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LNP Reneges Again

I was initially gob-smacked that the Credlin LNP government would renege on the agreement by the outgoing ALP to fund a minimal increase in the wages of notoriously underpaid child care workers.

OK, Pyne and Credlin decided to kill Gonski after agreeing pre-election to keep it and Hockey abolished the debt ceiling after spending three years screaming that every cent in deficit was a skull and crossbones tattoo of shame and incompetence, so we are learning to expect both shysterism and hypocrisy as a daily staple from Credlin’s team. But refusing to honour wage rises that had already been agreed ? That’s big. And asking for the awarded wage rises to be voluntarily returned ? That’s borderline crazy.

We’re not talking about Boris Becker returning a golden tennis racket encrusted with diamonds here. We’re talking about low-paid childcare workers doing a job far more difficult and valuable than any financial sector screen jockey and being paid about one of those guys per annum would spend upon wristwatches and Cabernet Sauvignon. You get $19 per hour as a Cert III Child Care worker.

So I just thought, well, they’re shameless that LNP. Howardite non-core promises all over again: secretive, raids on human rights lawyers, Abbott’s six positions on climate change, uninterested in their own MPs rorting the entitlements system…what can you say?

Assisting Unions, Destroying Unions

But then Catallaxy alerted me to the political dimensions of the Child Care pay rise towback: its about Unions. That Catallaxy post, Another Labor scam: promoting unionisation in childcare, explains everything about why the Coalition is so determined to undo this agreement: it works to the advantage of Unions.

The key insight from the Price Waterhouse Cooper report commissioned by Assistant Education Minister Sussan Ley-Credlin

“The fund also required centres to negotiate an enterprise agreement in order to access the money…There is evidence that the requirement to have an enterprise agreement was used by United Voice to increase its membership…

With their typical lowest common baboon level of analysis the Credlin government
has labelled the money a union slush fund

Just quietly, it is possible to have a non-Union enterprise agreement, but Enterprise Agreements do allow Unions much more capacity for involvement in wage agreements, much to the disgust of the LNP and its supporters. Hence the LNP’s determination to defund this agreement. Nothing to do with the major reasons cited: equity and allowing funding for professional development. Everything to do with bypassing Unions.

ALP Shenanigans

The Price Waterhouse Report is quite devastating about the way in which the fund for the pay rises (Early Years Quality Fund – EYQF) was set up. Funds were dispersed on a first-come, first-served basis which of course advantages larger providers who have the resources to quickly submit applications.

Goodstart Early Learning managed to submit a 5000 page application just 48 minutes after the fund opened and applied for $132 million of the $300 million in the total fund. The govt. and Goodstart signed the paperwork for $62.5 million before change of government. Not by coincidence, Goodstart sat on the ALP-established EYQF advisory board but somehow even Price Waterhouse Coopers think there was no conflict of interest in that arrangement, a proposition which even now causes my pet Axolotl, Bruce, to ROFLOL.

Most tellingly, in my opinion, is that PWC found that, unlike its stated objective, the disbursements made under the EYQF do not support the objectives of the Child Care National Quality Framework which is basically to upskill Child Care workers. All of the successful applicants already conform to the NQF guidelines.

So, yeah, the ALP has used this fund to bolster union membership.

So What ?

So the fund acts to increase union membership:

1) So what ?

2) Child care workers deserve a pay rise whether or not they are unionized. And did you know that wage rises negotiated by Unions under an Enterprise Agreement also accrue to non-Unionized workers ? So its not like Unionized workers get more under this deal than anyone else.

3) The undoing of the wage deal is designed by the Libs to keep Unions weak. Its just as politically motivated as the set up of the original fund was.

4) Except the child care workers don’t get any money under the Libs. Funds will be retained says Ley-Credlin, for the good of all. She means she will spend it on training. Maybe.

5) This proves the Libs could not give a reheated rats eyeball about wages in the child care sector. Servants may eat bread, cake, grass, lino or any other (semi) nutritious substance. As long as they dust the Rolex regularly why should I care ?

6) The Coalition cannot win hearts and minds on this argument. Taking money from the low-paid just before Christmas must cost the LNP even more political capital, in which area their resources are already negative. Nuances will not sink in.

7) Just on that, the performance of the Credlin govt. in losing a poll lead just two months after an election is the worst in Australian political history. Long live PM Credlin. May I suggest she applies EVEN MOAR control over her Cabinet and its utterances in order she may utterly drive her govt. into the rocks.

8) But a temporarily bloodied nose is worth it to the Coalition paymasters to keep Unions on the mat. After all, three years till next election…

9) Bolt, Jones and Rupert will be overtime on the megaphone justifying this.

Look, with minimal effort the Libs could have disbursed the remainder of the funds ($237.5 million) as pay rises in any way they chose. Just call it open and accountable or accords with NQF. Message – we care about you and are not sneaky union slush-funders like those ALP sleazebags. But they’re choosing not to proceed with those much-needed wage rises. Ergo message is: Pay rises are not cool (for you). Please vote for me next time. PS We are crushing your union. KThxBi

Blogosphere Erupts

Great Cartoon showing PM Credlin as a harassed child care worker in a crèche full of her front bench minions.

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  1. […] of these decisions: kill Automotive, kill Gonski, kill Child Care pay rises were taken because each of them weakens the voter base of the ALP. They are extremely important and […]

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