Devotional eulogies only entrench union thuggery

In The Australian today:

“After the 1983 election, when half the Australian workforce were union members, barely a third of the ALP’s new MPs thanked the unions in their maiden speech. By the 2013 election, union membership had fallen below 20 per cent of the workforce; but more than 90 per cent of Labor’s new MPs devoted part of their first speech to praising the union movement.”

About Henry Ergas

Henry Ergas is a columnist for The Australian newspaper and the inaugural Professor of Infrastructure Economics at the SMART Infrastructure Facility at the University of Wollongong. The SMART Infrastructure Facility is a $61.8 million world-class research and training centre concerned with integrated infrastructure solutions for the future. Henry is also Senior Economic Adviser to Deloitte Australia. Prior to these concurrent roles Henry worked as a consultant economist at NECG, CRA International and Concept Economics. Henry's previous career was as an economist at the OECD in Paris, where amongst other roles he headed the Secretary-General’s Task Force on Structural Adjustment and was Counsellor for Structural Policy in the Economics Department.
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22 Responses to Devotional eulogies only entrench union thuggery

  1. johanna

    It’s interesting, isn’t it? Just like the global warming riders on the gravy train, the more the facts undermine their position, the more effusive they become towards their supporters (the “97% of scientists” bullshit).

    I think that Henry E. is wrong about the union membership figures, though. Last time I checked, when Hawke was elected it was around 40% of the workforce, not 50%.

    Anyway, it is now around 18%, and if you took out the public sector unions, it would be SFA. People have voted with their feet.

  2. Baldrick

    Can you imagine the hand-wringing and teeth gnashing if 90% of of The Coalition’s new MPs devoted part of their first speech to praising the business movement?
    I’m sure comrade ‘we’ve got your back’ Howes would find that most offensive.

  3. Bob

    Would it be more accurate if “union movement” was replaced with ” bowel movement “?

  4. Leigh Lowe

    Can someone answer a simple economic question?
    During the 1980′s and 1990′s there was massive consolidation of smaller unions into massive national “super-unions”.
    The claimed benefits were elimination of demarcation disputes and “consistency”.
    However, one would expect this concentration to lead to lower union dues as a result of economies of scale, right?
    What really happened to union dues a a percentage of earnings?

  5. Blogstrop

    Gillard did not just abolish the Australian Building and Construction Commission. She also modified the definitions of lawless behaviour in the industrial relations laws to make it more difficult to prove, while dramatically reducing the ability of the workplace regulator to evidence illegal dealings.

    I’ve said elsewhere that it’s no use blaming the employers when the playing field has been so tilted. The waterfront episode demonstrated what a joint effort is required to change entrenched distortions. Companies can’t do that on their own, even when there’s a conservative government. There has to be complete support for their actions.

  6. Rohan

    It’ll be interesting to see this comparison again after the 2016 election and the royal commission. I think this Labor-Union alliance is likely to become a hot potatoe.

  7. Leigh Lowe

    From the Daily Tele …..

    But the government yesterday indicated it may be willing to consider Mr Shorten’s alternative proposal — in conjunction with a royal commission — for a police taskforce into allegations of criminal gang activity and corruption in the construction industry.

    …. and so it came to pass that Bill was totally snookered. “You think a Police Taskforce is the way to go, Bill? OK, let’s have that as well as a Royal Commission”

  8. Tintarella di Luna

    Would it be more accurate if “union movement” was replaced with ” bowel movement “?

    Yes, but that’s going by dark deeds and the smell, there could be more reason but can’t think of any before breakfast.

  9. Tintarella di Luna

    Companies can’t do that on their own, even when there’s a conservative government. There has to be complete support for their actions.

    Yes that’s how they clean up the waterfront which was about 90 years too late but still worthwhile

  10. boy on a bike

    You say potatoe, I say potato.

  11. Leigh Lowe

    You say potatoe, I say potato.

    Cease and desist.
    Any talk of spuds is bound to attract the spud-peeler out of his burrow.

  12. .

    I was in Vietnam in 1971 and we were helping the ARVN and VC soldiers cooperate on a potato farming collective, naturally, the ARVN chose voluntarily to embrace communism before the capitalist running dogs of the USA decided to invade and impose capitalism on the poor South Vietnamese. I will never forgive the Americans, particularly the Republicans who led the war effort, with ripping those young men from their mother’s bosom and turning them into Texan gun wankers, republican voters and mass murderers of babies, who routinely forced the boat people into exile by otherwise torturing them with a hot exhaust pipe on a boat. All of this has been covered up by the Murdoch press and his lapdogs such as Ronald Reagan, Campbell Newman and Tony Abbott.

  13. Tintarella di Luna

    You say potatoe, I say potato.

    Cease and desist.
    Any talk of spuds is bound to attract the spud-peeler out of his burrow.

    Bearing who knows a tomayto or a tomarto, let’s call the whole thing off.

  14. Andrew

    Who the fuck are these people who say “potahto” anyhow? Has anyone ever met one? And how annoying are they?

    I likes the Quayle reference anyhow.

  15. yackman

    “I’ve said elsewhere that it’s no use blaming the employers when the playing field has been so tilted. The waterfront episode demonstrated what a joint effort is required to change entrenched distortions. Companies can’t do that on their own, even when there’s a conservative government. There has to be complete support for their actions.”

    Spot-on Blogstrop

  16. Pedro the Ignorant

    I was in Vietnam in 1971 and we were helping the ARVN and VC soldiers cooperate on a potato farming collective,. . . . . . .

    Beautifully done, Dot. (7.57) Made my morning. :- 0

  17. Empire Strikes Back

    Dot at 7.57

    Champagne satire fella.

  18. All of this has been covered up by the Murdoch press and his lapdogs such as Ronald Reagan, Campbell Newman and Tony Abbott.

    Yet more evidence linking Our Bob with the other Our Bob.

    It’s uncanny, Dotty. Uncanny, I calls it.

    From Bob Ellis:

    I was in Sydney in 1971 and we were helping the ALP and the ACTU cooperate on a potato farming collective. Naturally, the ACTU chose voluntarily to embrace communism before the great mining-fuelled tsunami, the Liberal-Country axis, decided to invade and impose a mild brand of socialism on the people of this country. I will never forgive the Coalition, particularly Malcolm Fraser, with ripping voters away from the true light on the hill, and turning them into people who began to think twice about the glories of socialism and evolved into the Hawke-Keating betrayal. All of this has been covered up by the Murdoch press and his lapdogs such as Ronald Reagan, Campbell Newman and Tony Abbott.

  19. Squirrel

    “Pedro the Ignorant

    #1184114, posted on February 10, 2014 at 10:49 am

    I was in Vietnam in 1971 and we were helping the ARVN and VC soldiers cooperate on a potato farming collective,. . . . . . .

    Beautifully done, Dot. (7.57) Made my morning. :- 0″

    And let us not forget:

    “Niamh Conolly: The church in Ireland secretly had lots of potatoes during the famine, and they hid the potatoes in pillows and sold them abroad in potato fairs. And the Pope closed down a lot of the factories that were makin’ the potatoes and turned them into prisons for children.
    Father Ted: God almighty, she says that as if there’s something sinister about it all! I mean, what is the problem with her?”

  20. .

    Did Bob Ellis write that or was that the real Bob Ellis, Phillipa!?

    Holy crap that is uncanny!

  21. joeallen

    It was not the republican party who started vietnam war. That was Lyndon Johnson from Texas, a democrat. Also in Texas was Bell Helicopters, who had come up with new copters for fighting jungle war, but the only testing ground in the works was vietnam. It was Richard Nixon, a Republican who got the US out of the war. Johnson accelerated a war Kennedy wanted to get out of, which was why JFK was assassinated by the military and industrial complex. But both US major parties like wars, because the wars help the MI complex attain enormous profits.

  22. Do they actually ENTRENCH it, or are they simply a symptom of how much (and in whom) such thuggery is entrenched?

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