Labours cost unless Abbott rushes reform

Yesterday, I made some critical comments on the Press Club address by Prime Minister Rudd, Mark 2. Today even in the Fairfax press it is difficult to find praise: The Age does not even run an editorial on the address.

By coincidence the Financial Review has published a letter I sent its Letters Ed before Rudd’s address (see below) and which happens to focus on the main theme promulgated by Rudd viz the need to lift productivity. As I pointed out in my critique of his address, his suggestion that the Fair Work Act “represents a reasonable balance for the future” indicates that, if re-elected, there would be continued difficulties in reversing the lamentable productivity performance under Labor.

But there is also a major problem with the Coalition’s policy of continuing the Fair Work arrangements during its first term. My letter suggests a way to change that policy without attracting undue critical reactions – after all even the biased journalists who report on workplace relations would find it difficult to defend the destructive unionism that has occurred under Fair Work and the need for an immediate review. The Coalition has available a large amount of data on destructive productivity behaviour by unions, including that revealed at the recent HR Nicholls conference. But, unless it uses that data to good effect, most of the media will let it fly over the shoulder.  Read more

Rudd on the Economy

In yesterday’s Press Club address Prime Minister Rudd rightly argues for policies that lift productivity and improve Australia’s international competitiveness. The address, text attached, contains numerous assertions about what is needed to attain such objectives. But Rudd fails to explain why previous Labor policies did not achieve them and he is short on detail about the policies which Labor will now be able to adopt successfully.

It is, for example, easy to assert that we need “a new approach to the regulatory impost on business from all levels of government”. But how then to now achieve the “one single integrated assessment system” Labor failed to reach? Rudd has apparently discussed (!) this with NSW Premier O’Farrell – but how to get agreement with State and Local governments on a matter that has long been disputed in our federation and in regard to which the Commonwealth itself under Labor has failed miserably, particularly in regard to environment decisions. In short, as Labor has tried and failed already, including under Rudd Part 1, how might it now succeed? Read more