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Thursday, August 10, 2006

On a collision course: political ministry and social justice

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Business interests like to use their clout to buy individual politicians and buy governments. Newspaper interests can manage the media in their own self-interest. But in the end and on the day, each person has one vote. Corporate entities do not vote. The Australian and The Daily Telegraph and The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald don't vote. We do.

John Howard pretends that he ignores opinion polls but he doesn't. He is very attuned to them. The one that seems to have his fullest attention at the moment is the poll indicating the majority of Australians don't think much of his new IR laws and that this point of view could impact on the sensitive seats of those Liberal politicians in marginal electorates. Oooh-wah!

The point of democracy is that when the electorate is not happy, politicians get the pointy end of public opinion delivered where it can hurt the most - in their own hip pocket.

Middle-class Liberal politicians who have been in their seats forever or who are business or professional people clearly don't have a clue about the life of working people in factories, and small business, and offices and call centres. If they had the beginning of a clue, these new IR laws would not have seen light of day in their current form.

And now the Libs find that their slimey Kevin Andrews (who interfered with the affairs of the Northern Territory some years ago without any consultation with Territorians and what they wanted) can't sell their latest dogma - and it's beginning to hurt. So they have called in the jovial public face of Joe Hockey to assist the undertaker look of Kevin Andrews.

These two Liberal ministers are good Catholic lads: Andrews, from a family with a trucking business in Gippsland, was educated at St Patrick's in Sale in conservative, Irish Catholic Gippsland. Hockey's family was well heeled enough to afford the school fees at posh Jesuit school, St Aloysius' College at Kirribilli (Joe has not moved far geographically). Middle-class well-heeled Catholics moving against the social justice teachings of their church!