THERE WERE NEVER IN THE WORLD TWO OPINIONS ALIKE

Shorten Does Not Fit The Bill

Shorten Does Not Fit The Bill

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Any half-interested rank-and-file member of the ALP ought to be soiling their proverbial trousers right about now.

For some time, it appeared that ‘One term Tony’ was possibly going to be a reality. Labor was splitting its sides at the prospect of a one-term government. All they would have to do is incessantly poke the government along the way, play the Dr No character that Mr Abbott did so well in opposition and hey presto; they would romp right in to office before you could say ‘Enterprise Bargaining Agreement’. Things could not be simpler.

But then they woke up from the daydream.

Tony Abbott and his Liberals have done a decent job of regaining support amongst voters and appear to be on track for another win.

You need not worry, however, because Bill Shorten promised us a year of ideas to rival Mr Abbott and give the voting public a viable alternative. Such as eventful year of ideas it has been. Gay marriage and carbon tax mark II. How very inventive of you, Mr Shorten.

Shorten is, increasingly, becoming a defective product which is clearly unfit to govern. If I were an ALP or AWU (or both) member, I’d be demanding a refund.

From his pitiful ‘zingers’ to the way he (even after a complete private school education) says “wiv” when he actually means “with”, there is something terribly underwhelming about the latest Labor leader every time he appears on the television. His delivery to the cameras looks contrived, the lines sound like they have been ‘focus-grouped’ to death, so much so that he has lost any interest in doing it with any gusto. It all looks like bad acting and like watching a B-grade movie from the terrible 1980s; you cannot help but laugh and feel a little sorry for this poor fellow.

Oh but we mustn’t forget that for the sitcom that Question Time sometimes becomes, politics is not just a bad film. Believe it or not, Mr Shorten is actually leading the only electable alternative to the current government. Scary, I know.

When Mr Shorten fronted the Royal Commission into Trade Union Governance and Corruption and we found out that among other questionable, albeit permissible conduct, he had failed to declare a whopping $40,000 from Unibilt, a labor hire firm who donated the money to his 2007 election campaign in Marybinong through the Australian Workers Union. Only in the days leading up to his appearance was that donation declared to the Australian Electoral Commission, presumably after a staffer was tasked with making sure the numbers checked out after some a few hours of shredding.

Maybe it’s thanks to Kevin Rudd, but despite all of this, Shorten still holds his position as Opposition Leader.

When former Liberal Premier Barry O’Farrell faced ICAC last year and was found to have failed to declare a $5,000 bottle of Grange, he made a principled move and resigned from the Premiership. Bill Shorten only received a donation worth eight times larger which helped ensure his transition from the unions to the federal parliamentary Labor Party. Yet, even so, Shorten maintains that all of this is a witch hunt to intended to destroy his party.

Mr Shorten represents one of the fundamental problems with Labor. Its continued ties with the unions, particularly massive organisations like the AWU and the Shop, Distributive and Allied Employees’ Association, hold it back instead of allowing it to gain its own ground. So great is the union influence that the SDA are reputed to have long stifled same-sex marriage within the party by using its members within the party to ensure it never had the chance to pass. I thought this was meant to be a union that concerned itself with the rights of retail workers, not the particulars of the Marriage Act. Leave that to political lobby groups, not trade unions. Value for money? I don’t think so.

The real problem though, is that the major unions have become political lobby groups. No longer are they primarily concerned with the conditions and pay of their members, but rather their own coffers and benefits. For people like Mr Shorten, the AWU was but a rung on the ladder that he was required to climb to reach the leadership of the party. Like many, Shorten started as a Councillor and after creating a profile within the party, progressed through to our national Parliament. Those wanting to make it in Labor are best severed to learn the tricks of the trade in a union.

Not that being a unionist and simultaneously being only in it for themselves is anything new. Longtime Adelaide radio identity, Jeremy Cordeaux has revealed that when he started in his first metropolitan on-air job doing mid-dawns at 2KY in 1968, the station was owned by the Labor Council of NSW, management all had multiple jobs, despite union policy being “One man, one job.”

Incidentally, you could not criticise the trade union movement, the ALP or any of their members on air without losing your job.

With awards and employment standards legislated and the minimum wage in the hands of the independent, Fair Work Commission, the big game is no longer against the employers, it’s our parliament. Union members, particularly of the AWU, have a right to feel duded.

We’ve almost had to accept it in my state of South Australia, but the militant unionism which now has it’s grip on Victoria and Queensland is proof that as long as Mr Shorten remains Opposition Leader the public will have a constant reminder of the toxic result of limitless union power.

Gone are the days where there was a productive balance between union and ALP control. If and when the Labor Party is returned as our federal government, they must remind themselves that while the unions are only bound to serve their members, the federal government is bound to serve all Australians. One gets the feeling that under the leadership of Mr Shorten, this will not happen.

Shorten’s position has become quite simply, untenable. His incompetence shows through each and every day and it is reflected in his more recent poll results. If comes to the issue of trust, the voting public will take one look at him and go the other way, and maybe that’s just as well.

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