Contributed from Victoria
Embarking on a major betrayal of existing Australian working conditions and rights, Pauline Hanson’s One Nation is prepared to help the Turnbull government get new industrial relations changes through the Senate, in a major betrayal of Australia.
The proposed amendments to the Fair Work Act will make it unlawful for any enterprise agreements to “undermine” volunteers, and strike out any existing provisions deemed to do so.
While on the face of it this is being sold, and not honestly either, as a means to protect Country Fire Authority (CFA) volunteers, it is really aimed at all workers. The pretense of the firefighters union getting control of the Metropolitan Fire Brigade in Melbourne, and through this the CFA is really a cover up for a broader agenda to resurrect John Howard’s WorkChoices in a new form.
It is also about the intention of inflicting damage on the Victorian Labor government.
In essence, new legislation aims at restricting the right of unions and management to enter into agreements that will restrict the use of volunteer labour. Exactly what this means is rather broad. Does it also mean casual labour. If so it will open the floodgates for ruthless employers to bring in cheap labour to take away jobs and it may well provide an opportunity to walk away from existing agreements.
Turnbull has recently publicly suggested that penalty rates will go. Is the whole CFA argument really about achieving this as one of the aims to the brave new world of a coming industrial relations regime? Given the record of the Coalition, it seems highly likely.
For Pauline Hanson and One Nation, their betrayal will bring damage to many of their own supporters and they will suffer the ignominy of it. If this is going to be the political style from now on, One Nation may well prove to have a very limited life span. It is also a comment on the strategical stupidity of One Nation’s leadership.
In the meantime, they are giving Turnbull a little spot of comfort in an otherwise disastrous time. There would be greater honesty if One Nation’s leaders signed up with the Liberal Party. They would be welcomed there.