Australian bloggers are not fooled by John HoWARd’s ridiculous spin that his crushing of workers’ rights and entitlements will lead to more jobs and better working conditions. In a completely foolish attempt to pander to workplace bullies, HoWARd has already given employers the nod to use the elimination of unfair dismissal laws to harass workers into quitting.
John HoWARd has often been accused of living in the 1950s. However, the Dickensian WorkChoices is straight out of the 1850s. Employers were once kings, able to abuse, intimidate, threaten and harass employees at will, with their workers’ livelihoods at the tips of their fingers. It was abuse of workers which gave rise to the current system of industrial relations in Australia, which include reasonable protections for workers. John HoWARd is giving employers flexibility- to again reign as undisputed monarchs of their patch and lords of the sharecroppers who till the soil for them.
From the first day I set foot in Australia from the USA in October 1996, the difference in the general manner of Australians from Americans was immediately obvious. Americans can never relax- there is no safety net in the American workplace. There is no reasonable amount of holiday or sick time available to American workers. By contrast, Australians get a minimum of 4 weeks per year of annual leave as well as generous sick leave conditions, national healthcare and adequate supports for those who do find themselves unemployed or unable to work. Australia is indeed a kinder and gentler place than America- and I would never swap one for the other. Australia has surfies- America has serfs.
Many Australians idealise America and wonder why I could bear to leave such a place for Australia. The workplace relations system in Australia is in no small part responsible for the general character of the Australian people and thus my affection for them and the place we live. In 2003, I became an Australian citizen, intending to live in Australia indefinitely.
I never expected America to come and hunt me down, but John HoWARd is about to loose the hounds of laissez-faire capitalism on me, you, and every other Australian. Prepare to live like a fox, snatching your livelihood where you can, before the dogs close in.
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