Life is nothing without the relationships cultivated between friends, family, and acquaintances. Relationships are the foundation for a productive society, yet just as easily when coerced are capable of destroying societies.
The past few hundred years saw massive questions raised involving what relationships are acceptable. These changes are pronounced in western civilisations, relationships are breaking historic walls between race, gender, ethnicity, cultures, and religions. Once banned by governments, people are now able to freely associate more and more.
Most recently the “Yes” campaign revealed many Australians wanted the government out of the equation in marriage decisions for gay and lesbian couples. “Love is Love”, as the campaign slogan went.
Still, thousands of mutually beneficial relationships continue to be banned by the Australian government. In some cases, toxic relationships are forced to stay together. So-called progressive campaigns attempt to undermine many voluntary relationships, threatening fines should two people could mutually benefit together. Love is love, right?
Currently, the most regulated and restrained voluntary relationship is between employers and employees.
Society draws a fickle line between voluntary relationships that are free from coercion and then demanding others be governed by the force of law.
The average Australian’s life is consumed every moment by relationships, some more obvious than others. Apple or Samsung have overwhelmingly positive relationships with millions. Facebook has had a falling out with millions over breaching their relationship trust.
Other relationships are subtle like our momentary association with fellow train commuters or our rapport between different transportation options every day.
Perhaps you too have a love/hate relationship with Transport NSW.
Life is nothing but relationships, and a civilised society can only function when there is a reasonable amount of trust and expectations between each other.
Somehow when determining whether laws are appropriate, many people draw a line somewhere between personal and business relationships, but where is that line?
- Two men fall in love and want to enter into a marriage contract to proclaim their love?
- A married couple are toxic, unable to stand the sight of each other and want to separate?
- A woman starts a small business and her friend volunteers to help her out on weekends?
- A 16-year-old wants a job after school and a café owner can only afford to pay $10/ hour?
- An aboriginal woman started a company out of her neighbour’s basement paying $100/month rent and wants to hire her gay friend to work for her. However, she can only pay her friend $10/ hour part-time, and her friend sees this relationship beneficial even though it pays little?
Where is the line between demanding a government regulate and demand a government stay out of the way of free association?
If the government is serious about improving all Australians lives, the first step is encouraging productive relationships. These are the relationships that produce local businesses, future business chains, and ever creating more value in this world.
One-size-fits-all laws do not realise how important casual work may be for a father making ends meet and how a job paying barely more than welfare is how a single mother could get her foot in the door. These are just a few of the thousands of relationship types that we currently demand a government to get in the way of.
Just like friends and marriage, relationships between employees and employers can sour too. The most important thing in the world then is to have a choice. To know that if one thing fails, there is always something else to go to.
Opportunity flourishes not by penalizing relationships but by encouraging beneficial ones. People will make mistakes, but more likely choose what will benefit them most.
The H.R. Nicholls Society believes the only person capable of determining what relationships are best for you, is you.
Australia is not in a rut yet, but we are on the way if we keep burdening relationships with excessive fees, taxes, and making voluntary relationships illegal. Any meaningful future reform must treat interactions between employee, employer, and customers as mutually beneficial relationships. And the more the better!
After all ‘Love is love’.
Greg Pulscher is executive director of the H.R. Nicholls Society.
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