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Here comes ‘HowRuddism’

By John Passant - posted Thursday, 3 April 2008

“HowRuddism” is on the rise. This is Rudd continuing Howard's policies with some minor tinkering. Politically, the nightmare is over. Now the bad dream is about to begin. Rudd will make Hawke and Keating look like Lenin and Trotsky.


Labor is a party of the trade union bureaucracy. This group belongs to neither the capitalist nor working class, but rather balances between them. Their position in society forces them to support capitalism. Without the wage-profit divide their jobs would not exist. Labor expresses this truth - its role is to manage capitalism, not to overthrow it.


ALP politicians are more likely to come out of the trade union leadership, the Party organisation and Parliamentary Offices - the professional political class. This group responds eagerly to the siren call of business.

We have heard a lot from Rudd and Swan about their economic conservatism.

Wasn’t it economic conservatism that ran down our health and education systems, led to the skills shortage, increased profit as a percentage of GNP at the expense of wages, invaded the NT, refused to recognise global warming, joined with Bush (partly for strategic economic reasons) in the invasion of Afghanistan and Iraq, and introduced WorkChoices?

Let's have a look at what the ALP Government is proposing for Industrial Relations.

Existing AWAs can continue until December 31, 2012. Employers can push employees on to new AWAs until Labor's first-stage IR laws are passed - possibly by May or even later. Individual Transitional Employment Arrangements are AWAs and will be available over the next two years. Common law contracts are AWAs under another name.

Bans on union rights of workplace entry and secondary boycotts will remain in place. Simplification of awards will strip workers of conditions in the name of efficiency and productivity. The Australian Building and Construction Commission will move to Fair Work Australia in 2010. Putting the attack dog in a new kennel isn't abolition.


Unfair dismissal laws and the 10 safety net standards (which do not appear to cover overtime or penalty rates) will not be implemented until 2010. The Business Council of Australia will, contrary to the ALP’s pre-poll position, get the opportunity to savage the 10 safety net standards.

Strikes will remain virtually illegal and Labor will attack those who take “unprotected” action.

There will be some minor discomfort for employers, but the foundations of WorkChoices will continue in a subtler guise.

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First published in Canberra's City News on February 28, 2008.

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About the Author

John Passant is a Canberra writer ( and member of Socialist Alternative.

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