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Creeping socialism in Australia

Written By: - Date published: 12:15 pm, June 18th, 2008 - 83 comments
Categories: workers' rights - Tags: , , ,

australia creeping socialismKevin Rudd’s Labor government has begun the roll-back of John Howard’s unpopular WorkChoices legislation with ten new National Employment Standards aimed at providing a safety net for all Australian workers.

The new standards include a 38-hour maximum working week, 12 months unpaid parental leave (24 months between a couple), flexible working hours, redundancy rights and four weeks annual leave.

These are pretty basic work rights and in my view don’t go nearly far enough, but already Australian business and their political vehicle the Liberal Party are screaming that the package will increase business costs and make Australia uncompetitive.

Seems the New Zealand right may have to find another free market paradise to pack up and leave for if they don’t get their way. Somalia, anyone?

83 comments on “Creeping socialism in Australia ”

  1. Daveo 1

    I’m guessing wages aren’t going to drop in Australia any time soon then. John better start revising his plans to close the wage gap.

    If you’re reading John, I reckon raising ours over here might be a good place to start.

  2. Phil 2

    So, what’s the penalty for breaking the guidelines, or is it just an IR version of our non-event power saving telethon?

    If you actually look at the Lib’s opposition (ie; take the blinkers off, Tane) you’ll see their argument is more driven at clarity and brevity, rather than the continued rape and pillage of the working masses as you suggest.

    They’re dead right about the definition of “reasonable” and if there is a need for arbitration, it’s going to get very messy (and costly) for all involved.

    It’s a nice idea, but it needs some cleaning up.

  3. Daveo 3

    Yeah Phil the party that last year was trumpeting WorkChoices and bragging about the defeat of the Australian trade union movement has suddenly changed its spots. They’re happy to see the centrepiece of their time in government repealed and their only concern is that it’s not too ‘confusing’ for employers.

    Pull the other one mate.

  4. “12 months unpaid parental leave” : this maybe fine for large businesses & cookie cutter occupations but for small businesses and highly skilled specialized occupations it is a Herculean burden on employers.

    Parenthood is a personal choice and employers should not be penalized for that choice.

  5. Stan 5

    Kevin Rudd has just said the entire Government fleet will over time change to Hybrids.
    Meanwhile Clark & Cullen have just replaced our fleet with 70 BMW 7 series V.8’s.
    You gotta wonder …..Who with a brain would vote for them???
    C’mon…tell us!!!
    Check out my site
    http://www.dontvotelabourcartoons.com
    Stan

    [Tane: I’ve seen your site Stan. It’s disgusting, homophobic and racist. I encourage undecided voters especially to go and visit it, then decide whether you want to be on the same side as this guy.]

  6. Tane 6

    And you’re welcome to believe that Bryan. Let’s just not hear any more of your whining about how you’re going to leave for Australia.

    Phil – what Daveo said. The line about it being ‘confusing’ is just spin, the term ‘reasonable’ is used in legislation all the time.

  7. Good to see aussie workers will finally be getting some of the rights that kiwi workers have had extended to them over the last 8 years.

    The worry now is what would a National government do to work rights here?

  8. Stand: despite Judith Tizard having a red one parked outside her house the Prius is probably little small to be a practical ministerial vehicle. The Lexus 450h could have been an option.

  9. Tane: Stan seems to take a shot at both sides of the fence : John Key Cartoon

  10. roger nome 10

    David Farrar:

    If only our Labour Party was as moderate as Australia’s.

    Farrar just doesn’t have a clue. We can only dream of having those kind of work rights under our present government. On top of that 70% of Australian workers are covered by a union-negotiated collective agreement, compared to 20% in NZ (and the National Party is set to reduce that with its “90 days of no work rights” bill, should it come to power). There’s a clue about the cause of the wage gap!

  11. Tane 11

    Bryan. Stan Blanch is to the right of John Key, and the attacks are basically that John Key isn’t reactionary enough. He’s also on the record supporting National and the Exclusive Brethren.

    The e-mail, sent to Mrs Tolley yesterday by a man identifying himself as Stan Blanch, said the Brethren were praying hard for a change of government and named several people from the sect.

    “The Give NZ a Fair Go campaign is producing a pamphlet that we hope will reach every household,” it said. “It is a satirical, hard-hitting pamphlet with a photo and comment by Tim Shadbolt and cartoons by Stan Blanch.”

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/4350672a6160.html

    You couldn’t make this shit up. More here.

  12. Rex Widerstrom 12

    Bryan, somehow Labor’s Ministers are going to be shoe-horned into Priuses (they’re moaning, I hear, but Rudd is showing some leadership on this at least).

    If they’re too small for NZ, perhaps the Labour front bench need to restrict their carobhydrate and wine intake?

    On the substantive topic, Work Choices were a disaster and made the ECA look warm and fuzzy by comparison. It was clear almost from the moment it was introdcuced that Howard was signing his own political death warrant and yet he persevered anyway, because he had a stubborn personality and an inability to admit he was wrong. Plus he loathed his opponents (in this case the unions) so deeply that he lost the use of his normally sound political instincts. Bit like Helen and the EFA, actually.

    What’s disappointing about the Rudd government’s roll-back is their decision to continue the exemption from unfair dismissal provisions for small businesses (though reclassifying ‘small’ from those with 100 workers to those with 20, IIRC).

    In my experience an employer with 100 workers isn’t going to get into a personal dispute with any of them because they’re pretty much faceless production units. Whereas when you’re in a small firm, working beside your boss, he’s (and it’s usually a he) is highly likely to have a hissy fit and sack you unjustifiably.

  13. Whatever happened to that campaign?

    I guess when National publicly disowned them, that sunk it.

  14. Tane 14

    SP:

    I guess when National publicly disowned them, that sunk it.

    Yep, which probably explains the anger from Stan about John being a ‘me too’ sellout.

    Rex: Agreed on unjustified dismissal, often it’s in the smallest businesses that some of the worst unjustified dismissals take place, and they’re usually the sites without union representation too.

  15. roger nome 15

    Phil:

    ” take the blinkers off, Tane) you’ll see their argument is more driven at clarity and brevity, rather than the continued rape and pillage of the working masses as you suggest.”

    The Liberals are certainly for less work-rights than the Labour Party. The “Work Choices” issue proves that.

  16. Billy 16

    SP: I encourage undecided voters especially to go and visit it, then decide whether you want to be on the same side as this guy.

    You’re doing that again, Steve. It’s not very honest. Hey everyone, Steve is on the same side of the political spectrum as Pol Pot. Voters of New Zealan do you really want to be on the same side as him?

  17. Vanilla Eis 17

    Sorry Billy, I must have missed the bit where Pol Pot was campaigning against National in 2008? Because I’m fairly sure I saw the words “dontvotelabour” in Stan’s post.

  18. Billy 18

    Steve has an unfortunate habit of saying “Mavis Totty is unpleasant. Mavis Totty is a right winger. Therefore all right wingers are unpleasant.”

    Am I sure Steve is smart enough to see the flaw in that logic, so I assume he is being wilfully dishonest.

  19. Billy

    A) that was Tane, not me

    B) Stan is campaigning for National, Pol Pot is not campaigning for a left wing party in New Zealand. If you vote for National this election, you are voting alongside Stan and the Kiwiblog Right, simple as that.

  20. Vanilla Eis 20

    Billy:

    Except that the post was more along the lines of:

    “This campaign is unpleasant. The organiser of the campaign is unpleasant. Oh wait, even National didn’t want to be associated with such a pratt, and now said campaign doesn’t exist”

    The fact that Stan wants to endear himself to the biggest right-wing party in the country, and they’re smart enough to stay the hell away tells us one thing; and it’s not about the National Party.

  21. Billy. No, that’s not what I say. I say – ?Mavis Totty is unpleasant. Mavis Totty is a right winger. If you are considering voting for a rightwing party, you might like to consider that people like Mavis Totty are strong suporters of that party and what that says about the underlying principles of that party”

    It’s more subtle and wordy than your verison, I know, but accuracy is often complex.

  22. Billy 22

    Hey Steve, I hear David gray was a Labour voter. How can you live with yourself?

  23. Billy.

    A) I don’t know if that’s true.

    b) He’s not backing a leftwing government now

    c) He was a single mentally ill man, who behaved in a terrible way. That’s different from the group of people with appalling politics – like the racists, homophobes, poor-haters, and mysogynists who populate kiwiblog – who make up a significant portion of the Right’s base.

    getting a vote from a madman is not the same as a large part of your base being made up of people with disgusting political beliefs. The first is jsut the behaviour of one individual, the latter speaks to the underlying values of a political party.

    Let’s put it another way – why aren’t the racists, homophobes, mysogynists, and poor-haters attracted to the Left? And why are they such passionate supporters of the Right?

  24. Tim 24

    Actually Bryan, while I don’t know what the Aus legislation says, in New Zealand an employer does not need to keep an employee on parental leave’s job open for more than 4 weeks if a temporary replacement is not available because the employee occupies a key position. The Aus legislation might have something similar.

    Women shouldn’t have to choose between motherhood and paid work and the two are not mutually exclusive. Employees (almost invariably women) should not be penalised for having kids, nor should it mean the end of their workforce participation.

    John Howard is a shining example of what goes wrong when you attack workers’ rights.

  25. Billy 25

    Steve, if I only voted for a party whose every member I admired I would be limited to the ‘SodBlog Party. And, as I hate his politics, that would be a problem.

  26. higherstandard 26

    SP

    “That’s different from the group of people with appalling politics – like the racists, homophobes, poor-haters, and mysogynists who populate kiwiblog – who make up a significant portion of the Right’s base.

    getting a vote from a madman is not the same as a large part of your base being made up of people with disgusting political beliefs. The first is just the behaviour of one individual, the latter speaks to the underlying values of a political party.”

    Really ?? Do you really believe that the vast bulk of people who vote National in this election are any different than the vast bulk who voted Labour last time around?

    This is almost as odd as your outburst regarding the young Nats.

    [No, I’m talking about parties’ bases, not the people who vote for them on election day. Obviously, there’s a vast reasonably homogenous centre that splits between the two major parties but I would encourage everyone within that group to look at who the base supporters of National are – the Kiwiblog Right types. SP]

  27. mike 27

    “why aren’t the racists, homophobes, mysogynists, and poor-haters attracted to the Left?”

    Because of the gay, black, bludging tarts who vote for Labour 🙂

  28. Matthew Pilott 28

    Bryan, the Lexus hybrid uses as much fuel per 100km than the BMW model the government bought. (correction, it’s slightly less – 7.9l for the lexus, 8.1l for the BMW) However I doubt Lexus would have given them the same deal – and diesel’s cheaper (seemingly not for long though!)

    Stan – they replaced Ford Fairlanes that were two litres per hundred ks (20%) less efficient. Obviously that’s a good reason not to vote for them eh, O dim one.

  29. Billy 29

    Hey everyone, don’t vote NZ First: you might turn into an old person.

    [lprent: Define old…….. 😉 carefully. ]

  30. Lew 30

    Billy: That syllogism is stock in trade for partisans of all stripes, but it’s most frequently used by National and allies. Its most famous usage was in Muldoon’s `Dancing Cossacks’ ads. I see it most commonly rolled out in the house by National members and Winston Peters, when criticising Keith Locke, Helen Clark, Phil Goff, Sue Bradford et al. over their stances on Viet Nam, and in Locke’s case, his alleged support for the Khmer Rouge.

    Not that this excuses anyone else from blame if they use it, just that Steve (and Tane) aren’t in this case; they’re saying `look around you; these are some National supporters’. Political support is at least partially a matter of identity, and identity is socially normative. The peer group in which one places oneself by supporting a certain party is a relevant factor when considering which party to support.

    This came out in the 1992 British general election, where John Major’s Conservatives won despite lagging in the polls right up to the election. One factor explaining the difference between the polls and the election was that the decline of Thatcherism led many people to deny they were Conservative voters when polled, but in the privacy of the polling booth they voted for Major and co. The argument there is that they weren’t swing voters; they were ashamed Tories. In Tane’s case, he’s not talking of ashamed National voters, he’s talking of genuine swing voters.

    L

  31. Billy 31

    Lew,

    No. You are wrong. If John Key had put up Stan’s cartoons, it would be quite valid of SP and Tane to say: do you really want to vote for a guy like this? This is what WP and National are saying when they point out Keith Locke’s support of the Khmer Rouge (actually, I do not remember that but I do remember his support of the Russian invasion of Afghanistan).

    You and they seem to be advocating deciding which political party you support on the same basis as teenagers pick what jeans to buy: all the cool kids are wearing Pete Hodgson-bottoms.

  32. Ari 32

    Steve- not really. Are any party insiders associating themselves with Stan? Just because someone supports you doesn’t mean YOU support them. I have to agree with the righties here that you’re being a bit unfair.

    We can only attack the associations of politicians with people they are actively associated with. If a rapist (or any otherwise unsavory character) happens to be a fan of John Key, there are only two ways that can reflect badly on Key:

    1) If John Key is friends or associates with the rapist and doesn’t break off all support for them as soon as he realises that his friend is a rapist, then John Key doesn’t take rape or its consequences seriously.

    2) If some policy or action of John Key’s supports something that enables our hypothetical rapist’s behaviour, (say, by devaluing women) then John key is not taking the issue seriously as long as that policy stands, even if he condemns the rapist.

    I get the feeling you’re angling for (2) Steve, but I don’t really see how National is enabling Stan’s behaviour yet.

  33. randal 33

    rightwingers are idiots..you are a rightwinger…ergo you are an idiot….valid if and only if it is impossible to have the premises true and the conclusion false

  34. mike 34

    “when criticising Keith Locke, Helen Clark, Phil Goff, Sue Bradford et al”

    It was actually Michael Cullen who had Locke blubbering in Parliment this year over his support for the Khmer Rouge.

  35. Tane 35

    Hmmm, I was just making the observation that Stan’s “don’t vote Labour” cartoons are likely to have precisely the opposite effect when viewed by any normal person, and that he’s hardly going to win converts among sane people for his reactionary cause.

  36. roger nome 36

    Ari, HS etc –

    The vast majority of National Party MPs themselves are homophobes. Even the one who tried to bed one of my campy male friends (he was turned down) voted against the Civil Unions Bill. I wonder what that MP’s wife would have thought?

    So if they’re bigoted in that sense would it be surprising to find out that they’re also misogynists and racists? Well considering that the National Party has voted against every single piece of Maori and Woman-friendly legislation to be brought in by Labour since 1999, I can’t say it would surprise me. The only difference between Stan and the majority of National Party MPs is that they’re smart enough to hide their bigotry from the mainstream public. Stan, in his own ‘special’ way, gives voice to the ugly visceral underpinnings of the conservative right, which make up a large chunk of the National Party movement.

  37. kk 37

    “Because of the gay, black, bludging tarts who vote for Labour”

    Do you actually mean what you say and actually give it thought?

    SP is right, generally it’s the racists, homophobes, poor-haters, and mysogynists are ideas that come from the right. They have a simplistic, black and white and superficial view of the world.

    The less of these guys, the better.

    And society certainly has progressed away from these ideas. Civil rights, gay rights, and all sorts of humanisic casuses have come from the left. Worker’s rights, the point of tis post, is clearly consistent.

  38. mike 38

    “Do you actually mean what you say and actually give it thought?”

    I was in fact taking the piss out of Steve’s over- generalisation.

    …but to all those gay, black, bludging tarts I apologise

  39. Lew 39

    mike: Yes, everyone has had a turn. Brownlee and Peters are the serial offenders, as I recall.

    L

  40. Ari 40

    Roger- I agree with you that the National Party as a whole has institutional problems in that regard. I just didn’t see Steve making that point. 🙂 They’re also sexists and racists, and they have a selective approach on both science and economics.

    That said, let’s not confuse John Key with the rest of his party. John Key strikes me as someone who, while he didn’t grow up privileged, never realised how much easier his white maleness made it for him to turn around his life and become one of the boys. I haven’t seen him doing any social-conservative dogwhistling. Of course, I don’t hold much hope that he’d even stay in charge if elected, so…

  41. Daveski 41

    It is so sad that some of you think that those who have different views are vile examples of humanity. The scope of the generalisations is simply awe inspiring.

    I also suspect many of you are stuck in a timewarp that suits your sense of right and wrong.

    In the past a simple left right linear explanation was acceptable.

    I would strongly argue that if you were going to position people know it should be in a matrix as on http://www.politicalcompass.org.

    I for one see myself as right wing on economic issues and left on social issues. I’m sure many others fit that description.

    The funny thing is that I read plenty of outrage at the use of generalisation about the PI underclass. Where’s the consistency??

  42. Lew 42

    Billy: I don’t think it’s right to say `This is what National MPs are like’ – we agree there – but that isn’t what they’re saying. They’re saying `this is what some National supporters are like’. The first statement is implied by the second, but they’re not the same.

    I broadly agree with Ari’s analysis here, for what it’s worth. The statement that `some National party supporters are like’ being meant to imply that National MPs are like that is an ugly dog-whistle.

    To an extent people do choose political allegiance like any other brand, this is part of the symbolic nature of politics and the inability of people to be perfectly informed about all things all the time. I’m not saying that everyone does – you and I and most of the posters here clearly care about and are well-enough informed on the issues to have chosen allegiances on other bases – but most people simply don’t care to get into the nitty gritty of it all and are supporters of one party or another as a matter of faith or historical allegiance.

    Also: quite right, I’d forgotten about Locke’s alleged support for the Afghanistan invasion.

    L

  43. roger nome 43

    Hey mike, I see from your avatar that you’re against communism. Good on ya mate. Are you campaigning against the “Workers’ Party” this election?

  44. T-rex 44

    Daveski

    You were doing alright for the first two sentences. But then… not so much.

    A simple left/right differentiation always was, and remains, completely retarded. It was never acceptable.

    Adding one extra dimension, as politicalcompass does, makes bugger all difference to the level of retardedness. You’re basically arguing the following: “How dare you suggest my personality is one dimensional! I’ll have you know my personality has TWO dimensions!”.

  45. no-one is saying all of National’s base (eg the Kiwiblog Right) are homophobes or racists etc. I’m saying plenty of them are, and it would be worth considering if you want to be on the same side as thsoe people if you are a Nat supporter.

    Daveski, I would say ACT is the party for you but they aren’t socially liberal in practice, so I would recommend Labour, left on social, cautious and centrist on economics. national are reactioanry on social issues and hopeless on economics – honestly, take a gander at their policies, they bearly mention the economy.

  46. roger nome 46

    Ari:

    “Roger- I agree with you that the National Party as a whole has institutional problems in that regard. I just didn’t see Steve making that point.”

    I think he was, be it in a round about way. Stan does represent a nasty and significant streak within the National Party.

    “Of course, I don’t hold much hope that he’d even stay in charge if elected, so ”

    Exactly – he’s a pleasant face, with a penchant for goofing off on real-estate in idyllic tropical locations. Also, he’s a political novice compared to the rest of his front bench, with little theoretical or historical grounding in NZ politics. He simply hasn’t been here, and even when he was he wasn’t much interested in politics. He can’t even remember if he was for or against the 1981 spring-bock tour.

    IMO – the Brownlees, Englishs and McCullys will have him for breakfast sooner or later.

  47. Gekko 47

    “Seems the New Zealand right may have to find another free market paradise to pack up and leave for if they don’t get their way. Somalia, anyone?”

    So you actually believe that Somalia is a free market paradise??
    No wonder you have a jaundiced view of markets.

    And as for the link, a view of anarchy from the unashamedly statist BBC? Yes, I’m sure they’re likely to look at it in an open minded way.

  48. mike 48

    “Workers’ Party’

    Trick question eh,

    I am a worker and will be campaigning against the party formerly known as the workers party.

  49. Phil 49

    Roge/Tane

    “The Liberals are certainly for less work-rights than the Labour Party. The “Work Choices’ issue proves that.”
    “the term ‘reasonable’ is used in legislation all the time.”

    And that, in a nutshell, is why you FAIL.

    Regardless of the underlying motives of the Liberals, I stand by their claim that ‘reasonable’ is an unnecessarily confusing term for a law. What exactly is ‘reasonable’ behaviour in the workplace? It’s not easy to pin down when you start looking at case-by-case examples. I’m 100% certain you’ll find 10 different interpretations if you talk to 10 different people.

    Oh, and if you can’t see the comparability of “reasonable” and “common sense will prevail” (or whatever variation we got for the EFA) then there is no hope for you.

    Cap; folds Press
    I tend to roll rather than fold, but that’s just me…

  50. Tane 50

    So you actually believe that Somalia is a free market paradise??
    No wonder you have a jaundiced view of markets.

    Of course not. The market relies on the heavy hand of state regulation to function. I’m just having a laugh at righties who haven’t thought this through.

    [lprent: how did the spam engine ever think this was spam? It seems very strange sometimes.]

  51. Tane 51

    Phil, the concept of ‘reasonable’ in law goes back a while, in fact it goes right back to the UK and is an integral part of NZ’s employment law. It’s not just some vague concept invented by Kevin Rudd.

    This Wikipedia page about the bald-headed man at the back of the Clapham omnibus might help. As might this.

  52. Rex Widerstrom 52

    While we’re on about “all supporters of x are horrible, mental, and eat babies on toast” is this apparent supporter of the PM for real? Or is it an attempt at a pisstake that falls utterly flat?

    If you’re offended by the worst excesses of Whale, I’d be interested to see what you make of that lot, on whose blogroll you appear approvingly (as opposed to “Arse Muncher”, “Total Fucktard” and other unlovely links).

    Note, I’m not implying anyone at the Standard has anything to do with it. I’m 100% certain no one here would lower themselves. I’m simply pointing out that we can’t always control by whom we’re admired.

  53. roger nome 53

    Phil:

    I’m not really able to look at the technical detail of that law at the moment, though I have noticed in my reading of various Acts that “reasonable” is everywhere (often possible reasonable scenarios will be too numerous to list, so reasonable is asked to be read by the adjudicator in accordance with the particular Act’s stated aims).

    I’ve also noticed that if a law is popular, the right will often oppose it on technical grounds, so as to try to avoid a backlash. Sensible politicking, but slightly disingenuous IMO. Obviously the liberals are less focussed on strengthening and extended worker rights/entitlements. Do you really doubt this?

  54. Phil 54

    “I’m saying plenty of them are [racist, homophobic], and it would be worth considering if you want to be on the same side as thsoe people if you are a Nat supporter”

    That’s your personal viewpoint, and I’m be happy to let you have it.

    Equally, I’m sure you would allow me the view that Labour also has a lot of racists – they’re the kind that think some people need to be treated in special ways by government departments, just because of the colour of their skin or the biological location of their ancestry. Thankfully, labour has muzzled those people since ‘closing the gaps’.

    Cap; ‘doubtful cucumber’
    Could be a big courgette?

  55. T-rex 55

    Rex – Yeah, you’re right. The author joins my list of mindbogglingly stupid people. It’s not a short list. But again, no guilt by association.

    I really object to comments such as

    no-one is saying all National supporters are homophobes or racists etc. I’m saying plenty of them are

    The National party is presently polling at around 50% (pointless bickering aside), and hence is supported by 50% of NZers at present.

    A tiny minority of this 50% are probably racist homophobes.

    Just like a tiny minority of Labour supporters are feminazi bra-burning man hating completely retarded communists.

    That is NOT, in itself, a good reason for the remainder to change sides.

  56. roger nome 56

    Phil:

    So all the Pakeha people in the Labour Party are prejudiced against themselves because they want to re-balance the injustice done to the Maori ethnic group(s)? Silly boy aren’t you?

  57. T-rex. yeah, my choice of language was off. I edited my comment to reflect what I meant.

    A large part of the Nat’s base (eg the Kiwiblgo Right) fits that description. Most people who will vote National will not. Although it is those people, the ordinary voters, swing voters, who I think ought to reflect on the kind of people who make up National’s footsoldiers.

  58. roger nome 58

    T-Rex:

    “A tiny minority of this 50% are probably racist homophobes.”

    Who cares? The voting record on the Civil-Unions Bill shows that most of the MPs are homophobes (it was a conscience vote). They’re the ones that want to make our laws.

  59. Yeah, rex, she’s certainly quite extreme.

    And I’m not denying that there are extremists on the Left, but I’m saying that it seems an awful lot of National’s core, their base, their acitvists, or whatever you want to call them are extremists of quite a disturbing breed.

    Hairyarmpit is not your typical leftwing activist, however, and even she doesn’t propose the kind of violence or intolerant action one routinely hears thrown about by the Kiwiblog Right and other National activists.

  60. roger nome 60

    Steve:

    What makes it scarier is that those people are more often the “politically active” ones, thus they are generally more influential and often become MPs. Most of the tax-cut focussed swing-voters would be horrified to learn the real views of these people.

  61. rogernome. true. Mps Often do come form the activist (and, in the Nats’ case, moneymen) ranks and some of their views are really extreme – Bob Clarkson is just the most obvious example.

  62. I have linked to Hairy Arm Pit myself. Her comments on my blog have been quite unexceptional on the whole.

    That said, she has a radically different approach to debate from my own, but she scares me a hell of a lot less than some of the kiwiblog right. I think the latter are capable of doing much harm due to their immaturity and susceptibility to the twisted notions of the loony right in the US.

    I take it that we’ve dispensed with the nonsense about “reasonable” being a problem. As some of you have probably twigged, I taught this stuff for some years, and was always being asked by the students, what’s reasonable? The answer was that it was up to the judges to decide on the day, guided by any precedents. But to be safe, I would say, make sure that no-one would dispute that a reasonable person would accept your actions. I can only conclude that the Libs’ ranks are so thin that they don’t have anybody with any expertise in labour law.

    But if this is still in dispute, just go to the DOL websiite and search for “reasonable”.

  63. Billy 63

    I encourage undecided voters especially to go and visit Hairyarmpit’s blog, then decide whether you want to be on the same side as this person.

  64. Lew 64

    Billy: And fair enough, too. Let them make as much or as little of it as they will.

    L

  65. Phil 65

    Tane

    Thanks for the links. Wasn’t aware the terminology was that common. However… we’ve just expended a great deal of effort and political gesturing getting rid of “reasonable force”. It’s an issue where ‘reasonable’ is simply not measurable to any degree of clarity amongst the general populace.

    Knowing that, surely it would be wise of you to post here a caution to the Rudd government, on how difficult that word can make the lives of legislators/lawyers, rather than endorse them wholeheartedly?

    Roger,
    There is a big difference between “a lot of labour supporters” as I wrote, and “all pakeha labour supporters” as you have misquoted me. Please refrain from doing so.

    Anyway, I used to think ‘the right’ had a monopoly on guilt-ridden Catholics, but they seem to be evenly dispersed amongst both major parties. Would they knowingly discriminate amongst themselves? No more so than you think the National-voter-who-earns-the-median-wage does.

    Silly little old man aren’t you?

  66. Rex Widerstrom 66

    Holy begeezus this takes the cake when it comes to cutting-edge industrial relations. And in a country where wages are high and there is a labour shortage – specially in metropolitan labour-only positions such as this (I just met an old acquaintance who’s an accountant and he’s working as a theatre tech – better money, he says, because almost every able bodied person is in the mines).

    This is why I’ll never be anti-union, even if I occasionally find myself anti some particular unionists. As long as employers like this exist, there needs to be a counterbalance.

  67. T-rex 67

    As always, having idiots agree with you might be embarrassing, but it doesn’t mean you’re wrong.

    Unless you’re a National supporter. Then it probably means you’re wrong ;-P Just not because of the idiots agreeing with you. There are plenty of other reasons 🙂

  68. r0b 68

    The National party is presently polling at around 50%

    Yes.

    and hence is supported by 50% of NZers at present.

    No.

    The best you can say is that the National Party is supported by 50% of the (possibly as low as 30%) of a (biased) sample of the population who agree to answer pollsters questions.

  69. T-rex 69

    Perhaps, but that distinction is the pointless bickering I was referring to and is essentially irrelevant to my point.

  70. Tane 70

    I can only conclude that the Libs’ ranks are so thin that they don’t have anybody with any expertise in labour law.

    JP, Could be that they’re lacking talent, could be that they’re wilfully dishonest. I remember attending an industrial relations conference a few years back when Wayne Mapp made himself the laughing stock of the room trying to claim that the term ‘reasonable’ was impossible and confusing and should be removed entirely from employment law.

    Knowing that, surely it would be wise of you to post here a caution to the Rudd government, on how difficult that word can make the lives of legislators/lawyers, rather than endorse them wholeheartedly?

    Phil, firstly, I didn’t endorse Rudd’s platform wholeheartedly. Secondly, we have the term ‘reasonable’ in our employment law and it works just fine. The primary objection comes from employers (and their ideological bedfellows) who don’t want to be held up to standards of reasonable behaviour in the way they treat their staff.

  71. Tane,
    I wasn’t at that conference, but I enjoyed Wayne Mapp’s spell as IR spokesman (sic: it is the National Party we’re talking about here). Every time there was a strike he would issue a press release about how the Employment Relations Act was visiting upon unsuspecting NZ a reign of industrial bedlam. Which never eventuated. Such a prat.

    I have to endorse what you say about Rudd’s platform. Particularly with the IR, it is quite conservative and doesn’t roll back some of the more invidious Howard reforms.

    And finally, why is it that Phil et al. can’t understand that our statutory and common law of employment is riddled with “reasonable” and this doesn’t cause any great problems?

  72. r0b 72

    Perhaps, but that distinction is the pointless bickering

    I agree that it isn’t relevant to the case you were making, but it’s going to be a pretty important distinction come November.

  73. Phil 73

    “And finally, why is it that Phil et al. can’t understand that our statutory and common law of employment is riddled with “reasonable’ and this doesn’t cause any great problems?”

    Why is reasonable OK in employment law, but not OK in, say, s59?
    That sure as hell caused ‘great problems’.

  74. Lew 74

    Phil: Legislators found that the implementation by the judiciary of `reasonable’ was in this case not adequately protecting children from being beaten by their parents (in a small minority of cases). This is a specific case where `reasonable’ was found to not be sufficient, so it was changed. This is how the legislature and the judiciary are supposed to interact.

    If you can make some other specific, individual cases for `reasonable’ to be replaced with something else in law, then fair enough. But advocating for blanket removal of the term from everything is a different matter.

    L

  75. Billy 75

    Lew,

    It wasn’t the judiciary who applied the reasonableness test in s59 cases, it was the jury. It was a question of fact. So one jury’s “reasonable” could be quite different to another’s. One or two errant jury decisions didn’t warrant changing the law, which actually was very sensible.

  76. Lew 76

    Billy: I used the term `judiciary’ in the looser sense of the legal system, not strictly judges – sorry, that’s not strictly correct.

    I agree that one jury’s `reasonable’ would clearly be different to another’s, but the point I’m making is that the legislature – and a sizeable majority of the legislature – decided that this wasn’t good enough.

    My point stands.

    L

  77. roger nome 77

    Phil:

    “There is a big difference between “a lot of labour supporters’ as I wrote, and “all pakeha labour supporters'”

    Democratic pluralism is a progressive cause which acknowledges and seeks to redress the real differences in power between various social cleavages in society. That’s called justice (that people be given equal opportunity). The view that this is racism (that groups are subjugated and victimised as a result of prejudice) is simply moronic. Progressive pluralism has been mainstream for 20 years, yet the groups you say are they prey of racism are still enjoy most of the power and privilege in society.

  78. roger nome 78

    Phil:

    “Why is reasonable OK in employment law, but not OK in, say, s59?”

    I’ve already answered this. In some areas of law there are just too many “reasonable” permutations to list them all in the legislation. in some areas you need it, in some you don’t. You just don’t seem to get it. Are you playing thick or are you genuinely stupid?

  79. Phil 79

    Roger,

    racism
    “Discrimination or prejudice based on race.”
    I think we can agree on that definition, it’s broader that then one you seem to have used, but I tend to view racism in a wider context than just subjugation.

    Now, where we differ…

    You think reversing the racism makes up for past injustice. That it balances out on average.
    Me, I think that’s about the best method you can get if you want to perpetuate ignorance and intolerance on both sides.

  80. roger nome 80

    Phil:

    Racism:

    “Discrimination or prejudice based on race.’

    Treating social groups in a prejudiced way isn’t always a bad thing. i.e. We have gender-based toilets, though not all men are perverts, and it does no one any harm.

    The problem with prejudiced law is when it comes to subjugate and disenfranchise people because of the group they belong to (i.e. South Arica, Third Riech), then it becomes a matter of justice.

    Democratic pluralism, on the other hand, whilst it may lead to prejudice laws, empowers disenfranchised minorities whilst leaving the traditionally socially advantaged group with power. In this case prejudiced law serves justice rather than working against it. See what I mean?

  81. roger nome 81

    Also – it’s rubbish to argue that democratic pluralism encourages ignorance, in fact it achieves the very opposite by encouraging people to be aware of the ways in which social groups are unfairly socially disadvantaged. Though if you’re an ignorant white male who benefits from their subjugation i guess you’re unlikely to see it that way.

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