Pauline Hanson close to backing wages smash bill

Via Domain:

Attorney-General Christian Porter appears close to winning crossbench support for the government’s industrial relations bill and determined to secure its passage when Parliament resumes next week.

Mr Porter has agreed to additional amendments proposed by One Nation Leader Pauline Hanson and the government has listed the union-busting Ensuring Integrity bill on the Senate’s draft program for Monday.

The government needs the support of either One Nation or Tasmanian senator Jacqui Lambie to get the bill through the upper house, after negotiating initial amendments with Centre Alliance senator Rex Patrick.

The One Nation amendments aim to to ensure only officials convicted of criminal offences – or fined over significant workplace law breaches – can be disqualified under the legislation, which will make it easier to deregister law breaking unions and ban officials.

But it also does this:

But the infractions that could risk unions getting shut down, or their officials kicked out, are far-reaching, and include the kinds of strike action that have, in the past, received widespread community support.

Offences include:

  • Striking for reasons that aren’t related to an ongoing enterprise bargaining agreement negotiation or proposed changes to an award rate — 300-1000 penalty units
  • Submitting paperwork or financial reports late to the union watchdog — 500 penalty units
  • Failing to remove a non-financial member from the list — 300 penalty units
  • Failing to train an office holder in financial management within six months of them starting — 500 penalty units.

Professor Anthony Forsyth of RMIT’s Graduate Business and Law School told Crikey there were already legal avenues to bring unions into line: employers can seek an order from the Fair Work Commission or the Supreme Court to end a workplace protest, while the government could apply to have a union deregistered if it breaks the law.

Which will squash wages even further as the correltion between declining strikes and declining wage growth suggests (while being far from the whoe story):

In the battler versus bludger ON world view, this somehow all makes sense.

Houses and Holes

David Llewellyn-Smith is Chief Strategist at the MB Fund and MB Super. David is the founding publisher and editor of MacroBusiness and was the fouding publisher and global economy editor of The Diplomat, the Asia Pacific’s leading geo-politics and economics portal.

He is also a former gold trader and economic commentator at The Sydney Morning Herald, The Age, the ABC and Business Spectator. He is the co-author of The Great Crash of 2008 with Ross Garnaut and was the editor of the second Garnaut Climate Change Review.

Comments

  1. The industrial era saw human physical power and human physical dexterity replaced by machinery while humans themselves retained cognitive superiority. In fact, industrialisation made workers’ cognitive superiority relatively more valuable because a properly trained human being could control a much greater value of production. A trained human was a valuable asset. By going on strike and idling expensive capital equipment it could quickly impose upon its Rulers greater costs than it itself incurred.

    It was under such conditions that Rulers – grudgingly! – made the concessions that people now seem to regard as immutable.

    But it is important to remember that these concessions did not come about without the most savage opposition from the Elite. People who lack historical perspective forget that unionism was illegal and punished under “Combination Laws” which provided imprisonment with hard labour for breach of employment contract. In the United States, the Platonic Guardians of the Supreme Court – invoking the Bill of Rights no less! – overturned “populist” State labour laws (for example Lochner v New York, 1905 on working hours or Coppage v Kansas, 1915 on State legislation protecting union membership) on the grounds that they infringed the “liberty” of workers to contract with their employers.

    Viewed with proper historical perspective, improved labour conditions did not arise because of unionism. Rather unionism flourished – for a brief period at least – because the conditions of industrial production made it impossible to withstand. For a time at least, it was easier and more profitable to grant Subjects a few limited concessions than to continue fighting them

    Viewed with proper historical perspective we may see that the ideals of the industrial era – reaching their zenith in the mid-20th Century – were an anomaly. Such anomalies have arisen before. The Peasants’ Revolts of 14th century Europe arose from the acute labour shortage which followed the Black Death.

    Real wages for unskilled workers in England almost doubled between 1350 and 1450. But by 1590 they were back where they had started. That peak wasn’t surpassed again until 1860 , and then only because of the new industrial conditions.[1]

    Just as the 14th Century Peasants’ Revolts were suppressed as soon as conditions permitted, so the 20th Century Peasants’ Revolt is being relentlessly would back now that the Elite are in a position to reclaim what they regard as being rightfully their own.

    What we are currently witnessing is elite response to the end of the industrial era.

    We are being refeudalised.

    – – – –
    [1] Gregory Clark, The Condition of the Working-Class in England, 1209-2003, Table 4. http://www.econ.ucdavis.edu/faculty/gclark/papers/wage%20-%20jpe%20-2004.pdf

    • I’ve said words to this effect to many people and it’s made them think. The “rights” that we feel entitled to because “its the 21’th century!” are a blip in the usual natural order and are simply a result of having more power due to the first industrial age. I think people will look back at the 1950’s to 80’s as the golden age to live in; I do feel like my children will have it far worse than myself. Not because of technology, in fact this favors the elite in many ways so is just a tool for them to use, but because of how society will structure itself going forward as labor loses its bargaining power.

      Was reading an article the other day about how everyone feels its a god given right to be able to fly on a plane and take a holiday every year as an example citing “broadening your horizons”. No one is appreciating that its a miracle that the middle class can fly at all especially as essential resources become more scarce, and that we are really just entitled consumers. We’ve become a privileged spoiled lot that no longer wants to “sleep in the bed that it has made” and will just fly away to a better place leaving most places with more stress, depression, harder work and less community than ever before. In the end its culture and hard work that make a place worth living in – give vs the modern take. These old local communities if strong could somewhat made living possible for the middle/lower classes who don’t have bargaining power by offering a non-monetary, tit-for-that economy like what existed before (e.g. the village used to take care of children, now we need to pay for it). This has since hollowed out. Now we have consumerism, pop-culture and narcissism instead. Your point is especially true when output is decoupled from input labour (e.g. AI impovements) and the elite no longer need us peasants.

    • True, but you also need to look at weapons technology. The feudal peasants were basically helpless against armed knights. On the other hand, the American elite blinked and shut down the first era of globalization after World War II, cutting off most immigration and putting restrictions on trade. World War I had cut off international trade and mass migration. There were then plenty of jobs and high wages, even for black people. After the War, the elite wanted to return to business as usual. There was massive rioting and labour unrest. The Mine Wars (armed resistance of the Appalachian miners to the mine owners) amounted to the greatest insurrection since the Civil War and was the only time that the US government called out the army against its own people. Some of those “wonderful, hardworking immigrants” were violent Anarchists and Communists, and happy to share their ideology with the locals. Anarchist cells set off bombs on Wall Street and were sending letter bombs to politicians, business leaders, and high government officials. See Peter Turchin on this.

      https://aeon.co/essays/history-tells-us-where-the-wealth-gap-leads

      Paul M. Bingham’s book “Death from a Distance” is on the relationship between weapons technology and social organisation. Guns essentially put paid to feudalism.

  2. The BystanderMEMBER

    Never trust Hanson to follow through on anything she promises – she does whatever the Coalition wants so long as she gets a soapbox to whinge about a big Family Court conspiracy to kill men and replace them with Muzlem Aay-zhenz who want to put Halal in your Vegemite

  3. After a 2 year Royal Commission into unions resulting in charges and breaches you could count on one maybe two hands we have a pretend RC into banks/financial institutions and up up with millions of individual breaches and already billions of remediation and we are only just getting started. Not a fan of some unions in particular but the focus is clearly not right.

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