3 October 2023

Who comes first on the union totem pole and should we just let them run the ACT?

| Peter Strong
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Construction work at Campbell Primary School

Construction work at Campbell Primary School. Photo: David Murtagh.

Could we, somehow or other, get some people who truly represent Canberra – not the unions or the wacko far right – elected into the Legislative Assembly?

The Campbell Primary School corruption inquiry is still continuing. No matter what the outcome, it is obvious the CFMEU has had an influence. Whether it is a corrupt influence is yet to be seen but it’s ‘behind closed doors’ influence all the same.

The interesting fact is that in this case the CFMEU’s needs obviously override the needs of the Australian Education Union (AEU).

If the AEU was higher on the totem pole of power, then the original quote for work on Campbell Primary would have been accepted and more funds spent on infrastructure for the school. This would have made teachers’ lives easier. Teachers are members of the AEU.

The government has decided CFMEU members are much more important than the AEU members. It has shown that the needs of the students of the ACT are not part of the contest for taxpayer funds.

Thus, we now understand why the education levels of the ACT have dropped over the last decade. It’s not about education. It’s about which union is top dog – (drum roll) and the winner is the CFMEU!

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So, what do we do with that bit of information?

We can see from the Campbell Primary School drama that it is the sponsors who win elections, not the people.

Can we change that process? Now it has been confirmed the dominant unions run our territory, how about we, the people, vote for which unions we believe should be dominant?

The unions that would run in this new democratic process would be the CFMEU, AEU, CPSU, TWU, HSU, AWU and the ETU. At the end of the election, the union with the most votes would select its representatives and crown a Chief Minister.

That way if the voters wanted a better education system, they would vote for the AEU to be dominant. If they wanted the transport system improved, they’d vote in the TWU. If they wanted less infrastructure, they could vote in the CFMEU, as then the costs of building things would be so high as to limit any further developments. And so forth.

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When I started this article, I thought I was writing a bit of satire. But the more I write, the more I see this makes sense. It removes the need for corruption inquiries as we, the people, decide who is on the top rank of corruption.

We must also face facts that the reason the Libs will be very unlikely to ever win is because the wacko far right dominates that party.

I like the current Liberal leader, Elizabeth Lee. She seems a centred, sensible, inclusive person.

But if the Libs were somehow elected into control of the assembly, she would be replaced within seconds by a lazy preachy closed-minded diehard from that party’s right. There are good people in the Libs worthy of election, but nowhere near enough.

Maybe next to the unions in the Dominance Election, we could add two new groups – the True Menzies Libs (TML) and the Far Right Wacko Libs (FRWL)? That would be a great election.

Otherwise, we need good quality independents. Please.

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I don’t understand how the CFMEU “won” over the AEU. Campbell is getting its upgrades, no?

Peter Strong7:08 am 04 Oct 23

Thanks for the question. Campbell Primary was given a budget of $3m for infrastructure. The first recommended (non CFMEU backed)

3 or 4 year terms are crazy. We should be aiming to have an election every year.
At least then we could try something different and put the current mob on their feet.

Get in get the job done or your out.

Labor have it balanced in they still do enough around the elections and point at the other mob to get into power but go and largely do what they want to do (rather than what the people want).

We’re all paying more and getting less from it.

You were jesting – weren’t you?
Taking up the annual idea ,there is already excessive focus on the next election and not enough on the longer term. Annual elections? So no substantial road improvements, no aquatic Centres, nothing of vision. Just what little can be designed/planned, tendered, and completed in less than a year. Things would only get worse and also put us in the plague of non-stop election mode.

Maybe the lawmakers can make laws and things like road improvements can be decided by Transport canberra. Surely then we would be free of roads just to win elections and get roads where we actually need them.

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