the big issue
From Catherine via Sarah comes this piece on the student protests in
Meanwhile at home the new IR laws are about to come into effect, and Greg Combet, interviewed on this morning’s ABC program, is castigating Labor for being too distracted by internal bickering and political point-scoring re the AWB affair to get any coherent message across regarding these laws, to mount an adequate critique, and to develop an alternative policy.
It certainly does look as if Howard is being dishonest, rather than naïve, about the way these laws will be used by big business, as this article suggests. He’s warning of a scare campaign from you know who, but it’s likely that the effect of the laws will be insidious and long-term. As Combet points out, most workers are already on agreements of one kind or another now, so the effect won’t be immediate across the board. With collective bargaining effectively dead, it’ll be hard to compare impacts. Workers will be on their own, and the new system will encourage them to blame themselves for any misfortunes they suffer. It’s a clever way of engineering individualism, of a kind.