Keneally breaches Godwin’s Law

NSW Premier Kristina Keneally has continued her stoush with Prime Minister Julia Gillard, described being forced to choose between signing up to uniform national workplace laws and $144 million in federal grants as a “Sophie’s choice”.

I wonder whether the photogenic but seemingly vacuous Keneally has any idea just how offensive this statement must seem to her Jewish constituents, or indeed just about anyone with any meaningful acquaintance with the events of the Holocaust.

That is especially so when the focus of Ms Keneally’s concern is her desire to pander to the thuggish demands of NSW Right trade unions that she preserve outrageous provisions conferred by NSW industrial legislation at their behest:

  1. whereby unions have the right to prosecute employers  for alleged workplace safety offences; and
  2. reversing the onus of proof for employers so charged, so that they are guilty unless they can prove themselves innocent!!

This has little or nothing to do with workplace safety and everything to do with giving the unions a bargaining chip to intimidate employers in award and other negotiations.  Can you imagine the reactions of the unions if the Howard government had included in Work Choices powers for employer groups to prosecute unions and their members for workplace breaches, and reversed the onus of proof for workers so charged?

The consolation is that we only have to put up with the NSW Labor government for a few more months before they suffer the electoral oblivion they so richly deserve.  Presumably Keneally’s pandering to the demands of the union thugs is designed to induce union bosses to squander their members’ funds on campaigning for NSW Labor and thereby minimise the scale of its annihilation.  At least in a general sense I don’t have a problem with that.  The wider public interest in a democratic system requires that we still have an effective Opposition after the election.  As Lord Acton famously put it, power corrupts but absolute power corrupts absolutely.  That will eventually apply to Farry O’Barrell’s impending Coalition state government as much as it so obviously does to the current Labor rabble.  In that sense at least Keneally might unwittingly be serving the public good.

About Ken Parish

Ken Parish is a legal academic, with research areas in public law (constitutional and administrative law), civil procedure and teaching & learning theory and practice. He has been a legal academic for almost 20 years. Before that he ran a legal practice in Darwin for 15 years and was a Member of the NT Legislative Assembly for almost 4 years in the early 1990s.
This entry was posted in Politics - national. Bookmark the permalink.
Notify of

Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
13 years ago

Given that Julia Gillard owes her job to exactly the same vat creatures from the NSW Right, I am not completely sure they are ordering Keneally to propose and Gillard to dispose at the same time. Although the NSW is sufficiently crazy that it’s just possible they would do so.

I’m also not really sure that mention of Sophie’s Choice in and of itself breaches Godwin’s law. There could equally be an argument that categorising the mention of Sophie’s Choice as offensive to victims of the Shoah is drawing such a broad bow as to itself breach Godwin’s law,

13 years ago

Just to be nitpicky, Keneally actually obeys Godwin’s Law.

To be even more annoying, Godwin’s Law is a tautology anyhow, as are all other logical statements starting with the premise “Given sufficient time”. After all if the statement hasn’t come true yet then it obviously needs more time. Many people (including myself) suspect that Mike Godwin always understood this and has spent years laughing about how few people have caught on.

Can you imagine the reactions of the unions if the Howard government had included in Work Choices powers for employer groups to prosecute unions and their members for workplace breaches, and reversed the onus of proof for workers so charged?

Who needs imagination?

… and yeah, they have been bitching about it for years. Evidently, the moaning has been ineffective.

13 years ago

Kristina Keneally “unwittingly serving the public good” is something to behold. Who says miracles are not possible?

13 years ago

I only wish that:
1) I was certain that NSW labor will lose (they didn’t last time, and see the next point!); and
2) I had any faith in the alternative.

I’m very glad I don’t live in that State.

Also, I would take anything George Williams has said since the Republic became an issue with a massive grain of salt. Especially his “why can’t we have a Constitution as awesome as South Africa’s” article(s) (can’t remember if there are two or just the one).

Nicholas Gruen
13 years ago

Yes, I feel privileged to live in Victoria where there have been a series of moderately good governments of both political persuasions (at least by comparison with their NSW peers).