Back in April last year, Paul Howes promised that the Australian Workers Union would not support the carbon tax if it costs any of his members their jobs, proclaiming “if one job is gone, our support is gone.” He was backed by the CFMEU and the TWU in his position, on what out-going chairman of the Future Fund David Murray has now dubbed the “worst piece of economic reform” in Australian history. Within a couple of months, he had back flipped and announced his support for the carbon dioxide tax, aggressively defending the ALP policy. I guess inevitably, they were always going to come crawling back to the Labor party, even if it did alienate their members.
With three months to go before the carbon tax hits us like a ton of bricks, I wonder what Howes will say to any of his members that loses their job. Even with the compensation that he bargained for, he cannot exclude this scenario, and yet the policy which he has thrown his support behind can yield no benefits for workers. It risks jobs for no gain.
Apart from the potential job losses, there is the cost of living impact which unionised workers (and the rest of us) will have to deal with. Several key unions have now figured this out and are demanding, you guessed it, more money.
UNIONS that championed the carbon tax are now seeking wage rises to compensate workers for higher living costs – alarming employers who fear the new tax will fuel the cost of production and labour.
The 39,000-strong Together union will factor in the cost of the carbon tax during enterprise bargaining negotiations with the Queensland government this year. Union secretary Alex Scott said the federal government’s $8 billion household compensation package would not offset the cost of the carbon tax for all workers from July 1.
“They are compensating 60 per cent of people for some of it,” he said yesterday. “That’s far from full compensation. We want to make sure we don’t go backwards in terms of cost of living.”
Then why support it in the first place? Why not defend the jobs and living standards of their members with the same vigor that they fought Work Choices with?
Andrew Bolt recently wrote that global warming has corrupted Labor, as they try to balance the needs of their core constituency with their green ideology. Now, it has infected the Unions as well, with some even embracing the green dogma themselves.
Labor “needs to stand for something”, Labor MPs and Leftist journalists agree.
But as I said yesterday, it already stands for one of the biggest causes you could imagine: saving the planet with a massive scheme to shift the entire economy onto more expensive sources of power, using the world’s biggest carbon tax and massive tax and welfare schemes.
It stands for something, all right. Trouble is that it’s the wrong thing. This ludicrous green evangelism – involving a great green scare and a scheme to make us poorer – has hit the wall.