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Hurting from the Unfair Work Commission

The Federal government is hurting as a result of the “Unfair” Work Commission’s decision to drastically reduce penalty rates for over 700,000 poorly paid workers in the hospitality and pharmacy sectors. In their latest obscene attempts to direct the public gaze from their responsibility for this decision, the Federal government has launched legislation to criminalise trade unions and employers who do deals that disadvantage workers.

Here they are, the mob that has legislated unions out of existence, that has made withdrawing your labour outside an enterprise bargaining period, a criminal offence. This is the same mob that has done everything it can to marginalise the trade union movement, legislate to make it easier to casualise the labour force and has supported and continues to support moves to remove penalty rates for the poorest workers in this country, is now talking about introducing legislation that will protect workers from their unions.

Talk about hypocrites, seeing the Prime Minister painting himself as the champion of labour is akin to Stalin painting himself as a great supporter of human rights or Hitler telling the world he had no intention of leading Germany into the Second World War. This latest attempt to out manoeuvre the leader of the Opposition is a tawdry little exercise in trying to gain the moral high ground in the labour debate.

It reminds me of successive Ministers getting up and telling Australians they are turning back refugee boats to stop people drowning. Both statements are designed to muddy the waters about the reality we face.

Growing unemployment, underemployment, the casualisation of the labour force, the criminalisation of trade unions and trade unionists is beginning to take an electoral toll on the Coalition government. Faced with political oblivion if they continue to support their current workplace policies, all they could do is come up with this hair brained scheme. No wonder no one seems to take these clowns seriously. Instead of tackling the corporate sector, instead of coming up with schemes that force the corporate sector to pay tax, instead of introducing legislation to stop the “Unfair” Work Commission from implementing its policies, all it can do is come up with this legislative cul de sac. This is nothing more than an amateurish attempt to deflect Australians’ eyes from their desire to create a low wage economy that maximises profits for employers at the expense of workers.

I never thought Turnbull was the new Messiah when he knifed Taliban Tony Abbott in the back and became Prime Minister. I did think, considering his upbringing, he still believed in a principle or two. Faced with a party that is riddled with Institute of Public Affairs clones and reactionary conservatives, our beloved (by some) Prime Minister has jettisoned all his principles to hang onto the Prime Ministership. When he’s knifed in the next few months he’ll go back to counting his money while Australians will be paying the price for his gutlessness.

Dr. Joseph Toscano