Wednesday, 2 May 2007
Howard’s attack on Labor’s IR proposals is not really for public consumption as there is no real perception of excessive union power.
It is largely to consolidate his own constituency in the business community that may be wondering why his government should continue.
Some of the business community is responding, but in a way that is looking suspiciously double-edged. While they are supporting Howard’s line, they also look like they are lobbying to what could be the next government. Business threats of a TV campaign against Labor’s proposals are odd given the refusal of business to fund the coalition’s Workchoice ads a few days ago at a time when the gist of Labor’s proposals was already known. Business was left out of the initial establishment of Fair Work Australia, which was unsurprising given it was primarily driven by internal Labor needs to accomodate a declining union movement. The current threats against Gillard are looking like business’s usual heavy-handed way of getting back in negotiations.
There should be plenty of grounds for agreement. As Keating said on radio yesterday, there is no sense that Labor’s proposals will reverse his winding down of collective bargaining. His view that Labor ought to be making more of that fact ignores the demoralising impact the weakening TU bureaucracy has had on the ALP organistion since he was in power. The creation of what is essentially an empty shell to give the unions an appearance of a role for internal purposes has created a need for Gillard to sound tough. Expect a very much more flexible Gillard when meeting business behind closed doors this week.
Posted by The Piping Shrike on Wednesday, 2 May 2007.Filed under Tactics