Leopard Tony Abbott has not changed his spots

May 22, 2015
You won’t hear about the various plots by the government and big business to lower the minimum wage.

I guess there were some people who thought that the leopard Tony Abbott may have changed his spots after his look-we've-changed 2015 federal budget. The polls certainly suggest this.

As William Bowie wrote in his Poll Bludger column in Crikey.com: “A flurry of post-budget opinion polls adds up to a solid increase in the Coalition’s standing, with Tony Abbott’s personal standing now rivalling his least-bad results since his short-lived post-election honeymoon.”

With the help of credulous commentary from mainstream media, Abbott's 2015 budget was presented as a retreat from the class-war-for-the-1% approach of the 2014 budget to a softer approach, helping small business and families.

It was total rubbish.

This budget quietly continued many of the nasty austerity measures and cuts of the previous budgets but was careful to limit the new cuts. Meanwhile, it gave about $5.5 billion in handouts, ostensibly to “small businesses”.

However, the biggest component of this bit of pork barrelling was an offer to small businesses to claim an “instant devaluation” on $20,000 of business expenses. The government claims this will help small businesses “create jobs” but more likely it will create a little spending spree that will benefit big corporate retailers. Imagine a rush on new computer and other equipment purchases.

Basically, the Abbott government is working for the corporate rich, the really big end of town. They are waging an unrelenting class war on behalf of the richest 0.1%. That's the truth that you don't hear from the mainstream media.

Similarly, you won't hear much truth about the new attacks on trade unions and workers’ rights that are coming out of Abbott's Royal Commission into Trade Union Governance and Corruption, which is recommending that trade unions’ rights to organise be further restricted and that a permanent industrial Gestapo be established.

You won't hear about the various plots by the Abbott government and big business to lower the minimum wage ($16.87 an hour now) to even below the US$15 an hour that millions of poorly paid workers in the US are fighting for now.

The Harvard Business Review recently published a global survey that found that most people in Australia thought that an average CEO or government leader should be paid about 8.3 times that of an unskilled worker. The actual average CEO pay in Australia was found to be 93 times that of an unskilled worker, while in the US it was 354 times, and rising.

The study found that almost everyone in the world thinks corporate CEOs get paid way too much. But guess which direction Abbott and his mates want the CEO/worker pay ratio to go?

Strong, militant and democratic trade unions are as essential to defending wages and fighting corruption in the workplace as they are to resisting the ongoing austerity program being forced on the 99% by the Abbott government. That's just a fact.

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