the Rudd government was saying we needed to increase the number of skilled migrants coming into Australia. Now they are saying that we need to cut back - because of the global economic crisis. Apparently we are going to find enough skilled workers in our own backyard.
Has the demand really dropped that dramatically?
It has certainly dropped - and that is not good for anyone - but there is also the not so small matter of IR and IR legislation. "IRe" might be a better way of describing it.
The Unions did not like Workchoices. They used a scare campaign (money obtained by standover tactics) to 'persuade' Australians to vote out one government and replace it with a more union friendly government.
Unions are lovely things - if you happen to be the leader of one. They allow legal bullying. Claims they are there to 'protect workers' rights' make them sound good too.
The reality is perhaps different. It is union demands for a range of things that have nothing whatsoever to do with the work people are employed to do that are sending jobs off-shore. They still want 'long-service leave' (a peculiarly Australian concept), the want toilet breaks, tea breaks, longer lunch breaks, shorter working days, higher pay, paid maternity leave, paid paternity leave, health cover for workers and their families, holiday leave loading, travel allowance, shift allowance and weekend penalty rates etc.
They also want the right to enter any workplace (whether the workers as well as the employer wants them there or not) and the right to review the records of non-union members.
The employer gets landed with all the responsibility plus payroll tax and a range of other taxes and charges.
The IR legislation simply goes too far. It gives unions too much power and employers not enough. This takes Australia back to old style unionism when the rest of the world is moving on. It is employers who pay the wages and take the risks. Yes, they have to be responsible and they have to provide safe working conditions and a reasonable wage. They know that. If they really want to succeed they will do it - and give their loyal, hardworking employees a decent bonus at the end of each year.
The rest of the demands of the ACTU are aimed at power and control - of not just the employers but the workers. They are aimed at taking over people's lives. They are taking away the right and the duty of people to be responsible for themselves and their own actions. If the unions have their way then Australia will fall far behind the rest of the world in industrial relations.
It's a good thing - for the unions.