Postscript on the business ads on workplace reform

I refer to my earlier posting (“well done Murdoch shame on business”) regarding the current business advertisements and Steketee’s critique of them.

Peter Hendy, Chief Executive of ACCI, has a letter in the Weekend Australian claiming that Steketees criticisms were wide of the mark. Unwittingly, however, his letter concedes that the business ads were grossly misleading.

The ads state, for example, that interest rates would be 1.4 percentage points higher if workplace reforms were reversed. He now says that the ads were meant to be about the 1993, 1996 and 2006 reforms. But they failed to say so.

So what are we left with? Labor has said it has no intention of reversing the 1993 reforms which (according to Steketee) account for 2/3 of the 1.4% interest rate impact estimated by Econtech. Moreover, Labor has indicated that it will retain many the 1996 and 2006 reforms (such as in regard to trade unions).

This means that the maximum effect on interest rates of Labors proposed roll back of WorkChoices will be 0.25 percentage points – and that is if you believe the underlying Econtech modelling (which is well respected but based on many challengeable assumptions).

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Peter J. Nicol
16 years ago

The ads are strange. Nowhere is the ‘value proposition’. If you are selling something, generally, it is going to make your life better – you know, your hair shinier, your bathroom whiter and such.

Negative ‘attack ads’ reverse this – the bad guy is going to kill your poodle or rape your cat.

These ads seem neither fish nor foul. The nebulous ‘economy’ is going to be down by 1.4 whatevers. People’s eyes glaze over when statistics are mentioned, I am sure that nearly no-one believes any of them – you know 75.56% of statistics are made up on the spot.

The reason there is no value proposition is that there is nearly nothing of value in them for the average worker – the benefits all accrue to businesses.

Ken Lovell
16 years ago

When I worked for employer associations I learnt that many managers take it as gospel that growth in profitability is a universal good sought by all thinking individuals. It’s literally inconceivable to them that anybody could think otherwise. That’s why union behaviour always puzzled them and they were constantly surprised that workers would back campaigns which were – to managers – self-evidently stupid because they were for benefits that employers ‘couldn’t afford’.

It’s what’s called a ‘unitarist perspective’ on the employment relationship – unions are just malevolent third parties trying to come between two parties who are joined in a common enterprise. If you think like this, the ads make perfect sense.