“What makes the boat go faster?”

Prime Minister Scott Morrison gave an address to the National Press Club today – the transcript is here.


As always with these things there seems to a lot to like and things to dislike.

To like:

This health and economic crisis has reminded us of just how much we depend on a strong and growing economy for our jobs, for our incomes, for our health and education services, our safety, our security, our social safety net of which we’re so proud.

To strengthen and grow our economy, the boats we need to go faster are the hundreds of thousands of small, and medium and large businesses that make up our economy and create the value upon which everything else depends.

Value created by establishing successful products and services, the ability to be able to sell them at a competitive and profitable price and into growing and sustainable markets. It’s economics 101.

That’s what happens in a sustainable and successful job making market economy.

Now, it is true that in the short term, demand stimulus by government can boost your economy. And that the Treasurer and I together with the Cabinet have supported this as an emergency response. But it must only be temporary.

At some point you’ve got to get your economy out of ICU.

You’ve got to get it off the medication before it becomes too accustomed to it.

We must enable our businesses to earn Australia’s way out of this crisis.

And that means focussing on the things that can make their businesses go faster.

The skilled labour businesses need to draw on, the affordable and reliable energy they need, the research and technology they can draw on and utilise, the investment capital and finance that they can access, the markets they can connect to, the economic infrastructure that supports and connects them, the amount of government regulation they must comply with, and the amount and the efficiency of the taxes they must pay, in particular whether such taxes encourage them to invest and to employ.

To dislike:

Now, beginning immediately, the Minister for Industrial Relations, the Attorney-General, Christian Porter will lead a new, time-bound, dedicated process bringing employers, industry groups, employee representatives and government to the table to chart a practical reform agenda, a job making agenda, for Australia’s industrial relations system.

The Minister will chair five working groups for discussion, negotiation and, hopefully, agreement to produce that JobMaker package in the following areas.

-Award simplification, what most small and medium sized businesses deal with with their employees every single day.

Enterprise agreement making. We’ve got to get back to the basics.

Casuals and fixed term employees, made even more prescient by recent changes through the Fair Work Commission.

Compliance and enforcement. People should be paid properly and unions need to obviously do the right thing, as must employers.

Greenfields agreements for new enterprises, where the new investment will go and the certainty is needed more so than ever.
Membership of each group will include employer and union representatives, as well as individuals chosen based on their demonstrated experience and expertise and that will include especially small businesses, rural and regional backgrounds, multicultural communities, women and families.

This process, as I said, will be time-bound and is expected to run through to September. We must make the most of this time we have and we must move quickly. It will become apparent very quickly if progress is to be made.

The working groups will either reach something approaching a consensus on issues or they won’t. But we’ve got to give it a go. Participation in the groups is being invited without prejudice to their positions.

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32 Responses to “What makes the boat go faster?”

  1. tgs

    McManus has already flagged her shopping list for this process.

    What a crock, you can’t negotiate with these people ScoMo is falling into the classic liberal trap. The only way to win this game is not to play.

  2. C.L.

    Yeah, I agree the IR talkfest has got danger written all over it.
    Five “working groups”?

    Just govern already. That’s what you were elected to do.

    The government should also be taking the opportunity to demolish warmenism and hammer home the wealth-creating, jobs-providing necessity of baseload, coal-fired power.

    Typical contemporary Liberals. They don’t want to win. They want to be liked.

  3. Big_Nambas

    No hope for Australia’s future if we have to wait for consensus with the unions. Can’t and wont happen.
    It is clear to all outside government that red/green tape, environmental approval systems and energy costs are the blockage to a successful future. Private sector unions are nearly dead in Australia why give them a life line?

  4. Infidel Tiger King

    If casualisation was made more difficult in return for it being easier to fire people I think that would be a net good.

    Casual employment is because permanency is so onerous.

  5. Entropy

    I don’t detect Soe Di g time with small, growing small business to work out what it is government does that causes them problems. It seems all the big end of town IR.

  6. Cui Bono

    Like a bad manager poking around in others’ business. Will he get around to his responsibility, the public service in need of reform and scaling back?
    No freaking way.

  7. Rafe Champion

    Let’s see how the decent and mediocre perform against the mendacious and malevolent when they meet around the table.

  8. a happy little debunker

    If you want small business to flourish, first you have to let them trade.

    On my Island state it will also require re-opening of major tourist attractions, like Port Arthur.
    Of course without the tourists it is all for nought – so re-opening the country to interstate and international travellers will be required.

    Of all workers in QLD only 9.1% are employed in tourism sector – the figure for Tassie is nearly double that at 17.2%.

    Nearly 1 in 5 adult Tasmanians are looking at long term employment disruption as a consequence of the shutdown.

    That Governments of Australia still have no strategy to re-open the country.

    Scott, Peter, Andrew, Gladys, Mark, Steven, Annastacia, Michael & Andrww – YOU did this & if YOU think YOU can ‘fix it’ without re-opening the country – then YOU are the numpties that are non-essential.

  9. mh


    Up next, Glorious Five Year Plan

  10. Rex Anger

    If you want small business to flourish, first you have to let them trade.


    I see a Red [ledger]book and I want to paint it Black…

    Before the actual business owners start hurling boots at me, I’ll take my leave.

  11. Squirrel

    Labor seem very cross about the idea of an LNP Government talking to the unions (cutting out the middle-men?), so the IR love-in can’t be all bad.

  12. Robber Baron

    I’m not falling for Scomo’s lies for my taxes will certainly rise.

  13. Perfidious Albino

    It was exceedingly generous of the government to take the union mitigation legislation off the table, apparently as a sign of good faith (one suspects this has all been pre-agreed), perhaps attempting to appeal to union self- interest. However, I doubt the unions will take their push for industry/sector bargaining off the table…

  14. stackja

    Unions probably want employers to pay more in wages.
    Employers probably want unions to moderate wage claims.
    Employees probably just want a job.

  15. vlad

    This is a once in a lifetime opportunity to reset Australia’s economy as a rationally-randite free market system; it will not be taken.

    But that would be the road to undreamt of prosperity.

  16. NoFixedAddress

    Belt and Road will fix it.

  17. Mother Lode

    At present we have the sardonically named ‘Fair Work Australia’ which, as I recall, is stuffed to the gunwales with unionists, labour lawyers, and representatives of industry groups that seem to utter contempt for small business.

    This idea might lead to some decentralisation.

    But we are still stuck with the fact that the unions are treated as the only legitimate voice of wukkaz. Membership in the private sector is less than 10% but the unions are accorded treatment as if they are speaking for everyone.

    Incidentally, I wonder if politicians have wondered why union membership is so different in government and private sectors.

  18. Roger

    Labor seem very cross about the idea of an LNP Government talking to the unions (cutting out the middle-men?), so the IR love-in can’t be all bad.

    Yes. And at the end of the day, in a democracy like Australia’s, politics is about trade offs. It’s the nature of the beast. The goal is to get the best possible result for the country.

  19. thefrollickingmole

    It was exceedingly generous of the government to take the union mitigation legislation off the table, apparently as a sign of good faith

    Much the same as the Germans did at the end of WW1?

    I believe there is another term for laying down your weapons while the other side keeps theirs and you negotiate….

  20. Its Remarkable

    Typical sop from the supposedly conservatives to the left unions. I am reminded of the saying about feeding the crocodile hoping to placate it, only to end up being eaten last.
    Scott, they will never vote for you no matter what you give them, but you will turn away many of your own voters.
    So, in the end it will be lose-lose for the government and the country.
    Typical soft, wet lefty libs.

  21. Watch Your Back

    Well, I think this is a large step forward. If he really does cut regulations, red tape, electors prices and taxes on enterprise, then that is why Cats have been calling for?
    The alternative is large scale spending on ‘infrastructure ‘.

    Of course, Fair Work Australia should be dismantled, let employers and employees make their own deals. Afterall, the real minimum wage is zero.

    Returning to taxes, corporation tax should go, overtime should be untaxed, GST should be reduced and levied only as a consumer sales tax. The only sensible tax is income tax and this should be flattened.

    That’s it.

  22. Russell

    Let’s face it … in big biz or gov the bosses can say they must “protect” their shareholders and the unions can say they must “protect” their members. So there’s really no one who can make any transformative decisions at these proposed meetings.
    Now in small biz, every boss and worker must “protect” themselves. So they can make a transformative decisions without having to consult with someone. Instantly – no fuss!
    This is Negotiation 101 if they want to start talking about basic knowledge.
    And this is a very big difference that is totally lost on these clowns.
    It will keep the rent-seekers busy for a few months.
    Another Covid19 SafeApp in the making ..

  23. Roger

    Typical soft, wet lefty libs.

    We’ll see.

    It could also be this:

    Morrison – via someone who has gotten into his ear – knows that in a polity with compulsory voting elections are won by courting the middle, not the true believers. And the middle is instinctively cautious. Plus the individual entrepreneurship that fires small to medium business – the backbone of the economy – must be balanced against our history of collectivism. In this climate we’re unlikely to have as PM a Trump or even a Thatcher, but nor will we have a Shorten or a McManus. The best that can be done, then, is to build consensus to pursue incremental reforms via trade offs that can be justified in light of the common good (the “commonwealth”). That’s how Hawke – following good advice – set us up for 20+ years of economic growth.

    These are observations, not a voicing of approval, btw.

  24. Alex Davidson

    I watched some of his address to the Press Club. The only thing I remember was his reply to a journalist pointing out he is the third most highly-paid prime minister in the world, and asking, given that we are continually told “we are all in this together”, why he hasn’t taken a salary cut?

    His reply, accompanied by a barely concealed smirk, was mostly meaningless babble – something about freezing public sector wages and the need to treat politicians equally. Pain for thee but not for me.

    This is what happens when we let governments become too big. They become a law unto themselves, free to treat us with contempt while they plunder and pillage with gay abandon.

  25. candy

    Words like “consensus” and “accord” were Bob Hawke’s words and did seem to resonate.

    Corporations getting along with Sally McManus etc. The union legislation designed to deal with crook union practices is cancelled as a bargaining chip as the first step towards the New Accord.

    Whether it all translates to Australia 2020 is the thing.

  26. Rohan

    #3464925, posted on May 26, 2020 at 7:30 pm

    Up next, Glorious Five Year Plan

    President Xi couldn’t have said it better. Neither could BorisG for that matter.

  27. Rohan

    “What makes the boat go faster?”



  28. Natural Instinct

    Mr Morrison has no idea how angry some people are. Angry because they are drowning in a flood of disappointment with his speech.

    1) And today I just want to focus on just two areas – skills and industrial relations.
    2) I will address the many other components of our JobMaker plan in the weeks and months ahead, as we proceed to the Budget in October. A process that is one of patiently putting each brick in the wall.
    3) This will occur simultaneously with managing the ongoing pandemic, let’s not lose sight of that, and addressing the right here, right now, needs of Australians who continue to be severely impacted.

    Item #3 for the whole hour was what I was expecting. Nothing more. Nothing less.
    On this blog, various writers have proposed plans. I thought I was going to get THE PLAN.
    Instead I got a bon mot of “Get economy out of ICU”.
    We are governed by fools out of touch with the real pain being felt by small business/employers.
    P.S. Some speach writer thought it would be you beaut to have these as the first 2 sentences of his speech.

    I begin by acknowledging the Ngunnawal people, their elders past, present, and those who are emerging.
    Can I also acknowledge any servicemen and women and veterans who may be joining us today either here or through the broadcast and can I simply say to you, thank you for your service.

    This from the man banned ANZAC day and who is putting the Aboriginals who work in tourism (NT, WA and QLD) out of work permanently.

  29. Hay Stockard

    I earnestly desire that someone would give that simpering tin eared buffoon an early mark. Arrogant elitist thunder COAT.

  30. OldOzzie

    “What makes the boat go faster?”

    Big Engines


    “Bigger Engines”

  31. Lee

    Yeah, I agree the IR talkfest has got danger written all over it.
    Five “working groups”?

    Just govern already. That’s what you were elected to do.

    I can only imagine the absolute derision that the late Margaret Thatcher would greet such talk as “working groups” and “consensus” with.
    But she actually believed in doing the job she was elected to, instead of buck-passing.

  32. Lee

    … or seeking approval.

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