Qld Labor Left little more than a protection racket for dud members

Dud members such as Jackie Trad, according to CFMEU construction division secretary Michael Ravbar, who called a press conference to tell everyone that the Qld Labor Left faction was:

    “merely an impotent and self-serving echo chamber for a cabal of Peel Street elite who have totally lost touch with their working-class roots”.

    “The leadership vacuum in the left has seen a once-powerful voice for working Queenslanders atrophy to the point where today it is little more than a creche for party hacks,” Ravbar said.

    “The left factional leadership have consistently devoted far more energy to internal intrigues and power plays than to driving a policy platform that reflects both socially and economically progressive values.”

    “In the process, the faction has become little more a protection racket for dud members such as Jackie Trad, who as former Deputy Premier bears much of the blame for the failure to look after workers’ interests even on major public projects such as Cross River Rail.”

We’ve had some comment on the Saturday salon thread with fine discursive comments from Ambigulous here and here, and a more punchy one by John Davidson, who has had experience of mining unions.

Zoot questioned the reference to the CMFEU, as raised by Jumpy. There are in fact separate websites for the CFMMEU (Construction Forestry Maritime Mining and Energy Union) and (a CFMEU).

The former is more correct, but the latter is more commonly used, indeed by the union itself.

The Wikipedia entry gives a history which appears to trace the CFMEU to the desire in the early 1990s to form an industry union out of the craft unions in the construction industry. That may be an oversimplification but the main thing is that now there are four divisions:

  • Construction and General Division
  • Manufacturing Division (formally Forestry and Furnishing Products Division)
  • Mining and Energy Division
  • Maritime Union of Australia Division

The extra “M” came in 2018 when the Maritime Union of Australia and the Textile, Clothing and Footwear Union of Australia joined the CFMEU.

Now the CFMMEU according to Wikipedia has 144,000 members (1% of the Australian workforce), assets of $310 million and annual revenue of approximately $146 million.

It’s one of 46 unions in Australia affiliated with the ACTU, but arguably the one that most gives unions a bad name. ABC Factcheck found it’s not the most unlawful organisation in the history of Australia’s industrial laws, as Christian Porter said last year, but the CFMMEU tends to perpetuate the image of unions as aggressively male and ruthless.

Australia’s largest union is the Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation, which has just under 300,000 members.

A 2018 Parliamentary Library publication says:

  • The number of union members in Australia has declined from around 2.5 million in 1976 to 1.5 million in 2016. During the same period the union member share of all employees (or union density) has fallen from 51 per cent to 14 per cent.
  • Young workers are much less likely to be union members than older workers and casual and/or part-time employees are less likely to be union members than full-time workers and permanent employees.
  • Industry union density is strongest in Education and training and Public administration and safety.
  • The biggest increases in union membership over the last decade and a half were recorded by the Police Federation of Australia (PFA) (up 92 per cent), Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation (ANMF) (up 84 per cent), and Independent Education Union of Australia (IEUA) (up 35 per cent).

The union websites are not especially vibrant specimens of social media.

I’m sure where John D worked in mining the workers were treated fairly, but there do now seem to be legitimate concerns about casualisation and safety.

As far as I can make out Michael Ravbar is in Qld, on the Left and on the ALP National Executive as CFMEU National VP. I think there may be a union confab going on right earlier this week.

On local radio Rebecca Levingston talked to Stephen Smyth – District President, CFMEU M&E QLD, Mackay, from the CFMEU contact list.

Smyth sounds like a bog standard climate denier, certainly coal über alles and no questions asked.

Certainly too Labor has to shed these characters. Personally I would follow the Brits and sever the connection between the party and the unions, or at least drastically reconfigure it.

Levingston asked Smyth who they would support if not Labor. He said definitely not One Nation and definitely not the LNP.

She did not ask about Katter Australia.

From what I’ve read and heard so far, the proximal issues are as follows:

  • There has been concern over the extension of the New Acland coal mine near Oakey, which has not been approved, and is currently under investigation for illegal mining. It has about 500 workers, but is chewing into prime farming land, is close to population, and may put aquifers at risk.
  • There have been candidate selection issues, where in Burleigh former surfer, Wayne “Rabbit” Bartholemew has been picked over local branch favourite, and in Whitsunday, where the wife of a sitting member has been chosen over the former failed candidate, who wants to have another crack. In the latter case, the former candidate is said to be recommending people vote for Katter Australia.
  • They claim Qld Labor has no plan for the economic recovery of provincial Queensland post-COVID. This is untrue, but I’ll leave that until Michael Birkman puts forward the Greens plans.

None of the above has much to do with Jackie Trad these days, who has chosen not to comment.

In today’s CM an article (can’t find it online) says the 2017 donation to the ALP in Qld for the election was over $500,000.

Former speaker, the respected John Mickel, has rubbished the claims that Labor has lost contact with blue collar workers, and says the “stamp-your-feet tantrum” was “white noise” which would not dramatically affect the election.

He does concede, however, that there may be an effect in those two seats. The Palaszczuk is only two seats clear of losing its outright majority.

48 thoughts on “Qld Labor Left little more than a protection racket for dud members”

  1. Well, Brian.

    Just quickly, the discursive digression was about the Labor Party and the unions.

    Mr J replied and I’ve now responded on the other thread.

    Your post here prompts me to remark to Jumpy: above is material to show you that the “union movement ” is far from monolithic with a single standpoint.

  2. Brian: I spent quite a bit of time as a serious industrial relations player in a number of mines. Interesting times. Could tell the odd story or two but don’t want to write pages and pages on the industrial wisdom of JD and the the industrial relations expert I am married too.
    The Pilbara used to be a hot bed of union power. They lost that power for a number of reasons.
    In the case of Robe River the confrontation started when the unions wanted a supervisor disciplined for shutting something down in an emergency. The company took the unusual step of taking the dispute to the real courts instead of the industrial courts and won control of the company.
    In the case of Hamersly the unions were on strike demanding that one of their members be sacked for going back to work during a strike. In the end, the members got completely pissed off with their arrogant leaders and started going back to work. The company offered the workers staff contracts that allowed people to have much more interesting jobs because they weren’t bound by union imposed demarcations that locked them into boring jobs.
    Newman de-unionized after I left so I am not sure of the details. Once again the arrogance of some of the leaders weakened the union position. (My take during my time was that the leaders treated their members in a way that I wouldn’t have been game to do, or inclined to do.)
    One of the thing that did weaken the unions was the end of compulsory unionism. By the time I had started working in the contact coal mining business many of the workers weren’t members because the company was astute in its handling of the workforce and members fees were not considered by some to be worth the money.
    In my dotage I did a lot of work on the construction sites of a major construction company. I liked working for this company because it behaved as though it thought loyalty was a two way thing. Industrial strife was negligible even though they were CFMEU sites.
    Years of LNP government has resulted in employers believing they have the divine right to screw the workers and ignore awards. We need a resurgence of the union movement or governments who are supportive of a fair deal for the workers.

  3. Yes JohnD, Union leaders do tend to be arrogant. When I worked at Garden island Dockyard for a year I was appalled by the way they treated one old guy who didn’t go on strike, and also on their voting intimidation. Later When I worked as a Lift Mechanic under the electrical trades union I was incensed enough by public statements made “on behalf of members” to apply for and get a union exemption certificate. When setting up my factory work contract in NZ I referred to the appropriate union for their approval and got it.

    Employers have their chambers of commerce, their employer associations, their annual conferences and their lawyers. Workers should have their Union and their workers rights. The belligerent naysayers have their prejudices. and their egos.

  4. Arrogant leaders are the bane of:

    Union members,

    At least with a sports club or hobby club it’s easier to walk away if arrogant pr*cks start throwing their weight around.

    John: I find it interesting that in a couple of cases you saw up close, members’ loyalty to their union wavered, then practically collapsed.

    Perhaps Aussie workers are pragmatic and practical?

    In the 1960s some commentators said that a few Communist union leaders were re-elected repeatedly by the members because they were regarded as militant, intelligent and loyal to the members.

    The same unionists would vote ALP in Federal elections. (Typical vote: ALP 35 to 60%, Communist Party 2%. Clearcut rejection of the commo candidate as a politician.) Another example of pragmatism by the unionist voter. ….

  5. Ambi: “John: I find it interesting that in a couple of cases you saw up close, members’ loyalty to their union wavered, then practically collapsed.
    Perhaps Aussie workers are pragmatic and practical?”
    I was talking about mines that I never worked in. However, I can think of one case where someone was sacked because of something like they were “not suitable for work in the Pilbara” which was code for “had stood up to their union.” However, it was a case where Hamersley refused to go along with this where the workers went back to work in defiance of their union that ended up with the unions being thrown out.

  6. Ambi: “In the 1960s some commentators said that a few Communist union leaders were re-elected repeatedly by the members because they were regarded as militant, intelligent and loyal to the members.”
    I knew a bloke once who, it was alleged, was sacked from his position with the TWU because he decided to stand for an elected position with the union. There were certainly stories about some unions being dominated by people who were not completely committed to democracy. Dunno whether communist domination of some unions was a result of support by the workers or doubtful electoral practices.
    My communist in-laws seemed to be OK to me. The sort of industries that get very militant unions tend to be ones like underground coal mining, construction and wharfies that used to be dangerous, dirty and in the case of construction and the old wharf system, very insecure.
    I remember my farming father going on about miners going on strike because their tea was cold. But it made more sense when I saw cold tea as a symptom of the lack of care and respect shown to miners and the way the capitalist press wanted to keep the workers down, poorly paid, unsafe and oppressed.

  7. Unions try to monopolies certain industry workers to blackmail, simple as that.

    That said, and I’ll look into it tomorrow, how many of the ALP Candidates and MPs are Union members and how many have only ever worked as a union rep since leaving school ?

    How many have actually been to the employer dark side , with their own money, to be able to legitimately have lived experience?

    I’m pulling the “ Lived Experience “ card on this one. How can they possibly understand?

  8. John,

    From what I’ve heard, rigged union ballots were more common in the 1940s and early 1950s, leading to court challenges and the ousting of some vote riggers.

    Names that spring to mind are Laurie Short, John Kerr as barrister, CPA etc.

    Every union ballot (for office holders) I voted in was conducted by the AEC. No problems.

    BilB, I had some similar experiences with a union
    a) proclamation that “our members views on issue X are Y” when we members had never been consulted
    b) when I complained about a) to a local union rep, I was told airily that it “was related to ALP factional politics”
    c) our union leadership was apparently aligned to the Socialist Left in the ALP but this was never mentioned
    d) outrage when many of us refused to strike on particular issues
    e) on one occasion the union leadership refused to put its EB stance to a vote of its members; a local union rep told me (privately) that the refusal was most likely because the “leadership” thought it might lose

    Our local union branch attracted some idealists; but some of its staunchest members were among the laziest and least competent employees IMHO. Eventually I concluded they wished to be a “protected species”.


  9. Jumpy: “I’m pulling the “ Lived Experience “ card on this one. How can they possibly understand?” You don’t seem to understand other lived experiences that are equally important when it comes to governing a country and understanding what fairness might mean.
    I had my own business when I was in primary school and my father’s family farmers/small business. Never been protected by a union or been “one of the workers.” Most of my working life was spent working for very big business. My small business background helped during my working life but I would be the first to say that big business and small business are seriously different. Part of what is wrong with the LNP is there are too many small business supporters that insist running a country is like running a small business. (Not quite like running a country either, but a bit closer in many ways.)
    On the other hand my male in-laws were almost all underground coal miners. Sort of jobs where strong unions are essential.) Weakened unions may be some of the reason why dusted lungs have come back to haunt workers in Central Qld.
    I accept that you understand some things and I take more notice when you are talking about your business instead of telling us how to run our country. You should ask “How can I understand?” before launching into one of your rants.

  10. John occupational safety would be one of the main reasons for unions, and having a union. I recall a program on the ABC about 20 years ago were the body count in the construction industry in Australia was about one a week.

    The opening story was about a worker who fell from the roof of an industrial building being demolished. Fell directly onto the concrete and was killed instantly. No harness or safety net.

    The first person on the scene was a lawyer, who advised repositioning the body a bit before the cops got there.

    Somebody said something at the poor guy’s funeral, and someone, forget now, but I think the union, went after the company.

    The company dissolved into the ether, no doubt to emerge elsewhere as a phoenix rising.

    I used to work for a bloke who ran an industrial cladding business. They put the outer skin on the building. No-one died on their projects, but they were often beaten in tenders by some cowboy working the business off the back of a ute.

  11. I won’t talk about my own experiences as a union member, but in my main job in Qld Ed as an assistant divisional director we had staff in 12 or 13 work categories in 34 work groups, with membership of 8 or 9 unions. Can’t remember having a problem at all.

    We did have problems with staff at times, but can’t remember any union involvement. A significant part of our work was in setting up operational standards and supporting the work of teacher-librarians.

    The only direct involvement I recall was briefing the QTU (QLD Teachers Union) on copyright, which teachers were ripping off with gay abandon. We negotiated some rules, which derived from a national committee, where, working with the publishers, we got the Commonwealth and states to fund a trial court case, so we had the judge’s judgement as input.

    The main bloke we talked to in the QTU was a fella called Arch Bevis. One of nature’s gentlemen. He later became a federal politician and, for a time, my local member.

  12. Third go, my wife was a life-long member of the QTU, and the school rep for a time. She did it not out of great passion, but someone had to.

    There were three reasons why a teacher with half a brain would be a union member.

    Firstly, your pay and conditions would be better than would otherwise apply, the difference being roughly like day and night. It was quite unfair that some teachers benefitted from the pay and conditions, but made no contribution.

    Secondly, if a kid was hurt on your watch, say on an excursion, or gets an eye taken out in a schoolyard accident while you are supervising, if you are in the QTU you will have a lawyer to look after you. Otherwise you are on your own.

    Third, and this is quite important, if a new policy is instituted that affects your work, the President of the QTU will have access and information from the top.

    The communication chain is a lot shorter, and actually less likely to be distorted, than if you get information from the school principal through the departmental hierarchy.

  13. Brian: Be interested to hear what Jumpy has to say on safety in his industry.
    The BHP steelworks where I started work had a workforce of about 10,000 and killed about 3 people per yr. This death rate was one of the reasons that BHP management had, for that time, had a strong safety focus, functioning safety departments with authority. This was true for all the BHP sites I worked on.
    Did the sums for a workforce of 100 that I was in charge of at one stage. 3 deaths per yr for 10,000 employees is the same death frequency as one per 33 yrs for a workforce of 100. If the focus is deaths, it is easy to kid yourself that you are doing OK if you haven’t killed anyone for the last 20 yrs. (Particular problem for small cowboy contractors.)
    Safety management got around this problem by monitoring more minor accidents and measuring people’s performance in terms of these statistics. Worked in most case because some of the things you need to do to stop minor hand injuries also reduce the frequency of major arm injuries.
    However, what BHP found was that this approach didn’t always protect them from major disasters. Many major disasters are not minor, frequent accidents gone bad. With the minor accident warning gone companies had to do the work required to identify potential disasters.
    The major contractor I worked for had an impressive safety record based on impressive safety management. Apart for concern for workers and subbies safety management has become an important criteria when selecting who to give a contract to.
    Here endeth today’s lesson.

  14. Luckily, John, Jumpy is certainly not running a “small cowboy operation”.

    That would be a gentlemen’s clothing store way out West, catering to the smaller cowboy’s need for good quality, long wearing outfits.


  15. Ambi: Apart from the odd disagreement with Sir Jumpy on various matters of world importance I get the impression from what he says that he runs his business in a competent and fair way.

  16. John, for a while I had shares in Leighton’s, which owned Thiess as well. In annual reports they would commonly report 1-3 deaths, with regrets, due sympathies etc. etc. I’m sure they honestly cared for their workers welfare, which is not always the case.

    I believe the margins on their contracts were actually quite low.

    Later they acquired John Holland, and various bits of the larger company used to tender against each other.

    Mt confidence was rocked when they got into trouble in a couple of large contracts. First, they badly miscalculated the cost of refurbishing Flinders Railway Station while keeping it operational. Then they almost dropped a house into the tunnel they were constructing under Sydney Harbour.

    All the while the German company Hochtief owned a majority shareholding, let them run their own show, but they had access to Hochtief technology.

    Along the way Spanish builder ACS took over Hochtief and looked as though they were going to be more hands on. By that time I had bailed out, but lost interest in following the group through lack of trust, and in the knowledge that big companies can fail spectacularly.

    There is another twist in a Fairfax expose of a corruption scandal of Leightons paying bribes in the Middle East to get contracts, which I gather is pretty much the way normal business is done. ACS decided to airbrush the group and changed the name to CIMIC, which I think means the ordinary shareholder no longer has any chance of knowing what really goes on.

    This is away from the topic, a bit, but shows that we don’t live in an ideal world.

  17. Brian,
    The contract business is very competitive with resulting low margins and often high risks. It is easy to come a gutzer, particularly if you don’t know much about how what you are building works.
    Lot of pressure to have a healthy looking order book to keep share value up. Hard to tell what in the order book will make a profit.

  18. Perhaps the gender gap should be at least mentioned, and then ignored totally again.

    Men are far more likely to be injured at work compared to women. In 2018, 94% of fatalities were men. That means men accounted for 136 of the 144 deaths.

    Might account, in part, for the pay gap.

  19. My original intention in posting was to highlight the problem of Labor, trying to be green, but still tarred with black. At the time of writing there was hardly any reportage, but now it’s everywhere.

    This article – The CFMEU’s attack on Queensland Labor’s left faction reveals deep fault lines in the party.

    Mackay-based Steve Smyth feels “increasingly isolated over Labor’s ambivalent and lukewarm embrace of Adani’s proposed Carmichael Coal mine.”

    His story, and it’s true, is that many workers in Central Queensland voted One Nation (and some for KP), but their preferences did not then sufficiently come back to Labor.

    At the same time, three inner city Brisbane seats swung to Labor TPP, courtesy of Green preferences.

    Smyth and the CFMEU have targetted LEAN as diverting Labor away from its true path.

    I wasn’t in LEAN at the time, but I understand that the national LEAN push was concern about updating the national environmental legislation to better protect the environment, and to take account of climate change. This is a matter of current legislative concern right now, which I’d be blogging about if I could triplicate myself.

    However, LEAN is an organisation that operates within Labor, but does have T-shirts (one red and one green) and does interact with environmental groups and the community, sometimes on a personal basis.

    I know there are members in Rockhampton and Townsville and other provincial areas. I don’t know what they’ve been doing, but in coal country it would be hard to avoid Adani/coal.

    Labor nationally accepts that it sat on the fence last election and got wedged. Albanese is not on the fence. He is supporting action on climate change in line with international norms, but opposes counting Scope 3 emissions as ours. So we supply coal to other countries while they choose to burn it.

    There is logic behind this, but it’s a story not reducible to slogans. There are nuances within this policy area which make a lot of difference, but we live in a political climate where rational discourse is almost impossible.

    Meanwhile, thanks to Joel Fitzgibbon, blind Freddy can see that Labor still has a rump of Coalsheviks. I can’t finger them, but I’d be surprised if Qld Labor pollies did not have some too. Meanwhile the CFMEU have found one specific candidate they will be supporting:

      …Whitsunday Regional Councillor and former coal miner Mike Brunker, who is Labor’s candidate for the ultra-marginal LNP seat of Burdekin.

      Mr Brunker nearly won this coal mining seat in 2017 after he finished ahead of his LNP opponent Dale Last on the primary vote but failed to pick up enough preferences from Pauline Hanson’s One Nation.

    It would be sad indeed if Labor needs to depend on climate deniers to retain government.

  20. Jumpy it’s good to see that construction is now down to 31.

    We had our roof painted a few years ago. The painter said he had to use scaffolding (can’t recall exactly what) not because he might fall off, but because someone was being paid $75,000 pa to drive around the town to make sure he did what the regulations said.

  21. Brian

    We had our roof painted a few years ago. The painter said he had to use scaffolding (can’t recall exactly what) not because he might fall off, but because someone was being paid $75,000 pa to drive around the town to make sure he did what the regulations said.

    Well, you got rat arsed.
    Every painter knows to do rooves on the weekend when Plod isn’t on the job. 😉

    But seriously, a static line, harness and good Dunlop volleys are as safe as you can get. Nice expensive rock fishing boots just as good. Good way to claim recreational attire on your taxes as well 🙂

    But fair dinkum Brian, you’d be better off joining the greens and try to moderate them than wasting your time with greening the union party. My 2c.

  22. Jumpy: “Men are far more likely to be injured at work compared to women. In 2018, 94% of fatalities were men. That means men accounted for 136 of the 144 deaths.”
    I think there are a number of things going on there. For example, the high fatality rate industries tend to be industries that have traditionally been dominated by men.
    Others like agriculture tend to be male dominated workplaces where men are working alone or in small groups. Places that simply don’t have the safety management systems and pressure to work safely that I became used to in both the mining and construction businesses.
    Then there were the differences between men and women. I worked at a minesite that started using women to do things like drive mobile equipment. What we found was that women and Aborigines got their status by doing things well that used to be the preserve of white males. Too many white males got their status by operating in a risky fashion or performing risky stunts. I never saw gender/race stats in these places but there was certainly discussion.
    It is also worth noting that male suicide rates are high in the outback and industries like construction that tend to be family hostile. Suicide rates may relate to taking less care.

  23. Jumpy, thanks for your input.

    I don’t think it’s reasonable to expect painters to work every weekend. And I don’t believe we got “rat arsed”. He was cheaper than other painters we had had previously, did an excellent job, and was very fast. And an A1 bloke.

    Go Green? You can’t be serious!

  24. Clambering on a tile roof to clear a flue or clear gum leaves out of gutters was likely the riskiest manoeuvre we fid on the old days on a bush block.

    Rainwater tanks, so clearing leaves out was necessary to maintain supplies. The eucalyptus flavour, everyone soon got used to.


  25. did in the old days….

    This is not a “high drays” yarn for Sir John of the Deserts.

  26. Jumpy: “But fair dinkum Brian, you’d be better off joining the greens and try to moderate them than wasting your time with greening the union party. My 2c.”
    Brian: Another bit of lousy advice from Jumpy. Labor needs you help the party stop damaging itself from too much sitting on barbed wire fences.
    Germany has done a good job of moving away from coal without destroying miners. Maybe you could help Labor in this area too.

  27. From Jumpy’s link:

    Households in Denmark and Germany pay by far the highest prices per kilowatt hour, while people in Bulgaria pay the lowest, but when put into relation to purchasing power, Bulgaria is the place with the most expensive electricity followed by Latvia and Sweden.

  28. General Purchasing power relies on a multi factor analysis far more diverse than electricity prices.
    It was a silly red herring for that author to bring that into it.

    The direct relationship between mass renewables and higher electricity prices is well established.

    But hey, you old folk had the benefit of using FFs with guilt free, gay abandon for your entire life. How about today’s folk decide value and priority themselves.

  29. Jumpy, I’m ignoring that last bit. If price is the criterion, then in Oz renewables supported by batteries and/or pumped hydro (or vats of molten salt) are the way to go.

    Apart from that, what price do you put on a livable planet?

    As John D says Labor needs me. Similarly, the Greens need him.

    In my case, it is a biggish pool to swim in, and this year with COVID, health and family concerns I’ve pretty much lost touch in terms of active input.

    I can’t attend meetings, and as for Zoom, I found that my computer had neither a mike nor a camera. When I enquired at OfficeWorks and JB HiFi about webcams, they just laughed. Hadn’t seen one in ages.

    I do now have one, acquired from a mail order joint in Western Sydney, and have used it on one occasion. Unfortunately the meeting was not conducted in a Zoom friendly manner, and it doesn’t suit my style. I like to be able to read the body language, which is problematic on Zoom for larger meetings.

    On LEAN here, I don’t speak for LEAN, but I can say that the Qld group has had other fish to fry than coalmining in Central Qld. I’ll give you two that have hit the public airwaves.

    First, there is a proposal to build a housing development at Toondah in a RAMSAR listed wetland, which has now attracted interest in the UK.

    Just plonk 3,300 units and a 400 berth marina in the mud on the edge of Moreton Bay.

    Why it is even being considered, I don’t know. Leeanne Enoch, the environment minister, does not represent the area, but is from the Quandamooka people who live around that end of Moreton Bay. So she has to stand aside.

    There is another issue over possible fracking in the Channel Country.

    In the article Indigenous groups say they want a seat at the table. Frankly, there should not be a table, and wouldn’t be if some f***wit had not given companies exploration rights.

    Neither of these should be live issues, but unfortunately they are.

  30. Mr J

    Prices measured against earning power (e.g. some measure of median or mean income ) are the only realistic way to compare costs. That is, if you are concerned about costs to poor people. You may have noticed: the poor tend to have lower incomes and in most nations they also have VERY low wealth.

    Most folk don’t emigrate, so it’s the buying power of wages in their own nation that matters directly.

    As far as I can see, someone in Germany who might be less concerned with local wages could be a foreign tourist (or a short term resident paid from their home country).

    The local governments, State or Federal, should be more focussed on their “own people” = the locals.

    Do you recall the riots of 1953 which shook East Germany? I think they occurred because of cost of living worries.

    Apparently, going back further, Czarist Russia was hit by demonstrations: starving people get stroppy.

  31. Brian

    Jumpy, I’m ignoring that last bit

    Of course you are, you’ve had the opportunity to suckle the sweet teat of fossil fuels without guilt. If “ fossil fuel privileged “ isn’t a hashtag then maybe it should be.

    Mr A
    If you are in poverty in Australia it’s because of your own bad decisions.
    And cost is a result of individual value decisions, a price set can be accepted or rejected. And given that females make 70-80 of purchasing decisions then ask them about their matriarchal capitalist market proclivities.

  32. “And cost is a result of individual value decisions..”

    Hang on, a moment ago you were talking about energy prices, were you not, Jumpy?

    Yes : taking a recreational trip in a car or power boat is an individual value decision.

    But keeping warm in cold weather to avoid hypothermia is not. Eating to stay alive is not. Eating a bit more than subsistence so that I can go out and earn a living is not. (“Putting bread on the table”….. or in George W Bush’s memorable mangling “putting food on your family”.)

    Some energy costs are incurred for entertainment or recreation. True. But heating or air con can be vital for health.

    Have a look at the four basics for (human) life.

    If, on the other hand, you haven’t heard of, or thought about “real wages”, I suggest you do.

    Hint: if a bread loaf costs $3 and my wage is $900 a week, bread is 1/300 of my wage. If bread were to cost $6 and my wage were $1800 per week, the loaf would still cost me 1/300 of my wage. The same cost “in real terms”.

    It may have been Oscar W who said some humans “know the price of everything but the value of nothing”.

  33. Mr A, you can make bread without engaging in the capitalist BIG agriculture free market. Or indeed eat something else.

    You choose based on your values, no one else, no gun to your head.

    Unless government get involved and then a gun to your head is a possibility. Free market capitalism, mainly driven by females has no gun to your head.

  34. Jumpy: “Unless government get involved and then a gun to your head is a possibility. ”
    If the government doesn’t get involved, the gun to your head may be a gangster’s gun.

  35. Jumpy is naively touting laissez faire economics a la Ayn Rand, not a “free” market. If you starve because you misjudge the demand for your product it proves you are unworthy of success.
    As far back as Adam Smith economic thinkers have known that a “free” market is not possible while we remain imperfect beings.
    Greed is not good. Individuals competing against individuals is not how homo sapiens sapiens became dominant on this planet.
    And the proof is in the pudding. There is no “free” market in operation anywhere on our planet today largely because the Qld Labor left are typical of our species.
    Brother Ambi will now pass among you with the collection plate. Please give generously.

  36. Just to Jumpy, human behaviour is not that simple. There are values and espoused values and for most a tendency to follow their group.

    Sometimes they act contrary to their values.

  37. Jumpy: “Free market capitalism, mainly driven by females has no gun to your head.”
    Yep. Lets blame the women for free market capitalism. That is what we do when something becomes on the nose. Does this mean you think free market capitalism has failed the world?
    (This is part of a study into the minds of the “Jumpy’s of the world” and the damage they and their Trumpish heros are causing. Of particular interest is their rejection of expert advice in areas ranging from climate change to vaccination.)

  38. Here we are again.
    Jumpy, for the umpteenth time preaches the gospel of “free markets” to a group of people, none of whom agree with him.
    It’s like those sad characters you see standing on median strips waving their hand lettered signs saying “Repent” at passing cars, except they may eventually convince someone.
    He’s never going to win this argument in this forum. Why on earth does he keep doing it again and again and again and …

  39. Zoot: “He’s never going to win this argument in this forum. ” Nor are we going to win his arguments either.
    My take is that he takes simple pleasure from repeatedly pressing the “Zoot Button” and seeing your reaction. You could try not reacting if you want to get rid of him.
    Me I find Jumpy an interesting example of a form of world damaging group think that is becoming more powerful in these times of woe.

  40. Mr Jumpy, Esq.

    Would you care to comment on “the real value of wages “?? I ask because you were the person who roundly condemned the use of a ‘price with respect to wages’ method that someone used to do a comparison of energy prices (between nations).

    That particular teacup still has a storm in it.
    You seem to have “moved on “.

    Bu the way, “bread” is often used as a symbol of essential, staple foods for the maintenance of life . Just a style tip for you.

    Quite correctly you said a person need not eat bread. Yes. Hereabouts the alternatives include soil, pasture grasses, cockroaches, daffodil bulbs, gum leaves and cow pats. Freedom!!!

  41. My take is that he takes simple pleasure from repeatedly pressing the “Zoot Button” and seeing your reaction.

    Really John? His life is so empty of meaning he has to find purpose in my responses to his nonsense (which are usually “Where’s your evidence?”). What a petty, sad excuse for a human being he must be.
    I pity the Taipan and his offspring.

  42. Zoot: Jumpy is not the only one who seems to enjoy pushing buttons. Something poor little innocent me has never done.
    I would hate to deny either of you your simple pleasures.

  43. Jeez, you folk can sure invent some crazy stuff when yas get all insecurity frenzied together.

    Stay safe and if it starts getting too much, phone 13 11 14.

  44. Jumpy: Jeez, you can sure invent some crazy stuff when the mood moves you.
    I find Green chanting and yogic stances help when it gets too bad. Have you ever tried either of these things?

  45. Mr J

    Do you regard my questions about “the real value (purchasing power) of wages” as crazy stuff?

    An anxious nation awaits your response.

    Mr A

    The topic is not ad hominem
    Perhaps ad valorem
    or if you prefer ad dinarii.
    Senatus PopulusQue Romanus to you.

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