another 8 days R&R…..”

    Looking forward to the Four Corners investigation of that, and this:

    “…….Some years ago a well known fruitgrower near Shepparton caught on film an employee stealing fuel.He sacked the employee.The employee then went after his former boss for $4500 for unfair dismissal.A little man named Bill arrived on the scene and threatened that he would shut down this orchard business unless the boss paid his former employee the $4500.The boss relented…..”

    and the usual cross-promotion follow-ups by 7.30 and ABC News.

  16. john of dandenong

    There is not a parliament and court in Australia that does not reek of the stench of corruptness both morally and politically, e.g., Thomson. Crying and blubbering for an hour in parliament acclaiming his innocence. Fast forward to Melbourne Magistrate’s Court January 2014 and even his prostitute gave solid evidence against him. His case is always being adjourned for one reason or another. A conviction and suitable punishment is unlikely. A liar and thief officially tolerated. Great example to younger generation. A pox on their houses.

  17. Jim Rose

    Why is SPC special?

    How many others were laidoff in the same week?

    Where is the social justice in treating some better than others?

  18. Notafan

    Unions would say that that was the right thing to happen. Unions protecing workers’ jobs. Non union members get what they deserve and so forth.
    So in the SPC saga this means that the pass the lying parcel game winner is Sharman Stone, doesn’t it?

  19. JMH

    Has anyone seen Combet round the traps? Is he still drawing a taxpayer funded salary for supposedly ‘fixing’ the SPC thing?

  20. steve

    So Electricity Bill is also Grocery Bill…

  21. Balatro

    Time for a left field approach to industry policy. Paul Howe seems up for it
    Kick the unions out of direct engagement with the workplace and reduce the number of unions.
    Re-establish the Arbitration Commission, bring Workcover inspectors under the control of the Commission and require the unions to make their case for Award conditions, productivity bonuses, site safety issues etc. to the Commission. Any site issues could be referred to the Inspectors, who could make site inspections and refer their findings to the Commissioners for determination. General matters could be dealt with by the full Bench, as they used to be.
    The individual Union leaders are gatekeepers – and their power comes from a relatively small and localised part of the whole. The way to defeat gatekeepers is to step around them and create other courses to follow.
    Only problem is – how to get an independent bench and keep it that way.

  22. Only problem is how to restore access to the rule of law, in particular contract law, for any two parties negotiating the exchange of labour for money without mentioning the word “union”.

  23. Biota

    We are the AWU will be continuing our campaign to win greater leisure time for our members across the country.” (Bill Shorten AWU National Secretary)

    Working really well Bill, SPC workers will soon have as much leisure time as they like.

  24. “Only problem is – how to get an independent bench and keep it that way.”

    To do that voters would have to stop voting for socialists. If we could do that then there wouldn’t be a problem in the first place.

  25. HK_Brother

    Bill Shorten…
    * One of the original board members of GetUp.
    * Wrecker of SPC.
    * Backstabber of two Prime Ministers.
    * Still promotes Carbon Tax.

    …You couldn’t make this up if you tried! Shorten is a dodgy bastard!

  26. Dan

    Horrible website layout. From 7th January 2014

    It appears canneries use a lot of water and steam generated from either coal or gas. Two areas that labour policy, either state or federal, have had a huge price impact.

  27. .

    Kick the unions out of direct engagement with the workplace and reduce the number of unions.
    Re-establish the Arbitration Commission

    Oh goody! Let’s establish bilateral monopolies and have union bosses given more power. What could possibly go wrong?!

  28. tomix

    trumpeting 13.5% increase in pay and 8 extra days ‘leisure time’.

    Guessing that means there’s still 4 weeks annual holiday, but the whole 28 days are paid now, whereas previously only 20 were paid. Great negotiating- now the workers have to defend their creamy conditions.

    My totally uninformed predictions: Strike on flimsy pretext, followed by lockout and rottweilers.
    “Social Fabric” threatened, Dolly and the Pigmeister save the day, and the official history blames Abbott.

  29. Rob MW

    Ooh Honey Honey – HT to Rob.

    Heee……..heee……… now that’s funny (lol) – I was going to put in a bit about unions making busted-arse cars probably using rusted leftover tin from the busted-arse SPC plant but thought that may have been a bit rich. But I see it didn’t take long for the Cat readers long to work it out.

  30. Up The Workers!

    SPC had GONSKI as Chairman and they STILL went broke?

    It must be Global Warming!

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