Saturday, 25 November 2017

Bits and Pieces: Aussie QLD Politics and Unions.

The results of the Queensland state elections are out …  well, sort of. It may take a while to know who won and in what circumstances. Labor seems favourite to cross the line first, but it was a close election and it may depend on alliances, which Labor leader Annastacia Palaszczuk had previously ruled out.

But there is good news. We do know who lost.

It seems Pauline Hanson's One Nation won't get to hold the "balance of power" in QLD, as they hoped for. Take that, repugnant Witch of Ipswich.

You see, in Australia, election rules being what they are, smaller parties can't form government at state level, let alone federal level. Disappointing as this may be for their supporters, it doesn't mean the little boys can't influence government. The realistic goal for smaller conventional parties, like One Nation and the Greens, is to act as the balance of power: to force an electorally weak Coalition or Labor, if and when they are weak, into taking them on-board to make up numbers, in exchange for granting them some of their political aims/positions of power.

Power-sharing government, as they say.

Lately, both Labor and the Coalition have been weak, really weak everywhere (thus, the difficulty declaring a winner in QLD). One Nation was expected to benefit from that.

It didn't happen. It's not that they didn't get votes. They did. Heaps. But that's a sort of bitter-sweet consolation for the Orange ones (the party, who don't believe in personality cults, adopted their leader's hair colour): their votes flowed, through preferences, to the Liberal National Party (as the Coalition is called over there). In spite of all the swing in primary vote, they may still get one (yes, 1) seat in parliament.


Richard Di Natale, the federal Greens leader, speaking for the ABC's Sunday Breakfast Show this morning, attempted to give the QLD election results a cheerful spin: there were "huge swings" in primary votes -- he said -- for the "compassionate" Greens (Di Natale used that word at least 5 times in something like 5-10 minutes), "power-sharing governments are here to stay", the people are sick of Labor and the Coalition and all that. Fair enough.

But the bottom line is that the QLD Greens may still win one (1) seat in the state parliament, with any luck. Not much better than One Nation, is it?

That doesn't sound like much to share in a power-sharing government, does it?

Oh well. It's a half-full, half-empty thing, I suppose.


Speaking of the Greens, the NSW Greens will finally see Lee Rhiannon's back. They demoted her: she won't be the first in the NSW Greens Federal Senate list. A lady by the name of Mehreen Faruqi will.

Although she's been in NSW Parliament since 2013, I've never heard of her (I checked her Wikipedia profile and I wasn't particularly impressed: a former medium- to high-ranked state public servant, with some academic experience, appropriately compassionate and all), but I suppose one should cut her some slack. You know, the benefit of the doubt thing.

Slacks and benefits of the doubt, however, won't make me vote for her. They'll have to do a bloody good sales job. And Di Natale's "compassionate" mojo doesn't cut it, sorry. It's not that I don't appreciate having a shoulder to cry on. It's that I don't pay my bills with that.

Besides, everybody is compassionate: Labor and the Coalition, Turnbull and his gang. The bosses, I'm sure, barely suppress a tear when they cut or steal our wages. They don't sack anybody: they have to let people go. They don't force employees to work unpaid overtime: it's their staff who extort them extra work for free. They don't swindle the public, enslave foreign workers and backpackers, poison the world and our bodies (when they just don't kill us or get us killed), avoid paying taxes, bribe politicians and academics and journalists, lie shamelessly, out of their own wills. Nope. It's the devil who made them do it. And they suffer for that. That's why nobody wants to be a CEO.

They do all that forced and out of love, a knot in their throat. The same with everything: the unemployed, the sick, the homeless. It's tough love, baby.

Labor -- I'm sure -- also love me and, unlike the Greens, can actually win elections and form governments.


Personally, I'm much more impressed with the ACTU's Sally McManus:

Dear Friend

In the last 24 hours, the power of working people sticking together has prevailed.

Workers at Streets, and in Woolworths farm and supply chains have stood together against huge multinational companies who were trying to reduce their pay and limit their basic rights.

It wasn't easy. But they fought, and won.

Three weeks ago, we asked you to help out the AMWU and Streets workers after management applied to terminate their collective agreement, leaving workers facing a 46 per cent pay cut. You stepped up, and workers' pay was protected.

At Woolworths, farm and supply chain workers demanded basic rights and decent wages. The union had been running a parallel campaign exposing wage theft and human rights abuse in the farm sector, and today's win will see workers' pay increase, in some cases as much as $10 per hour.

These wage rises didn't come about because the big multinational companies felt it was the right thing to do, they changed because of the power of working people sticking together and supporting each other in their unions.

But we need more people to join our movement.

Only together, we are strong. Ask a friend or family member to join today.

Only a strong union movement can change the rules for working people.

Right now, the rules are stacked against working people. Thousands of workers right now face drastic and severe wage cuts.

In Collie, WA, AMWU members at Griffin Coal are still fighting for decent pay after their employer terminated their agreement.

In Gippsland, Victoria, workers at Esso are fighting ExxonMobil to stop this multinational from stripping their pay and conditions.

In Oaky North, workers have been locked out for over one hundred days, just because they want a collective agreement.

For most workers, it's too hard to get a pay rise and work is too insecure.

It's time to change the rules.

Join now, and help us change the rules.

Sally McManus
ACTU Secretary
Whither the QLD Greens "power-sharing" dream?

Paraphrasing Nelson Muntz: Ha-Ha.

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