Brown Study

Brown study

8 March 2014

9:00 AM

8 March 2014

9:00 AM

During my illustrious career as Minister for Employment and Youth Affairs I had a visit from my counterpart in the Chinese government. We had a pleasant chat about the bonds that tied our countries together, yum cha, tai chi, mah-jong, human rights, that sort of thing and then got down to the nitty gritty of our portfolio. I asked him how many people were unemployed in China and he replied ‘None.’ ‘So, everyone in China is employed?’ I asked. ‘Yes,’ he replied, ‘although we do have some waiting to be allocated to actual jobs.’ ‘How many?‘ ‘Oh, about 50 million,’ he replied. I thought that this was a remarkable reform, or ‘initiative’ as it would be called today, enabling the abolition of unemployment at the stroke of a statistician’s pen. I wondered if we could get away with it here. Waiting to be allocated to work sounded much more optimistic than the rather depressing state of being unemployed.

We never made the change in nomenclature that the Chinese had, but with forecasts of rising unemployment, I was interested to see that we have invented our own way of describing unemployment, namely ‘transitioning’. So the workers at the SPC cannery, like those at Ford and Holden, are not about to be unemployed; they are to be transitioned. Their industry was about to be transitioned and they were to be transitioned also, although transitioned to where was left a big vague. Worse, it strikes me as yet another convenient way of dressing up unemployment, inventing absurd schemes to prop up the unproppable and avoiding the harsh reality that unemployment will disappear when it becomes financially worthwhile to employ people.


The government recognises that fact and even the opposition might be starting to face facts: Mr Shorten said a few days ago that we should introduce ‘flexibility’ for female workers, to make employment more attractive and increase productivity. Flexibility? Some of us started arguing for that reform in the 1980s against virulent opposition from everyone in the ALP and the union movement. This is a free kick for the government and it should introduce legislation immediately to bring about the flexibility Nirvana that Mr Shorten has just discovered and allow a few tentative steps towards free bargaining. And, as allowing such a reform for women alone would surely be illegal, it should apply to men as well.

Usually, there is no need to express sympathy for ministers; if you go into the profession of statesman, you have to put up with attacks and vilification. But there is an exception to every rule and the increasingly poisonous attacks on Scott Morrison, the Minister for Immigration and Border Security, certainly justify not just sympathy but a trenchant response. This is particularly so now that there is to be a Senate inquiry into the death on Manus Island. I hope none of us underestimates what is at stake in the attacks on Morrison, for this is a landmark issue. The ludicrously named progressive elements in our community have cultivated the refugee cause because they know it carries for them the seeds of a potentially great victory in their continuous war to mould society in their own shape and another win for their ruse of using a compassionate issue to achieve a less creditable objective. They have succeeded in most of the issues they have taken up by following the same tactic.

Take the environment; had they argued for their real objectives — to destroy industry, particularly forestry, discredit investment, expand government spending and controls, denigrate profit and condemn everyone to the life of the noble savage in the forest — they would have got nowhere; who would support a party or movement that openly advocated destroying jobs? But promoting nature, saving the wilderness and endangered species, marvelling at the sparkling waters of an untamed river, all sound nice, harmless causes that we can all support. The Trojan horse of the real objective is always there and waiting to get to work as soon as it gets through the gate. It is the same as the current way in which the cause of refugees is pursued. If the Greens and their handmaidens in the Left openly declared their real objective that Australia should have a larger African or Middle Eastern population, that virtually anyone should be allowed to come here and for any reason, that sovereign borders must be broken down, with less control by the Australian government and more by the United Nations, that the last word must be a refugee convention rather than the laws of our own country, that refugees and the ABC are always right and our government and armed forces are always wrong, it would be rejected.

Mr Morrison is the main obstacle to achieving these objectives, especially now that the government’s plan is succeeding. So, for the Left, he must be neutralised; destroy him and you will destroy the policy and the cause of open borders will receive a great boost. All of his colleagues should therefore get behind the minister and more so than they have; they should vocally promote his work; get ready to defend him in the Senate committee; they should be more pro-active in promoting the policy and attacking the alternative policy of surrender. And we should find a way of saying to him: ‘thank you’.

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