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:
- whereby unions have the right to prosecute employers for alleged workplace safety offences; and
- 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.