Work is killing our weekend or . . . Women and kids kill jobs

big_girl2_pp_pe_peAustralians ranks amongst the hardest working in the first world, ranking fourth for long hours worked among 34 OECD nations.

Turkey ranked No. 1, with almost half its population working more than 50 hours a week. Mexico and Israel followed. The Netherlands, Sweden, Denmark and Russia had the best work-life balance with only 1 or 2 per cent of employees working very long hours.

And that’s just the blokes, with one in 5 men working more than 50 hours per week.  At least Aussie sheilas are doing it better; or at least better than Turkey or Mexico . . . or are we?

TAKE a bow, ladies – Australian women are among the world’s hardest-working on the home front.

A report has found that of females in 29 countries, Australians rank fifth in the number of hours each day spent doing unpaid work.

Although this article from the Herald Sun treats the issue somewhat flippantly, unpaid work does mean one hell of a lot more than running the vac’ around the lounge room, it’s the carers, the volunteers without whom organisations could not exist . . . you know who you are.

Australian women also have the least time to follow leisure pursuits.

It will come as no surprise to anyone that “WORK is killing off the great Australian weekend and starving kids of family time.”.  Below of course pertains not just to the traditional family, mum, dad and kids but to all working people who are socially deprived due to the impossibility of anything resembling a life/work balance.

Australians are now three times more likely to work weekends than they were 20 years ago – one in three workers now spends Saturday or Sunday on the job.

New research exposes the true cost of weekend work, as it steals leisure time with friends and family all week long.

When fathers work weekends, mothers get less quality leisure time with their children as they catch up on chores.

But when women work Saturdays, the blokes spend more time with their mates.

Weekend work has nearly trebled over the past 20 years, from 12 per cent of workers in 1993 to 33 per cent today, Australian Bureau of Statistics data shows.

Half of all business owners, 42 per cent of contractors and 30 per cent of employees now spend their weekends in the workplace, rather than the backyard or beach.

And one in four workers is on call or on standby, as technology contaminates leisure time with messages and emails from the boss.

The Social Policy Research Centre at the University of NSW has calculated the “knock-on” impact of weekend work on leisure time, by analysing ABS data sourced from time-use diaries filled in by more than 4000 workers.

When men work weekends, the researchers found, “this comes at the cost of mother-child leisure time”.

The study’s lead author, Associate Professor Lyn Craig, said weekend work was bad for family bonding, friendship and community ties.

More people are working shifts because lots of jobs are becoming 24/7, like retail,” she said yesterday.

“And workers are having their weekends encroached upon more and more by technology, so it seems harder to have a boundary between work and home.

“It’s not good for family bonding, to not have parents available to their kids when their kids are available.”

The research shows both parents spend less quality time with their kids if either mum or dad works weekends.

The above article is from, and published in August last year.

This is the reality of working Australia.  Also to be kept in mind is that according to the ABS,One quarter of all employees earned $588.00 or less“.

More female employees were employed part-time (52.3%) than full-time (47.7%). Average weekly total cash earnings were $1,278.40 for full-time females and $562.40 for part-time females.

Eric Abetz:  “We risk seeing something akin to the wages explosion of the pre-accord era when unsustainable wage growth simply pushed thousands of Australians out of work.”

Steven Walters, a chief economist with JP Morgan, says “. . .wages growth is the lowest it has ever been.”

Prime Minister Tony Abbott is under pressure from his backbench to address ”job-killing” weekend and holiday penalty rates, with 10 Coalition MPs telling Fairfax Media the controversial issue cannot be ignored.

Does this make any sort of sense?  Since the Murdoch media installed Tony Abbott as Prime Minister, Abbott’s Mr. No persona has been reinvented as Mr. Slash and Burn with thousands of jobs thrown in the dust bin in pursuit of Abbott’s ideologies. Who exactly is the job-killer Tony?

Yet according to Abbott and Abetz it’s the kids, the women trying to support themselves and their families . . .and who are prepared to work weekends and holidays, and while knowing that they must sacrifice valuable family time in order to achieve this; it’s they who are in the “job-killing” business.

Yes you have it, according to the Liberals, Australians who work some of the longest hours of all OECD countries, and with the worst life/work balance, especially pertaining to women who seem to have ZERO time to do anything else except work . . . paid and unpaid; these same hard-working Aussies according to Abbott and Abetz are “in the job-killing business”.  Clearly the solution is to pay them less.

WorkChoices, you asked for it

In August 2012, former Prime Minister John Howard called for a return to individual employment contracts, however then Leader of the Opposition Tony Abbott was quick to end speculation saying, “there will be no going back to the past”.

”If Mr Howard, who was a Liberal prime minister for 12 years, is talking about bringing back WorkChoices, then you can bet your bottom dollar that Mr Abbott is bringing back WorkChoices,” he (Wayne Swan) told reporters in Canberra.

But Mr Abbott said the Coalition would not seek to be ideological in the industrial relations arena.

But perhaps, and in order to find out what Tony Abbott’s honest answer is, then we need to go back to Abbott in Opposition:

  • New federal Liberal leader Tony Abbott has not to ruled out changes to Australia’s industrial relations landscape if he wins power next election.
  • When asked if new Liberal policy would include seeking to re-introduce aspects of the previous Howard government’s WorkChoices regime, which has been rolled back by the Kevin Rudd government, Mr Abbott said Australia needed a “free and flexible economy”.
  • FEDERAL Opposition Leader Tony Abbott wants to scrap penalty rates — to protect the Australian weekend.
  • Retailers and hospitality employers are planning a post-election push for a relaxation of penalty rates after Opposition Leader Tony Abbott signalled potential support for such cases in the workplace tribunal.
  • PETER Reith will demand today that business aggressively pressure Tony Abbott to introduce more radical workplace policy changes if he wins the election, while stepping up his attack on the Coalition’s paid parental leave policy as unaffordable and “wrong in principle”.In a rallying call to resource sector employers in Melbourne, the Howard government workplace relations minister will urge employers to start campaigning in October for substantial changes if Mr Abbott wins the September 14 election.
  • Business says that an Abbott government should go further than what it says in its policy. Unions say that an Abbott government will go further than what it says in its policy. We just can’t know for sure what those further changes will be. But whatever they are, it is unlikely that they would boost productivity, either.

Announced today:

The federal government is finalising plans for a sweeping review of the nation’s workplace laws, and could hand-pick an industrial relations expert from outside the Productivity Commission to help lead it.

Before the election, the government promised a ”genuine and independent review” of the Fair Work laws by the economically dry commission, to consider their impact on productivity, the economy and jobs, with a view to raising flexibility in the workplace.

The review comes as Employment Minister Eric Abetz revealed plans to introduce new laws next week that would allow workers to trade off conditions such as penalty rates in return for more flexible hours.

So what happened to the “review”?  Preempting any “sweeping review” by either the Productivity Commission or Abetz’ and Abbott’s “hand-picked” apologist expert, Abetz and Abbott have announced that Australian workers are going to be permitted to trade away their penalty rates in exchange for . . . whose flexibility?

Senator Abetz confirmed, when asked about the changes, that they would allow workers to trade off penalty rates for family time.

He stressed it would be employees who decided if this trade-off suited them, and not employers dictating that penalty rates be signed away.

I wonder in what reality Senator Abetz lives?  An imaginary place where the lass at the checkout or the young bloke on the factory floor has the ability to say to the big boss, “No sorry, I would rather get paid overtime rather than leave work at lunchtime.”.  “Don’t come in Monday, we don’t need you until later in the week” is already the reality for many of Australia’s workforce, but it is now obvious that in the guise of Abbott being “the best friend the Australian worker ever had” . . . look, think of it this way, you may not be able to pay the bills or put food on the table, but at least you’ll be getting quality time with the family . . . that this is the first step of an ongoing campaign.

From ACTU president Ged Kearney:  ”This is a blatant attempt to cut pay and conditions … despite all the pre-election promises,” she said. ”Minister Abetz talks about imaginary workers that want to give up penalty rates for nothing. We’re yet to find a worker that thinks this is a good deal.”

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WorkChoices, worst choices Abbott’s SPC

1921Ardmona Fruit Products Co-Op Ltd. opens for business.

1921 Ardmona Fruit Products Co-Op Ltd. opens for business.

As Tony’s chances go up, workers’ hopes will go down.  Source:  The Daily Telegraph, July 2012

IN a sure-fire sign that the Liberals have grown incredibly cocky about their electoral prospects at the next federal election, Tony Abbott has once again raised the spectre of WorkChoices.

Despite Tony Abbott’s promise during the 2010 federal election that WorkChoices was “dead, buried, cremated”, “the spirit of WorkChoices rose from the dead again…”.  The pledge back in 2012 was that “if elected”, Tony Abbott would enact laws allowing “greater flexibility for employers“, and promised that he “won’t stop there“.

Only a few days later, Abbott – and the desciption at the time was “bizarrely” declared – that he, Tony Abbott, was the best friend of the Australian worker but that “right now we have got a flexibility problem, we have got a militancy problem, we have got a productivity problem.”

This was, and of course, continues to be absolute rubbish. Compared with decades past there is very, very little industrial unrest in Australia.  Australians continue to work some of the longest hours, with the least job security of any industrialised nation.

Back in 2012, Tony Abbott’s “technique” was described thus:  Does this ring any loud bells?

Once again, Abbott is resorting to his favourite technique, create a problem where one doesn’t exist (“militant unions”), repeat it ad nauseam (“we must stop militant unions”), and hope the public falls for it (“I will stop militant unions”).

After an intial philosophical attack against SPC, and a somewhat snide remarkDavid Gonski ‘is not going to let down the workers of SPC Ardmona’, says PM Tony Abbott – it became exactly the opposite, an attack on the workers and their conditions.

STRUGGLING fruit canner SPC Ardmona today undermined the Government’s blistering attack on its apparently generous working conditions.

Senior government officials had claimed the workforce had nine weeks’ leave a year. The company said the actual figure was 20 days.

The Government said the workers were paid a loading on top of overtime. The company said almost zero overtime is paid. An agreement for cashing in sick leave ended in 2012.

According to the Government the workers received a generous wet allowance. In fact, no wet allowance was paid in 2012.

Dr Stone said it made no sense for the government to support a Tasmanian fish farmer, Huon Aquaculture, by spending $3.5 million in public money to upgrade machinery while rejecting SPC Ardmona’s bid.

She said the government had sought to widen its attack on unions at SPC Ardmona after unrelated reports of corruption in the building industry.

”This seemed to be a convenient way to draw a line in the sand to accuse this company [SPC] of being destroyed by unions and outrageous wages,” she said.

Specific details of the “extraordinary working conditions” which Tony Abbott would have us believe that SPC workers enjoy are:

. . . on Tuesday released financial details and information on its agreement with the AMWU that refuted nearly all of Mr Abbott’s claims. It said the wet allowance, worth just 58¢ an hour, was not paid at all last year. It also said total allowances paid to workers were just $116,427 in 2013; or less than 0.1 per cent of its cost of goods for the year.

It said there was little overtime at SPC Ardmona, and the company had in 2012 reduced redundancy provisions and stopped sick leave from being cashed out.

On Monday, Joe Hockey said that, drought assistance was already available to farmers and declared ”the age of entitlement is over and the age of personal responsibility has begun”.

Perhaps Hockey has missed something, that although climatic conditions are always challenging for rural communities, the company’s current difficulties have nothing whatsoever to do with drought.  From SPC’s Managing Director Peter Kelly:

“Mr Kelly says the major culprit behind SPC’s difficulties is the sustained high Australian dollar, which has led to a flood of cheap imported canned fruit and a “decimation” of the company’s export markets.

“The serious problems that have beset SPCA have not been because of labour costs and certainly not from the allowances, a fact borne out by the Productivity Commission’s recent analysis,” he said.

Returning to Abbott’s “technique”:  create a problem where one doesn’t exist (“militant unions”), repeat it ad nauseam (“we must stop militant unions”), and hope the public falls for it (“I will stop militant unions”).  If it seems nonsensical how a request from SPC could suddenly morph into an attack on a 58 cent per hour wet allowance, here is the answer:  create a problem where one doesn’t exist.

If Tony Abbott thought to entertain the idea that this issue could be the commencement of his undeniable fervent wish to introduce a future clone of WorkChoices, perhaps “succeed” where his mentor John Howard failed, then he has made an unimpressive start to his campaign by attacking the workers of SPC Ardmona and the town of Shepparton.

Photo:  SPC Ardmona - Our Rich History

Photo: SPC Ardmona – Our Rich History

Good luck

Good luck to whoever wins the election.

Most people know I support Labor but if Tony Abbott wins, as he has been tipped to do, then I wish him all the best. Whilst I can’t imagine how horrible this country might become under his leadership I hope, sincerely, that he serves us well.

All he needs to do to become a good Prime Minister is to finish the great work Labor has done for six years. In Government he does not need to be a wrecker. He won’t need to say “No” to everything, good or bad.

He won’t lose any friends if he keeps the NBN. Most voters want it even though they’ll most likely vote for the man who threatens to demolish it.

He won’t lose any friends either if he changes his antiquated views on same-sex marriage. Again, most voters approve of same-sex marriage even though they’ll most likely vote for the man who wants to close the door on it.

Neither will he lose any friends if he continues with the Gonski reforms. Again, funnily, most people want a good education for their children yet they’ll most likely vote for the man who will ignore their wants.

I doubt he’ll lose any friends if he doesn’t stop the boats, though he will definitely lose credibility because of it. Many people in this country don’t mind the boats coming. They’d rather see them drift safely to our shores than be turned around at sea.

He definitely won’t lose any friends if he keeps to his word and not reintroduce WorkChoices. Dare I say it again, but funnily enough the strugglers who will suffer most under WorkChoices will most likely vote for the man who probably can’t wait to rob them of their rights at work.

I could go on and on, but my main point is that if Mr Abbott wins then I wish him well. And he would be wise to remember what John Howard said in 1996 that he inherited a good economy from Paul Keating. Tony Abbott will be doing the same: inheriting a good economy. No, a great economy.

He would be wise not to stuff it up.

We’ll be watching him. Closely. We’d be happy to turn him into target practice if he ruins this great country.

If Kevin Rudd defies the odds and pulls off a surprise win then good luck to him too. His predecessor has left him some of the greatest reforms of the last decades to build upon. He has been part of a team that has seen Australia leap to the top as one of the most economically sound countries in the world.

I hope he is rewarded with another term. This photo (origin unknown) succinctly sums up why I want his team rewarded.

I'm voting for

It’s a no brainer

During the 2010 election campaign we had Tony Abbott campaigning frenetically against the NBN. In response to his desire to rip up progress, Julia Gillard came up with this gem:

Imagine missing out on the possibilities of the future.

Thankfully, in 2010 Julia Gillard was given the opportunity to ensure that we didn’t miss out on these opportunities. Nasking, commenting on The Political Sword gave us a brief insight to what the future provided post 2010:

Let’s face it . . . the economy is sound . . . rates are low . . . unemployment is low compared to many struggling countries . . . Labor has a better NBN . . . has the disability scheme . . . education reform . . . the $18,000 tax free threshold . . . is strong on superannuation and trying to make it fairer . . . got rid of Workchoices . . . built trades training centres . . . has been fair to all schools . . . focused on disadvantage and making schools more hi-tech with better science labs and libraries to assist us to modernise . . . has focused heavily on diverse infrastructure . . . got us through the GFC . . .

It’s a no brainer.

Love the sum-up: it’s a no brainer.

Imagine losing all that in the future.

Voting: let’s keep it compulsory

Compulsory voting is not an issue I’ve ever given much thought to, always taking for granted that it was sacrosanct, however given that Nick Minchin has put his grubby little hands all over it I can only assume that he is doing so because voluntary voting would be in the best interests of the Coalition. His latest foray into the issue comes after an Adelaide man who lost a Supreme Court challenge against Australia’s compulsory voting system announced plans to take his legal fight to the High Court. Anders Holmdahl has argued that voting at federal and state elections is a right, not a duty. Minchin attended the Adelaide hearing to lend support to the legal challenge, adding:

“I’ve always said that compulsory voting is an infringement of the democratic rights of Australians, so I’m delighted this case was brought to court,” he said.

“I’m sorry that the matter has been dismissed at this level, but I hope it will be taken to the High Court.

“I think the Commonwealth Electoral Act’s requirement on Australians to vote, whether they want to or not, is wrong and I think it should be tested in the High Court.”

Yes, folks, you read that correctly; one of the founding fathers of the draconian WorkChoices and the vocal advocate of a harsher WorkChoices Mach II is concerned about an infringement on the democratic rights of Australians.

He has been calling for voluntary voting for many years now and way back in 2005 he speculated that an election victory to Howard (in 2007) may well have seen his desired amendments to the Electoral Act, though back then his call for voluntary voting was not based on any infringement of the democratic rights of Australians, but that:

. . . voluntary voting’s a very important barometer of the health of a political system, which compulsion can disguise. That’s one of my main complaints about compulsory voting.

That sounds about as unconvincing as his concern for the democratic rights of Australians.

Howard himself had fiddled with the Act prior to the 2007 election when he removed the seven day period after the issue of the election writs during which voters could enrol or update their enrolment. This was a sneaky move. With the opinion polls showing strong support for Labor from 18-21 year olds, Howard wanted to exclude as many of that cohort group from voting and removal of the seven day enrolment period was a dastardly means at his disposal.

I have my suspicions that Minchin’s motives are no different to Howard’s, particularly when we consider some of the crucial attributes of compulsory voting:

  • Higher sample of public opinion with higher voter turnout
  • Legitimacy of government is more accepted by a high voter turnout
  • Equalises participation and removes bias from less-privileged citizens
  • Increases citizen interest in politics and government
  • Forces the silent majority to think about elections which safeguards from extremism

And more importantly, this:

Compulsory voting reduces power of lobbying groups. A benefit of compulsory voting is that it makes it more difficult for special interest groups to vote themselves into power. Under a non-compulsory voting system, if fewer people vote then it is easier for smaller sectional interests and lobby groups to control the outcome of the political process. The outcome of the election reflects less the will of the people (Who do I want to lead the country?) but instead reflects who was logistically more organized and more able to convince people to take time out of their day to cast a vote.

That has the smell of Minchin all over it.

Some of you may recall my recent post Who runs the Liberal Party? where I speculated that Nick Minchin still pull many strings. Though retired from politics, his ideologies are reflected in the direction the party is heading. Here is a snippet of that earlier post for those who might have missed it:

But unless the legacy dies we could be well again be the victim of more of the hard-line extremist’s ideologies. I’m referring to WorkChoices, of which Minchin was one of the architects. Despite its unpopularity he has maintained that the reforms did not go far enough and further deregulation is required. In a parting shot as he retired from politics he:

. . . appealed to his party not to drift into populism as an over-reaction to being burnt on its WorkChoices laws.

Was anybody in the party listening? Yes.

Opposition Leader Tony Abbott has given qualified support . . . for a Coalition government to roll back Labor’s IR reforms.

Minchin might yet see his dream again realised with the scrapping of unfair dismissal laws and the return to individual contracts for employers. Can he trust Abbott? Yep.

Can we trust him?

It would be far more easier to avoid drifting into populism and pandering to lobby groups with the removal of compulsory voting (referring to the dot points above).

That extreme Liberal Party think tank, Menzies House offers some very radical opinions that leave the reader convinced that the removal of compulsory voting would damage the Labor Party.

Under voluntary voting leaders must empower the electorate, which means they must promote freedom. They must sell freedom. They must defend and protect freedom.

Voluntary voting will reverse our slide towards totalitarianism.

Australians don’t like compulsory voting. Not really. Australians like to see evidence of high voter participation and they think high voter turnouts indicate this. The government has deceived the Australian people for far too long.

Until the Australian government stops lying, Australia will continue to deceive the world into thinking that freedom is bad for democracy.

Could it be that compulsory voting favours a particular type of voter? Could their deception be politically motivated? Julia Gillard supports compulsory voting.

In my opinion everything revolves around that one question: “Could it be that compulsory voting favours a particular type of voter?” Yes, it does:

. . . compulsory voting supposedly favours political representation of the educationally and economically disadvantaged and marginalised – predominantly Labor supporters.

There we have it in a nutshell. Forget Minchin’s concern on the infringement of the democratic rights of Australians. Forget his argument too that voluntary voting’s a very important barometer of the health of a political system. Replace it with voluntary voting’s a very important barometer of the health of a political party: the Liberal Party.

Quite simply, Minchin wants whatever will eliminate a few Labor voters thus enhancing the opportunity to fulfill the expectations of big money, big business and big media.

While researching this post I came across many pages that have put forward the pros and cons of compulsory voting, however each argument overlooked one crucial point: if some members of the far right are so vehemently opposed to it, than it must be to their political advantage to remove it.

For that reason alone, let’s keep it compulsory.

Who runs the Liberal Party?

Who’s in charge of the Liberal Party? Who set its direction and gave it its drive. Certainly not the gaff prone Tony Abbott. He might sit comfortably in the driver’s seat but he has regularly demonstrated he cannot be trusted to take control of the steering wheel. There has to be a back seat driver; telling him when to drive forward, when to speed up, when to turn, when to overtake, when to slow down, when to stop, when to partake in a bit of road rage.

I suspect it might have been (the now retired) Nick Minchin. I think that became evident in the days before the leadership spill that saw the demise of Malcolm Turnbull. With Turnbull at the wheel the party was veering slightly to the left; a direction it would maintain with the likelihood of Joe Hockey replacing him, the chances of which looked decidedly strong. Too strong, especially given that Abbott at this stage wasn’t going to challenge.

The turning point that prompted Abbott to throw his hat in the ring only came after Hockey revealed that he would run on a compromise position on the Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) by allowing the party room a conscience vote on the issue. Then:

Seconds after Mr Abbott beat Malcolm Turnbull by one vote, he then declared a secret ballot on the ETS.

The motion proposed that the legislation should be delayed for three months, and if this could not be secured, then the legislation should be defeated.

The motion was carried by 54 votes to 29, guaranteeing the death of the Rudd Government’s ETS.

The driving force behind the Abbott move wasn’t Abbott himself, but Nick Minchin; “the most skilled numbers-man or political organiser in conservative politics. He delivered Tony Abbott the federal party leadership”. It was Minchin in particular who wanted the ETS buried and was the central figure in the downfall of Turnbull, who was a supporter of the ETS.

Minchin’s attitude to climate change (the evidence of which drove the ETS) has been famously summed up: “I’d rather slam my cock in a door than debate [it]”. Enough said. His cock was now safe. So was his ideology.

Senator Minchin’s role in the destruction of Mr Turnbull has been seen in some quarters as a personal vendetta, by others as an exercise in ideology.

There is no doubt from anyone, however, that the rapid deterioration of Mr Turnbull’s leadership in recent weeks has been driven by Senator Minchin’s strident opposition to the emissions trading scheme and denial of man-made climate change in particular.

But it’s not only his views on climate change that have become the platform of Liberal policies. It appears that his full suite of ideologies are reflected in the words of the man he ‘handed’ the leadership to.

Think boats. Or more precisely, the rickety boats filled with refugees Australia bound. He stood firmer behind Howard than any other member of the party on this delicate issue and was not hesitant in condemning members of the party who showed the slightest hint of compassion towards them. When moderate Liberals stood up to Howard over refugees, nobody was more critical than Minchin. He didn’t respect their opinions. Even as far back as 2001, leading up to the 2001 election Minchin was the first to play the race card suggesting the the important thing was to grab the One Nation vote. He found a way to resonate with redneck anxieties about immigration and refugees; anxieties he clearly shared.

He was desperate to stop the boats. So is Abbott. Funny that.

Tony Abbott also wanted to stop plain packaging of cigarette packets. Personally, I find that a bit odd given he was the Minister of Health in the Howard Government. There wouldn’t be a health professional in the world who disputes the dangers of smoking and I have difficulty comprehending Abbott’s stand when considering his portfolio background and his ‘headlining’ commitment to his own good health.

Oh, wait a minute, the all important Nick Minchin snubs the medical evidence.

In 1995 Minchin submitted a dissenting Senate reporton the tobacco industry and the costs of tobacco-related illness that disputed the Committee’s statements that it believes cigarettes are addictive and that passive smoking is harmful. Minchin claimed the tobacco industry was over-regulated. He also disagreed with the conclusions about the addictiveness of nicotine and the harmfulness of passive smoking: Senator Minchin wishes to record his dissent from the committee’s statements that it believes cigarettes are addictive and that passive smoking causes a number of adverse health effects for non-smokers. Senator Minchin believes these claims (the harmful effects of passive smoking) are not yet conclusively proved . . . there is insufficient evidence to link passive smoking with a range of adverse health effects.

Over regulated? Not in agreement with the findings? He must have convinced Abbott of the same.

I again state that it is rather odd that given Abbott’s former health portfolio he fails to take a stand on this important social issue. It begs the question as to whether he took his portfolio seriously. I expect him to take up smoking, which I’m sure he would have done if Minchin thought it was in the best interests of his personal ideals the party.

For a politician who had absolutely no idea about his own portfolio he magically becomes a self-proclaimed expert on such things as privitisation and labour market deregulation, both of which Minchin was a strong proponent. I only needed a few minutes in Google to confirm that Abbott is Minchin’s mouthpiece. The Minchin legacy lives on in Tony Abbott.

But unless the legacy dies we could be well again be the victim of more of the hard-line extremist’s ideologies. I’m referring to WorkChoices, of which Minchin was one of the architects. Despite its unpopularity he has maintained that the reforms did not go far enough and further deregulation is required. In a parting shot as he retired from politics he:

. . . appealed to his party not to drift into populism as an over-reaction to being burnt on its WorkChoices laws.

Was anybody in the party listening? Yes.

Opposition Leader Tony Abbott has given qualified support . . . for a Coalition government to roll back Labor’s IR reforms.

Minchin might yet see his dream again realised with the scrapping of unfair dismissal laws and the return to individual contracts for employers. Can he trust Abbott? Yep.

Can we trust him?