Leading article Australia

Recalibrate Australia

28 March 2020

9:00 AM

28 March 2020

9:00 AM

All pay rises for public servants to be frozen until after the pandemic is over! Shock horror! Hospitality industry unions agree to suspend rules on job classifications and cut minimum hours requirements due to coronavirus lockdown! Oh my God!

If the coronavirus is disrupting our lives in the most horrific ways, there is a chance it might also inadvertently do some good. It is interesting to ponder whether the suspension of certain hospitality award regulations would have been enough to save, for example, the closure of George Calombaris’s food empire only a month ago. But there is no denying the lesson here: that when threatened with the complete annihilation of workers’ jobs, the lefties buckle.

According to the national president of the United Workers Union, Joanne Schofield: ‘There are close to a million hospitality workers across the country facing cuts to their hours, being stood down, or losing their jobs. Our hospitality members want job security and certainty above all else… Altering the award temporarily is an important step to help protect workers and their shifts during this unprecedented time.’

Sure, Joanne. But why temporarily? And why only now? Plenty of restaurants, cafes and bars have gone out of business or struggled to survive in recent years because they cannot turn a profit under our existing hospitality awards. The same is true of many other industries where people simply cannot afford to comply with our excessive wages and production costs, including, of course, every single car manufacturer. Up until now, the attitude of the Left and – disgracefully – many Liberals has been a sneering shrug of the shoulders and a dismissive attitude of ‘tough luck – if you can’t do business here in Australia under our conditions well bugger off and set up shop elsewhere!’. Which is of course precisely what they have done.

Which in turn has left us in the unenviable position of having no manufacturers capable of, for instance, suddenly switching their production lines and capabilities to churning out much-needed ventilators or other medical equipment.

Indeed, if the extinguishing of union-mandated awards, penalty rates, pay rises and the like is critical in a time of crisis to secure jobs, then by definition, during the good times, those same factors must be responsible for destroying jobs.

Now is the time for a truly conservative government to start the long-overdue process of recalibrating Australia. As the Left have long proclaimed, never let a crisis go to waste. The war against Covid-19 may well be a long and arduous one, or it may be over within a few months. (Needless to say, there is much debate within the pages of this week’s issue on many intriguing aspects of the pandemic.) Regardless, it is critical that the Australia that emerges from the wreckage eschews the leftist ideologies that have in so many cases left us vulnerable and exposed.

As Viv Forbes writes at Flat White, ‘we need measures to encourage the creation of new businesses, industries and jobs. For starters, immediate repeal of payroll taxes, stamp duty, capital gains tax, wage controls, a rates holiday and reduced income tax. And immediate and permanent repeal of all green barriers to new business and jobs.’

We must cease our reliance on China, return critical manufacturing to our shores and stop selling off willy nilly our prime assets to the communist regime. We must rid our schools and universities of the neo-Marxist agenda that has so disgracefully deprived our children of resilience, hope, optimism and a sound education in traditional Western values and skills.

What is clear is that the catastrophism and doom-mongering of the climate cult over two decades, the bizarre gender fluidity fad, the woke culture of globalisation, the fraudulent morality on open borders and asylum-seekers and the constant pandering to the grievance industries, has left an entire generation confused, dispirited and selfishly disinterested in a genuine crisis that can actually be resolved and conquered through individual and communal effort.

Over the next few months, there will be many tragedies. Lives will be lost unnecessarily. Jobs will disappear in droves. But there will also be opportunities for individuals to rise above the hardships, to strike out on their own, to come up with new and innovative ideas to help us all through. This must be encouraged, not stifled.

We must use this downturn to recalibrate our priorities in order to end up stronger and more self-reliant, both culturally and economically, after the current crisis has passed.

We must jettison the union-mandated ballast that has sunk one after another of our major industries, rid ourselves of red and green tape and of the wage controls that even the union movement now recognises destroy jobs and rebuild the great Aussie spirit of can-do self-reliance, individuality and entrepreneurialism.

But first, let’s beat this damn bug.

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