How to tango on two back feet?

Kevin Rudd is finally running into thicker underbrush. Having dealt with the leaked productivity memo with almost no political sensibility whatsoever (allowing for the fact that the Australian is not all that sympathetic to Labor to begin with – hence the story is big in the Australian, not so much visible elsewhere. How it is in Japan, I don’t know.)

Now he’s moving to kick a CFMEU official out of the party, after video footage of said union boss being abusive and threatening to a workplace manager. This is a shame – I’ve worked with/for the CFMEU, and I quite like the job they do. This guy was clearly an idiot – but then he isn’t the first to lose his head.

Combine these two, and Labor is right back in the world where anyone who feels inclined can write them off as in thrall of the Unions, with no idea how to run the economy. Not a place to be (again). The fact that one could equally put all business owners in the Liberal camp, along with all of their workplace shenanigans, seems unimportant.

Howard, meanwhile, would press the matter, but has his own problems – such as being the only people saying their IR legislation is any good. If you can’t spot the sucker in the room…? So several debates could all find themselves swirling around our workplaces. Neither party seems to be doing the same thing, but we shall still find ourselves called upon to decide whose thing is the best.

Then there’s the either well-timed (for Rudd, who gets more room to duck) or poorly-timed (for Howard, who gets far less room to swing a punch) news that parliamentarians were handing themselves a pay increase. Now, this is the worst behaviour assumed of politicians, and it couldn’t have come at a worse time. Inflation, housing affordability, tax-and-benefits and the value of Liberal policies to Australian households, the bloody ‘battlers’ and high-speed internet access…a lot of this election is going around on welfarist issues, and now the Prime Minister is defending a whopping 6.8% pay increase for politicians (this year – they had 7% last year, also. And one that will put their AUD150 per week in their pocket sooner than the average household gets their far smaller one). This, while he picks up some AUD21,000 extra per year.

The argument is, as always, that government needs to be competitive, or it won’t get talent. It never works (who honestly believe their politicians are talented at anything but lining their own pockets). Moreover the Prime Minster’s salary, the highest, goes to around AUD330,000. I’m sure there are wonderful benefits to being the Prime Minister, but only one person gets to be at a time, and it’s downhill from there. I don’t see that competiting with the real Brain Pies in hedge funds and private equity.

I can’t wait for the next round of newspolls to hit the streets. Whatever keeps talking heads in suits and ties, I suppose.

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2 comments so far

  1. D B Valentine on

    Its not surprising the pollies should get a pay rise. Lets face it they are essentially in their positions for their own career advancement and to help perpetuate a system that is undemocratic (in every sense of the word) and unfair (on a global scale). I look forward to a politician whose main objective is to dismantle this idiotic framework of which we are all subjected to participate on some level – is anyone happy? In another sense though I guess we all agree to this system as if it cant be overthrown.
    Bring on the cerebral revolution and chop the figurative head off this corrupt and unjust system that obviously serves the ruling oligarchs and in the process destroys our very existence.

  2. zooeygoethe on

    Having lived in first-past-the-post England and now Electoral College US, I confess to a soft spot for Australia’s Wash-Minster system (Constitutional Monarchy, warts and all). Compulsory participation absolutely puts us over the top.

    What gets me is our Working Class Man, Little Aussie Battler, Waltzing Matilda fantasies about ourselves – in which case our parliament should be full of the working class, the immigrants, the miners (yes, even Union officials). A Parliament of Woody Guthries, Billy Braggs and Post Office managers. Bruce Simpson and Ted Egan.

    Instead we get men and women who fit as comfortably as anything into suits, elected because they were pre-selected by one of two parties, into seats safe or otherwise. And who ran to secure that which is of interest to the Party Members – that’s the wrong constituency.

    The Prime Minister’s argument would be fine, if we offered million-dollar salaries – but why do we want a parliament of avowedly technocratic, mercantilist money-men (and women)?

    I suppose at least they’d be honest about it. But making a large salary strikes one as a poor qualifying criterion for a parliamentary democracy, no?

    ‘Money-grubbing politicians’ might be a stereotype, it might not – it certainly isn’t one politicians go to any length to disprove.


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