Wednesday, 28 September 2011

The ACTU is launching a campaign today to amend the Fair Work Act so that employers can be obliged to change the status of employees. This proposition will not lead to better job prospects but rather reduce employer capacity to manage the needs of employers and employees in their enterprise. The ACTU never accepts the idea that the people in the business, both employees and employers, are the ones best able to make decisions on what is good for all parties within an enterprise. The idea that the government or the ACTU or employer organisations know what is best is simply not true and is the reason why under Keating and the Coalition, until 2007, both sides of politics have wanted to give more authority to make these decisions to those at the 'coal face'. The introduction of this type of provision will not only discourage employers from giving someone a job but also limit the options for people who do not want to work a full week. Many people want flexibility of hours; to manage family responsibilities, to undertake non-work activities and, perhaps for some seniors, because they just don't want to do too much. These options give people a basic freedom to decide how they want to live their life and how and when they want to work.
Given that the Liberal Party supports this basic idea of freedom at work, it will be interesting to see if the Federal Coalition can bring itself to comment on the ACTU's proposal or are Liberal MPs too busy re-reading Peter Costello's article in today's 'Age"

Monday, 26 September 2011

The news today is that all Labor MPs will vote for the Malaysia amendments to the Migration Act despite the public comments of a number of ALP MPs that they strongly reject the proposals. It is a pity that Labor MPs do not have more freedom to express their own views. Our democratic system needs MPs who can represent their constituencies and, in this case, many rank and file Labor supporters do not support the proposals and yet those views are not able to be put on the record. It means in practice that Labor supporters are ignored and this is part of the explanation why the number of Labor branch members has continued to fall. The Liberal party has similar issues although Liberal MPs are entitled to cross the floor and vote against their own party's position and can do so without fear of immediate expulsion which is the penalty within Labor ranks. There are numerous recent examples of Liberal MPs exercising these rights. The explanation for this tight caucus arrangement goes back to the formation of the ALP and is part of the culture of Labor.

Saturday, 24 September 2011

From January 2013

Peter appears regularly on ABC the Drum TV at 6 PM every second week although, as with TV slots generally, there can be changes to the schedule. Next appearance: Tuesday 5th February 2013, on channel 24

Appearances on Sky AM Agenda are fortnightly. The next one due is Friday 1st February 2013 at 8.30 AM

Occasionally, 1) the Paul Murray Show on Sky TV, usually first Monday of the month at 9PM and 2) occasionally on Sky 8pm to 9pm on The Nation

The weekly column in the Drum is published Tuesday mornings ( sometimes at lunchtime) and occasionally additional articles depending on circumstances

Thursday, 22 September 2011

No Tony, contracts were and should still be Liberal policy

I was surprised and disappointed when I heard that Tony Abbott announced on the ABC's 7.30 (September 20, 2011) that "we don't support statutory individual contracts. We did once, but we don't now".

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Australia needs an integrated and coherent economic plan

Just because your party is ahead in the polls there is no reason to sit back and miss opportunities to strengthen your position.

One of those moments will arise soon when Arthur Sinodinos becomes a Senator for NSW. Arthur has a good mix of high-level intelligence and good judgement. He has had great experience at the centre of government so he knows how policies interact. The Coalition has lots of talent but Arthur would be ideal on the front bench in a coordinating role on economic policy. Anything less would be a lost opportunity.

Monday, 19 September 2011

problems with Gillard's laws, townsville address

After speaking at the National Press Club tomorrow I am going to Townsville to continue my efforts to entice both political parties to properly respond to the problems caused by the Fair Work legislation.

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

The HSU saga has brought out into the open some of the many problems of governance within the union movement.
The attached link makes for interesting viewing on long standing problems within the HSU.

Setting up an inquiry into manufacturing was a bad idea because everyone knew, including Julia Gillard, the likely outcome; namely more subsides and protection. Probably armed with sensible advice from Treasury, PM Gillard knocked the idea on the head.
Likewise she must know that the Greens idea of an inquiry into the media, run by Labor and the Greens, will certainly make recommendations adverse to the freedom of the press. So the only reason that this waste of money is proceeding is because Gillard is too weak to say 'no'. The trouble is that if she cant say 'no' now then it might be harder later having given the Greens the platform to espouse their views on curbing press freedom.

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

sorry for not putting up the graphs, as advertised ; have now worked out how to upload and the graphs are now available

Labour Market and Economic Performances Under Howard and Rudd/Gillard Governments

Charts, facts and figures that compare Economic Performances between the Howard and Rudd/Gillard Governments.

Labor's labour pains

The ministers I like are the ones who master their brief. Chris Bowen is in that category. Bowen answers questions, he is accessible to the media and he does not shirk the actual debate. Scott Morrison is in the same class.

Sometimes it takes two to tango in politics. Bowen and Morrison let the public into the debate. They make it interesting and elevate the debate.

Monday, 12 September 2011

ALP & the Unions

The ALP and the unions like to say that a vote for the Coalition is a vote to cut pay and conditions. It is their favourite scare campaign but the statistics show that workers were a lot better off under Howard than they have been under Rudd/Gillard. Wages were up, unemployment was down and more people joined the labour market. I publish some of the statistical comparisons on my site today.

Friday, 9 September 2011

I hear from AM this morning that Woodside and the CFMEU and others are trying to do a deal to save the CFMEU from having to pay fines imposed by the ABCC. Apparently they promise not to break the law again for 7 years. Reynolds said the union had been hit with millions of fines for "simple industrial disputes" which of course were in breach of the law; that is why they got the fines. this is a classic case where the union and the employer agree that the law does not count for a row of beans. If Prime Minister Gillard agrees to this then it will be a nail in the coffin for Australia's industrial relations system and the number of strikes will rise and rise. And weak employers will think that they too have to do deals with militant unions just to stop unions breaking the law. It will mean the law of the jungle is back into the system.
Welcome to my new web site
Obviously it is still under construction but I hope to have some useful, interesting and topical information on the site soon.
The intention is to post speeches, comments; the occasional tweet will pop up as well
My weekly column on the ABC Drum goes online on Tuesdays and, thanks to the ABC, I will also be keeping an archive of the column on this site.

Currently, my regular TV slots are every second Friday at 8.30 AM on Sky's AM Agenda - the next one due for me is 16 September 2011. It is a Mr Right v Mr Left type show with Stephen Loosely

My regular 6 PM ABC TV spot is on the Drum forthnightly; usually Tuesdays but the next one is Monday 19 Sept.

Next week, on Tuesday 20th September 2011, I will be appearing at the National Press Club to talk about industrial relations. I understand that it will be covered by the ABC TV and Sky.

This week's column on the Drum can be found at

Tuesday, 6 September 2011

Tony's not afraid to tackle the tough issues

Anybody can tackle the easy issues, real leaders tackle all the issues especially the difficult ones.

Last week, Tony Abbott took a big step towards becoming Australia's next Coalition PM by declaring he would not fudge on the issue which is key to jobs and living standards. It is the most difficult political contest in Australian politics; a contest with not just the hapless Labor Party but their army of trade union bosses who are the real power behind the disintegrating Gillard throne.