A righteous man has regard for the life of his animal, but even the compassion of the wicked is cruel (Prov.12:10).
Since the Coalition won the Federal election in September 2013, a number of good things have happened in Australia, one of them being that the debate about subsidies to unionised industries has come to centre-stage.
It’s a good thing that Tony Abbott over the last few months been consistently refusing to permit our taxes to be paid to struggling industries. Why is this good? Because this isn’t what taxes are for.
At any given time, there will always be industries that are struggling to keep afloat, and these may be union or non-union companies. Because of the aggressiveness and belligerence of some unions today, coupled with companies that have been unwilling to confront them, it seems today that a union dominated industry has a one-way ticket to demise. Think of the 4 major car manufacturers in Australia (Mitsubishi, Ford, Holden and Toyota), along with SPC and now Qantas, which is really on the skids.
Now, there is a tussle taking place, and this is great. Now, serious debate is before us, which this country really needs to have.
I’m not opposed to unionism. In fact, I spent 7 years (1990-1997) in one, the Meatworker’s Union, in Dubbo, NSW. In a truly free country, people are able to join or not join any group they wish, because that’s the nature of a free country. (Incidentally, that company in Dubbo was a closed shop: you either joined the union, or you didn’t start.)
Unions can have a positive effect on any workplace, depending on how they go about their business. They can identify problems that employers have not picked up, such as safety issues.
But unions generally create problems for themselves when they decide to “muscle up” on employers. “Pay us more, or we’re on strike,” or similar threats. They may get what they want, but in the process, drive the company to the wall in the long-term. What does that achieve?
What’s really good about the current debate, is that the Labor Party is steadily revealing its true colours. It’s been accusing the Coalition of economic vandalism for not propping up failing industries such as car manufacturers, which strangely enough are unionised industries. And the more they attack the Coalition, the more Labor is shown to be economically illiterate and utterly irresponsible.
Labor left office after 6 years, leaving the Federal Budget in tatters, $250 billion down the hole. It’s Treasurer Wayne Swan, and its two Prime Ministers Kevin Rudd and Julia Gillard, never saw a Budget they couldn’t trash, spending our hard-earned money like drunken sailors. And now, Labor is showing itself to be a Party of thundering Dunderheads who have learnt nothing from the experience.
In a free country, people can donate money to whoever they wish. It isn’t wrong that the Labor Party receives monies from unions. What’s wrong is when that money comes with strings attached; a de facto bribe.
God condemns this. He said of Israel in Amos’s era,
For I know your transgressions are many and your sins are great, you who distress the righteous and accept bribes and turn aside the poor in the gate (Amos 5:12).
Samuel wasn’t corrupted through bribes. When Israel rejected God’s rule of Israel through him, he said to Israel, “Here I am; bear witness against me before the Lord and His anointed…Whom have I oppressed, or from whose hand have I taken a bribe to blind my eyes with it? I will restore it to you.” They said, “You have not defrauded us or oppressed us or taken anything from any man’s hand” (I Sam.12:3-4).
Why does the Labor Party want to support unionised companies with your money? Because union money is the Labor Party’s life-blood. So many of Labor’s front bench are former union people, including the Opposition Leader, Bill Shorten. It mightn’t be classified as a form of corruption in a court of law, but morally and ethically? Of course it is.
As Charles de Montesquieu (1689-1755) wrote,
There is no crueler tyranny than that which is perpetuated under the shield of law and in the name of justice.
But there’s more.
Why should my money go to an industry that can’t compete in the free market? That’s the profitable being compelled to support the unprofitable and the inefficient. It’s penalising the productive and the profitable sections of the community.
In some cases, the profitable should support the unprofitable. That’s the nature of charity; caring for truly needy people. But governments should never be in the business of charity, because then charity become politicised. Government activities should always be confined to those things that governments are authorised in the Bible to do, and that doesn’t include charity. Charity is a personal, family and Church responsibility.
When governments begin to restrict the expenditure of tax monies to justice and righteousness (ie, the courts), and to some essential services like building bridges and roads, we’ll really see some important tax reform and reduction.
And let’s begin the reform process by vigorously cutting expenditure and getting out of debt, not propping up unions while we spend ourselves to oblivion again. Given half a chance, and based on their track record and their present comments, that’s precisely what Labor would do.