Cognitive dissonance suppression

A ‘Money and Power’ conference critiquing the power of big business has an extensive line-up of trade union speakers – the same trade unions that spent $20 million to remove a government that threatened their power.

5 Responses to “Cognitive dissonance suppression

  • 1
    Rajat Sood
    July 21st, 2010 11:59

    Yes, ironic. What I don’t understand is why big business doesn’t do more to support the Coalition and the Coalition’s policies, such as Workchoices. Why didn’t the big miners and retailers (at least) spend some money before the last election to counter the ACTU’s campaign against the government? Surely $20m or even $200m is a small investment for them to preserve good policy that favours their interests. Michael Kroger expressed a similar frustration on Lateline last night.

  • 2
    Andrew Norton
    July 21st, 2010 12:09

    The National Business Action Fund did report about $13 million in spending supporting WorkChoices (from the AEC political expenditure returns).

    Though my detailed analysis of the polling concluded that despite (or perhaps because of) the vast spending on each side public opinion did not change much.

    The political value of the ACTU campaign was just in keeping it salient, especially given that there was very little evidence of actual negative effects.

  • 3
    Alex
    July 21st, 2010 13:29

    I disagree with the premise that unions are overtly powerful, I believe they are overtly political. Originally introduced as a preventative measure against exploitation of the workforce, these industrial giants have not found their place in developed countries.

    They are in the right place, just of the wrong form.

  • 4
    Joseph Clark
    July 21st, 2010 15:28

    Rajat — I think big business didn’t spend much money supporting Workchoices because Workchoices was a deeply awful policy that did nothing to liberalise IR. Dead, buried, cremated. Good.

  • 5
    Son of the Ratpack
    July 22nd, 2010 13:46

    Kroger wants the business community to support to support the Liberal Party on tribal grounds. But why should they? Businesses exist to make money for their shareholders. As long as they are, it doesn’t matter what party is in power. As we saw recently with the mining industry, business can be stirred into action if need be. But it has to be for a specific cause directly related to their interests. Of course some executives might personally have a preference for the Liberals, but that is a different matter. These days, some might also have a personal preference for the Labor Party. The days when there you couldn’t find a Labor voter in management, including senior management, of business are long gone. The days when supporting the Liberal Party was part of the job description of executives are also long gone. And it seems half og Australian big businesses are run by foreigners who probably couldn’t care less about Australian politics. Just off the top of my head, the CEOs of BHP, Rio, Westpac, ANZ, Commonwealth Bank are all non-Australian. Call it a consequence of globalisation.