Media Circus: do union officials really face no penalties for embezzlement, or is the Opposition wasting everybody’s time edition

Abbott, Bishop and their merry band of media opportunists are going to grandstand Parliament this week agitating for what appears to be ridiculously redundant legislation and generally carrying on like a pork chop. Time to revive the Question Time SSO Drinking Game.

The Labor caucus will meet on Tuesday, with a heated debate on changes to immigration procedures for asylum seekers expected.

The Government will introduce bills establishing basic groundings for the NDIS scheme and educational reforms called for in the Gonski Report. There are rumblings that funding will not be addressed in these bills, and that it damn well should be.

In an extremely busy final week before the summer hiatus, there is also going to be debate on gambling reform, the Royal Commission into Child S*x Abuse, whether the recently passed Murray Darling Plan goes far enough, and changes to the emissions trading scheme.

Then there’s what’s going on elsewhere in the world.

What’s piqued your media interests lately?


As usual for media circus threads, please share your bouquets and brickbats for particular items in the mass media, or highlight cogent analysis elsewhere, on any current sociopolitical issue (the theme of each edition is merely for discussion-starter purposes – all current news items are on topic!).



Categories: culture wars, media, parties and factions

Tags: , ,

36 replies

  1. I’m not sure if this should go here but the modern Daily Mail suggests that the 1950s were the highpoint of civilization. Odd then that old copies of the Daily Mail from that era go on about cosh boys, Teddy boys, unruly kids in general, spiralling crime rates, teen pregnancy and how things were so much better in the 1930s.

  2. According to Fox News, “the dearth of good men, and on-going battle of the sexes” is women’s fault.
    Also not impressed by the headline on ABC news this morning that the coalition are planning to go after Julia Gillard about the union fund. Haven’t watched her whole press conference, but apparently even after further explanation the Liberals still went after the Prime Minister in Question Time, which distracts somewhat from some of the more important issues, don’t you think?

  3. I found this rather interesting, even if it is framed as ‘Oh, the kids these days!’

  4. Regarding that ADF taskforce mentioned in #3 by Tigtog; just watched Hamish McDonald and Paul Bongiorno exchange tut-tuttings over the potential cost of reparations and of the task force its self.
    There aren’t enough brickbats…

  5. Today’s “NO SHIT, SHERLOCK” headline (thanks to the SMH on Gerard Henderson’s column – which I am neither going to read nor link to): “People will decide next federal election”.
    Um, yes. That’s the point of a democracy.

  6. I just read this cracker of a post at News with Nipples. Her point about this kind of article being published on White Ribbon day is a good one.
    (Hope it’s OK to post links to other blog posts in these threads, but NWN does some great media analysis)

    • Totally OK to link to other blogs in these threads, Tee – in fact that’s exactly the sort of “cogent analysis elsewhere” requested in the OP.

  7. Fail with lashings of Fail sauce.
    h/t to @awesomefrances on twitter.

  8. Bernard Keane’s AWU-gate piece is a cracker.
    I caught some of Outsiders on RN Sunday morning. One of the outsiders said something like “If this [AWU-gate] was happening in the US, it’d be in Wingnut Weekly. Here, it’s in our broadsheets.”

  9. Wondering why I haven’t been following Katherine Murphy’s The Pulse roundups more regularly. Here’s a taste of how she opened today’s Federal Parliament liveblogging:

    Do you reckon politics knows voters are all still here, watching? You feel like getting the fire hose out and turning it on the whole parliamentary precinct.
    Calm down people.
    Forty eight hours to go, but who is counting.

  10. Media Circus: do union officials really face no penalties for embezzlement, or is the Opposition wasting everybody’s time edition

    There does appear to be a difference between the legal requirements of a director of a company and those who lead unions when it comes to handling shareholder or member funds (what the differences are is not clear to me). No doubt the Libs are introducing this legislation at a politically convenient time, but with unions controlling quite a bit of money these days and the lack of competition between unions (you can’t choose which union to represent you) there’s probably a good case of regulation for large unions as tight as is required for public companies.

    I caught some of Outsiders on RN Sunday morning. One of the outsiders said something like “If this [AWU-gate] was happening in the US, it’d be in Wingnut Weekly. Here, it’s in our broadsheets.”

    Its a bit like the whole birther conspiracy. It got enough traction that Obama had to eventually release his birth certificate. And the AWU issue has been bubbling away on blogs and facebook for a while.

  11. Chris, the thing I found amusing was the clear implication that The Australian is, in fact, Wingnut Weekly, except it’s published every day except Sunday.

  12. the lack of competition between unions (you can’t choose which union to represent you)

    Not quite true. Many people have a choice of unions. I personally can choose the MEAA or the CPSU, for example. In NSW, nurses have a choice between the New South Wales Nurses and Midwives’ Association (NSWNMA)or the the Australian Nursing Federation. The ASU and the AWU overlap with each other and with various other unions. Etc, etc. There are some industries that only have one union – that doesn’t mean someone couldn’t set up another one – they’re not monopolies.

    • AIUI Chris, old-fashioned closed-shop arrangements (no ticket, no start etc) have been illegal in Australia for quite some time. Workers not only don’t have to belong to one particular union only, they don’t have to necessarily belong to a union at all.

  13. Yes, thanks tigtog, I should have made that clear – I can also decide not to be a union member.

  14. tigtog/Rebecca – ah I knew that you didn’t have to belong to a union but I didn’t realise that the old demarcation rules had been removed (who did that?).

    There are some industries that only have one union – that doesn’t mean someone couldn’t set up another one – they’re not monopolies.

    If in practice there is only one union for a given industry then it is a monopoly even if competitors could potentially start up. From the consumer’s point of view you have no choice (except to just not join).

  15. The political year in pictures by Andrew Meares and Alex Ellinghausen photogallery to accompany The Pulse’s round-up of today’s end-of-year session in Parliament (it’s a daily live-blog, so scroll to the end of the page and then page back up if you want to see the day in chronological order).

  16. Chris:

    After reading Wikipedia i found this (paraphrased):

    Compelling union membership is illegal in Australia. After protests from people who were opposed to being compelled to be part of student unions that conducted partisan, rather left-wing campaigns (such as road trips to detention centers), compelling student union membership was abolished and has not been revived by the Labor government.

  17. Tom, that’s the funniest thing I’ve read in a while. Though I’m glad the young libs are keeping up the culture wars through wikipedia edits. Always have to respect commitment.

  18. If in practice there is only one union for a given industry then it is a monopoly even if competitors could potentially start up. From the consumer’s point of view you have no choice (except to just not join).

    Careless wording on my part. I meant they’re not statutory monopolies, so competition is allowed, even if it doesn’t yet exist in some industries. A “consumer” (as you call people who might want to join a union – worker would be the term I’d use, what exactly is it they’re consuming?) can always (at least in theory – I do realise there are obvious barriers to doing so, both on an individual and social level) start a new union if they don’t like the one they’ve got.
    And as always, people have the option of getting involved and changing the things they don’t like.
    Some unions don’t like that other unions can compete for the workers they see as theirs – but Fair Work Australia has ruled that they can compete.

  19. Congratulations to the Palestinians on the UN vote. Boo to the United States and the apartheid state.

    • Bernard Keane’s having fun on Twitter today:
      1/2

      <div data-feedback-key=”stream_status_274371650588385280″ data-tweet-id=”274371650588385280″ data-item-id=”274371650588385280″ data-screen-name=”BernardKeane” data-name=”Bernard Keane” data-user-id=”21055261″ data-is-reply-to=”” data-expanded-footer=”<div class="js-tweet-details-fixer tweet-details-fixer">
      <div class="js-tweet-media-container "></div>
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      </div>
      <div class="js-machine-translated-tweet-container"></div>
      <div class="js-tweet-stats-container tweet-stats-container ">
      </div>
      <div class="client-and-actions">
      3:37 PM – 30 Nov 12
      &middot; <a class="permalink-link js-permalink js-nav" href="/BernardKeane/status/274371650588385280" >Details</a>
      </div>
      </div>
      “>

      48m Bernard Keane ?@BernardKeane
      Dennis Shanahan on the misogyny speech 10 Oct: “fell well short of an acceptable political strategy and risked only alienating more voters”

      2/2

      <div data-feedback-key=”stream_status_274371787427553281″ data-tweet-id=”274371787427553281″ data-item-id=”274371787427553281″ data-screen-name=”BernardKeane” data-name=”Bernard Keane” data-user-id=”21055261″ data-is-reply-to=”” data-expanded-footer=”<div class="js-tweet-details-fixer tweet-details-fixer">
      <div class="js-tweet-media-container "></div>
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      </div>
      <div class="client-and-actions">
      3:38 PM – 30 Nov 12
      &middot; <a class="permalink-link js-permalink js-nav" href="/BernardKeane/status/274371787427553281" >Details</a>
      </div>
      </div>
      “>

      47m Bernard Keane ?@BernardKeane
      Dennis Shanahan on the misogyny speech 30 Nov: “inspired the backbench, fired the imagination and put Abbott in a bind.”

      also
      1/3

      8h Bernard Keane ?@BernardKeane
      Despite dozens of criminal charges and ongoing investigations, Visa and Mastercard will still let you use them to pay News Corp.
      2/3

      8h Bernard Keane ?@BernardKeane
      WikiLeaks hasn’t attracted a single charge anywhere, and is blockaded by Visa and Mastercard.

      3/3

      8h Bernard Keane ?@BernardKeane
      This is despite Visa and Mastercard explicitly saying the blockade is because of concern about the legality of WikiLeaks’s actions.
       
       
       
       

  20. I do realise there are obvious barriers to doing so, both on an individual and social level) start a new union if they don’t like the one they’ve got.

    In practice I think that’s about as likely as someone starting a new newspaper in a one newspaper town. It theoretically could happen, but its highly unlikely. Not that monopolies are illegal, its just that you want regulators to keep a close eye on them so they don’t abuse their monopolistic powers.

    Congratulations to the Palestinians on the UN vote. Boo to the United States and the apartheid state.

    And why did Australia abstain (let alone vote no as Gillard wanted to do) rather than voting for it? The two-state endpoint seems to be the most widely accepted solution even if no one seems to know how to get there – so observer status for Palestine seems to be a fairly logical step in that process.

  21. http://www.abc.net.au/unleashed/4401340.html

    via Kerryn G on FB. Oh please oh please oh please.

    • @Mindy

      By handing to the crossbenches the crucial policy negotiations required of minority government, the Opposition is at risk of appearing irrelevant.

      How extraordinary that those same media that had repeatedly demanded that the Prime Minister explain actions and recall meetings from 20 years ago had been unable to correctly describe a document that was right there in front of them.

      In the end, it was clear that Abbott had declared Gillard’s behaviour criminal on the basis of nothing more than the single erroneous Fairfax report. For his preparedness to so readily claim criminality and yet fail to substantiate it when given the opportunity, serious questions must now be asked of Abbott’s position.

      An allegation of criminality is the most serious charge that can be levelled against the Prime Minister and is not one that should be advanced lightly. That it was so readily exposed has left Tony Abbott’s position untenable.

      Indeed.

  22. There have been two articles on domestic violence on the Drum this week, and both times the comments swamped with ‘But what about the menz…?’ *sigh*
    For reference:
    <a href="http://www.abc.net.au/unleashed/4401082.htmlhttp://www.abc.net.au/unleashed/4401082.html</a&gt;
    <a href="http://www.abc.net.au/unleashed/4391852.htmlhttp://www.abc.net.au/unleashed/4391852.html</a&gt;
    Also this about the total statistical fail at Fox News is gobsmacking.

  23. Abbott must be glad his MPs and Senators have dispersed for the year. By the time they come back in February, he’ll be counting on no one in the media wanting “to dig up a corpse” from nearly three months earlier.

  24. That TTDB cartoon is really excellent, Tigtog. I was going to post a link to it when I saw you’d already done so.
    The capitalist / paleoconservative paradise imagined by Tea party types was actually quite a hotbed of socialism by their standards!

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