Flat White

Stacking all decks

22 May 2018

1:01 PM

22 May 2018

1:01 PM

At a very early age in a budding politician’s career, they learn how to stack; not as children with a set of coloured blocks, not as teenagers stacking shelves, but rounding up stray votes which guarantee the election of their mates in the Party.

So it shouldn’t come as any surprise that as a politician moves into a more ministerial role later in life, they put the art of stacking to very good use.

Take the Administrative Appeals Tribunal, which since its inception, and especially during the Rudd/Gillard/Rudd regimes, has been stacked with refugee advocates and Marxist types, to ensure that the public service works in line with the ALP and their open borders policy.

Not just any ordinary public service, the type of public service that can, and does overrule Ministers of the Crown.

The Abbott and Turnbull Governments were screaming the joint down about the decisions being handed down by the AAT, where sex offenders, murderers and drug dealers were given extended visas to stay in Australia.

So last year the terms of almost 50 decision-makers at the AAT were not renewed. They were given the TFC award (‘thanks for coming’) and shown the door. It was akin to draining the swamp.

But this week we learn that the swamp had some hidey holes, and clearly the culture hasn’t changed much at all. Aside from still clashing with Minister Peter Dutton and it has slowly re-employed former refugee-friendly Tribunal members, back into the fold.

Once dumped, they’re now embraced with very generous six-figure-salary jobs.

We now await the findings of a parliamentary inquiry into the AAT and the visa cancellations that have come before them, after which, Minister Peter Dutton is likely to reform the process.


Let’s save them the bother. We don’t need an AAT. Shut it down today. We need an elected Government, which appoints a responsible and elected Minister, who then judges these, on a case by cases basis.

It all sounds so beaut until we see Bill Shorten win Government. Imagine the old refugee advocates who’ll re-emerge at the ATT after that.

Of course, he’s got a few other areas to stack at the same time. We heard this week that Federal Labor will increase the number of union appointments to the Fair Work Commission.

Oh goodie: more John Seftkas and his mates promoted to the role of decision-makers in workplace rows. Imagine the bosses who’ll cop the stick. Imagine the workers who’ll cop a motza!

Opposition workplace relations spokesman Brendan O’Connor said Labor would seek to redress an “imbalance” caused by appointments made by the Coalition.

When it comes to border policy, I know what side of the fence your average Australian is on and it’s not the side that stacks either the Fair Work Commission with unionists or the Administrative Appeals Tribunal with bleeding heart refugee advocates.

Union membership is a paltry 10 per cent in this country and falling, even in the public sector. How Labor could explain any greater representation at the FWC, defies logic.

The Commission itself is understood not to be pushing for extra members, despite its hefty workload. Should it not have a say on these matters?

What looks certain is that Shorten will rewrite the current low-paid bargaining laws, which will send even more cases to the FWC.

Can we not just get on with working and being productive in this country, instead of clogging the system with more division, more argument and even more lawyers?

It should be well noted that the president of the commission, Iain Ross, was appointed by Labor and is a former Union official.

Nevertheless, the art of stacking is a political prerequisite for taking Government, whatever side of the ledger you’re from.

But in the case of border policy and workplace rule, it’s the kind of dangerous stacking that Labor specialises in and will wind the clock back in this country even further.

I hope Australians can spare a few moments to contemplate that.

Chris Smith hosts The Chris Smith Show from 12.00 to 3.00 pm Monday to Friday on Macquarie Radio

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