During the week, the coalition (through Julie Bishop’s gritted teeth) finally buried Workchoices.
There are no surprises attached to this, but other aspects of the Workchoices phenomenon remain surprising. It continues to amaze me how the hard heads in the Liberal Party managed to deceive themselves about the extent to which the legislation was on the nose to most Australians.
No matter what the life situation of the voter, it was always going to have a negative impact. For those in work, there was always the concern that they would be disadvantaged by an AWA. For those who were retired, but had children in their first jobs, there was always the suspicion that these same children were going to be taken advantage of – not something that most parents are prepared to risk.
It came home to me when my son, in his first job wanted to negotiate overtime with his employer. He phoned the helpline number provided on the Workchoices documents given to him when he got the job, and was promptly told that he should join a Union!
How the Coalition could have ever believed that ordinary Australians would swallow a notion that they would be better off by standing alone in negotiations with their employers beggars belief.
It’s worth recalling this report on News.com.au by Tim Dunlop (August 03, 2007) which shows what the government’s own research was saying at the time –
The combination of ideology and power must have blinded them completely.