Have the WorkChoices ads made a difference?

For weeks now we’ve been hearing complaints about the level of government advertising, much of it on the changes to WorkChoices. It isn’t having any obvious effect on the two-party preferred. But today’s Newspoll issues survey (pdf) suggests that it is perhaps having some impact.

On the question of which party would better handle industrial relations, the Coalition on 34% is now 7 percentage points above its low point of February this year. As The Australian pointed out, that’s taken them back to where they were before WorkChoices.

So why isn’t it showing in the two-party preferred? Partly, perhaps, because industrial relations is ranked the least important of the nine issues Newspoll has asked about in recent surveys. But the main answer, I think, is that the extra 7% are mostly Liberal voters now less worried about WorkChoices than they were before. Labor has kept the 7-8% WorkChoices advantage it acquired from WorkChoices, with the recent Liberal gains coming from the ‘uncommitted’, ‘none’ and other party columns.

With the Coalition primary vote looking so sorry, the ad campaign may have had a useful political impact for the government (the same can’t be said for the environment ads; the government’s numbers have been flat all year). But it is not a vote changing impact, just firming up Liberal-leaning voters who might be tempted to stray.

52 thoughts on “Have the WorkChoices ads made a difference?

  1. Sinclair, have a look at the Wikipedia entry on Labour Power (a marxist definition:)

    Marx used a very simple definition of ownership of “labour power” in much the same way as you are using the obverse relationship of ownership of a “job” by an employer.

    The reality is that neither is correct. A more complex arrangement is trivial to deduce by the simple method of reaching into your bottom drawer and reading your employment contract. Like mine, it probably runs to several pages, not a single sentence. You might draw the conclusion that this is an unfortunate necessity of living in an evil social democracy that obfuscates and hides the underlying, natural relationship of an employer to a job, and an employee to his labours, in which case you make the same mistakes as Marx but from a different side of the relationship.

    The quote you used about threats to employers is just a silly attempt to derail the debate. What possible relevance do the asserted threats of violence have to do with the concept of property rights and employment? Do threats of violence only occur over property rights?

    JC, you are right: Marxism is discredited junk, which is why I’m so surprised to see it re-appear in libertarian thinking.


  2. I’m sorry, David. I don’t follow at all the linkage between labour power and ownership of a job. My agument is not about surplus value nor expropriation. It is simply about who owns the right to employ a person to do a job of work. It cannot be the employee. I thik you’re getting carried away with power relationships and the like. I accept that contracts are mutually beneficial and all that. And social cooperation under the division of labour is good.

    Indeed my contract of employment goes on and on too. But there is a very simple catch-all component. My employer has the right to direct how I conduct myself in the employment arena.


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