Tuesday, August 7, 2012

En Passant » What would an Abbott Government look like? Let me introduce Campbell Newman

What would an Abbott Government look like? Let me introduce Campbell Newman

Posted by John, August 6th, 2012 - under Campbell Newman, Cuts, Labor Party, Liberal National Party, Liberal Party, Neoliberal unionism, Neoliberalism, Public Service, Public servants, Public services, Queensland, Strikes, Struggles, Tony Abbott.

What would a Tony Abbott government be like. What would it do?

I think you can find the general answers in the Liberal National Party government of Campbell Newman in Queensland.

What has it done and what is it proposing to do?

  • Sacking thousands of public servants with devastating consequences for services, families and employment.
  • Refusing to guarantee job security in negotiations with its own workers over new enterprise agreements and offering 2.2% pay increases. There may be strikes as early as Friday in response.
  • Refusing to negotiate with teachers over class sizes. There are threatened strikes in October as a result.
  • Abolishing the Tenants Advice Service so poor people can be screwed even more by their landlords.
  • Abolishing the Premier’s Literary Awards.
  • Abolishing state-sanctioned ceremonies for same-sex couples.
  • Banning gay couples from using a surrogate mother to have a child.
  • Cutting back the Family Support Program.
  • Dismantling the statewide cancer service BreastScreen Queensland.

All of this in only 100 days. Its homophobia is clear. The racism and misogyny of the LNP are just waiting to explode. Its anti-working class actions are being cranked up.

Apart from the public service and teachers’ strikes mentioned above, there will be a state wide strike day on 12 September, the day after the Queensland Budget.

It’s too little, and it is too late. You can’t play by the Marquis of Queensbury rules when you are taking on political, economic, social and industrial thugs.

The Newman government of course tells Queenslanders the lie that the cuts are necessary and there will be more of them because the state is in debt. This is extreme neoliberalism – cutting down the forest to let the weeds grow.

In fact, the Budget deficit is fairly modest, and could be addressed easily by Queensland taxing the rich and business more. Queensland is a low tax State compared to other States.

The incessant lies about the deficit and what supposedly needs to be done is the same neoliberal madness and budget surplus fetish that Abbott and Hockey sprout every day at a federal level.

They are helped immensely by Labor’s embrace of neoliberalism and its budget surplus push for this financial year, paid for by public service job cuts, cuts to social spending and tax bracket creep.

The targets of Newman in power and Abbott when he comes to power will be similar too – public servants, teachers, nurses, firefighters in Queensland, Commonwealth public servants and funding for nurses, teachers and firefighters federally.

Both will attack unions and workers more generally.

Like Queensland, an Abbott Government will axe government program after government program.

Of course some will respond that is why we need to vote Labor.

 Let’s be clear. Labor is part of the the problem, not the solution. And the next election is too far away for many. The irreparable damage is being done now.

Labor’s neoliberalism during a period of relative economic boom in Australia has been to covertly shift wealth to the rich and powerful.  Abbott’s strategy will be to be more open and brutal about it, as Newman is.

The solution – striking – remains the same.

Fight Labor to fight the Liberals. We can’t prepare for the championship bout against Abbott without some practice.

We need to make ourselves match fit and fighting Labor does that, as well as putting the bourgeoisie on notice that if they want their profits to keep flowing they’d better take account of what we workers want.

The lack of a real union fight against the Bligh government laid the groundwork for a vicious anti-worker Newman government. The same lack of a union fight against the Gillard government is laying the groundwork for a vicious anti-worker Abbott Government.

The resistance in Queensland is important. If workers there can stop Newman then Abbott will be much more circumspect, fearing class struggle from our side. Such a struggle might also give a fillip to Labor electorally.

If unions capitulate to Newman, then Abbott will be emboldened.  A defeat of the resistance in Queensland could see Labor’s stocks in the polls fall even more.

The time has come to stand up against the Bobbsey twins of job slashing wage cutting neoliberalism, Labor and the coalition.


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