He said the Prime Minister, John Howard, had been “drunk on power”

Ah, politics:

The Labor leader Kevin Rudd and his deputy Julia Gillard today unveiled the long-awaited transition details of Labor’s plan to rip-up the Howard Government’s WorkChoices plan and abolish Australian Workplace Agreements.

It also announced it would keep the Government’s rules on secondary boycotts and preventing union bosses from demanding entry into a workplace without notice.

The Prime Minister, John Howard, said Labor’s policy was “by the union bosses for the union bosses” and accused Mr Rudd of going through a “charade” that he had stood up to the unions.

“Labor’s policy will mean more power to the union bosses to push industry wide wage claims, leading to increased inflation and upward pressure on interest rates,” Mr Howard said.

He said Labor’s plan would overturn the rights that small business have to run their businesses free of interference from the trade union movement.

ACTU president Sharan Burrow welcomed Labor’s policy, saying it would improve rights in the workplace but said the union movement did not support elements of the transition plan.

Ms Burrow said the ACTU believed Labor could have abolished AWAs sooner, opposed the decision to keep the Government’s limits on union right of entry into workplaces and opposed the decision to allow workers earning over $100,000 to not be covered by awards.

Australian Industry Group chief executive Heather Ridout said “important concerns” remained about Labor’s plan and business was still unhappy about the policy to scrap AWAs but the transition arrangements announced today “appear workable”.

Making it rather a nice move, what? I did skip, in the interests of making everybody look criminaly vacuous while a country’s industrial relations would rather have, say, grown-ups in charge, some other details that demonstrate the policy is more worker-friendly than not. I wouldn’t say it’s especially Union-friendly, though but, then, I’m not the Prime Minister. Even the wankers at the Wall Street Journal feel inspired to be dicks in Rudd’s direction, for Cliff’s sake.

Another of the Prime Minister’s responses is, by now, a familiar friend:

“Labor’s industrial relations policy is not a plan to keep the economy strong. It is a deal cobbled together to buy the further financial support of the union bosses until election day.

One can almost hear, within Howard’s whiny voice, a cry of despair that, unlike his BFF Bush, he does not live in a country in which he just say Labor will cause terrorist attacks. I can’t imagine that he seriously thinks that being a crybaby will alter the opinion polls favouring Labor as economic managers – although the fact that it was 39% to 36%, with fully 25% undecided, should demonstrate to both sides that the rest of us would like them to grow up.


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