Gerard Henderson & Grace Collier share Prestigious W. H. Hutt Award for Commentary on IR

The Prestigious William Harold Hutt Award for Commentary on Industrial Relations is an occasional award for people who have made a significant contribution to the public debate on industrial relations, wage fixing and the trade union movement in Australia. This is the first occasion and the award is long overdue because there are many other worthy contenders for it.

This is an appropriate time for two reasons: First, contemplating the financial state of the nation, it is hard to find a more vital area for critical review than industrial relations (with productivity in mind). Second, the Royal Commission on the trade unions will bring to light a number of issues that Hutt illuminated with a mixture of historical, economic and political analysis.

Hutt famously wrote that most economists are forgotten when they die but he was forgotten while he was still alive. If the proceedings of the Royal Commission are covered adequately by the commentators and media, the matters that concerned Hutt in his long career will become daily talking points across the nation. His take on these issues should become familiar to all people who are seriously interested in wage fixing and industrial relations and the potential of the trade unions for good and ill. Ideas matter, and the time for W. H. Hutt’s ideas has come.

Congratulations to Gerard Henderson and Grace Collier!

For more on William Harold Hutt. Most of my essays on Hutt are now behind a paywall at Amazon books but there remains a deal of material including an extract from ne of his most important books, The Strike Threat System.

• “The strike-threat system is an intolerable abuse of economic freedom. The strike is a type of warfare under which privileged groups can gain at the expense of the unprivileged.”

• “I shall argue that while taxation can have limited effects in bringing about property and income transfers from rich to poor, the strike threat cannot. Forcing up the price of labor in different firms, occupations or industries does not effect an income redistribution from investors in general to workers in general.”

• “I must make it clear that I do not dismiss the more positive side of union functions. The union framework has become an indispensable part of the institutional apparatus of this age. But the private use of coercive power in determining the price of labor is not a necessary concomitant of unionism, although it is its overriding purpose at present.”

• “The strike-threat system must accept main responsibility for the political expediency of inflation in modern societies.”

• “I want the reader to consider whether the survival of the democratic system may not be dependent upon a general recognition of the illegitimacy of privately motivated coercion in all forms.”

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29 Responses to Gerard Henderson & Grace Collier share Prestigious W. H. Hutt Award for Commentary on IR

  1. stackja

    “I want the reader to consider whether the survival of the democratic system may not be dependent upon a general recognition of the illegitimacy of privately motivated coercion in all forms.”

    Reminds me of:

    New South Wales Consolidated Acts CRIMES ACT 1900 – SECT 99
    Demanding property with intent to steal
    99 Demanding property with intent to steal
    (1) Whosoever, with menaces, or by force, demands any property from any person, with intent to steal the same, shall be liable to imprisonment for ten years.
    (2) A person is guilty of an offence under this subsection if the person commits an offence under subsection (1) in the company of another person or persons. A person convicted of an offence under this subsection is liable to imprisonment for 14 years.
    (3) It is immaterial whether any such menace is of violence or injury by the offender or by any other person.

    Of course stealing a company’s livelihood may not fit these definitions.

  2. Rabz

    Well, here’s Bolt on a related topic:

    I certainly have no greater insight into the AWU than Collier, but I seriously doubt Bill Shorten is so stupid or immoral as to have himself been corrupt or knowingly connived at corruption.

    We shall find out, very soon.

  3. jupes

    Grace Collier is a breath of fresh air.

    If only half of what she writes is true, then we live in a society where union privelege is entrenched.

    I had hoped that the reason Abbott called for this Royal Commission was to – finally – expose the unions and their links with Labor. Best case this would destroy the unions and Labor including TLS and Dolly.

    But now I seriously doubt that this RC will achieve any change to the status quo. Most likely it will create a few headlines, then – literally – years down the track it will announce a few lame recommendations. This government if it’s still in power will tinker a bit around the edges but the union biased system will remain in place.

    TLS and Dolly will be embarrassed but won’t be charged.

  4. jupes

    Hopefully I’m wrong.

  5. Ren Hoek

    Let’s not forget to congratulate Gerards muse Nancy.

  6. Lem

    Zero percent inflation. It’s time.

  7. hammy

    Henderson’s an appalling columnist. Thankfully Fairfax managed to get rid of him, forcing him to flee to the Murdoch crap-yard called The Australian.

  8. Gab

    It’s good he’s upset you so, hammy, means he’s doing things right and getting paid heaps more at the OZ to boot. :D

  9. Lem

    Well, Hammy, apparently Fairfax aren’t paying their option writers…pass the gin.

  10. Aristogeiton

    Read is essay on industrial relations and must say I was underwhelmed. A lot of political comment and light on detail on the regulatory changes and their context, which is what I was expecting. Grace Collier is a babe.

  11. Lem

    And that’s opinion, option is something else (like whether you read it or not)

  12. Aristogeiton

    Lem
    #1337692, posted on June 7, 2014 at 9:02 pm
    Well, Hammy, apparently Fairfax aren’t paying their option writers…pass the gin.

    +1. Henderson should have saved time and like Mike Carleton just made up xenophobic or otherwise extreme comments to attribute to lefties. Oh wait; he doesn’t have to.

  13. Publicly motivated coercion is just as bad.

  14. Lem

    I make no comment about Gerard, just pointing out that Mike is having issues with payment by Fairfax, unless they’ve coughed up since his recent tweet.

  15. hammy

    Excellent article nailing that fool Henderson to the floor!

  16. Lem

    And I suppose we’ll read the riposte in media watchdog next Friday. Which will at least be amusing.

  17. Aristogeiton

    hammy
    #1337728, posted on June 7, 2014 at 9:30 pm
    Excellent article nailing that fool Henderson to the floor!

    Hammy, you’re getting boring of late.

  18. custard

    I thought Colliers piece today in the Australian was great. This bit especially

    <emWhen it comes to the AWU scandal, justice is coming like a freight train and I am waiting with chilled champagne.
    But back to Sinodinos, what does all this have to do with him? Sinodinos was a cloak of respectability a bunch of grubs used to disguise their activity. Sinodinos heard nothing, saw nothing and said nothing.
    Either he is a blithering idiot, or he sold his presence for a fee. If he is an idiot he should not be reinstated; if he sold his presence for a fee, then that fee was potentially $20 million and those numbers make numbers likely to come out of the royal commission seem minuscule. Sinodinos maintains that he has done nothing wrong. But how could Abbott possibly have Sinodinos on the frontbench and cast judgment on others in those circumstance?

  19. nerblnob

    Excellent article nailing that fool Henderson to the floor!

    An ad hominem attack complaining that Henderson makes ad hominem attacks?
    Methinks the “nailer” has hit his own thumbs in the process. At least Henderson is amusing, and his “attacks” mostly consist of giving his targets enough rope.

  20. johno

    Hammy’s article demonstrates one thing. The Left believes in a closed shop. According to the Left, only Left whinges are to be permitted to wield control over Australia’s ‘cultural’ institution. No ‘Right wingers’ allowed.

    Their ABC is exhibit number 1.

  21. johno

    If the proceedings of the Royal Commission are covered adequately by the commentators and media

    I think you are being a bit too optimistic in hoping that the media and commentators will provide a fair or accurate coverage of the Royal Commission. Most of the media is left wing. Consequently the story line will be a combination of ‘a few rotten apples’ or ‘Abbott is out to destroy the unions.’

    Likely outcome are a few mild reforms in Abbott’s second term, if he gets one.

  22. 1234

    I am still waiting for the explosive exposé Collier promised in the AFR about Gillard’s AWU advocacy. Two years later, still waiting. Puff and bullshit.

  23. jupes

    But how could Abbott possibly have Sinodinos on the frontbench and cast judgment on others in those circumstance?

    He couldn’t possibly.

    Then again he has let me down a lot lately so it’s quite probable.

  24. jupes

    I am still waiting for the explosive exposé Collier promised in the AFR about Gillard’s AWU advocacy. Two years later, still waiting. Puff and bullshit.

    Hang in there mate. You might just see something next week.

  25. Clam Chowdah

    Hammy, thank you for the link. The futile hypocritical rage on display in the article and comments made my day.

  26. 1234

    Yea sure. Christmas is coming soon too.

  27. jupes

    Yea sure. Christmas is coming soon too.

    I agree if you are refering to charges you will probably have to wait a few years as the prosecution of Thomo has shown.

    However, I was alluding to the Royal Commission. Next week is all about exposing TLS.

  28. PeterPetrum

    Dear, dear. Whiskey is the Irish and US spelling and Whisky is the only correct (and Scottish!) spelling (guess my country of birth). Mixing both spellings up in the same article shows a lack of understanding of the subject. Slainthe!

  29. PeterPetrum

    Obviously I had been drinking to much of this stuff. This entry should have been under Japanese Whisky. Oh well!

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