The real Gillard?
Who is Julia Gillard? What does she really stand for? You have to wonder. This morning Business Spectator reported that Julia Gillard, when minister for Industrial Relations, had put together draft legislation that sounds a lot better than the system we have today.
Bob Gottleibsen, who broke the story, says that after extensive consultation with unions and business, Gillard put together a system that would have delivered boosts to productivity without the WorkChoice nasties.
Bob says he hasn't seen the draft, but says those who did say it was a "stroke of genius." So what happened? Well apparently former ACTU boss Greg Combet and others saw the Gillard draft, were very unhappy and got into the ear of Kevin Rudd. Past favours, including the role of the unions in the 2007 election campaign, were called in.
So the legislation was changed dramatically. And we know how unhappy business is with the new IR legislation. A poll by SmartCompany taken this week found that IR is a huge issue for SMEs with 81% of our respondents saying the parties should be prepared to make changes to IR laws.
Their main complaint about IR is that the laws are too complicated, not flexible enough, allow too much union involvement and provide no incentives to employ more staff. Some SMEs were also angry about penalty rates for weekends and public holidays, saying they may have to close on those days as they cannot afford to operate.
This comes on top of the other recent leak that Gillard actively opposed the introduction of a parental leave scheme and increased pension payments because it would not increase support for Labor. Gillard replied yesterday that she wasn't a soft touch for massive big spends.
Of course, the aim of those leaking is to paint Gillard as a Prime Minster who lacks vision and values and who swings in the breeze according to which way the hot air from the latest focus group is blowing.
The problem is, it's working. The longer this campaign has run, the more questions being asked about who Gillard really is.
Business hates uncertainty. The community hates insincerity. And Australians have always rejected – eventually - politicians who put power ahead of people.