37. WORK, WORK, WORK!

2021 Is shaping up as a Federal election year, and the vote will skew towards industry and employment.

The Liberal government is making Covid 19 the excuse for getting the most for the least out of Australian workers.  Labor will resist to the point of making life difficult for employers.  The Unions are interested only in those already in employment and paying union dues.  It’s time for people with a holistic approach to stand as Independents and govern from the cross-benches.

I reiterate my platform.  You may have slightly different ideas, but mine is an approach which will get people back into work on a reasonable wage, and stir employers in dying industries to diversify.

I start with the argument for a thirty hour week and an overtime loading that will force employers to employ more people rather than pay overtime to a few.   With that, I would abolish casual labour except for seasonal workers.  Other casuals should convert to part-time or permanent.  I agree with government that part-time workers should, but only with their consent, work more than their usual hours, up to the thirty hours of full-time workers, on occasion.  They should get the same entitlements as full-time workers, except for Rostered Days Off.  They should be entitled to sick pay, holiday pay and bonuses.

Working hours should be completely flexible, though negotiated and agreed on by employer and employee.  There should be no weekend and therefore no penalty rates.   With a flexible thirty hour week and R.D.O.s there is no need for a weekend.   This applies to child-minding centres and after-school care, so parents of school-age children will not be inconvenienced.  In fact, we could make school hours more flexible too.  Children learn better at certain times of the day.  We could work out exactly what those times are and factor them in to the school week.  When I was at high school, in a private school, we had lessons on a Saturday morning, and still had time for sport and recreation.

The one thing I would change for school years is that I would not send children to formal school until at least the age of five.  Their academic learning may accelerate with all this “prep” nonsense, but their overall emotional, social, moral, spiritual, and creative development is stunted.

Back to industry.  . . . Seasonal workers (we won’t call anyone a casual worker any more) are entitled to higher remuneration than other unemployed when not in employment.  Since most employers can’t afford to pay them an amount they can live on while unemployed, Federal government should do so.  Let’s not call it unemployment benefits, because it is not that.  It is a retention wage, a job-keeper wage, if you like.  Actors and other spasmodic workers could be categorized as seasonal workers.  They would need to work a certain number of hours per year to qualify for the special wage.

Regular unemployed persons should get, if not cash in hand, enough to help them find a job, then financial assistance with finding a job – training, transport, subsidizing relocation.

Many folk need to transition from the jobs they are in, but do not have the wherewithal.   There are jobs going begging.  What is needed is a system of matching new jobs to the unemployed and those presently on job-keeper whose jobs may never return.  The Government is ignoring this vital task, and Labor is only interested in throwing money at the problem.    We need people in government who have the will to implement the policy of transition.   Businesses which can afford retraining schemes and relocation expenses should pull their weight, but I don’t know how to make them do so.

I would abolish the Better off Overall Test.  It hinders those not already in the workforce from getting employment.  I would set a just basic award wage per hour and no-one may be paid below that – full-time, part-time or seasonal worker, in any given industry.  Apart from that, agreements would be between employer and would-be employee.  It would be the employer’s loss if he haggled for the lowest wage and thus got the least effective employee.

Government needs to police work practices, particularly if unions lose interest because there is no longer group enterprise bargaining involved.    There is far too much laxity, particularly with migrant workers and backpackers (not so much now, with the pandemic).  Conservative government, with its eye on the G.D.P. rather than the welfare of its citizens, conveniently turns a blind eye, while Labor would have us believe they would not want anyone to do any more work than they absolutely have to, and for the maximum wage.   Unions only look after their own.  We really need people in government who will take care of everyone,   – workers, employers, and industry.   That is the only way to a healthy economy and a healthy society.

You can start campaigning now.  You can talk to your friends and acquaintances about your ideas and canvass them for ideas.  Search for and read all the information you can about how to register as a candidate for the Federal election.  You cannot register until the ballot is called, but you should be ready by then, with your supporters and the money for deposit, as well as a solid platform.  Circulate widely.  If you find another person in your electorate who is also intending to stand as an Independent, don’t be reluctant to swap ideas and decide which of you has the best platform and who is likeliest to win more votes.  Only one of you can win, remember, and if two of you contest it scatters the votes.  It might be more beneficial for one of you to withdraw from the race and help and support the other.

The ideas I put forward are not meant to be a manifesto of what Independents should aim for.  Your policies should be formed from your own ideas and your own conscience, though you are welcome to my ideas if you agree with them.  I ask only that your policies be what you honestly believe are best for the majority of the people of our nation.

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