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The Practice of the Art of Miserablism

By John Hargreaves - 17 June 2014 38

protest

I attended a protest rally outside Parliament House yesterday along with about 250 other people. We were protesting at the latest assault on the low paid workers in Australia.

Under the guise of reining in expenditure, Eric Abetz and Joe Hockey have signalled that they are going to change the goal posts for wages earned by the cleaners in Parliament House.

He is going to rip up the service level agreement (SLA) with the cleaners in PH and make them all go to the industry standard. In other words he is going to the lowest common denominator not recognising the value of work by these people, many of whom work multiple jobs to support their families.

For those who don’t know, cleaners there earn $22.02 an hour, rising to $22.90 on July 1. Or that would have been the case if not for the Abbott government.

With the demise of the SLA, the hourly rate will fall to $18 an hour, roughly a 27% pay cut. Nice eh?

I remember being in the Army by day and cleaning other people’s toilets at night just to feed my family. That was in 1970. It shouldn’t be necessary today but it is. Why or why would anyone be so mean as to reduce the wages of these people. These people clean the toilets in Abetz’s and Hockey’s office. I bet if they had to do it themselves they would want more than $18 an hour to do it!

These practitioners of the art of miserablism should give some thought to the value of cleaners’ work and raise the pay of all cleaners to that of the Parliament House staff not reduce them to the low jump bar.

I’ll bet that Joe Hockey has not cleaned a toilet in his life. And I’ll wage a bet with anyone that he employs a house cleaner in his home in Hunter’s Hill. And I’ll bet he pays the going rate of about $45 an hour to have his home toilet cleaned but wants to pay only $18 an hour to clean his office toilet.

The gap widens through the practice of the art of miserablism!

What’s Your opinion?


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38 Responses to
The Practice of the Art of Miserablism
1
neanderthalsis 11:37 am
17 Jun 14
#

Second jobs are a reality for many people, so why should working in a big white building make you any different that the rest of the country? And would it not be a decisions of Parliamentary Services, not some grand plot by Hockey, Abetz et al to further stomp the rugged and b*ggered into the gutter with their big, nasty jackboots.

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2
dungfungus 12:11 pm
17 Jun 14
#

Low thinking = low pay.
Get another job.

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3
VYBerlinaV8_is_back 12:15 pm
17 Jun 14
#

What a beat up.

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4
PoQ 1:40 pm
17 Jun 14
#

dungfungus said :

Low thinking = low pay.
Get another job.

So it would have been better if the protesters had been haranguing Andrew Barr (http://www.canberratimes.com.au/act-news/andrew-barr-rebuffs-questions-about-how-strugglers-can-survive-rates-hike-20140616-zs9ei.html)? He’s using your argument.

“Get a better job” only works if there are better jobs to have – if you have the skills (language, professional, connections etc) to get the job and are “better” to beat off the other 99 applicants. Presumably the current set have security clearances – recall Bill Heffernan brought a (fake) pipebomb into the Building (http://www.canberratimes.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/liberal-senator-bill-heffernan-brandishes-pipe-bomb-to-make-point-on-parliament-security-20140526-38xwp.html) , not a cleaner.

It was the “Harvester” decision that made the minimum wage enough so that a worker could support his wife and standard number of kids (forgive the sexist language, Harvester (“Ex parte HV McKay”) was 1907, when sexism was de rigueur).

Why are you begrudging 88 cents an hour? The worker is worthy of his pay (Luke 10:7).

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5
watto23 2:20 pm
17 Jun 14
#

wow what a bunch of narrow minded people who have responded. Don’t come complaining when crime rates are high because the poorest wages are so low, people resort to theft and armed robbery. Or what happens when people do as you say and decide to not clean anymore, and we can’t find anyone to do that job. I guess we can force the disabled to do it, because there is no way we’ll let immigrants in to take our jobs, even the ones no one want.
Right now I don’t think anyone should have a pay cut, but we should also not be taking pay rises either, yet plenty of selfish, usually well off people have no issue with being paid more. Usually it has nothing to do with working harder either, but who you were born to and who you know.
Its all fine until the silver spoon falls out of ones mouth and you realise how hard it is to find a job, once you’ve lost a good one.

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6
dungfungus 2:47 pm
17 Jun 14
#

watto23 said :

wow what a bunch of narrow minded people who have responded. Don’t come complaining when crime rates are high because the poorest wages are so low, people resort to theft and armed robbery. Or what happens when people do as you say and decide to not clean anymore, and we can’t find anyone to do that job. I guess we can force the disabled to do it, because there is no way we’ll let immigrants in to take our jobs, even the ones no one want.
Right now I don’t think anyone should have a pay cut, but we should also not be taking pay rises either, yet plenty of selfish, usually well off people have no issue with being paid more. Usually it has nothing to do with working harder either, but who you were born to and who you know.
Its all fine until the silver spoon falls out of ones mouth and you realise how hard it is to find a job, once you’ve lost a good one.

dungfungus said :

Low thinking = low pay.
Get another job.

I should have spelt it out.
Why don’t you clean home toilets for $45 per hour? You have confirmed what the rate is. Please don’t use that “who you were born to and who you know” nonsense with me either. The world doesn’t owe you a living. Try hard work for a change.
PS I have cleaned worse things than toilets.

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7
Grail 3:07 pm
17 Jun 14
#

dungfungus said :

Low thinking = low pay.
Get another job.

So the limit to one’s earning capacity is only how high they set their targets, and not at all related to their skin colour, gender, education, skills or the city they live in?

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8
VYBerlinaV8_is_back 3:28 pm
17 Jun 14
#

Grail said :

dungfungus said :

Low thinking = low pay.
Get another job.

So the limit to one’s earning capacity is only how high they set their targets, and not at all related to their skin colour, gender, education, skills or the city they live in?

Education, skills and the city they live in, sure.

When I was studying I worked a range of crappy jobs (as did many of my peers). And there were people of all colour, creed and gender working there too. Much like where I work now.

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9
dungfungus 3:53 pm
17 Jun 14
#

Grail said :

dungfungus said :

Low thinking = low pay.
Get another job.

So the limit to one’s earning capacity is only how high they set their targets, and not at all related to their skin colour, gender, education, skills or the city they live in?

I would have thought that would be obvious.

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10
BreeGirl 4:01 pm
17 Jun 14
#

We all have choices don’t we. Sometimes you have to think outside the square when it comes to employment options.

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11
John Hargreaves Ex M 5:19 pm
17 Jun 14
#

dungfungus said :

watto23 said :

wow what a bunch of narrow minded people who have responded. Don’t come complaining when crime rates are high because the poorest wages are so low, people resort to theft and armed robbery. Or what happens when people do as you say and decide to not clean anymore, and we can’t find anyone to do that job. I guess we can force the disabled to do it, because there is no way we’ll let immigrants in to take our jobs, even the ones no one want.
Right now I don’t think anyone should have a pay cut, but we should also not be taking pay rises either, yet plenty of selfish, usually well off people have no issue with being paid more. Usually it has nothing to do with working harder either, but who you were born to and who you know.
Its all fine until the silver spoon falls out of ones mouth and you realise how hard it is to find a job, once you’ve lost a good one.

dungfungus said :

Low thinking = low pay.
Get another job.

I should have spelt it out.
Why don’t you clean home toilets for $45 per hour? You have confirmed what the rate is. Please don’t use that “who you were born to and who you know” nonsense with me either. The world doesn’t owe you a living. Try hard work for a change.
PS I have cleaned worse things than toilets.

Well, I am amazed. I’ve cleaned toilets as an office cleaner and I can’t think of a worse job than that so if you have cleaned worse than this, tell us all about it!

I can’t believe what I have read. It is Abetz/Hockey who are going to legislate this right away… what part about personal responsibility don’t they carry?

Perhaps instead of suggesting that PH cleaners don’t deserve the wages they earn, how about raising the rates payable to all cleaners.

Some at the rally spoke and said they felt that they were not valued, that they were treated like an underclass. Now, from the posts here I can see why.

When I had a little one, and not enough salary as a soldier to feed three, I worked as a cleaner at night and I am proud that I did.

I just can’t stomach someone on $300k plus engineering a 27% pay decrease for only 47 workers in the name of saving money! Talk about picking on the low paid! Don’t this abominable pair realise that a 27% cut in wages will affect families extremely badly for the saving of a pittance.

and to VYBerlinerV8, I say that these people don’t drive V8s cos they can only afford to watch people like you do it!

It was said that second jobs are a reality for many people. it is but it shouldn’t be so and do you really think any of these people want to have two jobs, to be away from quality family time, to work from 7 in the morning to 11 at night 6 days a week? If you do, you’re on a different planet to me and thank God for that!

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12
miz 6:31 pm
17 Jun 14
#

I agree with Mr Hargreaves on this one. It’s just mean, and for no good reason. I cleaned houses for a year or so when my children were young schoolies (it meant I could work school hours) and it’s damn hard physical work for not a great deal of money.
Surely it’s legal to pay more than ‘industry standard’ if that has been negotiated and signed? Can the union appeal?

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13
chewy14 7:03 pm
17 Jun 14
#

Hi John,
Can you post a link or some evidence that Abetz and Hockey are personally ripping up this SLA?

I’d like a bit more information.

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14
wildturkeycanoe 7:47 pm
17 Jun 14
#

It is in the news, just search around for “government cleaners face wage cuts” and you will see it is true and a result of cutting “red tape”.
Didn’t they just do this with our garbage collection people just recently, re-negotiate pay rates to much less? It’s happening again and I don’t think it will stop there. If the government can get away with it, big business will do it next and then small business too. Everyone beware, with unemployment rising there will hundreds of desperate people who will do your job for less money.
The next great depression is at our doorstep…thanks to Abbott and Costello.

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15
milkman 8:18 pm
17 Jun 14
#

John Hargreaves Ex MLA said :

dungfungus said :

watto23 said :

wow what a bunch of narrow minded people who have responded. Don’t come complaining when crime rates are high because the poorest wages are so low, people resort to theft and armed robbery. Or what happens when people do as you say and decide to not clean anymore, and we can’t find anyone to do that job. I guess we can force the disabled to do it, because there is no way we’ll let immigrants in to take our jobs, even the ones no one want.
Right now I don’t think anyone should have a pay cut, but we should also not be taking pay rises either, yet plenty of selfish, usually well off people have no issue with being paid more. Usually it has nothing to do with working harder either, but who you were born to and who you know.
Its all fine until the silver spoon falls out of ones mouth and you realise how hard it is to find a job, once you’ve lost a good one.

dungfungus said :

Low thinking = low pay.
Get another job.

I should have spelt it out.
Why don’t you clean home toilets for $45 per hour? You have confirmed what the rate is. Please don’t use that “who you were born to and who you know” nonsense with me either. The world doesn’t owe you a living. Try hard work for a change.
PS I have cleaned worse things than toilets.

Well, I am amazed. I’ve cleaned toilets as an office cleaner and I can’t think of a worse job than that so if you have cleaned worse than this, tell us all about it!

I can’t believe what I have read. It is Abetz/Hockey who are going to legislate this right away… what part about personal responsibility don’t they carry?

Perhaps instead of suggesting that PH cleaners don’t deserve the wages they earn, how about raising the rates payable to all cleaners.

Some at the rally spoke and said they felt that they were not valued, that they were treated like an underclass. Now, from the posts here I can see why.

When I had a little one, and not enough salary as a soldier to feed three, I worked as a cleaner at night and I am proud that I did.

I just can’t stomach someone on $300k plus engineering a 27% pay decrease for only 47 workers in the name of saving money! Talk about picking on the low paid! Don’t this abominable pair realise that a 27% cut in wages will affect families extremely badly for the saving of a pittance.

and to VYBerlinerV8, I say that these people don’t drive V8s cos they can only afford to watch people like you do it!

It was said that second jobs are a reality for many people. it is but it shouldn’t be so and do you really think any of these people want to have two jobs, to be away from quality family time, to work from 7 in the morning to 11 at night 6 days a week? If you do, you’re on a different planet to me and thank God for that!

Serious question: are you a socialist?

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