Bandicoot is quite impressed by PM Turnbull’s new feistiness, his florid waving of fists in the air during Question Time and his confident arms-akimbo pumped-up hydro power proclamations of leadership up in the mountains where the wild horses, and TV cameras, are.
Banished is the bland urban Malcolm, the Mr Harbourside Mansion, thumb-sucking indecisively as the Right Sharks circle his leadership; step forward “Banjo” Turnbull, Akubra-lidded Leader, just like the good old days of John Howard. But Malcolm’s Akubra is not as flat as John’s.
Mountain Man Malcolm is now everywhere, resolutely facing down naughty gas producers who are selling all our fuel overseas; valiantly defending the right of the “Fair” Work Commission to cut low-paid workers’ wages; and railing against a truly wicked union leader who spoke heresy – she actually said that unjust laws should be contested, flouted, disobeyed, ignored, possibly repealed.
She did say that! And it set M.M.M. off big time. Like a battleship taking aim, he swung the turret of his massive-calibre intellect slowly, deliberately, into position, got ACTU boss Sally McManus in his cross-hairs and let off a salvo. The law had to be obeyed, he thundered.
Fast-track to today, where Bandicoot came across an article on the ABC website in which journalist Stephen Long – clearly an ACTU stooge, Bandicoot must conclude – said Ms McManus had a point when she stated that the right to strike is far too restricted in Australia.
“Under international law, the right to strike is recognised as a fundamental human right,” Long wrote.
The United Nations has declared striking to be “one of the principal means by which workers and their associations may legitimately promote and defend their economic and social interests”, he continued.
The restrictions Australia imposes on that right puts us at odds with international conventions – “a point made repeatedly by the UN agency that oversees labour standards, the International Labour Organisation”, Long pointed out. (The man must be one of those ABC Reds!)
He got confirmation from Professor Andrew Stewart of Adelaide University, one of Australia’s leading experts on labour law.
“It’s absolutely straightforward,” Professor Stewart told Long. “The ILO for the past 20 to 30 years has told governments of both political persuasions that we are in breach of international labour standards.”
Both sides of politics just keep on ignoring the ILO, he said.
Then, Long beefed up his case: “Australia’s laws against industrial action are not only in breach of international law, they are without peer among advanced economies with a tradition of civil liberty in oppressing the right to strike,” he quotes Professor Stewart as saying.
“… our laws are also so restrictive on the right to strike that they are way out of step with the laws of just about every other developed country,” Professor Stewart went on. (Part of the ILO Charter)
Even the United Kingdom – and the US! – allow more liberty to workers to take industrial action than does Australia, home of the Eight-Hour Day.
So, from whom should Australians take their lead on abiding by the law? Shouild it be MM Malcolm, or Sally McManus (below)? Bandicoot offers some local facts that might be of help.
Every now and then, however, you will get pinged and pay a painful penalty. For example, many patrons of the recent Red Hill Show found $155 parking tickets on the windscreens of their illegally parked vehicles in and around the showgrounds when they headed home.
Bandicoot, who parked legally and walked the hundred or so metres up the hill, got an agreeable frisson of schadenfreude as he walked past ticket after ticket on vehicles parked neatly between “No Standing” signs.
Since the shire has rarely booked illegal parkers in the past, it was probably a law worth ignoring. Illegals at winery restaurants around the shire, and at the coming April Red Hill Market, might have second thoughts about such law breaking: a fine rather takes the gloss off the outing.
Every hundred tickets written is income of $15,500 for the cash-strapped shire – a good return on a grey ghost’s day of toil, and risk of writer’s cramp.
Then there are bicycle bells. It’s illegal not to have one, but of course cool dudes in Lycra take them off so they don’t look like beginners.
And then there’s the weight thing, they say. Are bikes being fitted with the Liberty Bell?
To be caught without a bell can cost you a $194 fine and five penalty points – equivalent to $755 if the case goes to court, according to a leading local newspaper.
So, risk not having one if you like, but be incredibly polite if a police officer pulls you up on your $5000 treadly. Incredible politeness is not a mark of the Lycra loonies Bandicoot encounters playing Cadel Evans on the peninsula’s narrow roads, but one supposes there are time when it pays to be hand-wringingly subservient.
Mountain Man Malcolm can start with a law and order campaign to encourage bikies to refit their bells and to persuade – require – councils to start enforcing … well, on the peninsula, virtually everything now not enforced, which is quite a lot, especially now we have rate capping and a crying need to find new revenue sources. (Picture – Stephen Long)
Bandicoot’s advice to Besgrove St: get the shire enforcement teams out over Easter. There’s a fortune to be made just around the hinterland tourist attractions. Think of those $155 fines, in their thousands @ $155,000 per thousand. Enough to make an accountant drool!
Bandicoot nominates popular winery restaurants, serial offenders whose massive patron numbers exceed permit conditions and pollute our precious groundwater.
There should be enough revenue in that four-day break to fund an overseas study trip or two.