I was staggered this week when I heard that Adam Bandt, Greens Deputy Leader and Federal Member for Melbourne, was calling for the head of Paul Howes, the Leader of the AWU. Howes stated publicly that some industry workers were ahead of the game in wage negotiations and needed to be pulled back into line.

As Peter Reith was quoted in the Sydney Morning Herald, “Howes is a union boss with ambitions and a mainstream strategy that could take him a long way.” It’s been a long time since the Unions called for a grand compact between Unions, Business and Government, and not since the Lindsay Fox Martin Ferguson jobs road show a decade ago have I seen ‘the greater good’ get ahead of political partisanship.

It seems Bandt himself might be the one needing to be pulled back into line.

For once someone on the unions’ ‘side of the fence’ has come up with an eminently reasonable and logical suggestion, only to be pooh-poohed by one of our so-called Federal Government leaders who clearly cannot see that this country is going backwards at a rapid rate of knots from a competitive point of view.

Petty points scoring to get some headline space never works out well in the long run.

I didn’t agree with everything Howes had to say on the subject either, and the accord he mooted is unlikely to get up. But at least he can see the wood for the trees, and is suggesting something constructive.

I tear my rapidly thinning hair out when I listen to or read about some of the things going on in politics – and the suggestion that Howes resign was way over the top from a politician representing an under-employed electorate.

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