The Guardian 16 November, 2005
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A stunt in time
What madness is this, this provocative manoeuvre to bring one of the worldís least-loved statesman ó if that can be anything like the right description for him ó to Adelaide for the red carpet treatment? What can these tame and scheming sycophants be hatching now?
Is it some kind of a challenge? Are we all to bend the knee submissively before our masterís servant, and forever hold our peace, on pain of being rounded up and dispatched in chains to one of those hell-holes scattered across the surface of the earth, upon which the sun will never set: to Camp Delta? Abu Ghraib? Baxter? Or to some as yet unknown component of the Pacific Solution, now that the scene has been set, the actors all know their lines, and all the trappings of a police state are firmly in place, and the simplest minds have been adequately conditioned?
Is someone cooking up another dodgy dossier? Is Bush feeling so much heat from his own dissembling, that heís anxious to pull a stunt ó any old stunt ó that might divert attention away from him and towards any one of his deserving retinue of cringing acolytes: towards Blair, Howard, Beazley etcetera? Mark Latham had a prettier turn of phrase than that. Itís a pity it doesnít spring more readily to mind.
Whatever else, we can be sure itís a stunt of some kind. Perhaps, to go out on a note of heady optimism, the whole kit and caboodle of deceit is in danger of crumbling, beyond repair, letís hope.
Bill impacts on everything
New Zealand introduced its own draconian industrial relations laws well before Australia. Iím not going to go into the detail of how NZ workersí conditions are worse now than they were before.
The impact of industrial laws does not show only at work. It impacts on everything ó standard of living, increased poverty, and worse health.
In case of New Zealand, the World Health Organisation was alarmed that cases of rickets have become widespread there. Rickets is a childrenís disease which is associated with vitamin deficiency which leads to bone softening. Rickets was quite widespread in Dickensian times where poor people could not afford to provide good food and conditions for their children.
To see it return in a country like New Zealand is such a shame. Is the same thing going to happen here?
Surry Hills, NSW
Peopleís perception of PMís legislation
Why do the Prime Ministerís policy makers complicate laws when the Government decides to change them? Who drafts these laws? Are the consequences discussed by real people, ie, those that the new legislation will affect most?
Howard has backtracked, from forcing singles mothers to work when their youngest child goes to school, to when the child is eight. This rule is just as bad. Why must it be there in the first place? It is so petty.
Then again the distance a person must travel to a job was reduced to a still inappropriate distance.
Why are all these petty little items brought into serious legislation?
How will the distance be measured and by whom?
Will it include the journey to work via the school, traffic hold ups and parking problems that take time?
Such trivial items of distance to and from work will not make workers more productive or encourage people into the workplace, especially if they canít afford to run or buy a car. So what is the point of all this nonsense in a serious Bill?
Has the possibility of time taken with public transport been considered too?
Is all this IR just exercising authority "over" people by employers, government and its agencies that victimise people on welfare?
Such poorly drafted legislation needs to be questioned.
All workplaces are being scrutinised except parliamentarians. MPs waste time shouting at each other during question time, is this productive? I think not. Peopleís perceptions of time-wasting inefficient MPs is they are totally unproductive and donít deserve all the benefits they acquire from the taxpayers after all they are only on a limited contract.
Secretary of the Organisation of Un(der)employed People WA Inc
Bibra Lake, WA