Labor, unions risk awakening a political beast

Labor, unions risk awakening a political beast, by Paul Kelly.

Australia’s progressive alliance — Labor and the trade unions — keeps getting more radical and making more risky bets that the Australian public will follow it.

ACTU chief Sally McManus issued an extreme and naive agenda for workplace transformation this week. …

This follows Labor’s imputation credits policy the previous week that creates a large number of losers and many problems arising from intended and unintended consequences. …

The progressives are provoking their opponents, taunting a political beast they assume is slouching to defeat. They risk igniting a broad alliance of small and large business, investor, retiree and aspiration voters against them. The sheer degree of financial redistribution intensifies the stakes. …

The potential is obvious — a more broadbased and energised Coalition alliance. Forget whether Malcolm Turnbull has been inept at maximising the policy differences between Labor and the government. That was yesterday’s debate. As Labor and the unions go radical the job is being done for Turnbull. ….

The ACTU agenda is an activist campaign devoid of any sense about how to work with a governing party. It would turn the clock back decades. It signals a collapse of effective strategy from unions still consumed by their pure electoral power. It constitutes an attack on independent workers, consumers and free enterprise.