It’s been a long time since I’ve heard the slurred ocker tones of Bill Kelty. Last night on the ABC’s Big Ideas program, the former Secretary of the ACTU ambled back on to centre stage:
People always used to say to me, “the problem with you, Bill, is that as a union official you don’t understand this, you don’t understand that unions do not create wealth.” Well, I’m interested to note that the five biggest financial organisations – in 30 years’ time – will have been created in the back room of the ACTU! We created them. Every industry fund, we created … We created financial institutions out of super. Now, it is not unions’ job to create wealth but it is unions’ job to understand how wealth is created and be involved in that creation of wealth … in 30 years’ time the biggest owners of capital will actually be working people … there is no better partner than unions. No better force in a pluralist democracy than unions.
The forum required its two speakers to answer the question, Do unions help or harm the economy? Jennifer Westacott – Chief Executive of the Business Council – spoke next:
I agree with everything Bill just said.
That’s the spirit.
UPDATE: Speaking of former Labor figures, a one-time preselection candidate for Burke is in the news:
The Federal Court has ordered the unions watchdog to quash its investigation into the Australian Workers Union and return all documents it seized during controversial federal police raids in 2017.
Federal Court Justice Mordecai Bromberg issued an order on Tuesday quashing the Registered Organisations Commission (ROC) decision to investigate the AWU in October 2017. The ROC has also been ordered to return all documents it seized during the police raids of AWU offices.