in South Australia again. Late on Friday last week a move was made against the highly unpopular Premier of this state.
This is hardly surprising. There has been talk of it for some time. What might surprise many people however is who told the Premier he had to go. It was not, as might be expected, his parliamentary colleagues. It was not, as might also be expected, the people of South Australia through the ballot box.
No, it was the union movement accompanied by someone who does hold a seat in parliament. There is no doubt however that the person in charge was the union representative. He was there to tell the Premier what to do and he expected to be obeyed.
The Premier was about to fly out to India. He has now gone and he will be there for a week. He is not going as quietly as the union man must have hoped. The Premier claims he wants a transitional period - thus casting doubt on the ability of his anointed successor to do the job. It is a mess.
In a democracy the union movement, which represents around only 18-20% of workers in South Australia, would not have this sort of power. The numbers in the union movement would perhaps be even lower if it were not for the fact that there are still areas of employment where, although illegal to require it, the reality is that you do not get employed without a union ticket. Despite this the union movement still holds most of the power at ALP conferences. They have a great deal of say with respect to who gets pre-selected and what party policy is. Funds from union coffers are the life-blood of the ALP.
Two things need to happen. The first thing is we need to have an election in order to decide who is going to run the state. That is not going to happen because we have a "fixed" four year term and the government, elected by a minority of voters, is not going to recall parliament and revise the legislation in order to allow an election.
The second thing is the ALP needs to cut the union umbilical corn. That is not going to happen either.
In the meantime South Australia will be run by the union movement.