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Science no Substitute for Common Sense   Nov 17 2005

Filed under Down Under by Throsby

The Australian federal Workplace Relations Minister, Kevin Andrews, brushed off the submission from 151 senior Australian academics, saying their arguments are no substitute for common sense.

Now isn’t that what I’ve always said?

Seventeen researchers in industrial relations and the labour market, from nine universities around Australia, claim the Government’s forthcoming changes to IR laws are bad for Australian workers and the broader economy.

Convener Professor Russell Lansbury, University of Sydney, said:

"On the basis of our considered analysis, the proposed changes will do nothing to address labour and skills shortages, or the productivity slow-down. They will, however, damage the fabric of Australian society by encouraging poorly paid jobs, with irregular hours, little security and a worsening work-family balance.

The focus of Federal Government policy is to give employers power over employees instead of promoting innovative solutions based on workplace partnerships."

If that’s not putting too fine a point on it, might we say?

The academics claim the IR changes will lead to overall job insecurity, with lower pay and fewer entitlements. Individual contracts possible leading to reduced productivity because of employee mistrust.

They also dispute any evidence that businesses think changes will have any major positive effect.

Let’s see the evidence, and let’s discuss it. I mean, the frustration that we’ve felt in participating in this debate is that the Government’s changes aren’t justified by research. They’re justified by what we’ve called the spin, speculation, and anecdote." said a spokesperson for the group.

Throsby was enlightened by the high tone of opposing expert opinion, that derided not particularly the argumentsbut rather the academics, with its signature character abuse.

Chris Berg, from conservative think tank, the Institute of Public Affairs:

…this is the academic wing of the old industrial relations club. They are the status quo and they stand to lose from these reforms. They appear to be fighting the class wars of the, you know, first part of last century rather than dealing with the modern globalised economy."

Nice one Chris, well reasoned.

Professor Mark Wooden from the Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, labels his fellow academics’ findings as a motley collection of incoherent arguments.

Confidence inspiring, Mark.

And when Mark does get ‘technical’:

Well when they talk about the four critical labour market challenges facing Australia today, joblessness doesn’t get a guernsey. Now, maybe that’s because it’s all about shortages now, and we don’t have any people unemployed, but I think that’s clearly wrong. We’ve got at least half a million people measured as officially unemployed and we have a whole bunch more who aren’t in jobs, and one suspects that if there are a lot more jobs around, some of them at least would be employed."

That’s just the sort of muddy thinking you’d expect from me. Takes one to know one.

[Quotations source, AM program, ABC Radio National]

Down Under


Ink Irresistable

Not the NYT Montaigne's what would I know? Huxley's almost anything about almost everything. Or Bierce and nothing matters. Codifying life's inimitable impromptu inclines irrestistably to essay.

Civilization ..

   defiles itself

Times past when warlords, priests and royalty hoarded luxury, life was a short grim struggle. Today most want for little yet still deny dignified survival to working poor, and ravage entire countries as collateral to our laissez faire fiesta.
double arrowOn not shedding a tear ..

A Century of Imperialism

     ..hasn't dulled the urge

American foreign policy never a pretty sight, finesse of the mobile crane chase from Terminator 3. Export democracy? Cure worse than disease. double arrow Read more ..


~ its own reward

And what's going on in Land of the Free, Home of the Brave? As 40% of kids fail graduation the Iraqistan wars suck $2.4 trillion [CBO 2017 est]. Imagine this staggering sum applied to rebuilding The Great Society. Think of others.
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This lazy unemployed

..crack-smoking welfare queen ran up U$15 trillion debt

lazy homeless scum
Odd how the ultra-wealthy gull even working poor to blame unemployed, disabled, weak, and vulnerable while but for the grace of God go all.

If he's a welfare leech then your soul is with the sociopaths and predators who own Warshington and its minions, the Repugnicans and Dumfocrats, gutting a once noble nation that aspired to equality.

This elite will survive the US economic train wreck, land softly on 300 million plundered taxpayers, then from fortresses of luxury and privilege prey elsewhere for spoils.

The dawn of civilization was greatly exaggerated.

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Painters, such a sad old bunch
None it seems more so than Munch
Upon that bridge with skies afire
A meme took flight to never tire.
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