The author has been described by News Ltd as an "iconoclast", "Svengali", a pollie's "economist muse", and "pungently accurate". Fairfax says he is a "Renaissance man" and "one of Australia’s most respected analysts." Stephen Koukoulas concludes that he is "85% right", and "would make a great Opposition leader." Terry McCrann claims the author thinks "‘nuance’ is a trendy village in the south of France", but can be "scintillating" when he thinks "clearly". The ACTU reckons he’s "an enigma wrapped in a Bloomberg terminal, wrapped in some apparently well-honed abs."

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

AFR column: Why Liberals should consider a union détente

In my AFR column today I (somewhat controversially) argue that the Liberals should revisit their strategic approach to the union movement and the prioritisation of further industrial relations reform. You can read the column for free here. An excerpt is enclosed below:

There is another benefit to rethinking unions. By articulating those scenarios in which collective bargaining and union activity can help minimise labour market failures, it simultaneously highlights those cases where union interference is welfare-destructive.

Privately, there is a surprising amount of mutual respect and common traits between the two tribes. A senior insider says to me, “Rather than stupidly assuming all unions are bad and forcing us into total war, which we are well resourced to wage, Tories should consider a détente.”