Sunday 14th of July 2024

Trade unions and Howard's war on workers (Terry Costello)

I enjoyed the book immensely but was perplexed that trade unionists and the attacks on working people as well as the attacks on workers basic rights of freedom of association and the right to organise by the Howard goverment, were not covered at all in the book. Some of the Howard government's most questionable actions, such as its role in the Patricks dispute and its Workplace Relations Act, took place in the Industrial Relations arena.

Margo is looking at building democracy by getting people to unite over particular issues, however she has ignored organisations that have millions of Australians as members who can and are being mobilised to resist Howard's policies. She has ignored the largest group who have been severely attacked and marginalised by Johnny and his neo liberalist thugs - Australian workers.

I found the publishing of the Robert (Pig Iron Bob)Menzies quotes equally perplexing given he tried to outlaw a political party as well as cyncially using sectarian cold war politics in issues such as the Petrov Affair for his own political advantage. He also sent troops to fight a US war just like little Johnny. Pig Iron Bob didn't give a rats about freedom. He once said in the 1930's that Hitler had some good ideas.

The best bits were the chapters on the media and the visits of Bush and the Chinese Leader. They were absolutely fascinating as well as the coverage of Australia's appalling treatment of refugees. Otherwise I think Margo was pitching to disaffected Liberal party voters and in the main ignoring others who have given up on the 2 main parties.

NHJ responds: Thanks for your email, Terry. You make some really valid points about what's missing from the current edition of NHJ, as well as what you like about it. We selected a number of issues we thought were some of the defining problems with the current government, and how we could change it. As you know, it's already over 400 pages long!

We are certainly hoping for a second edition of NHJ. Talking about Howard's war against unions could well be something we focus on next. This website is a good place to start people thinking about IR policy and how different things would (might?) be different under a potential Latham government.