The Garden State and its Noxious Weed

We have seen the warning signs for a number of years. Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews, who grows more detestable from each press conference to the next, is the most arrogant and authoritarian politician, not only in our country but in our history.  The arrogance we could live with, but the despotism and corruption demands a considerably more determined push-back than the current Victorian Opposition seems capable of mustering. 

Right from the get-go, Andrews has shown nothing but contempt for the concepts and norms of democracy in this country.  Tearing up a contract for a much-needed freeway, accompanied by a huge compensation bill which he lied about never having to pay.  Using taxpayer funds to conduct ALP electoral campaigning and compounding the felony by spending even more to cover it up.  Politicizing and corrupting Victoria Police leading to, inter alia, the Gobbo fiasco, the Pell fiasco, Stasi-style interventions and arrests of critics etc etc.  The tragedy of the second Covid wave and the travesty of Andrews’ Potemkin judicial enquiry.  Nobbling Parliament in its fundamental role of holding government to account.  And, of course, signing a diplomatic treaty with China, our most implacable enemy, in clear contravention of the Constitution.  The list goes on and on.

Here’s the latest attack.  The Andrews government’s cynical ploy to conduct a ‘trial’, funded out of the public purse, of sick pay for casual workers is just the latest example of a drift (rush?) to authoritarianism in the socialist republic of Victoria.

What are the terms of reference for this trial?  What outcome will determine its success or failure?  And how will casuals react in the unlikely event (fat chance?) the ‘trial’ fails, and they have to relinquish a benefit — the higher hourly rate to compensate for paid vacation time and other benefits?

This is not a trial – it is a wedge. 

The unions claim to be opposed to casual work which is apparently ‘toxic’.  Chris Kenny suggested this could be because casuals are less likely to join a union.  That seems plausible to me.  Therefore, logically, what they and the government want is to drive people out of casual work and into permanent work.  Paying existing casuals more money is hardly likely to do that.  So, the end-game clearly is to make it harder for employers to hire casuals by imposing a higher payroll burden on them.  If that happens, workers who want to work casually will have their choice taken away from them.  That doesn’t sound to me like acting in the interests of the ‘worker’ – just the interests of the union. 

This is nothing more than government intervention in the supposedly independent wage fixing system – soviet style central planning.  With this precedent in place, how long before the government decides, for example, that supermarket store packers need a loading to compensate them for working nights and establish a two-year trial for that too? Or that female workers need a loading to compensate them for being women.  Let’s trial that for two years, why not?  This is the thin edge of a wedge that private enterprise will find more and more firmly thrust into its fundamental rights as time goes by if Andrews is allowed to get away with it.

Which brings me back to the Opposition.  Liberal leader Mathew Guy’s response to this coup is to decry it as another tax on small business.  His words: “Whatever the reason, you can’t keep stinging small business”.

Sorry, Mathew, you’re not wrong, but you’ve missed the real point.  As much as the impost on small business is to be deplored, the real import of this excrescence is the encroachment of the State into yet another facet of what should be the normal business of citizens getting on with their lives and determining for themselves what is best for them.

21 thoughts on “The Garden State and its Noxious Weed

  • pgang says:

    I spoke to a Melbournite the other day who for about twenty minutes complained about the misery of life under covid in Melbourne and all the terrible things they had to go through with lockdowns. After all that, he told me what a terrific job Andrews had done.
    Andrews knows how to manipulate the parochial Melbourne mind. Let them live in their mess. What Guy should probably be focussing on is a rural secession from the Melbourne state. But as if he would give up the Melbourne swamp.

  • DougD says:

    Peter – if you want to see a serious challenge to Andrews as our worst politician ever, have a look at Queensland. Union officials telling their chosen ministers how to vote in cabinet, the integrity commissioner who dared to complain about a Labor flack seizing and then wiping it of information about illegal lobbying by Labor mates herself being referred by the premier herself to the corruption commission on a vexatious complaint, Labor appointing to the building watchdog commission a CFMEU official, etc, etc

  • Brian Boru says:

    Casual employment and sham labour contracting are a blight on our society. Of course, there are circumstances when an employer needs to employ a temporary casual when it is not possible to know how long a particular job will last but it has gone way beyond that.
    We now have a situation where almost 24% of employees are casual. Add to that the number of other workers who have had to submit to a requirement to be on a contract for service instead of a contract of service and we have a very large percentage of the workforce in insecure jobs. A good proportion of these are youngsters trying to make a start in life. I recently saw an advert for a builder’s labourer with a requirement to have an ABN. The advert stated quite blatantly that the worker would be responsible for organising their own entitlements and insurances. The rate was variable from only $25 per hour, that’s not even the minimum casual rate. No superannuation, no worker’s compensation, and the poor sap had to even pay for public liability insurance.
    These people, nearly every one of them in the lowest of jobs, whilst so employed, will probably never be able to get a home loan or raise a family in stability. Along with this blight we see the costs of housing getting more unaffordable thus compounding the situation. The social instability that this brings has costs for all of us. Crime and anti-social behaviour thrive where there are unstable families.
    We also have greenies and climate alarmists doing their best to shut down the primary industries which provide secure employment. Those same saboteurs talk about the benefits of the tourist industry whilst they sip on their chardonnay and caffe lattes brought to them by the low paid slaves of casual employment.
    I am not a fan of Daniel Andrews and I sense another inefficient bureaucratic tangle which will be created but I cannot fault the good intentions of the scheme. I must also say that I think a large part of the criticism of the scheme is driven by tribal polemics rather than opposition to the idea of it. The comments attributed to Chris Kenny in this article seem to confirm that.

  • Tezza says:

    Peter O’Brien is right. To Brian Boru, worrying about ‘Low paid slaves of casual employment’, I observe from my son’s small business and my local cafes that these ‘slaves’ often are mums juggling school hour pickups, students juggling course timetables, etc. Casual employment suits them, just as it suits their employees who have no idea ‘how long a particular job will last’. No small businesses can offer ‘permanent employment’: they could be wiped out by the next arbitrary shut down imposed by government.

  • Ian MacKenzie says:

    In your list of Vic Police scandals, you can now add a former director of the police union facing 86 charges including falsifying affidavits to obtain search warrants and seeking to intimidate witnesses. A current director is charged with 10 charges including intimidating a witness and misconduct in public office. He has been re-elected to his union position in the past week despite facing charges.
    I really can’t see any light at the end of the Victorian tunnel. Even if voters turfed out Andrews, does anyone believe that the current opposition could hold power for more than a single term, after which it would be back to the same corrupt mob with a different leader.
    The best thing anyone in Victoria with any get up and go can do, is exactly that – get up and go. Come north and leave the woke mafia to stew in its own juices. We could certainly use more small business owners here in order to keep our own left-leaning LINO government in line.

  • Brian Boru says:

    Tezza. “No small businesses can offer ‘permanent employment’”.
    I can’t find where I used the words “permanent employment”. I am at a loss to understand why you put that in quotes.
    No employment is permanent but it can be ongoing whilst circumstances allow and it that kind of work should not be casual.

  • Peter OBrien says:

    And add to Tezza’s list, the difficulty of small business owners getting rid of dishonest permanent employees. A problem experienced regularly by my nephew and also very old friends who operated a service station for years.

  • Peter OBrien says:

    My point is not so much about casual labour, for which there are plenty of buyers and sellers, but the way in which Andrews has gone about this. It is all of a piece with his authoritarian actions in many other areas.

  • lbloveday says:

    “….the difficulty of small business owners getting rid of dishonest permanent employees”.
    Not restricted to small business, although the effects are more severe.
    100 years ago when I was a TAFE lecturer, the CEO, or what title it was then, Director I think, spent 18 months trying to get a bludging, incompetent lecturer sacked, gave up and said (I don’t have the verbatim words) “I will never again try to sack anyone no matter what”.

  • Ceres says:

    Detestable snarling Dan also with the dubious honour of the longest lockdown in the world. Can’t think of one single positive this dreadful bloke has achieved in his two terms. With his track record one must be lobotomised to vote for him.
    Never saw O’Brien or Matthew Guy out and about speaking at street rallies like the Lib Democrat David Limbrick who was more like an Opposition Leader. Matthew Guy needs to stop being so pleasant and cordial when dealing with a mongrel like Andrews and start throwing a few slings and arrows. Hit hard.
    As for Dan’s latest giveaway for casuals they already get a 25% loading to compensate for holiday pay etc. Wants Uni students to vote for him probably. Self interest rules.

  • Adam J says:

    The workforce is becoming casualised and that is bad for stability, but this doesn’t sound like a solution.
    Matthew Guy couldn’t defeat a cola can, let alone a tin of drying paint. Useless.

  • Claude James says:

    Yes, the VIC ALP is a bad shop.
    And look too at the Fed ALP:
    Albanese and team are currently working hard to pretend there is no problem with the factional bullying of the late Senator Kitching (and other ALP persons) by Senator Wong and other ALP power-players, eg Senators Kenneally and Gallagher.
    Remember the long-standing assertion by feminists, viz:
    Everything works better when managed only by females.
    Chuckle. It’s all about who has power and who can get what they want.
    And be alert for any person of any of the many genders and sexual preferences who asserts they are only trying to help the under-privileged. That is the commonest cover for personal power-mongering.

  • Peter OBrien says:

    Andrews’ concern for secure employment is rather at odds with his vaccine mandate diktat

  • pgang says:

    Ian Mackenzie, very interesting, but will anything come of it?
    I think we need to be careful of confusing Melbourne with rural Victoria, which is a wonderful place (for the most part). The creation of a Murray-Darling state spanning both NSW and Vic would be a great thing. You could even have a cross-border capital in Albury-Wodonga to keep everyone happy.

  • Ian MacKenzie says:

    Sounds good to me pgang. Here in rural NSW we are also caught in the gravity well of a major city, with all the nonsense that comes with it. I’m in the “Central West”, in the easternmost quarter of the state. I’m only west in terms of population. Sydney votes and we have very little say.
    Still, Sydney hasn’t had the incompetence, corruption and neo-Marxism that comes with long-term ALP rule, just a bunch of “moderate” LINOs who don’t know what they stand for. Consequently we don’t have the kind of legacy represented by O’Brien’s list of Gobbo, Pell, lockdown arrests etc. Nor have we had the war on small business that Andrews unleashed during the pandemic and seems determined to follow-up now in support of his union mates. At least for now, small business people have a more supportive environment to operate in here in NSW.

  • Brian Boru says:

    Peter O’B. If I had a dishonest employee whether casual or permanent and I caught them stealing I would sack them on the spot for serious misconduct. So with respect to you, that is not relevant to the casualisation issue.
    If I was not satisfied with their general performance I would explain this to them and give them the opportunity to improve. If they did not improve I would give them notice on the basis that I had no confidence in their ability to perform their duties.
    There is a mystique about how difficult it is to sack an employee when all that is required is to communicate and give the employee a “fair go”.
    The instance that ibloveday mentioned is another kettle of fish and again is unrelated to the casualisation question. But I must admit it could be difficult to move on a bad teacher if there was no way of objectively measuring performance.
    And whilst here I have to agree with pgang about rural Victoria but that’s true for all of rural Australia.

  • Doubting Thomas says:

    Coming from rural NSW, I generally agree with Ian MacKenzie. Part of the problem is that country people have enough experience of their big cities to make informed judgments about them and their needs. Conversely, the average city dweller lives blissfully in ignorance of the lives, needs and conditions of rural people. Only the ABC, to its credit, makes any serious effort to inform city people of rural problems.
    So government policy is largely formed by bureaucrats and politicians with scant knowledge of and even less empathy with rural people.

  • RB says:

    Brian Boru. The blights you speak of are a result of unreasonable employment rules foisted on business by (mostly) Labor governments. Sham contract work for example is a result of unfair dismissal regulation and the costs of reducing staffing. A bit of a chicken and egg thing there I think.
    Pgang. A rare occasion indeed when I find myself in agreement with you. Melbourne is best seen on Sydney Road in the rear vision mirror. Victoria has the government they vote for and frankly deserve.

  • lbloveday says:

    “The instance that ibloveday mentioned is another kettle of fish and again is unrelated to the casualisation question”.
    Not necessarily unrelated I think. I don’t have figures, it was a long time ago and I have no knowledge of the present situation, but many TAFE classes, particularly at night, were conducted by hourly paid staff with no tenure and no contract other than for a typical 20x3hour course, and maybe such instances led to preferencing hourly paid staff over employing seemingly unsackable full timers.

  • Brian Boru says:

    Maybe more than one kettle of fish. Your hypothesis might be one. So also would be the funding constraints.
    Fixed term contracts are now commonplace in the higher education sector.

  • paul.nicholls41 says:

    The Liberals in Victortia are hopeless. Four examples: (1) By allocating their preferences to the Greens in the 2010 federal election, the Liberal Party gave a Left wing Marxist Adam Bandt a seat in the federal parliament for life. (2) For five years they emloyed as their director an embezzler (now in gaol) who stole millions from the party’s coffers. (3) At the 2018 state election, they did absolutely nothing to hold Labor to account for the Red Shirts scandal. When, in order to complain about this extraordinary omission, I contacted the party’s campaign director in a south-eastern metropolitan electorate, it was explained to me that ‘surveys’ had shown that ‘young people’ weren’t interested in this topic. (What surveys? Conducted by the ABC and the Fairfax press, perchance?) And even if these surveys were authentic measures of the opinions of ‘young people’, if the Liberals are so hopeless that they lack the intelligence and resourcefulness to explain to ‘young people’ that it is a matter of enormous significance that a political party (the ALP) can perpetrate this fraud, and furthermore spend hundreds and thousands of public money attempting to cover it up, then no wonder the Coaltion seems destined to be permanently in what is laughingly called the Oppostion. (4) Worst of all was the extraordinary decision of the Coalition state government in signing the contract for the East-West tunnel shortly before the 2014 election. First, it looked sneaky, even though it was technically legal. Secondly, it effectively took the issue of the tunnel off the agenda at the state election that ensued. This was because a lot of people (eg 3AW.s Tom Elliott) thought that whoever won the election the tunnel would be built owing to the signed contracts.
    P***** off Paul.

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