catallaxy files

catallaxy in technical exile

McGuinness on socialism and the High Court

with 18 comments

PP McGuinness has returned to the op-ed pages of the Australian to express his concerns about the recent High Court decision on the industrial relations laws. I agree with much of what he says:

    THE two real conservatives of the High Court showed their true colours yesterday. So did the supposed conservatives, most of them appointed by the Howard Government
    The two were the minority who felt that the structure of federal government should not be overthrown, namely Michael Kirby and Ian Callinan. The rest, headed by Chief Justice Murray Gleeson, have conclusively destroyed our federal system of government. They did this by in effect abolishing any logical or sensible limitation of the powers of the commonwealth expressed in our 1901 Constitution, as amended by popular referendums.
    The majority decided that subsectionxx of section 51 of the Constitution, the corporations power, in practice overrules virtually any other section of the Constitution: in the present case, subsectionxxxv, the industrial relations power. They have thrown a century of legislation and litigation, including countless hours of the High Court’s time, out the window.
    Although a great deal of this deserves to be trashed and forgotten, it remains that the court has perpetrated a revolutionary act. (The judges have also conclusively destroyed much of the intellectual capital of the huge legal and academic industry devoted to industrial relations; most of those employed in it are largely now unqualified. No bad thing in itself.)
    But do not be deceived into thinking that this is a triumph for market forces and for competitive capitalism, or even for economic freedom. It simply substitutes another elaborate system of regulation of economic matters, which in essence is just as statist as that it replaces, but differs only by dramatically diminishing the powers of the states (and partially self-governing territories) …
    One day the Labor Party will return to federal power, armed with immense new powers thanks to the High Court’s extraordinary majority decision.
    This will be the Howard Government’s Mabo case, with incalculable costs and repercussions.

Written by Admin

November 15, 2006 at 7:54 am

Posted in Uncategorized

18 Responses

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  1. “One day the Labor Party will return to federal power, armed with immense new powers thanks to the High Court’s extraordinary majority decision”.

    As ye sew so shall ye reap…..this is one piece of legislation that the Liberal Party will regret for a vewry long ime.


    November 15, 2006 at 8:21 am

  2. I think Paddy is over-selling his case. Most unlike him, really! I prefer Ken Parish’s more balanced commentary. (Surely no link needed for readers of this blog.)


    November 15, 2006 at 8:51 am

  3. Heaven help us if we are relying on State governments to save us from socialism!


    November 15, 2006 at 8:53 am

  4. Delightfully bitchy Paddy dismissal of Keating as Hawke’s “disloyal assistant”. Keating of course fancies himself as the (sole) architect of economic reforms of the early years of the Hawke government.


    November 15, 2006 at 9:12 am

  5. as I have said previously where were all the Big C conservatives.

    The ALP can thank little whitlam for more centralising nonsense

    Bring Back CL's Blog

    November 15, 2006 at 9:32 am

  6. All the big-C conservatives seem to be recovering big-C Communists who rely on vitriol to mask the incompleteness of their transition from leftist thought.

    Unlike George Williams in today’s Age, I think there will be a decentralist Federal government in future. Better still, a future Federal government might be more than merely decentralist (which just shifts public-sector bloat to state and local government, without providing relief for taxpayers), it may actually sort out who does what, recognising the reality that COAG stoushes reflect well on nobody.

    Andrew Elder

    November 15, 2006 at 10:51 am

  7. “I think there will be a decentralist Federal government in future”

    We’ll have many many future governments in future, Andrew. Some will be more centralist than others, or if you like, some will be more decentralist than others.

    High Court decisions set out the limits for all future governments unless the Court alters its tack in future decisions.


    November 15, 2006 at 11:27 am

  8. No need to be patronising, why. I was talking about a Federal Government that would actively change tack, as you described.

    Andrew Elder

    November 15, 2006 at 11:54 am

  9. Despite its many shortcomings the laws did do something positive in terms of liberating the labor market.

    There was no way the states would have deregulated as much as the Feds, so I can’t see the real problem here.
    I wouldn’t bame the feds over this as they did what was needed to be done. I would blame the states for restricting the labor markets and forcing the feds to act.

    Australia is not a federal system in the US sense anyway as the Feds hold much more power here.In any event if the Court deemed it constitutionally valid what is the problem with the Feds taking back their power and using.

    I don’t the issue of Labor holding government sometime in the future as a big problem. If we’re silly enough to vote them in, let them screw things up. The libs can’t be worried about the ALP coming in and wrecking the labor market, other wise they would never get anything down.


    November 15, 2006 at 1:13 pm

  10. In any event, I don’t see anything wrong with the feds acting to right an abvious wrong in the system at the state level.

    To a large degree the labor is reasonably mobil with people moving from one state to another. What the feds have attempted to do is to allow worker and employer figure out their deal. This alone goes some way in recognizing geographical differences in an indirect way .

    Who cares if it was the Feds that brought tis about.

    The fall back position is that this would have been the only logical way for the some semblence of labor market deregulation being introduced otherwise we would have to maintained the old soviet system.


    November 15, 2006 at 1:28 pm

  11. JC, you really need to do some research about the IR system.
    you are only some 30 years behind the times and Howard’s laws combine more centralism.

    you also haven’t heard what happened to NSW under Greiner nor WA under Court.

    read about it.

    By the way who actually brought decentralised wage bargaining?

    Bring Back CL's Blog

    November 15, 2006 at 3:09 pm

  12. Yes Homer, and the ACTU wasn’t protesting then was it?


    November 15, 2006 at 3:23 pm

  13. From an economic stand point, it is nonsense to think we shaould not applaud this meagre deregulation becasue the feds were involved. Centralization is what we had before- and committee of idiots thinking they could oversee every nook and cranny existing in the labor market.

    Now at least a bargain can be set between two people without as much interference. This in itself implies decentraization.

    I cannot understand how people think deregulation by the feds smacks of centralism.

    Homer- fine keating started it off. Whatever.

    And I suppose Clinton had a hand in it too.


    November 15, 2006 at 4:05 pm

  14. It’s not the deregulation that is the problem JC. It’s how it was done. It means when ALP gets into power they can reverse everything and do even more damage than they used to.

    Jason Soon

    November 15, 2006 at 4:07 pm

  15. JC
    Imagine if Larvatus Prodeo got into government at the Fed level. This would be a godsend.

    Jason Soon

    November 15, 2006 at 4:11 pm

  16. Jason
    If pandora’s box is left unlocked why assume labor wouldn’t have come an opened it anyway.
    You do what you have to do to get things done. You can’t manage political life on the supposition that labor will come in and wreck things. We know they will, that’s a given.

    in any event labor market deregualtion had to come from the feds as no state government would have done it by themselves.

    this argument is like saying you don’t kick the ball towards goal in case the other side gets hold of it. You’re always on the defensive and never get anything done.


    November 15, 2006 at 4:14 pm

  17. CL, Hard Hat Laurie was booed at I think the ACTU convention.

    JC, you got it wrong.It happens to all of us but you really should examine the WA experience.
    Now that was deregulation which Howard’s legislation isn’t.

    Bring Back CL's Blog

    November 15, 2006 at 4:33 pm

  18. Where has this idea that the states act as a check and balance against the federal government developed? I thought that was the role of the senate.
    And JC is right at #16. RThe ALP would have gotten around to it eventually anyway. imagine a scenario with ALP federally, and all states Lib introducing IR laws the unions ALP didn’t like.

    Personally, I reckon it is time for an extensive rewrite of the Constitution. Let’s get rid of the current states altogether, and most local councils while we are at it. Have regional governments (well, let’s call them states, say thirty odd) concerned solely with local roads, development, sewerage and garbage collection. Everything else goes to the feds. And the saved tax dollars into my pockets. Now there would be a productivity improvement!

    disclosure: I am a state government employee…..


    November 15, 2006 at 9:29 pm

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