For anyone who had any illusions about where Pauline Hanson’s One Nation stands on union issues, the last few weeks will have been an eye opener.
Not content with backing Malcolm Turnbull in his war against the Victorian Labor government and the Victorian firefighters’ union, it is now signalling its likely support for the proposed anti-union laws that were used as a trigger for the last election.
Those laws are designed to weaken the unions in the construction industry but will also flow through to other sectors such as telecommunications to the extent that companies are involved in “building work” e.g. work on the NBN.
But wait, there’s more.
Newly-minted One Nation senator Malcolm Roberts says he has the backing of his party to seek further changes to current workplace laws to help “Aussie battlers” who are “losing their jobs, taking home less pay and getting a raw deal” because of the activities of union “bosses”.
Not the activities of employers, who are presently driving down wages and sending jobs overseas by the thousands, but the activities of unions –and by extension, union members!
Roberts want to “free” workers by giving increased powers to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) to stop supposedly anti-competitive union behaviour.
Competition law is already used by employers and governments to counter traditional union tactics such as picket lines and solidarity actions and it is not clear what further innovations Roberts has in mind.
You can be sure though that they will not be directed at strengthening the hand of workers when they seek to act collectively to protect their conditions and advance their interests.