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Weekend reflections

May 4th, 2007

Weekend Reflections is on again. Please comment on any topic of interest (civilised discussion and no coarse language, please). Feel free to put in contributions more lengthy than for the Monday Message Board or standard comments.

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  1. rabee
    May 5th, 2007 at 14:18 | #1

    I was offended by the May 02 headline in The Australian an awful paper:

    $1bn to offer hope for blacks

    The version on the internet has

    $1bn to offer hope for Aborigines

    This seems ton have been recently changed because google news still refers to the original headline:
    google search

    I thought we’ve moved somewhat from Advance Australia (Chapter 10)

  2. observa
    May 6th, 2007 at 00:56 | #2

    Some of us were wondering if the Federal ALP now believes firmly in management’s unfettered right to sack an existing employee in favour of a better candidate for the position, despite the immediate financial consequences for the incumbent employee. As Charlton MP Kelly Hoare who has been in the job since 1998 described being sacked and replaced by Greg Combet as a “disgraceful situation”
    “I am the sole income earner in our family”
    “I have a daughter at university and a son on first-year apprenticeship wages.”
    “If we lose this income we lose the house.”
    I wonder what Mr Combet and Co would say about the Observa and Co sacking a single mum employee of some 9 years and parachuting in what he considered a more productive mate into the job.

  3. observa
    May 6th, 2007 at 01:02 | #3

    Yes it’s a bit like shamelessly calling it the White Australia Policy when it was really the Caucasian one rabee.

  4. dave
    May 6th, 2007 at 02:44 | #4

    I’d like to make an observation about whether there’s a new division in Australian Politics.
    Its no longer between Labor and Liberal or worker and capital, but between the political ‘insiders’ of both parties and the rest of the population.
    Both parties are now basically just benefit brokers, using incumbency to reward their own mates and cronies for funding to get reelected. Both parties hand out favorable planning decisions to developers, and lucrative jobs for insiders.

    I’ve noticed increasingly that the biggest businesses in Australia are the ones that feed either directly or indirectly (ie property developers taking advantage of zoning laws) feed of government.

    Its been interesting to see the Brian Burke affair also had Noel Crichton Browne involved, showing just how the insiders now come from all sides of the fence.

  5. gordon
    May 6th, 2007 at 10:37 | #5

    I can’t resist this quote from commenter “me” in an interesting thread following Alan Blinder’s post on offshoring at Economist’s View:

    “Other than airplanes, bombs and garbage, we [the US] have a comparative advantage in nothing”.

    The post and comments are highly recommended.

  6. BilB
    May 6th, 2007 at 10:40 | #6

    Dave,

    I think that there is much truth in what you have suggested. If you include money backed lobbyists in political insiders. I think that the only effective way to break into this cycle is with interest group associations, grey power for instance. That is a good point you raise.

  7. observa
    May 6th, 2007 at 13:59 | #7

    Did the public funding of political parties begin the hollowing out process that has now progressed to ultimately concentrate political power in the hands of the insiders and faceless men? After all, who really needs prickly party membership to rally the troops for fundraising anymore?

    Oh and rabee, newspaper headlines really need to be short for the obvious. $1bn cf $1 billion and blacks cf aborigines which is a lot of space in large bold type.

  8. haiku
    May 6th, 2007 at 14:50 | #8

    According to observa and CL, a new MP can only arise upon the death or retirement of the incumbent. Or, indeed, upon the death or retirement of the previously preselected challenger. Otherwise, once preselected, that person contests elections for life or until retirement. None of that election-to-election stuff. Although it does raise the question as to why the current PM isn’t the member for Drummoyne?

    I guess this world view fits well with a reality where the Iraq war is going swimmingly and where WMDs were widely discovered.

  9. Tony G
    May 6th, 2007 at 20:45 | #9

    Dave said:

    “ between Labor and Liberal or worker and capital, but between the political ‘insiders’ of both parties and the rest of the population. “

    Defiantly Dave, it is us and ‘them’. ‘Them’ being “the elite ruling political classâ€? the1.5% of the population that join political parties.

    1.5% of the population dictating their terms to the other 98.5%.

    There is nothing new about societies being lead by aristocrats; be they the crown, the politburo, some fascist dictator or the persons portrayed as elected officials whose real interest is representing the interests of political donors and “the ‘revenue lobby’ (comprising the ATO, the Treasury and their allies in politics, academia, the media and the welfare industry)�.

    It is inferred we have a “democracy the second worst form of government�, but looking at all the vested interests listed above it could be argued we have the worst.

  10. Jill Rush
    May 6th, 2007 at 22:16 | #10

    A sleeper issue in the coming federal election which has yet to be picked up by any of the commentators is that women are feeling very disaffected. Women in families are constantly told how much is being done for them through Families Assistance whilst mainly feeling frustrated at the many ways that the system is convoluted and ties them up in red tape and tax problems. Single women are unable to afford a mortgage whilst being paid lower wages than men. Whilst few have gone to AWAs men have done better than women as they are over represented in the mining industries which are high paid whilst women in hospitality and retail have last ground. Women are working harder than ever with greater expectations.

    Women have seen the way that Amanda Vanstone was dumped by the Liberals. They are universally appalled at the inaction of the PM to Bill Herrenan’s comments on Julia Gillard as if she was a jersey cow not a person which insults all women.

    The press has picked up on the Bill Heffenan issue as it was so hard to miss. That Labor has chosen a female deputy will be picked up by the electorate as showing a better grasp of modern day realities where voters are quite prepared to support women in politics. Women bring a different perspective and help to balance decision making. Labor is supportive of younger women as they have a number of younger women candidates – some of whom have suffered much vilification at the hands of the media in SA.

    The Howard government is fighting the impression that it is old fashioned and out of touch. For many women voters this is indeed the case and the Howard government has a lot of form for treating people in a cynical way such as seeming to respond to issues whilst tying them up in red tape so that the solution is illusory. It would be interesting to see some solid research on this aspect of the elections.

  11. dave
    May 7th, 2007 at 00:56 | #11

    I have to take issue with Jills comments above.

    ‘Women bring a different perspective and help to balance decision making.’ The women who obtain preselections for Labor or Liberal make exactly the same decisions as the men. Aside from yes, some social policy decisions such as RU486 and other social issues (and of course many men voted the same as the majority of women and many women did not vote as a bloc anyway), the women follow identical policies.

    I know several women who have obtained preselection through affirmative action in Labor, and I can vouch for the fact they only ever trot out their gender as the latest weapon in the careerist scramble for a seat; they have absolutely no ‘seperate committment’ to it whatsoever, outside of preselection time.

    ‘Women have seen the way that Amanda Vanstone was dumped by the Liberals.’
    Not sure of what happened here, but many people are dumped from political parties all the time. And, instead of us all being outraged at Amanda’s job retention prospects (note that she’s received a plum position as ambassador mind you): what about her actual POLICIES, you know the things she actually implements that actually affects our lives, rather than her gender and whether her dismissal was fair.

    ‘They are universally appalled at the inaction of the PM to Bill Herrenan’s comments on Julia Gillard as if she was a jersey cow not a person which insults all women. ‘
    Yes his comments were out of line, but notably they were not supported by anyone, and they are, despite the usual sensational media coverage, totally unimportant when balanced against working wages or family leave or other issues which affect women.

    ‘Labor is supportive of younger women as they have a number of younger women candidates – some of whom have suffered much vilification at the hands of the media in SA. ‘
    Seriously, did you SEE the full initial interview with Nicole Cornes?. She’s a Liberal voter, who was only recently tempted to switch to Labor. She had absolutely no understanding of any policies put to her whatsoever. Nominating a policy free celebrity like this is an insult to voters no matter what the gender of the candidate, and if you see the angry letters to the media in SA, many women feel the same. But please, google the interview, and see for yourself.

    Gender issues are important issues. But applying a blank policy that female candidates must be supported, regardless of the policies, is just more of the lazy thinking that keeps the focus on personalities rather than policies.

  12. observa
    May 7th, 2007 at 01:36 | #12

    No Haiku, I don’t really think a polly should have a job for life and like most unfair dismissal claims, there’s usually a whole lot more to it than meets the eye http://www.news.com.au/adelaidenow/story/0,22606,21680977-5005962,00.html
    The irony for Federal Labor in all of this however, was simply delicious.

    I must admit Jill I got totally confused about the women as jersey cows thingy. On the one hand Bill Heffernan got howled down by all and sundry for suggesting that a woman who concentrates wholly on a working career is gunna lack something for not being a mum. However when it was clear after a few rudimentary media questions, new appointee Nicole Cornes knew absolutely nothing about the job, then it was hubby Graham springing to her defence, rabbitting on about how we shouldn’t worry because she had had 2 kids without anaesthetic and had coped with a miscarriage, etc and there was absolute silence about that. Makes you laugh really.

  13. Ken
    May 7th, 2007 at 08:14 | #13

    Most people unfairly dismissed take no action – they’ll be finding it hard enough to get another job or have any chance to negotiate better than bottom rates with the lack of a good reference from their previous employer. Other employees who witnessed events will be unlikely to risk their job to stand up and provide evidence (if the unfair treatment was witnessed at all). For most people the process is a nightmare.
    Whilst it’s possible to cite cases of dismissed employees acting badly and greedily, the reality is most people who do take action have had serious harm to finances and reputation. If they are forced to resort to the courts as the only means to get redress they’ll face a severe financial burden at a time when their finances are stretched, against a better financed and probably tax-deducted defence.
    The “right” to seek redress is something only those who don’t need it can afford.

  14. Jill Rush
    May 7th, 2007 at 09:12 | #14

    Dave,
    As far as Amanda Vanstone is concerned she was far from the weakest link in the Howard cabinet and whilst she did get a plum job – which is not good either – she basically took the fall for Phillip Ruddock and what occurred under his watch.

    As far as Nicole Cornes is concerned it is too early to judge how she will turn out – but there is no doubt that there has been a great deal more attention paid to her gaffes than to those of substance such as Bill Heffernan who is after all in government. In fact Nicole Cornes determination to continue speaks well of her determination to succeed and her studies show that she has hidden depths.

    Whilst women should be judged they should be judged by the same standards – however there is still a great many structural and cultural impediments including the many that have been introduced by this government to women being on a level playing field.

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