Home > Economics - General > I can’t work with her: Turnbull

I can’t work with her: Turnbull

I read this headline and my immediate thought was that Putin, antivax and the disastrous WA election had finally galvanised our hapless PM into breaking with Pauline Hanson. Alas, it turns out the “her” in question was the newly elected ACTU Secretary Sally McManus, who had dared to espouse the doctrine that it is sometimes appropriate to break unjust laws. McManus joins the company of such monsters as Martin Luther King, Mahatma Gandhi and Nelson Mandela. Fortunately for Malcolm, all of these lawbreakers have one thing in common that ensures that, were they still alive, Pauline Hanson would be doing her best to keep them out of the country. He can rest easy knowing that he stands with all the “ordinary” (sound of dog whistle here) Australians represented by the One Nation faction of his coalition.

Categories: Economics - General Tags:
  1. Smith
    March 18th, 2017 at 19:33 | #1

    “all of these lawbreakers have one thing in common that, were they still alive, Pauline Hanson would be doing her best to keep them out of the country”.

    Is it that they all had a name beginning with M?

    As does McManus. Speaking of whom, is it possible to simultaneously believe in the rule of law while also believing that unjust laws (unjust, that is, in the eye of the beholder) should not be obeyed. McManus says yes but this seems like an oxymoron.

    According to one authority, Geoffrey de Q. Walker, in The Rulr of Law: Foundation of Constitutional Democracy, the rule of law in Australia means “that the people (including the government) should be ruled by the law and obey it”.

    Anyway, you would have to say that McManus is a direct consequence of the Trump era. How so? Because pre-Trump everyone had to be respectable and not say anything provocative. Nowadays, there are no penalties to being outrageous and provocative, quite the opposite in fact.

  2. bjb
    March 18th, 2017 at 20:36 | #2

    I think it’s pretty funny the Right hyper-ventilating over Ms McManus’ remarks, as though industrial law was something handed down by Moses when he came down from the mountain. It’s also a bit ironic that Malcolm the Magnificent made his reputation defending someone who broke that other immutable law, the Official Secrets Act.

  3. jrkrideau
    March 19th, 2017 at 00:29 | #3

    If I remember correctly some people who did obey illegal or unjust laws came to a sticky end. Nuremberg, anyone? I realize this is pushing it a bit and I may get a Godwin but it is the extreme example of “obey unjust laws”.

    On a less extreme level, there would have been no viable trade union moment in Britain if people had not broken laws.

    I am always impressed when some politician or pundit claims that there is no excuse for breaking the law. It seems to invariably be someone whom the law favours or whom at least the law does not disadvantage.

    ”In its majestic equality, the law forbids rich and poor alike to sleep under bridges, beg in the streets, and steal loaves of bread.” Anatole France

    I’d rephrase it as “You had better have very good reason for breaking the law”.

    Then, of course, there is the famous.”We will never negotiate with terrorists.” People like Nelson Mandela and Jomo Kenyatta must have giggled every time they heard that. As probably do most ANC members from that era.

  4. David Allen
    March 19th, 2017 at 07:02 | #4

    I can’t work with him.

  5. hc
    March 19th, 2017 at 07:27 | #5

    The CFMEU have nothing in common with Martin Luther King. The rights they promote are those of thuggery.

  6. Moz of Yarramulla
    March 19th, 2017 at 08:54 | #6

    One subtle caveat here is that quite a lot of protest is perfectly legal. I remember the court case where NSW police discovered that they can’t actually refuse a “Notice of Intention (to disrupt traffic)”, all they can do is request amendments. IIRC they can’t even refuse to turn up and marshall. The refugee action coalition or someone in the person of Ian Rintoul went to court and the police lost. Much official gumpiness was evident on the day of the protest.

    There’s also the necessity defense, which does occasionally succeed. Not as often as the “sheer incompetence” defense, wherein you turn up to court and the bumbling rejects from Dad’s Army auditions mumble and shuffle for a bit before the presiding individual dismisses the case. I have benefited from that one 🙂

    OTOH, protest against unjust laws almost always means breaking a law. It’s hardly likely that people making the unjust laws will let that one through. They even call what they build “The Justice System” – there is only one definition of justice, and it describes the product of their system. By definition then, there can be no unjust laws.

  7. Nick
    March 19th, 2017 at 10:14 | #7

    ‘I can’t work with her’….not surprising, Malcolm is not allowed much leeway by the obstructionist rump.
    So many issues he can’t work on.
    He has been instructed to say he’s in charge.

  8. Ikonoclast
    March 19th, 2017 at 12:17 | #8

    @jrkrideau

    “One law for the lion and ox is oppression.” – William Blake.

  9. GrueBleen
    March 19th, 2017 at 13:55 | #9

    @hc

    The rights they promote are those of thuggery.

    Oh, you mean they’re acting like police ? They’re the most thug-active “legitimate” group I know of in society. Other than nightclub bouncers, that is. And Victorian Transport “officers” – they do some nice work too.

  10. GrueBleen
    March 19th, 2017 at 14:07 | #10

    @jrkrideau

    I am always impressed when some politician or pundit claims that there is no excuse for breaking the law.

    Many, many years ago I remember watching watching a tv show, or maybe listening to one on radio (memory isn’t too precise) which I recall was hosted by Art Linkletter. The show ran for an hour and right at the start they had some volunteer picked out to walk around the city and return just a couple of minutes before the end of the show having not broken a single law in between (the volunteer was accompanied by a high level lawyer who noted down his – it was inevitably a “his” – law breakings.

    Well one time, this guy got to walk around town and back into the studio without having broken one single law. Hooray ! But, before awarding him the prize, the lawyer asked if he smoked, and yes he did. Then can I see your cigarette packet, asked the lawyer. Yes, here it is.

    Oh dear, it was a packet of Camels (you know, the one with a picture of the factory on the pack), and like all us Camel smokers (including me way back then), he just opened the pack at one end across the top. Dear oh dear, that meant he had left the tax stamp in the centre intact, in contradiction of California law. So sad. And we all did that otherwise the fags all flopped out in your pocket – but at least I did it in Melbourne, not California.

    So who could walk around town for an hour and guarantee not to break a single law ?

  11. GrueBleen
    March 19th, 2017 at 14:11 | #11

    @Moz of Yarramulla

    By definition then, there can be no unjust laws.

    As I think I may have asked in a different thread – whatever happened to the democratic right of ‘civil disobedience’ ?

  12. Ken Fabian
    March 19th, 2017 at 14:28 | #12

    Surely any secretary of the ACTU, is, by LNP definition, someone they cannot work with.

  13. Simon Fowler
    March 19th, 2017 at 15:58 | #13

    Smith :
    As does McManus. Speaking of whom, is it possible to simultaneously believe in the rule of law while also believing that unjust laws (unjust, that is, in the eye of the beholder) should not be obeyed. McManus says yes but this seems like an oxymoron.

    I think you’ll find that the vast majority of people understand exactly what that means, and how you could both believe in the rule of law and that unjust laws, where they exist, should be challenged. If you really find it hard to understand I suggest it’s more a reflection on you than on Sally McManus.

    Anyway, you would have to say that McManus is a direct consequence of the Trump era. How so? Because pre-Trump everyone had to be respectable and not say anything provocative. Nowadays, there are no penalties to being outrageous and provocative, quite the opposite in fact.

    That might be believable if what she was saying wasn’t a pretty fundamental part of the traditions of the union movement going back long before Trump’s grandfather moved to the US.

  14. GrueBleen
    March 19th, 2017 at 15:59 | #14

    @Ken Fabian
    Oh, I dunno, Ken. With a bit of help from Lindsay Fox they might have been able to work with Bill Kelty. Certainly the rabidly neoliberal pair of Keating and Hawke had no problem with him.

    Then, of course, they had Martin Ferguson helping out back in those good ol’ daze.

  15. Simon Fowler
    March 19th, 2017 at 16:15 | #15

    Moz of Yarramulla :
    OTOH, protest against unjust laws almost always means breaking a law. It’s hardly likely that people making the unjust laws will let that one through. They even call what they build “The Justice System” – there is only one definition of justice, and it describes the product of their system. By definition then, there can be no unjust laws.

    Legal traditions definitely recognise that unjust laws can exist, and provide ways for them to be worked around. Plenty of laws have existed on the books long after they stopped being enforced in any way, because societal expectations changed and made them unenforceable. And rulings made under common law can overturn precedents where the judge considers it appropriate (and where such rulings survive appeals). Often these cases will trigger legislative changes, but that can take ages – just look at the delays between the social acceptability of abortion and legislative recognition of that change. In the meantime, the justice system works around the mismatch (imperfectly, but far better than any conception that laws are automatically just might suggest).

    Reality is always a lot messier than the stories we tell ourselves (which include the stories about justice, right and wrong that we encode into our legal systems).

  16. John Quiggin
    March 19th, 2017 at 17:39 | #16

    @GrueBleen

    There’s a book with a title something like “Three Felonies a Day”, spelling this out. I’d Google it, but that’s no fun.

  17. John Quiggin
    March 19th, 2017 at 17:42 | #17

    Art Linkletter “People are Funny”. Oddly enough, I was just saying to my wife that I don’t have very clear memories of my childhood. But I remember, growing up in Adelaide, watching the show and he had a segment where he showed a street scene in Stockholm (I think) and the guests had to guess the temperature, which was below freezing. I refused to believe this was possible (not the temperature, but the fact that people could walk about in without instantly freezing to death).

  18. GrueBleen
    March 19th, 2017 at 18:16 | #18

    @John Quiggin
    Ah yes, thank you for the reference: Harvey Silvergate’s “Three felonies a day”. Now I’ll have to firstly see if my local library has, or can obtain, a copy and then see if there’s an Australian equivalent – certainly the basic principal would hold, I think, in just about any nation with at least a couple of centuries of “accumulated but disconnected” statute law.

    Apropos of which I think blasphemy is still at least a common law felony in some places.

  19. GrueBleen
    March 19th, 2017 at 18:41 | #19

    @John Quiggin
    Yeah, that’s kinda what I thought – my memory comes from about 60 years ago – but my Google skills are sadly deficient and I’ve never been able to turn up an actual entry. I might have to find and work through the show’s entire history 🙁 [I’d never have made ‘Grandmaster status in Asimov’s “The Jokester”].

    As to the “below freezing” well it used to be said that Canadian buses in the winter must arrive at each bus stop basically precisely on time (give or take only a few seconds) or the customers waiting for the bus will freeze to death.

  20. Ikonoclast
    March 20th, 2017 at 04:31 | #20

    @GrueBleen

    I spent some month’s in Canada in winter. Experienced temps down to -38 C at Banff.

    My joke was “Canada, the country where you rush home from the shop to put the milk in the fridge before it freezes.”

    Another, “Canada, the country where the toilet bowl is bigger than Lake Huron.”

  21. Ikonoclast
    March 20th, 2017 at 04:33 | #21

    Correction, the -38 C was at Jasper National Park. Banff had the wind chill to make it feel -38.

  22. GrueBleen
    March 20th, 2017 at 07:41 | #22

    @Ikonoclast

    “Canada, the country where you rush home from the shop to put the milk in the fridge before it freezes.”

    Yair, that’s a good one – and probably mostly true, too. “Iced” tea anyone ?

    the toilet bowl is bigger than Lake Huron.

    Hmm. Might have to think about that one. Inspiration is not with me this morning.

  23. I am and will always be Not Trampis
    March 20th, 2017 at 10:05 | #23

    @hc
    so Harry if the union members go out on strike illegally because a mate dies under questionable circumstances that is okay?

  24. jrkrideau
    March 20th, 2017 at 11:04 | #24

    @GrueBleen
    As to the “below freezing” well it used to be said that Canadian buses in the winter must arrive at each bus stop basically precisely on time (give or take only a few seconds) or the customers waiting for the bus will freeze to death.

    Eh? Who said that? It sounds like an urban legend to beat all urban legends. Similar to the “eating the sled dogs” rural legend occasionally told to credulous visitors.

    More accurately, the Canadian bus rider must be ready and equipped to wait out unpredictable delays as the bus is hauled out of the snow drift or is left spinning its tires on the sheet of ice that the hill has become. In extreme circumstances passengers may try to push the bus out of said snow drift or up icey hill. This, in my experience is seldom successful.

    On the other hand, a not uncommon true occurrence: if your car is parked outside overnight in cold weather the tires freeze flat and it can take a couple of kilometres driving before they go round again.

  25. jrkrideau
    March 20th, 2017 at 11:07 | #25

    @GrueBleen
    Hmm. Might have to think about that one. Inspiration is not with me this morning.
    It’s evening here but I am struggling too. Perhaps open water in winter time?

  26. jrkrideau
    March 20th, 2017 at 11:16 | #26

    @Ikonoclast
    My joke was “Canada, the country where you rush home from the shop to put the milk in the fridge before it freezes.”

    That’s a joke? It sound’s like a simple statement of fact to me.

  27. GrueBleen
    March 20th, 2017 at 15:48 | #27

    @jrkrideau

    It sounds like an urban legend

    Urban legends are the self-identification practised by the disconnected classes !

    Perhaps open water in winter time?

    Yeah, that was the only one I could come up with too – a greater area of surface water in the dunny bowl than on a big, totally frozen-over lake. Except for the thin bits where the ice-skaters have fallen through, that is.

    to put the milk in the fridge before it freezes.”

    That’s a joke? It sound’s like a simple statement of fact to me.

    Well there ya go – I thought that maybe the joke was the offer of “iced tea”.

  28. GrueBleen
    March 20th, 2017 at 16:01 | #28

    @jrkrideau

    in cold weather the tires freeze flat and it can take a couple of kilometres driving before they go round again.

    And I thought it was cold back when I lived in Canberra and parked my car outside and experienced one-, two-, or three-bucket mornings (kinda on the analogy of one-, two- or three-dog nights). That is, how many buckets of warm water I had to slowly pour onto the windscreen before it warmed up enough so the cold wouldn’t just freeze the warm water before it ran off the glass.

    But not as bad as the Trans-Siberian Railway repair crews: apparently they had to park their repair truck over a hole in the ground so that they could pile up wood and light a fire under it. If they just drove off instead then the truck was liable to simply shatter.

    But the best one I saw on a teev doco once was how long it took to bury someone in deepest Siberia: several days, apparently because the ground was utterly frozen but the people could only dig for about half an hour at a time lest their lungs freeze and shatter. They could work in shifts, but only for just so long anyway.

  29. david
    March 21st, 2017 at 05:45 | #29

    Is that a statement or evidence-based ? Please nominate one conviction for any violent offence of a CMMEU member. If you are relying on Dyson’s “utterances” I read his ruling yesterday when he did not disqualified himself as he found that to withdraw from a Liberal Party eventin the middle of his RC when the media had discovered his hitherto unknown acceptance was to manage the situation to avoid the perception of bias in the malevolent – really what BS!

  30. david
    March 21st, 2017 at 06:06 | #30

    Sorry CFMEU
    I was only talking to a senior lawyer yesterday whose client was assisted incidentally when a famous debt collector went to “collect” money owed by a developer who was not paying his “subbies”. It was the solicitor client’s good fortune when the thug[not a member of the CFMEU] threatened the contractor who instantly paid by cheque his friend only to do the same to the solicitor’s client who just happened to be there! Consider the rule of law there as the fortunate creditor was owed nearly $100,000. The developer may be only ignoring his civil obligations if no fraud involved and the thug may have a defence under section 22 of our Criminal Code.

  31. Greg McKenzie
    March 21st, 2017 at 07:25 | #31

    As Dickens had one of his characters utter:”….The law is an ass!” It is too slow, too pendantic and given over to selective deafness. If you have a lot of money, just like our Prime Minister, then you can hire expensive legal teams to fight the legal maze. But if you are a member of the working poor, or even the working lower income class, then the only lawyer you see is the legal aid lawyer. It’s well and good to talk about using the law for bashing down the rights of workers, but politicians should remember that workers are voters and have long memories.

  32. Julie Thomas
    March 21st, 2017 at 08:01 | #32

    “It’s well and good to talk about using the law for bashing down the rights of workers, but politicians should remember that workers are voters and have long memories.”

    But with reference to the way Turnbull is accusing Shorten and the unions of selling workers out, there are a lot of short and false memories out there.

    Turnbull’s attempt to misrepresent what actually happened back when Labor was neo-liberal and did accommodate employers demands by negotiating deals that traded worker rights for employer profits needs to be countered.

    Labor needs to explain why they did this and why the false memories that some people have about union thuggery are the result of propaganda and it also needs to be explained to young people who have no memories or understanding of why we need unions why and how unions came to have such a bad reputation.

  33. david
    March 21st, 2017 at 08:32 | #33

    Agree totally Greg I worked at Legal Aid for many years and was regarded as eccentric as I used to analyse the evidence and law. I have been told recently they do not listen to Police tapes because of time constraints ! I am sure any good lawyer would know exactly what I mean.

  34. GrueBleen
    March 21st, 2017 at 15:46 | #34

    @Julie Thomas
    Well for every Norm Gallagher, there’s always a Jack Mundey, isn’t there.

    My recall – very hazy – of the Bill Shorten AWU days was that he did – or at least claims to have – gotten other benefits for full time workers for whatever other “benefits” he traded away. Certainly, there was nothing emerging from Abboot’s ‘Union Inquisition’ that Shorten was ever charged over.

    But yeah, the “neoliberal days” weren’t good, and still aren’t.

  35. Wayne McMillan
    March 21st, 2017 at 20:19 | #35

    We need more outspoken leaders like Sally McManus with the courage to speak out for workers. Bravo Sally keep standing up for workers!

  36. jrkrideau
    March 22nd, 2017 at 06:54 | #36

    @GrueBleen
    That is, how many buckets of warm water I had to slowly pour onto the windscreen before it warmed up enough so the cold wouldn’t just freeze the warm water before it ran off the glass.
    Jebus, try that on a a cold day in Edmonton or Banff and you lose the windscreen. It would just shatter. I’m shuddering at the very thought.

    In Canada we have windscreen scrapers /snow brushes and in-car heaters to a)keep the passengers from congealing and b) keep the windscreens clear. http://www.canadiantire.ca/en/automotive/car-safety-security/snow-brushes-scrapers.html

    Often the rear window will have heating filaments in it and in the last few years most of the more luxurious cars also have heated seats.

    And in really cold areas we have block heaters to keep the lubricating oil in the engine liquid enough for the engine to turn over fast enough to start. If you are leaving the car parked outside overnight one plugs the heater in. Some parking lots in many parts of Canada also have plug-ins I believe. I live in the tropical south where it seldom goes below -20C so we don’t need them.

    I used to know some people who worked in the North and they said that you never turned off any heavy diesel-powered equipment in the winter. If it was not it use, it just sat there idling. Diesels are notoriously hard to start in cold weather.

  37. GrueBleen
    March 22nd, 2017 at 21:02 | #37

    @jrkrideau
    And, apart from the historical accident of possibly being born there, you live in Canada why ?

    For comparison, I just looked it up and the coldest temperature ever recorded in Melbourne was apparently -2.8C in July 1869. There wasn’t actually much Melbourne then (the place was only started back in 1835) so no city ‘hot spot’ to raise temperatures. It did get appreciably colder than that in Canberra though – around -10.0C at times – because of the ‘continental climate’ (but of course).

    But never mind, as anthropogenic warming accelerates, it’ll only be a short while before you’re picking fresh dakka bananas off your backyard tree.

  38. jrkrideau
    March 22nd, 2017 at 23:17 | #38

    @GrueBleen
    /And, apart from the historical accident of possibly being born there, you live in Canada why ?
    What other reason? I have complained for years that if my great-grandfather had just gotten arrested and deported to Australia I’d be on nice sandy beach right now.

    Other than than it’s probably one of the top 10 countries for a normal citizen to live in in the world? Civilized, decent, reasonably honest government and police, nice weather (at times) variety–ski one day , swim the next, (well if you live near Vancouver), big mountains, prairies, a few thousand lakes, forests, nice cities, excellent standard of living and health care and so on. A bit like Australia but with a bit different weather.

    Besides all those horror stories about cold while true are just a matter of course for a Canadian. Heck I even know a few immigrants from warmer climates who say that they really enjoy the four seasons. We are used to it , we build for it and dress for it. That said, a lot of people like to take a winter holiday in Florida or the Caribbean.

    We just like to stress the worst for the tourists. We would be horrified to put up with your heatwave/drought/bush fires or the Queensland cyclones. And you guys have poisonous snakes!

    Canada can be gorgeous in summer and, if you like any winter sports, winter can be great. Strange as it may sound, a nice walk on a bright sunny winter morning at -15 or so is lovely. I know a number of Canadians who greatly prefer cold weather. They would be horrified to find themselves in Melbourne or Brisbane.

    Hop a plane and come visit in January; you’ll enjoy yourself.

    But never mind, as anthropogenic warming accelerates, it’ll only be a short while before you’re picking fresh dakka bananas off your backyard tree.
    No idea what a dakka banana is but kudzu, the plant that ate the south has been sighted in the extreme south of Southern Ontario. This is NOT good.

  39. GrueBleen
    March 23rd, 2017 at 15:05 | #39

    @jrkrideau

    if my great-grandfather had just gotten arrested and deported to Australia I’d be on nice sandy beach right now.

    And enjoying every minute of it, of course.

    A bit like Australia but with a bit different weather.

    Hmm, that’s kinda like saying a dakka banana (and if you haven’t ever tried one, Google it and see what you’re missing) is just like an avocado but with a bit different appearance and taste.

    And you guys have poisonous snakes!

    Oh yeah, do we ever what. Especially the inland taipan: reputedly the most venomous snake in the world – but with a very low kill rate because we usually manage to avoid them and we do have anti-venom. Supposedly 21 of the 25 most venomous snakes in the world are Australian. And add to that funnel-web spiders (world’s most venomous), redback spiders, box jellyfish, stonefish, and cone snails. Not to mention crocodiles, goannas and sharks (including regular visits from hungry Great Whites). The goannas aren’t quite as bad as the Indonesian monitors (Komodos) which grow up to 3m, but one variety, the perentie (V. giganteus), can grow over 2.5 m (8.2 ft) in length. Do not stand still in it’s presence lest it thinks you are a tree and tries to climb you.

    So avoiding all these things is what fills in for us the time we don’t have to spend dressing up to avoid freezing to death – but then I guess you can dress up to avoid freezing whereas it’s fairly hard to dress down to avoid cooking on those days when it’s over 40C in the shade (which it gets to, even in Mediterranean Melbourne).

    Canada can be gorgeous in summer…. I know a number of Canadians who greatly prefer cold weather. They would be horrified to find themselves in Melbourne or Brisbane. Hop a plane and come visit in January; you’ll enjoy yourself.

    Much as I might like to, my days of jetsetting are well and truly over (never having actually started 🙂 ) But I do confess that the idea of a trip on the cross-Canada railway has always been a bit of an emotional turnon. Yes, I know a lot of the journey is just flat plains with all the spectacular stuff near the coasts, but then for a nation that has the trans-Nullabor rail – with the world’s longest stretch of straight rail at 478 km – we Aussies understand such things.

  40. jrkrideau
    March 25th, 2017 at 02:29 | #40

    Heck prairies are not that long if you are actually going coast to coasts

    BTW a famous song–often called the unofficial anthem of Québec

    Gilles Vigneault song “Mon pays”

    “Mon pays, ce n’est pas un pays, c’est l’hiver” (“My country is not a country, it’s winter”)

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CH_R6D7mU7M

    Giles did the photos himself

  41. GrueBleen
    March 25th, 2017 at 14:57 | #41

    @jrkrideau

    Heck prairies are not that long if you are actually going coast to coasts

    Hmm, well according to the web, the distance from Ontario to the Rockies – ie the distance across the prairies – is 1974 Km (though that does go to Wyoming). For comparison, the distance across the Nullabor is about 1675 Km (going via the Eyre Highway). But the distance from Townsville to Perth (the longest non-stop flight in Australia, I think) is 3396 Km.

    Giles’ song is quite dramatic, but it strained my 50+ year-old high school French somewhat. I caught a bi of it though – the same as I always caught a bit of Charles Trenet’s La Mer.

    But just for you, something that could be called an unofficial Australian anthem:
    www youtube com/watch?v=P1KH9qBWK1E

    (just stick a couple of ‘.’s back in – I’m trying to miss moderation)