Shock : Howard Cabinet not representative of Australian Workforce

As the Government turns up the heat in this campaign and tries to araldite the 70% Union Bosses tag to Mr, Rudds forehead, damning information about the Governments own front bench has surfaced which places this debate in a whole new light.

One of the Governments key lines in the attack on Mr. Rudds front bench seems to be that a front bench with 70% union association is unrepresentative given only 20% of the workforce is unionised.

It is only fair then to place Mr. Howards front bench under similar scrutiny.

Detailed analysis of the work history of the cabinet by one of Club Troppos most highly qualified correspondents has revealed a startling fact. Over 60% of Mr. Howards key team are lawyers.

Is this representative? Lets find out.

There are roughly 40,000 practicing lawyers in Australia (allowing for 11% growth since 2002) amongst a total workforce of 10.5 Million people, which means that lawyers constitute less than 0.4% of the working population.

If youre as smart as I think you are then youll be starting to see that far from being representative, these numbers suggest the opposite. Unrepresentativeness.

Applying some mathematics to aid the comparison we are able to see how unrepresentative the two front benches actually are.

ALP Unrepresentativeness = 70/20 = 3.5.
Liberal Unrepresentiveness = 60/0.4 = 150.
Unrepresentativeness ratio = 150/3.5 = 42.

In other words the Liberals are forty two times more unrepresentative than Labor. I know it sounds implausible. But its true.

Heres the list for those not yet convinced by my rusty, but luckily still functioning, second form Maths.

John Howard. (Lawyer)
Peter Costello. (Lawyer)
Mark Vaile. (Real Estate Agent)
Alexander Downer. (Political hack, Diplomat)
Anthony Abbott (Journalist, Political hack)
Philip Ruddock. (Laywer)
Nicholas Minchin. (Lawyer)
Warren Truss. (Farmer)
Dr Brendan Nelson. (Doctor)
Ian Macfarlane. (Farmer)
Kevin Andrews. (Lawyer)
Helen Coonan. (Lawyer)
Peter McGauran. (Lawyer)
Julie Bishop. (Lawyer)
Malcolm Brough. (Miltary)
Joseph Hockey. (Lawyer)
Malcolm Turnbull. (Lawyer)
Christopher Ellison. (Lawyer)

Cast your eyes over that list again, and ponder a few of the other professions that constitute the Howard teams collective work history. Amongst them are some other highly suspicious entries. Namely: Real Estate Agent, Journalist and Alexander Downer

Ill make no judgement about the worthiness or otherwise of these various professions, and their value as a training ground for responsible high office, except to draw your attention to the view of thousands of readers of that most esteemed publication Readers Digest, and note that a survey conducted this year judges 100% of the Howard cabinet as currently involved in one of the most untrustworthy of professions (by virtue of they being politicians), and a staggering 72% coming back for a double dip with a second equally untrustworthy profession in their CV Bringing the entire untrustworthiness ranking of the Howard Cabinet to a whopping 172%

Dont believe me? Well believe the Readers Digest.

Least trusted professions:
31. Lawyers
32. Business executives
33. Taxi drivers
34. Journalists
35. Real estate agents
36. Sex workers
37. Psychics and astrologers
38. Politicians
39. Car salesmen
40. Telemarketers

This entry was posted in Uncategorised. Bookmark the permalink.

56 Responses to Shock : Howard Cabinet not representative of Australian Workforce

  1. I think you are being too generous in refering to Downer as a hack.

    How about; never had a real job, inherited his house, money, attitude, and seat.

  2. Jacques Chester says:

    It’s all fun and games until some spoilsport points out that the Liberal party isn’t institutionally beholden to the Law Societies.

  3. david tiley says:

    Might be better if they were.

    It is a playful post, of course. What happens when you ask how many Labor politicians are lawyers?

    To be serious – I don’t think it is a coincidence that both sides of politics have promoted models of society based on competition when a) they have to compete so hard to get the jobs and b) so many of them come from a profession based on an adversarial combat. (Even if many of them are no good at it).

  4. cam says:

    Jacques, Yet ironically the Liberal Party was not a sustainable organisation until they adopted the Labor Party’s organisational structure with Menzies.

  5. Oh Hai says:

    Yeah but I’m sure they’re different kinds of lawyers. Some are M&A lawyers, some are structured finance lawyers and some are just general corporate and commercial lawyers. So there’s a lot of diversity there.

  6. Slim says:

    Having kicked off the 64% of Howard’s Front Bench are lawyers idea yesterday I’d also add that these very same lawyers have close association with and beholden to Big Business Men and Merchant Bankers.

  7. Robert says:

    Fair points indeed, Rex. (Dunno how Labor would go saying the Lib’s front bench is comprised primarily of lawyers..).

    Or, for that matter, how successful a front bench of international airline pilots may be, being as I understand the most trusted profession. One would be concerned for the mud slinging even then – a certain international pilot walked off the plane and into the regular medical and, during extensive examination by the doctor, was promptly asked, “When was the last time you had sex?”. Somewhat offended, the pilot replied. “1956,” he said. The doctor’s turn now to be taken aback: “That long?”. “Why,” said the pilot, “It’s only 2115 now.”

    I guess we’ll always get politicians who see the world in their terms. But placing a little more empathy ahead of judgement by the Liberals would go a long way. A refreshment of Labor purpose would help, too. Bring on that education revolution.

  8. hip says:

    Politicians and prostitutes– you know they’re fakin’ it, you wouldn’t pay ’em if they didn’t. (Old X-Brethren saying.)

  9. cs says:

    Its all fun and games until some spoilsport points out that the Liberal party isnt institutionally beholden to the Law Societies.

    Jacques, this is an assertion masking a prejudice. Formally, the rules are that trade unions are entitled to 50 per cent of delegates to national conference, not a controlling share. Informally, conference never breaks along the lines of trade union versus party delegates, but according to factional or fractional lines. Historically, the Federal ALP is laden with non-beholdedness to conference decisions, usually written so broadly that, if he was of a mind, John Howard could probably drive his whole career through them.

    The ALP is beholden to the trade union movement insofar as it shares an interest in the welfare of Australia’s working people, including some lawyers, as the industrial wing of the labour movement; not in terms of delivering specific policies to specific interest groups, but in the general aim of the policy direction. There is always conflict between the self-serving interests of trade unions and those of the party. Where they come together is not by virtue of one wing being beholden to the other, but in both sharing an interest in something much bigger than themselves together.

    On the other hand, the common values embodied by lawyers are, once again …

  10. Damien Eldridge says:

    Don’t you have to be a member of a union in order to be a member of the ALP?

  11. Jc says:

    Does thje ALP have membership of the union movement is the better question, Damien.

    I did look at the Libs background once and was astounded too. Is it a law firm or a cabinet. Are we their clients? Who vets the billing?

  12. Caroline says:

    I think the bar for entering politics ought be a great deal higher, after all we entrust these people (or not, as the case may be) with the fortunes of millions. People seeking to become MPs should be over 40 and have worked or at least been a part of common society. They should complete a degree course gaining entry by aptitude testing and have sufficient backing, both financial and actual from the communities from which they spring. Study should include a thorough reading of histories ancient and modern and continued dicussion/examination to make sure they ‘got it’. Learning a second language might be a good idea. A variety of interesting minors–psychology, ecology, design, debating, international politics, economics, etcetera.

    A career as a politician should also have a use by date on it–twenty five years after training perhaps?

    Rigorous screening, education and examination and it being an avenue only available for those who have grown up (or should have) and have proved their worth by being supported by their communities might help to to ensure we get the kind of leaders who are actually leaders.

  13. conrad says:

    Thanks, that gave me a great laugh.

  14. Mangoman says:

    And add a qualification level for voters too, Caroline?

  15. Bring Back CL's blog says:

    actually most of the ‘lawyers’ weren’t much chop.

    Taske cossie he was merely a juior barrister until he got into Parliament others such as McGauran have a law degree but little practical law experience.

    how many senior solicitors or practicing barristers are there.

    Hint.

    one small PM is not one of them

  16. Ken Lovell says:

    Being a real estate salesman or telemarketer is a profession these days? Oh well, if the Reader’s Digest says so.

    Where did ‘being Alexander Downer’ rate on the trustworthiness scale?

  17. Doctor Patient says:

    I would like to state without fear of contradiction that you could line up all the Lib-NP and ALP federal politicians and they would resemble a police line up.

  18. Ken Lovell says:

    Being a real estate salesman or telemarketer is a profession these days? Oh well, if the Reader’s Digest says so.

    Where did ‘being Alexander Downer’ rate on the trustworthiness scale?

  19. Nico says:

    I was wondering about this myself, but why aren’t Labor asking these questions?!?

  20. Patrick says:

    Malcom Turnbull was lots of chop as a lawyer – easily the best of the lot, in fact. And a lot of chop at a lot of other things, too – I wonder if Caroline appreciates that the logical conclusion of her approach, given the current bunch, would be to anoint him Prime Minister and scrap the election. After all, as mangoman points out, those stupid damn voters just ain’t got no respect for all that larning stuff.

    I also wonder if she has read Plato and Popper :)

    Also, Labor are definitely not overly versed in the law. Unlike some here, I don’t think parliament could run properly without at least some lawyers.

    Their front bench (Note that Caroline may be advised not to vote for this party):

    Kevin Rudd – Leader
    Julia Gillard – Lawyer, unionist
    Anthony Albanese – lawyer
    Arch Bevis – probably inacceptable to Caroline
    Chris Bowen – probably inacceptable to Caroline
    Tony Burke – lawyer
    Senator Kim Carr – unionist
    Senator Stephen Conroy – union hack
    Senator Chris Evans – ?
    Simon Crean – lawyer
    Craig Emerson – why isn’t he shadow treasurer?
    Laurie Ferguson – union hack
    Martin Ferguson – union hack
    Joel Fitzgibbon – probably inacceptable to Caroline
    Peter Garrett – lawyer
    Alan Griffin – union hack, probably inacceptable to Caroline
    Senator Joseph Ludwig – lawyer
    Senator Kate Lundy – union hack, probably inacceptable to Caroline
    Jenny Macklin –
    Robert McClelland – lawyer
    Senator Jan McLucas – probably inacceptable to Caroline
    Bob McMullan – unionist
    Senator Kerry O’Brien – union hack
    Tanya Plibersek – probably inacceptable to Caroline/unionist
    Nicola Roxon – lawyer
    Senator Nick Sherry – probably inacceptable to Caroline
    Stephen Smith – lawyer
    Wayne Swan – BA(public admin)
    Lindsay Tanner – lawyer
    Kelvin Thomson – lawyer (not seriously shadow A-G is he? Were they worried that someone competent would look out of place????)
    Senator Penny Wong – lawyer

  21. Liam says:

    Patrick, describing Laurie Ferguson as a “union hack” is insulting both to unionists and hacks. Caroline said that second languages might be a good idea—in the Squashed Frog’s case, a first one would help.
    As a Hack-Australian, I find your comment personally offensive.

    Seriously though, to add to your list, should Bob Debus win the seat of Macquarie, he’d be a shoo-in for the front-bench as ex-NSW AG.

  22. Amanda says:

    Kelvin Thomson – lawyer (not seriously shadow A-G is he?

    You’re right. He’s not.

  23. Amanda says:

    And Albo is not a lawyer. Economics degree if memory serves.

  24. Pingback: The House of Unrepresentatives « Not a Hedgehog

  25. Patrick says:

    Seriously though, to add to your list, should Bob Debus win the seat of Macquarie, hed be a shoo-in for the front-bench as ex-NSW AG.

    I could hardly think of a worse qualification. Jeff Shaw springs to mind – at it again in today’s fin with an article of typical drivel. IIRC he was the only silk to think workchoices was a genuine shot in the HCA – he thought it was a shoe-in.

  26. David Rubie says:

    Caroline wrote:

    Rigorous screening, education and examination and it being an avenue only available for those who have grown up (or should have) and have proved their worth by being supported by their communities might help to to ensure we get the kind of leaders who are actually leaders.

    Why not limit voting to property holders too? Maybe sneak in a colour requirement to make Kevin Andrews happy?

    It’s up to the political parties to pick whoever they think will either (a) be electable or (b) fulfill some internal factional requirement. The public doesn’t have to vote for them and can judge the candidates on their own merits. Representative democracy requires a few duds in parliament, not everybody in society is represented by the “well educated and screened, grown up” candidates you are proposing.

    Besides which, if that was the basis of representation, the LDP would have no candidates at all :-)

  27. Matt says:

    The only qualification a politician really needs is more (2PP) votes than anyone else. Oh, and a thick hide undoubtedly helps.

    Things are never as simple as that of course but, on the basis of this discussion, it would seem that unionists and lawyers have these qualifications in spades.

  28. Jacques Chester says:

    Besides which, if that was the basis of representation, the LDP would have no candidates at all

    Oi.

  29. David Rubie says:

    Jacques, you might be the exception that proves the rule, but your tacit support of the ill-conceived firearms policy of the LDP has already been covered.

    Plus there was a smiley.

  30. Niall says:

    an interesting counterpoint to the usual Howardian fear and loathing tactic.

  31. david tiley says:

    Give it all to the ambos, I say.

    There used to be a time when a fair few school teachers got in. That’s a good qualification for politics in the house, at least.

    Another question: how many people in Parliament have worked in the public service, the giant institution they are supposed to run?

    And how many have actually run a business, or sold anything to anyone, or done any of the small business bureaucracy that is so happily legislated?

    I may sound like Pauline here, but it is fair to say that politicians have a very narrow experience of that which they govern.

  32. Patrick says:

    I may sound like Pauline here, but it is fair to say that politicians have a very narrow experience of that which they govern.

    This is a good point, but hard to sustain. Politics requires particular skills which lawyers tend to have – most notably a deep capacity to absorb boredom.

  33. Bring Back CL's blog says:

    Patrick a lawyer is not merely someone who possess a Llb it is a persson who also practices law either as a solicitor or a barrister.

    now you may just want to amend your list just as I implied this should be the case with the government.

    As a person who has beenb a shop steward once or twice in his youth I would say a Union bruvver gets a more realistic understnding of life than a ‘lawyer’

  34. Jacques Chester says:

    your tacit support

    I thought it was pretty well known that this was a point of difference between myself and the party.

  35. Florence Howarth says:

    The truth as I see it, is that Labor would be’s use the union movement as a training ground, the coalition a law degree.

    Once they enter politics, they are no longer a unionist or lawyer but a politician.

    History has shown man well known unionists that went on to be a politican that gave the union movement a hard time. Who used the army against the unions?

    The union movement does not neccesary gain by having a former unionist as Prime Minister.

    Hawke as one among many proves this. he took on and won fights against the pilots and Cockatoo Island.

    Why would anything be different now.

  36. Just Me says:

    “Anthony Abbott (Journalist, Political hack)”

    Abbott has an Economocs/Law degree.

  37. Just Me says:

    economocs = economics

  38. David Rubie says:

    Jacques Chester wrote:

    I thought it was pretty well known that [objection to LDP firearms policy] was a point of difference between myself and the party.

    It’s a bit hard to sustain when you decided to run for them regardless of whatever principles you might hold about firearms. To me, that’s approval of the policy. Run as an independent libertarian if you don’t agree with them.

  39. Yobbo says:

    If that was the way it worked David, there would be no political parties. There would be nobody who agrees 100% with every last policy of their own party.

  40. David Rubie says:

    Yobbo, you’re right in a sense but when 90% of the chosen candidates for your preferred party are gun nuts, and you aren’t, then surely a rethink is in order, wouldn’t you say?

  41. Jacques Chester says:

    David;

    See it in whatever light you wish. My focus is on 30/30 tax and welfare plan.

  42. STFU says:

    Shut up about the f***en gun policy already, all of you. Chester has his own blog if you want spout off about it.

  43. Nabakov says:

    I think Florence pretty much nailed it.

    And look at how New Labour in the UK bent over backwards (forwards?)to accommodate the big end of town and then not call back the unions the next morning.

    Also, while it’s easy (and fun!) to mock the LDP, at least their members we know and love from the blogosphere are having a go and putting their money where their mouth is.

    I personally think they’re doomed even if by some miracle one of them gets up as Canberra deracinates just about everyone. And if it doesn’t, the political media will marginalise ’em instead.

    But at least Jacques, Yobbo, etc will be able to bring back frontline reports about the coalface process that will inform the local blogosphere far more than so many those that pontificate around the blogtraps about politics (not policy) as sanctimonious virgins.

    But seriously LDP guys, that is one really crap logo you’ve got there. As I’ve pointed out before, it looks like a dodgy aircraft charter business based in Vanuata.

  44. Caroline says:

    If Caroline got her way, Patrick, (and it is forever unlikely) none of the current batch would make the cut–not even Rhodes scholar, Malcolm, (who failed the aptitude test). Why? Well I’m not sure, he just did. Something to do with him being a right proper prig.

    What I’m arguing for is some sort of well-rounded education specifically in order to become a politician, some sort of aptitude testing, some measure of knowledge and understanding of society, history and the world at large. As the system stands, one need not have any such things. Take our Pauline for instance. Its scary thought, but she could have gone a great deal further, especially given the apparent contempt here for the voter and his ability to think straight.

    Interestingly my wild and whacky idea, seems to have illicited a negative and and boringly predictably patronising response from the usual suspects. But as I take any underlying ridicule, in a historical context as being a positive sign, I am encouraged.

    Mangoman, who gives a shit about the voters? All they have to do is vote. They’re not expected to govern. I also think compulsory voting in this country works a treat. My only wish is that our choices were a little better.

    David Rubie, I’m not quite sure why you have chosen to use a quote from my comment in relation to what qualifications voters have. It would be silly to expect voters to have qualifications or limit voting to land holders. Gee, what century are you in? I guess the next step is to take away the right for women to vote. Strange logic. I tend to think political parties are a complete waste of time and that nothing should be left up to them.

    Viva la revolution!

  45. David Rubie says:

    Caroline wrote:

    Gee, what century are you in?

    It was bad sarcasm Caroline – many of your arguments were used by those who opposed universal suffrage.

  46. CK says:

    probably inacceptable to Caroline

    Probably would have helped your post, Patrick, if you had a better grasp of basic English. You may just possibly be a knob.

  47. CK says:

    Where did being Alexander Downer rate on the trustworthiness scale?

    Alexander Downer is a profession? Is that like sex-work or something?

  48. Liam says:

    Caroline, how many politicians have you met? Personally, I mean, and known them closely enough to judge them on all of the things you say are “necessary”. You’re showing a peculiar ignorance of the kind of driven, passionate people politicians tend to be.

    some sort of well-rounded education specifically in order to become a politician, some sort of aptitude testing, some measure of knowledge and understanding of society, history and the world at large.

    Give me a break and whistle me up a pack of pre-modern courtiers, if you please, the more bulging the pants and the more ludicrous the hats, the better. And don’t skimp on the lascivious pleasings of the lute.

    Interestingly my wild and whacky idea, seems to have illicited a negative and and boringly predictably patronising response from the usual suspects. But as I take any underlying ridicule, in a historical context as being a positive sign, I am encouraged.

    I wouldn’t be encouraged, if I were you. Flat out wrongness does usually tend to encourage negative reactions.
    The arcane, entirely volunteer training of the stafferariat isn’t very palatable, it’s true, but it’s definitely a training and an education, as much as the semi-illiterates receive in the arcane profession [ahem] of journalism, through whose soundbiting all of *your* judgements on politicians are mediated.
    Turnbull a “prig”? Maybe he is, but, if all you’re going on is his personality transmitted to you third- or fourth-hand through TV and print, how could you possibly know?

  49. saint says:

    Ooo, let me have bragging rights. Since September 2003. Also note the number of employer association (= employer union?) and party hacks.

  50. Caroline says:

    Well suffice to say Liam I do not agree with you. I’m not sure what exactly you’ve said that I don’t agree with. I’m not exactly sure that you’ve said anything terribly clearly, other than to tell me I am flat out wrong you were pretty clear about htat. Was that your only point? You’ve lost me on the others you were attempting to make.

    To answer your question, I have met maybe half a dozen politicians, most were Independents–perhaps they don’t count. Malcolm Turnbull who I don’t know personally owns the property next door–(a cattle property) and I hear a few snippets about him through his employee and have gleaned from reading and hearing about his business activities and his general reputation to feel that I can proffer my opinion that he is quite possibly a prig.

    Gee, I didn’t think that suggesting the simple idea as having politicians be suited to the job by being educated for it would create such rude, personal, slights. But there you go.

    I am further encouraged. Thanks. Oh and I don’t own a telly.

  51. Graham Bell says:

    Everyone;
    Apart from a few people with highly pubilicized service, like Brough and Tinley. I wonder why our fearless news media scribes are so coy about mentioning the military service – or lack thereof – of the candidates in this federal election?

    After all, the next parliament will have to deal with Australians fighting in Iraq, Afghanistan – and soon enough in a few other places too – as well as all the ADF regional deployments.

    The public is entitled to know whether life-and-death decisions about fellow Australians will be taken by knowledgable parliamentarians – OR – by a bunch of rank amateurs and flakes …. and by those on both sides of politics who avoided National Service themselves but who are lately popping up in all sorts of photo-opportunities with genuine war veterans and with ADF personnel.

  52. adrian says:

    Caroline, I think Liam’s point was to attempt you show you how terribly clever and witty he is.
    Oh and that you are wrong.

    IMHO he’s incorrect on both points.

  53. Liam says:

    I don’t do wit, banal sarcasm’s more my stock in trade, adrian.
    Caroline remains wrong IMNSHO, both in assuming that politicians *aren’t* at the moment trained for their jobs, in totally ignoring my point about the critical role of the anti-political role of the media in obscuring individual politicians’ merits, and in asserting that stricter rules on candidacy would improve representation.
    Caroline’s arguments are in favour of a Platonic, meritocratic system of government (as Patrick said at c#20) rather than a democratic one. Stricter rules about candidacy restrict choice, they don’t increase it.
    I’m not sorry about being rude and personal, as I’m offended also by that kind of elitist conservatism.

  54. Bingo Bango Boingo says:

    Caroline’s plan is fantastic right up to the bit where someone has to write the test. Then it gets kinda fascist.

    BBB

  55. Caroline says:

    Thanks Bingo Bango Boingo. Gee, some positive feedback! *schucks* I have a thought as to how to solve the writing the ‘test’ problem. Just use a lie detector overseen by the ubiquitous and always everywhere found more and more of–Panel Of Experts. But wait, I have another idea. The panel of experts could be foreigners, with no vested interest in Australian politics or Australia whatsoever, better still Martians would be even more impartial.

    For now, however, I’ll withdraw my earlier suggestion. How silly of me. Imagine that! How ridiculous! How could I ever possibly have thought such a thing? Maybe I’ll give it another run in twenty years when Bindi Irwin has been made PM and The Jolly Swagman has become our President.

    In the meantime I’ll just be thankful if Ruddy wins. (I think speaking Mandarin could come in handy down the track.)

  56. Pingback: Australian Values

Comments are closed.