Saturday salon 8/7

1. Bullying bosses behaving badly, and it’s not cricket

The New Daily sport editor James Willoughby’s article Cricket tour of South Africa cancelled over pay dispute is typical of the coverage. The players want everyone to be treated fairly, and want the grass roots to be looked after. Seems Cricket Australia wants the same, but with a different way of carving the pie. The chasm is so wide people are talking about an Ashes tour being junked, and worry about the future of the game.

Yet most of the reporting and commentary misses the main point – Cricket Australia refuses to attend mediation or offer any genuine flexibility in the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) negotiations. They simply will not deal with the Australian Cricketers Association.

ABC’s 7.30 Report got to the nub of the issue. The Players Association have turned to former union heavyweight Greg Combet, who is facing off against Cricket Australia’s chairman, David Peever, a former managing director of the mining giant Rio Tinto.

It’s a union-busting exercise, cricket has become a commodity, produced by employees who should do what they are told. And the bosses will probably win.

The international cricketers have enough in the bank to hold out, and can get plenty gigs overseas. However, many shield cricketers have kids and a mortgage, or are young and have not yet established a reputation. I heard CA has 450 staff, who will no doubt continue to be paid.

Cate McGregor sanctifies Peever by saying he played grade cricket in Brisbane and stuff and “has cricket in his genes”.

I’m not impressed. Who appoints the chair of the board? Who should be the real guardians of the game?

As an ambit claim, I’d legislate that the players association should appoint a supervisory board whose function would be to employ the management board, including the chair, to run cricket. Half of the supervisory board would be players, past and present, with terms 50% longer than the terms of the management board they supervise.

Other suggestions are welcome, but I think we could do with some stakeholder industrial democracy.

2. Drill and fill: dentists up in arms over the risks of corporate dentistry

ABC RN’s Background Briefing is one of the bastions of investigative journalism. Paddy Manning’s report, linked above, is unbelievable. Inter alia it tells of:

  • Dentists in corporate chains are drilling and filling 6-8 holes in healthy teeth in some patients
  • Insurance companies give bigger rebates for the same work to the clients of ‘preferred practitioners’, mainly corporate chains
  • Insurance companies are setting up their own corporate chains. They take the addresses of claimants treated by independent dentists and offer them cheaper services, freebies or incentives.

You would think any decent legislator would move to stop this nonsense in a heartbeat, as they should have with ‘one-dollar milk’, but competition is the new god.

By the way, in France you get a free inspection and clean every six months.

3. Macron starts in style

This article highlights that new French President Emmanuel Macron has used the grand surrounding of the Palace of Versailles to deliver his state of the nation address, including a plan to cut numbers in parliament by a third.

This has echoes of Napoleon after the French Revolution. Macron is seen elsewhere as a sensible centrist. He now has direct power Trump and Theresa May can only dream about, so we won’t die waiting to see the colour of his cloth.

4. Corbyn exercises muscle within the Labour Party

Jeremy Corbyn now has untrammelled power within the British Labour Party, and is using it to include on his front bench people who had resigned rather than accept his leadership and/or were openly critical of him. The word is that the party is still divided, but most concede that he will stay leader as long as he chooses.

5. Mutually assured destruction (MAD)

A reasonable question in relation to the North Korean situation is, which kid has the most dangerous toys, and is the most erratic? I’m afraid it’s not dear leader Kim Jong-un.

Stan Grant makes the case that he’s brutal, he’s petulant, but he’s not stupid. Nor is he irrational or unpredictable.

The key value, says Grant, is “juche” or “self-reliance”. In simple terms he wants the US out of the area, and so do the China and Russia. But the US anti-missile shield is essential to the security of South Korea.

It’s basically a stalemate. North Korea has up to 10,000 underground sites where they can hide their nuclear facilities. Aside from their nukes they have massive artillery pointed at Seoul, a city of 10 million. Neither the US nor North Korea could start anything, and they would know it. China could choke the life out of them, but doesn’t want to push them to the edge.

The US has talked about sanctions on China, but would come off second best.

Then for a proper perspective, listen to Phillip Adams talking to Dr Peter Hayes of Sydney University. The missile was in fact only intermediate range, not yet intercontinental. Turnbull would know that, so would Trump if he’s listening to his security folk and not too occupied tweeting.

So why are they over-egging the situation?

70 thoughts on “Saturday salon 8/7”

  1. “juche” or self-reliance, was the stated ideology of the Grandfather Dear Leader, Kim Il Sung. Self-reliance seems a necessity if you wish to isolate your nation from the world.

    Other examples come to mind: Albania in the grip of Enver Hoxha, Burma under the heel of General Ne Win, China in the benevolent clutches of Mao, Democratic Kampuchea with rulers so secretive they didn’t reveal themselves until a year after victory: ‘Angka’ (the organisation).

    Trouble is, isolation with minimal trade leads to all sorts of (ahem) unusual experiments, like Mao’s backyard steel smelters, Pol Pot’s slave labour, widespread shortages and black market in old Burma, agricultural backwardness in Albania; and absence of political freedoms, secret police, tunnel vision in education systems, corruption and a pathetic plutocracy amongst the rulers.

    Beyond sad: thoroughly criminal, and after a few examples, foreseeable.

    ‘juche’ stinks!

  2. Just for Mr J’s edification, defines troll as:
    Digital Technology. Informal. a person who posts inflammatory or inappropriate messages or comments online for the purpose of upsetting other users and provoking a response.

    Pot, meet kettle.

  3. I will stick my neck out and predict that President Trump, while in Germany, will not adapt the ringing cry made by the late President John Kennedy in Berlin.

    “Ich bin ein Hamburger”

    doesn’t have quite the same punch.

  4. zoot, I don’t know that MrJ tries to upset others, but certainly from time to time he does.

  5. He’s shaken Angela Merkel’s hand, and talked civilly with Mr Putin, so his work is done, he can go home now.

    It has actually been said that the agenda of the conference is of little interest to him.

  6. Brian, zoot is feeding, I’ve starved him for almost a week.
    As for the Cricketers, they are contractors ( sole traders ) not employees, in any other Universe they are colluding and should be sanctioned by the ASIC , ACCC and ATO.

    Lenore Taylor proves again how confidently clueless she is, perhaps an encore on ‘ Insiders ‘ tomorrow will eventuate, I can only sigh and rub my eyes at the prospect.

  7. Brian, I can upset some by saying an orange is orange ( admittedly an orange is green for longer than it’s orange ).

    Some people.

  8. If a cricketer gets together with a large number of other paid cricketers and demands to collectively bargain over the terms of her contract, then I think that cricketer is behaving like a unionised employee, and should be treated as such.

    Besides which, oranges are not the only fruit, Mr J.

  9. zoot, I don’t know that MrJ tries to upset others, but certainly from time to time he does.

    Brian, you can’t deny that he often tries to provoke a response – witness the first comment in this thread and his comment at 5:40 pm.

    Mr J has never upset me (I’ve been upset by experts and the Jumpster doesn’t come close). I would hate people to get the impression my comment was motivated by anything of the sort.

  10. zoot, concerning your link, the bosses are still winning, and no politician is game enough to make it a level playing field.

    Ambi, why is it that unionised workers should be seen as the enemy and stuffed over?

  11. Ambi, why is it that unionised workers should be seen as the enemy and stuffed over?

    Ambi, sorry I missed Jumpy’s comment, so I’ll ask him.

    From your link, Jumpy:

    Collusion is a secret agreement or cooperation between parties for illegal or deceitful purpose. It can come in different forms, including bribery and corruption, or fraud. The risks to an organisation can originate from internal or external sources, or a combination of both.

    The game is what needs to be preserved and protected, not the organisation Cricket Australia. And there is nothing illegal, deceitful or secret about what the ACA is doing. Nor is it bribery, corruption or fraud.

  12. If this mob of Cricketers, as pampered as they are, won’t sign the contract, someone else gets a massive pay rise.
    Tender process, agree to terms or someone else gets the job.
    They are in them selves a boss, not an employee, no automatic right to the position they were selected to do.
    As far as I am concerned they are not eligible to be offered a contract.
    Their “cause” may be helped is they start winning a series ffs.

  13. . And there is nothing illegal, deceitful or secret about what the ACA is doing. Nor is it bribery, corruption or fraud.

    It’s blackmail by 1%ers , is it not ?
    Fine, Baggy Greens for the next crop.

  14. Jumpy: My understanding is that it is cricket Aus that wants to cut back on the players conditions, a move the naughty players don’t want to accept. It is a bit like cutting weekend penalty rates .

  15. What conditions do CA want to cut back on John ?
    I can’t see any.
    Perhaps a salary cap is in order to get a ‘ level playing field ‘, just ask the Zimbabweans or Bangladeshis ?

  16. Brian

    What I meant by “treating them as unionised employees”, was that they should be negotiated with

    not “stuffed around”.

    I support collective bargaining where it’s what a group of persons wish to pursue. The body that pays them should accept it, especially here in Australia where it’s been a bit of a tradition for – I dunno – one hundred years?

    And codified in State and Federal law, with Arbitration Courts etc.

  17. Here’s what CA presented to players in March:

    — A $20 million pool of surplus revenue (surplus being the key word here) to be shared by the top 20 players ($16 million for men, $4 million for women).
    — Total pay increases from the current $311 million to a projected $419 million between 2017-2022.
    — Average women’s pay increases by 150 per cent to $179,000 a year from $79,000 for international cricketers, and from $22,000 to $52,000 for domestic players.
    — Average domestic men’s payments increase to $235,000 by 2021-22, up from $199,000 in 2016-17.
    — Identical match fees for men and women in state cricket.
    — Average international men’s central contract to rise to $816,000 by 2021-22.
    — Average hourly pay will be the same for male and female state cricketers.

    No cuts there.
    Struth, even the State players are on $199K to play 4 days in front of empty grandstands!

  18. I haven’t been following the details too closely, because the main issue is that CA simply won’t negotiate.

    I think it revolves around whether there is going to be revenue sharing, and I get the impression that the state cricketers will be a bit worse off. The International stars are on a base salary of about $1.1 million and aren’t complaining about their own situation.

    There is an issue also that the players feel the CA administration is bloated, at the expense of the grass roots.

  19. Ambi, there is a Canadian bloke, Jim Stanton, I think, who has recently joined The Australia Institute, and is an expert on industrial relations. He reckons our system is about the worst in the OECD. When I get a bit of time, I’d like to do a search and see whether any of his stuff is available on the web.

  20. Jumpy: The deal may look good but my understanding is that it is proposed that less of the revenue will be shared.
    See here for Details of the Australian Cricket Board The chairman, David Peever, is a retired managing director of Rio Tinto. His experience with Rio Tinto may have given him a combative approach to industrial relations.

  21. Jumpy, thanks for the link. That’s the one.

    John, I’ve just followed up some articles in the Weekend AFR. Turns out Peever ran the reception desk for Rio in Melbourne:

    He had fewer than 10 staff and reported to Rio’s head of iron ore in Perth – someone who did actually introduce anti-union measures and manage operations. Peever never even sat on the miner’s executive committee or reported to the chief executive. And isn’t it starting to show …

    He seems eminently unqualified to run anything of significance.

    Simon Katich says it’s not about players being greedy.

    They want to shore up the state level, encourage new entrants, and treat women well. The quality of state cricket, in front of empty grandstands, is still reckoned by those who know as key to Australia’s success to test cricket.

    Patrick Durkin’s article is worth a read.

    Seems a revenue sharing deal has been in place for 20 years, most recently at 25%. The ACA has accepted that this should be reduced to 22.5%.

    Don Argus (the banker from Bundaberg) did a review which led to the present organisational structure. Apparently he said the revenue sharing model was unsustainable. I’d note that that review was back in 2012, before the real emergence of 20-over cricket in Australia and preceded the Big Bash success of last summer, which virtually printed money.

    Still, it’s a fair point as to whether revenue rather than profits should be shared.

  22. Some of the Test players are former State players, are they Brian?

    Who woulda thought it??

    Nice to see the highest paid players standing firm with all the others. Not the sort of behaviour envisaged in the world of rugged individualists carving out their egoistic bubbles where a big fat contract is the “light on the hill” !!!

  23. Are the players asking for lower ticket prices, lower food and drink prices or anything at all for the fans ?

    For mine, if these players don’t want the contracts offered they can go get a real job. Which would waste many millions of ACA dollars, taxpayer dollars sponsor dollars that nurtured and pampered them to where they are now, but so be it.

    The pay increases for cricket players over the last decade far outstrips those of the fans.
    Good luck winning over the public that aren’t unionists ( around 15% of employed, even less for unemployed )

  24. For mine, if these players don’t want the contracts offered they can go get a real job


    That happens to be all of them Jumpy, which is why seeing them as workers who can just be replaced if they don’t toe the line won’t cut it.

    During the summer break, Big Bash games were mostly a full house and were doing well in the TV ratings. They were actually quite watchable, even if ‘your’ team wasn’t playing.

    Fans were out of their minds with happiness, or so it seemed. Cricket had cracked a market like no other sport.

  25. I’m more of a Test match enthusiast rather than hit and giggle fan but that’s beside the point.

    All those that have signed the code of conduct ( found here ), and are in breach , are ineligible for selection and should be fined.

  26. Jumpy, they can’t fine anyone, because the current deal has run its course. After the women finish their current world cup series CA will have no players.

  27. Brian, the code of conduct is separate from their contracts, it has no expiry date.

  28. Jumpy, you’d have to ask a lawyer, but not even Cricket Australia would be silly enough to try. Already other countries’ cricketing bodies are wondering aloud why CA would go so far to alienate their players.

  29. I would put forward CA has moved to improve the lot of cricket players, National, State, Club level, junior Female and Disabled immensely in the last decade.
    The fuck up is hard core unionist getting involved, and not for free either.
    If these players find a Country that will treat them better, piss off to it I say.
    You never know, they could win a series at last.

  30. Jumpy, it’s no surprise that you share the same paternalistic attitudes as the bosses.

  31. Well that’s not accurate but I’m not surprised you have no idea about being a custodian of an entity that employs.
    I know both perspectives and the real life ramifications.

  32. It’s strange that folks that think being a Boss is all beer and skittles, money for old rope and so easy have never done it.

    That said, I consider my employees as partners even if sometimes they don’t.

  33. Jumpy, I did employ, and during a quarter of a century was a participant in about 600 job interviews.

    In my main job I was responsible for 34 work groups, 160 plus employees, from 13 work categories and involved with seven different unions.

    I saw myself as in their service.

  34. In terms of CA, I’m more than a bit curious as to whom or what the entity sees itself as responsible.

    It sounds as though Peever was a mate who had limited prospects and was going nowhere much.

  35. There is a thread in US politics that wants the US to stay out of world conflicts that the US didn’t have to be involved in. Trump appears to belong to this isolationist thread and his behaviour at what ended up as the G19 seems to support this proposition.
    Second level countries like Aus need a world that plays by the rule. In this context Trump makes things very hard for Aus.

  36. Mr J
    Back in the 19th century, a long slow process with many setbacks had employees forming craft unions, then wider unions later, to represent their interests and bargain with employers.

    The idea that most employees should be on individual contracts is very recent in Australia, and ignores – or tries to reverse- the history of collective action. PJKeating wanted “enterprise bargaining” so an enterprise’s own balance sheet became relevant, rather than crude, industry wide wage setting. But it was still bargaining, and collectively done at least for those who chose to be union members.

    I can’t see how cricket being their profession somehow excludes the sportswomen from collective action. Is it the 22 yard pitch? The adoption of English overs of 6 balls? What exactly makes it wrong or retrograde for cricketers to attempt to bargain through an association?

    The mighty Poles waged a non-violent battle against Stalinist dictatorship in the late 70s. As individuals? Yes, but also by forming one of the liveliest, dynamic, well-led and widely supported unions ever seen in Europe, or indeed the world.


    Unions have their place, and at times their forceful verve can be astounding.

  37. Seems the Australian Cricketers Association is not a formally registered Trade Union, but an Incorporated Association.

    Cricket Australia is incorporated as an Australian Public Company, limited by guarantee. Seems it just hangs there mid-air and has the role it has by tradition.

    Perhaps the ACA could give it the flick and run its own show.

    If there was an entrepreneurial Kerry Packer type around CA would be toast.

  38. That’s a good article, zoot. The ACA includes past players as well. Some of them should be involved as guardians of the tradition.

    ACA could set up its own company. If this dispute cancels the Ashes tour, anything could happen.

  39. Good article Jumpy.
    To me it looks like a dispassionate exposition of the situation.
    Why do you think it only “tried to be balanced”?

  40. Agree it’s a good article, but walked around the elephant in the room, that it’s a union-busting exercise.

    This comment was interesting:

    “Given that CA is an employer of the players and the ACA is the collective bargaining agent for the players, we question the appropriateness of CA directly funding the ACA.”

    I’v e started on Jim Stanton’s stuff, and he reckons that Australia is about the only place in the world (leaving aside the USA, China etc) where collective bargaining is not valued and supported, sometimes by the company, sometimes by the government or both.

  41. On posting this week, I had my 6-monthly check for glaucoma today. Four tests before I went in to see the Prof at the Qld Eye Institute.

    He said it was all good, vision was good, glaucoma arrested. So I asked him why I was getting sporadic blurred vision a lot of the time, luckily one eye at a time for a second or two, but at nights after an hour on the computer it is starting to be really bad. He says, “Dunno, nothing I can see would be causing it.”

    So I’m going to see his mate in a couple of weeks.

    Meanwhile tomorrow night is State of Origin, and on Thursday night we’ll probably see a showing of a film on the Galilee Basin.

    I’ve got stuff on climate piling up, but want to do the next substantive post on industrial relations, while we are on the topic. Won’t get it done tonight and problem is I’m working the next few days.

  42. On cricket, there was a good interview with Braham Dabscheck, an expert in the area of sports industrial relations, on Late Night Live.

    This kind of thing has happened a number of times in the US.

    Players can play elsewhere, eg. the Indian 20-over series and in England. Mitchell Starc has made his own deal with an Audi dealer, which is problematic because Toyota is signed up with CA.

    CA will feel the pinch if sponsors start pulling the plug.

  43. Players have for a very long time played English County Cricket, to gain experience on different pitches being as much as more money, but they always made themselves available to represent their Country.
    They have stained the Baggy Green with greed.

    They’ll be suing Umpires for unfair dismissal, redundancy packages if they’re dropped, and rostered batting times soon.

  44. I agree Jumpy, the players are getting far too big for their boots with ideas way above their station. They need to be kept in their place.

    /sarc 🙂

  45. I met an Aussie who played County Cricket twenty or so years ago. He was never selected for State or Australian teams. For him, it was all about the money.

    /irrelevant anecdote

    zoot: next thing you know, they’ll be demanding to appear on that newfangled box thingy, what was it called?? Veletision? No, television – that’s it, why only the other day the Colonel was saying………

    and apparently there’s some godawful new version of rugger some people are keen on, well as I was saying
    at least it’s not Union, eh? eh? geddit??

  46. Gotta give a shout to the QLDers, that’s playing for the Moroon j
    And Dane ( North Mackay Devils junior ) what a series !
    The poorest Club in town has seen some beauties.

  47. what is a Moroon, Mr J?

    is that like, say you was shipwrecked, and youse got marooned??
    cast ashore on a dessert island with no rescue in site, make a hut, spot a footprint, discover it’s Girl Monday, etc. ??

    I defoe you to improve on that storey.
    youse could be a famous righter.
    right away.

  48. There was a short article in the CM today about the cricket dispute.

    Seems James Sutherland is back in the frame and since he’s not allergic to the ACA something might happen.

    Also high performance manager Pat Howard had been telling porkies about how mush Shield cricketers are paid. For one team he’s given an astronomical sum as the average, but the best batman had made $150K and the best wicket taker $100K. None were paid what he’d claimed as average.

  49. Whoa, all legislation passed by 1 vote by Ludlam in the Senate could now be seen as not legitimate.
    Same as Bob Day during the time he was in breach of our Constitution.

    The green are in havoc at the moment.
    Luckily, for them, the ABC will move on with the next Trump tweet.

  50. Great article, zoot. A couple of observations.

    I was in the state system from 1969 to 1991. As a public servant I worked a 60 hour week, year after year. Not all public servants did, but for many in the senior ranks, that was life.

    The pollies, however, I reckon worked 80 hours a week, even back then. And I remember talking to a Canberra public servant, back in the 1970s, where at times they knocked off at 2am and the boss said, see you again at 6.

    However, take Rudd and Abbott out of the picture, and it’s still a tough gig, but mostly not impossible. Rudd as head of Wayne Goss’s office was notorious for calling meetings at 1am, or 7am or whatever.

    Combet as climate minister was effectively executive officer to a committee of Gillard, the indies, Greens and I think Garnaut. So it’s not a usual story.

    I wonder how things are in Labor now, seeing that they’ve stabilised the leadership and seem to get along well with each other.

    Still, there are residual questions about the viability of the system. Have you noticed how quickly presidents of the US age? It’s happening to Trump already.

    Beasley said that flying across the Nullarbor finally did him in. We used to hold meetings in Melbourne, because it was the most accessible place. But the Darwin guy was basically looking at 8 hours one way.

    Murphy says that state pollies go home at night, but I can tell you that in Qld they mostly don’t.

  51. Brian, I heard a tiny bit of Richard Walsh on Late Night Live and he was talking about using technology to reduce (or eliminate?) the necessity for federal pollies to do so much travel. That doesn’t get rid of the tribalism of Rudd, Abbott and the Murdoch media though.
    Currently downloading the audio to have a better idea of what he suggests.

  52. Whoa, all legislation passed by 1 vote by Ludlam in the Senate could now be seen as not legitimate.

    Not according to Antony Green who says:

    On the issue of re-visiting his votes in the Senate, the High Court ruled decades ago that the disqualification of a Senator does not open up their past votes. There is no re-visiting of legislation passed on the vote of a disqualified Senator.

  53. zoot I missed the Richard Walsh segment. Heard it start but was busy at the time.

    New Salon should be up in about an hour.

  54. zoot at 11.38pm,
    I too heard some of that: sounded like he was making sensible suggestions. Apart from that, it was good to hear him so chirpy and enthusiastic about reforming Aussie democracy.

  55. On the weekend I was working on a post trying to unpack just where we are with Finkel and the National Electricity Market in view of acceptance of 49 out of 50 recommendations by COAG, and the express intention of several states to move ahead.

    That turns out to be a bit of a complex bog, and the legal situation is different from what one might expect. I’ll persist with that because it is critical and the organisational changes recommended by Finkel really do open up opportunities.

    Meanwhile a front page article in the SMH by Peter Martin on electricity prices has sent shock waves far and wide, as John D brought to my attention. So that might have to be next cab off the rank.

  56. Home Affairs Ministry under P. Dutton.
    What could possibly go wrong??

    G. Brandis in an oversight role for human rights, rule of law.
    Ditto above.

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