Lines from a Floating Life: "reform"

24 Oct

I wrote the entry above on 7 July 2005, and how true it has proven to be! (Even Mr Rabbit praised me for this entry.) Consider the propaganda campaign we have been seeing lately on behalf of “WorkChoices” (sic) — itself an example of Newt Gingrich’s 1996 thesis “Language: A Key Mechanism of Control”, in turn an application with brainwashing intent of Neuro-Linguistic Programming. Go to the link above and see how those semi-hypnotic TV ads have selected from Newt’s list of magic words. Note also syntactic tricks, such as “Employees, together with employers, can…” Note how that endows “employees” with a spurious sense of agency. Now of course we see what is “guaranteed by law” in this interview yesterday with Workplace Relations Minister, Kevin Andrews:

ADVERTISEMENT: To help Australians reach a better balance between work and family life, we need to continue to make sensible, practical and fair workplace changes. To find out the facts call the hotline for the work choices booklet.

WOMAN: Authorised by the Australian Government, Canberra…

BARRIE CASSIDY: I want to ask you about let’s say a sick single dad in a certain situation. We’ll call him Billy. He’s had a bit of a work out this week. If Billy is offered an AWA without conditions like public holidays and penalty rates, if they’re excluded, no matter what his attitude, Centrelink is going to demand he takes the job?

KEVIN ANDREWS: This is a question of whether or not somebody is better to be on welfare and unemployment benefits or better to be in a job. Remember, Barrie, we still have in Australia tens if not hundreds of thousands of people unemployed. We have 700 kids in this country growing up in a home where no-one has got a job. Now, we’re sating that the best two things we can do is create a strong economy for Australia and, secondly, for an individual the best form of welfare they can have is to have a job.

BARRIE CASSIDY: I understand that. But you call it Workchoice. What choice would Billy have in this situation: that if he knocks back a job, Centrelink will take away his welfare? Now, he has no choice. If he doesn’t take the job, no matter what the conditions, he loses his benefits.

KEVIN ANDREWS: We don’t make any excuse for this. We believe that the best form of welfare that a person can have is to have a job. Remembering this: that when a person gets a job it’s the best way of getting another job. We know that within a year 4 in 10 people who’ve got a job have moved on to another better job. So getting a job is the starting point. Getting a foot in the door in the labour market is much more important and useful for that person than any dependents he or she might have.

BARRIE CASSIDY: But it doesn’t give a single dad any bargaining power, does it? No penalty rate, no overtime, no public holidays – if that’s the offer he’s got to take it, otherwise Centrelink –

KEVIN ANDREWS: The greatest bargaining power people have got today is a shortage in the workforce. Wherever I go around in Australia – and this is backed up by the data – we are looking for workers. Every business I go to says words to the effect, “We can’t find the workers that we need. We’re trying to hang on to the ones that we’ve got. We know because of the changing demographic profile that the growth in the working age population is going to contract over the coming years. It’s already starting to happen.” That in itself is the greatest support, if you like, for people in getting a job…

Work Choices indeed, but who gets to choose?

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Posted by on October 24, 2005 in America, Australia and Australian, culture wars, current affairs, industrial relations, linguistics and language, Political, right wing politics


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