2007 Federal Election: Bastards voted out

Little Joy for Workers

“In democracies, sometimes the rulers have to change in order to ensure that things remain the same”

— adapted from The Leopard by Giuseppe di Lampedusa

Unions were told by the Labor Party that they had to work on a marginal seats campaign to get the ALP in government and thereby change the workplace laws. Unions generally accepted this view.

The Senate

In the book After the Waterfront – the workers are quiet the leftpress collective argues that

this strategy (the electoral solution) demands that the ALP achieves the highly unlikely scenario of winning a majority in both houses, or, more likely, of winning a majority in the House of Representatives and getting compliance from smaller parties in the Senate. However, getting candidates elected is not guaranteed and even if a candidate gets into parliament there are many other issues in the parliamentary system competing for the attention of parliamentarians.

The provisional result in the senate is:

Coalition 37
ALP 32
Greens 5
Family First 1
Nick Xenophon 1

As predicted in After the Waterfront – the workers are quiet the ALP will not control the senate and on many anti-worker, anti-union issues like WorkChoices.
The senate will remain hostile to any legislative changes favourable to workers and their unions. [See Liberal senators in bid to block repeal of IR law]

The Greens

Some workers looked to the Greens as a possible means of easing the workplace laws because the Greens had better Industrial Relations policy than Labor.

However the Greens will not have the balance of power in the Senate. One scenario is that a vote to replace WorkChoices would leave Labor and Greens deadlocked with the coalition 37 votes to 36 votes with Family First and Nick Xenophon (no-poker machine lobby) with the casting votes.

The big gain for the Greens was in Tasmania (two seats in the senate) and South Australia (one senate seat) with some gains in Victoria (falling short winning a senate seat). See http://www.abc.net.au/elections/federal/2007/results/senate/vic.htm for the final tally after preferences.

In Queensland, the Greens, once again, did not do well in the Senate getting only half a quota (7%) before preferences.

However, in the house of Reps, the Greens did well in inner city Brisbane seats where there are now a lot of public servants and other white collar workers who vote Green.

The Greens seem unable to capture the blue collar working class vote, which in this election just went back to Labor.

The Socialist Alliance and the Socialist Equality Party did poorly again polling less than 2% of the vote in seats contested. Of the socialists contesting the senate, Sam Watson in Queensland got the best result for the Socialist Alliance in the senate (he got a meager 1,584 votes or 0.08% of the vote).

Analysis

At the national level, this means the ALP will face a hostile senate when it tries to get its minor reforms to WorkChoices through the parliament.

Yet people worldwide are starting to turn away from privatisation by governments. They wish to return services like health, education, transport and telecommunications to public ownership.

That is, people are moving away from the neo-conservative experiment of the past 20 years. This seems lost on ALP governments throughout Australia, governments that are privatising public resources like electricity industry in NSW. [See Electricity sell-off a surge to the bottom line]

The last major privatisation in Australia was the sale of Telstra, yet what did people get from the sale of Telstra?

A failed company with a hopeless mob running it and taking away $20 million each per annum in salaries.

At the same time, call centre workers at Telstra have been committing suicide because of the bad conditions. See the article in BushTelegraph: No Action on Worker Suicides at Telstra

This trend away from private ownership in the minds of workers (see strikes in opposition to power privatisation in NSW) is still minor but there is some chance it may spread.

Meanwhile rising Labor star, Kevin Rudd (PPP*) once said:

We (the Labor Party) are the genuine inheritors of the [Adam] Smithian tradition [of modern-day capitalism].

We accept price. We accept markets. We accept the legitimate pursuit of self-interest.”

From After the Waterfront – the workers are quiet. @ http://wpos.wordpress.com/

For more in depth discussion of the unions situation post election 07 see After the Waterfront – the workers are quiet.

* Coined termed by veteran SMH journo Alan Ramsey. PPP = ‘prissy, precious, prick’

One response to “2007 Federal Election: Bastards voted out

  1. Working Families

    THE phrase “working families” was created in the last week of March in 2005, after 65 battlers in eight focus groups were asked how they would describe themselves…

    It was in this context that Australian Manufacturing Workers’ Union secretary Doug Cameron commissioned Melbourne consultancy Essential Media Communications to find out whether it was worth mounting a fight.

    The focus groups EMC convened were made up of classic Howard battlers from suburban Melbourne, Adelaide, Brisbane and Sydney, picked for their status as employees on less than $60,000. Seventy per cent of them had voted Liberal in 2004 and only 30% were union members. When they were asked about the Government, they were generally unaware or slightly positive about it.

    From “Burned by IR, Howard’s battlers exact revenge” by Michael Bachelard in The AGE 26 Novemebr 2007

    No Balance of power for the Greens

    Dr Di Natale is trailing Liberal Scott Ryan in the race for Victoria’s sixth Senate seat. The result may depend on how absentee and postal votes fall. With several big music festivals on in regional Victoria over the weekend, including the Queenscliff Music Festival and Earthcore, the Greens consider themselves a good chance to secure these voters’ support. It’s what leader Bob Brown has described as the “bushwalker factor” — people who are away for the weekend but with strong environmental leanings.

    From “Di Natale faces another long wait for a result” by Orietta Guerrera in The AGE November 26, 2007

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