Monday, May 30, 2011

How bad can the right get?

It is a dreadfully hard line the Government has to tread on gambling reform. It is clear the public doesn't want "nanny-statism" like we used to have that outlawed almost all forms of gambling and resulted in a vibrant illegal industry (SP bookies and then the lovely illegal casinos that used to be dotted over Sydney).

But it is equally clear that the public is heartily sick of the social costs caused by problem gambling, and that the victims of this crime are the family members - especially children - of those addicted.

Therefore measures to require "pre-commitment" technology look like they achieve the right balance.

But today we read that the NSW Secretary of the Liquor and Hospitality workers union ("United Voice" more below) is lobbying against the proposal because it will put club workers out of jobs.

The evidence apparently cited by Tara Moriarty isn't some detailed research of her own, it is simply relying on the assertions of club managers. In her letter to the Prime Minister she is reported to state "the Twin Towns Services Club at Tweed Heads on the Gold Coast had told the union workers would lose their permanent employment status and suffer cuts in hours if the pre-commitment scheme went ahead." and that "workers at the Halekulani Bowling Club on the NSW central coast have been told their jobs are not secure".

Once upon a time the idea of unions and the labour movement was to act in the interests of workers generally, not only sectionally. The labour movement would traditionally support programs that limit the harm to workers, especially forms of gambling that make the bosses rich and the workers poor.

Poker machines are just that, highly addictive and as a form of revenue raising for Government highly regressive. They are not exclusively in clubs. Those in pubs are lining the pockets of private individuals - and corporations like Woolworths which continues to acquire pub licences.

And the "licenced clubs" are no longer the quaint local community hub with a few pokies to provide entertainment. They are fully fledged casinos now operating through ever expanding corporate structures. The amalgamations have been fuelled in part by the declining attractiveness of clubs. But despite being "not for profit" the growing revenues fuel payments to managers, consultants and various hangers-on.

But a NSW Right union clearly sees its mission as to lobby on behalf of the bosses against the interests of workers.

As for that crazy name "united Voice", exactly what part of the modern marketing theory of "branding" is consistent with any model of a political and/or industrial movement designed to advocate for workers. This is the model of a union that exists to create jobs for the political class.

Novae Meridianae Demetae Dexter delenda est

No comments: