Howard is a master at tapping into perceived fears about the "bad ole days of unionism" (yes, well, those were the days when the gap was smaller between rich and poor, young workers could afford to buy a house and there wasn't nearly so much unpaid overtime).
Dean Mighell could have been smarter about his comments. Like so many union leaders of his ilk, it's all about ruffling up their peacock feathers and saying "look at moi, look at moi!". There's no doubt that Mighell's comments will wind up on a national Liberal Party ad deliberately used to mislead workers about unions.
Mighell and the likes of Kevin Reynolds et al must be brought into line. The people in the ALP's bunker in Canberra need to urgently get these union leaders on message (although, I suspect it'll be like be herding cats). Combined with their giant sized egos, giant sized bellies and their medium to small sized declining unions, they have the ability to derail the ALP's campaign to victory. In saying all of that, bosses have regularly stolen money from poorly paid workers and are given awards for it, but when a union leader does the same thing, he's branded a criminal.
But, I still believe there needs to be discipline. Spouses and any other outside interests that include the employment of workers need to be vigourously checked. How hard would it have been for Big Kev to say over dinner - "listen, love, we're going to be doing a little campaign on fairness at work. Can you make sure your employees are paid correctly".
Discipline discipline discipline....Howard will be closing ranks and will run the most vitriolic, negative campaign of his life because he is losing his grip on power. He is a desperate man and his henchmen will be out to uncover every bit of dirt possible. Kevin Rudd must pull people into line. The ACTU must pull people into line.
“The hope of a secure and livable world lies with disciplined nonconformists who are dedicated to justice, peace and brotherhood.” Martin Luthar King Jr.
PS - thank god for Get Up! It's doing such a good job! If you're not already a member, click here.