Monday, November 26, 2007

Australia A Change in Direction

On Saturday, Australians went to the polls. Unlike America our system works pretty fast, when voting in a new Government, thank goodness.

One of the issues that many Australians were disgruntled about was the unfair IR Law known as Australian Workplace Agreement(AWA). How can an employee discuss their work options and come to a mutual agreement with an employer? That may work for small business but what about large conglomerates? Where workers are viewed as statistics and the employer keep's his eye on the profit margin. What is fair about a 'contract' that is weighted in the employers favour?

Here is what Bishop Manning had to say, "The right of workers to act collectively is central to Catholic social teaching. It was stated explicitly in [the encyclical] Rerum Novarum... Let us be very clear about this: there is no right to collective bargaining under the legislation. Any collective bargaining that may take place is entirely at the whim of the employer...Work Choices violates Catholic Social Teaching on the Option for the Poor and, indeed, any reasonable notion of a ‘fair go.. In the regulation of the labour market, governments have an obligation to protect the rights of the vulnerable. No fair-minded person could say that Work Choices does that."

Unlike Prime Minister Howard, the newly elected Prime Minister, Rudd will sign the Kyoto agreement. He will also bring our troops back from Iraq, while maintaining our troops in Afghanistan.

Prime Minister John Howard should have noted one thing. When you arrogantly presume to act for the worker then you best do so with their best interests at heart and not a self serving one. For in the end the workers will let the sitting government know just how unhappy they are in the ballot box.

For an example at my brothers work place the maintenance team must now work 50 hours a week before they can get overtime. If they work on the weekend the pay rate stays the same with no overtime. The new 'rules' are weighted in the Employers favour, which may suit the affluent but leads to the detriment of the working man.

I wish Maxine McKew, the very best as she seems destined to unseat a sitting Prime Minister from his own electorate.