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Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Scurrying around the IR ant-heap

I'm pleased to see the polls were good - but I'm not getting too excited. They could be a nine day wonder. The Howard Govt won't sit there and do nothing. The electorate could have a short memory and/or just get plain old apathetic. The worry is that Labor is going around the country saying that they will bin the amendments - as if then our worries will be over.

The AIRC is being gutted. It is likely that any Commissioner worth a pinch of salt will depart for greener pastures. The bolt has been slipped, the horse is bolted and one can't lock it up again just by saying you'll bin the amendments. This means that opponents of Howard's legislation - to lock the voting swing in - will have to come up with some pretty good IR policies. These will probably need to be something akin to the novelty of Whitlam's policies in 1972. Even if Beazley et al get to government at the next election (2007) with some great policies (the ALP at this time seems to be a policy free zone), it is unlikely that any changes will get up before the election after that (2011 - when the new senators come in and we'll be able to see if Barnaby is a one term wonder as he has promised to be!).

So we can fight to get the legislation defeated - but it looks like we will be lucky to get small changes up which count as tinkering at the edges - but the real work is yet to happen and it will require more than talk and well-attended rallies.