By Joe Montero
Former Prime Minister John Howard’s walks into a Sydney rally of union members and it’s an accident. Hardly. He is far to astute to do such a thing. In any case, it would be hard with a full security detail on tow.
This was a deliberate act, designed to achieve ends. It is not hard to speculate on Just what they might be.
John Howard was the man behind WorkChoices a few years ago. The scheme he presided over, to effectively marginalise unions and strip down rights in the workplace. WorkChoices is now being revisited by Turnbull and company. Howard has a personal stake in this. As it stands, he goes down in history as the man who was humiliated. Not only was WorkChoices defeated by the millions of Australians. He became one of only two prime ministers who lost his seat. This is a tremendous slap down, for someone who made no secret of wanting to be remembered as a great statesman. The resurrection of WorkChoices would, in a manner of speaking, also mean his resurrection.
There is also much more to it. John Howard has never been shy to interfere in the Turnbull government. He has done so more than once and is a backer of rival Tony Abbott. He has consistently criticised Turnbull’s for not moving far and fast enough, on industrial relations and other issues. He may well have sought to provoke an incident that could be used as a vehicle for upping the ante. Imagine the coverage, if he had been physically attacked.
And this leads us to the main outcome of Howard’s little stroll into the enemy camp. He has become the story. The reason why, tens of thousands of angry workers were in the streets, is no longer the news. Forgotten is the existence of laws and an apparatus to treat a group of Australians as third class citizens, the attack on hard won penalty rates and the overall war on workers that has been launched.
It shows that much of the big media is biased, undemocratic to its core and a conscious participant in this war against workers. What tens of thousands of Australians had to say is far less important than what a former prime minister pulling a stunt. This says it all. Media impartiality and objectivity is a myth.
The good part is that the lot of them did not learn the lesson from the last time around. You start to hurt people too hard, you can’t stop them noticing. The truth seeps through. People react accordingly.
By openly siding with the most ruthless employers, Howard, Turnbull and the rest, have provided the union movement with the best opportunity to recover and build its influence. Our anti-worker heroes, may even go so far as to light the match, on a new era of militancy across Australian society. As a bonus, the drop in the numbers accessing the tabloid media may take an even steeper downward dive.
Video from 7 News