I’ve mentioned industrial relations before. It seems to be an issue that receives little attention when it is really quite alarming – in fact the Howard government’s reforms which almost completely strip workers of their rights seems to be taken as a given. Two items in today’s news illustrate this.
Firstly, the Democrats publicly offered support for the government’s Australian Workplace Agreements. Need we say more about the Democrats?
Secondly, Fuji Xerox workers today (possibly yesterday) walked off the job in a protest against plans to introduce satellite technology to monitor the movements of their staff. Surely this should be illegal. Not only is it distrustful, the assumption of guilt and punishing the many for the few but surely this is just outright abuse of workers rights.
My greatest concern is that because these ideas are taken as a given a Labour government would do little more than pay lip service to correcting this imbalance.
On another note I attended a hypothetical on the new Terrorism Laws. The panel included a range of notables including Malcolm Fraser, Robert Manne, Rod Quantock, Natasha Stott Despoja, and several other including Philip Adams who moderated the discussion. These laws are highly concerning and go further than the draconian Patriot Act that has been enacted in the US.
However perhaps the most interesting point for me was discussion regarding the motivation of the terrorists. Peter Faris (who I think could be described as a far right wing QC who hides behind a mask of the moderate centre left sort) completely refused to accept that terrorism is cause by anything other than ‘Islamism’. In the past I have flatly put the problem down to poverty. But the question arises: what is the common thread between all terrorists? It is the methods they use. It is important to remember that not all terrorists are Arabs. The IRA is a neat example. So terrorists are people who have an agenda and this does mean that these Arab terrorists are motivated by a religious agenda. So we will never actually stamp out terrorist. It is simply impossible, even in the most just of worlds.
However poverty still plays a part. It means that fundamentalist governments can get into power. It means that there are massively disenchanted masses. It means that these terrorists have a never ending supply of ‘cannon fodder’ – youths who are willing to give their lives in suicide bombings. It means that there is massive ‘anti-western’ sentiment which only further breeds these sorts of ideas.
There is a lot of disinformation here. There is a lot to distortion and over simplification – much of which conveniently suits certain agendas.
I guess my point is that it is such a highly complicated issue that there is no one answer. Certainly bombing innocent civilians, economic sanctions, economic exploitation and corruption only make the situation worse. However we need to be wary of the ‘Fog of War’ where there is just so much going on that you can never be certain.