The unions’ war on ordinary workers

Original article published 26 June 2019 in the Australian Financial Review

Workers weary of the theatrics of industrial confrontation are looking elsewhere for representation on the things that matter.

The day after the election, the ACTU issued a statement claiming that “The re-election of the Morrison government gives them no mandate whatsoever to further pursue an anti-worker agenda.” Among the quotes attributable to ACTU secretary Sally McManus was the extraordinary statement that “This election shows how much the rich and powerful will invest, and how far they will go, to maintain a system that benefits them at the expense of the vast majority of Australians.”

In fact, the election revealed that employees value the businesses they work for perhaps more than those businesses realise; it demonstrated that business should spend some more time listening to their own “quiet” employees, rather than the noisy handful of activists who claim to represent all others.

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Right’s think tanks are running dry

Original article published 12 June 2019 in the Australian Financial Review

The brains trusts meant to provide long-term ideas have succumbed to short-term politics of their own.

A new leader, a re-elected government, global headwinds. Now is the time when university researchers, think tanks, peak bodies and industry associations put forward the policy ideas they have been working on, and demonstrate how their ideas, big and small, can contribute to strengthening Australia’s economy and making it a better place to live.

So what are the ideas of Australia’s leading conservative and classical liberal think tanks, which traditionally contribute thinking to Liberal governments?

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Expect pragmatism – if the Liberals can agree on what that is

Original article published 29 May 2019 in the Australian Financial Review

The Morrison campaign deftly avoided traditional Liberal Party landmines. Extending the current political truce will be more challenging.

There’s an old journalistic adage that warns today’s front-page news is tomorrow’s fish and chip wrapper. It’s an exhortation to modesty, as well as a reminder not to rest on your laurels. Likewise in politics, last week’s historic win is this week’s kitty-litter liner.

Which is not to erase yesterday’s glory. Prime Minister Scott Morrison managed to unify his bickering party and stop the conservative-versus-moderate brawling. He lent the party a sense of purpose, by making himself into a living, breathing totem for what it means to be a Liberal. A relentless focus on economic fundamentals coupled with hyper-local infrastructure delivery, not to mention the opposition’s suite of variously baked ideas, drew the eye away from some of the government’s craggier policy plans.

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