Religious twist in Workplace Relations (The Glass House 8/6/05)

This article from the Sydney Morning Herald requires you to pay to order it online. Screw that, they’re not getting my link.

The government’s industrial relations reform is heavily grounded in Christian ethics, says devoutly Catholic Minister for Workplace Relations, Kevin Andrews. Surely you remember Christ’s famous “Blessed are the employers with less than 100 employees, for they shall sack freely”. It’s my favourite part of the White Paper on the Mount.

Christ was well known to be on the side of small business. When he turned over the tables of the money-changers, it was just to encourage them to accept EFTPOS.

A Sydney Catholic leader has sent a letter to the PM challenging Mr Andrews’ values, saying he had Catholic teaching “twisted up”. He hasn’t looked at the latest “King Johnny” version of the Bible, featuring “Paul’s Epistle to the Industrial Relations Commission”.

According to the Minister, “the ethical core of the Christian principle is that every person who is capable, and wants a job, should have the ability to get a job.” Fair enough; I can only see two flaws in that argument. One, I don’t think the Bible actually says that, and two, I don’t really see how the Government’s policy is saying that either. Oh, right, they are in agreement.

New reforms are based on Christian teachings. From now on, employees who don’t pull their weight can be stoned to death, and workplaces open on a Sunday shall be plagued by locusts and rains of blood.

The Bible isn’t rich on employment opportunities: you can be a fisherman, an apostle, a carpenter, a legionnaire, or the Son of God. And most of those positions are already filled.

It might be going to John Howard’s head. Apparently last week he took seven loaves and two fishes and miraculously ended up with into five loaves and a battered flake. Andrews described it as “the miracle of economic rationalism”.

Christians and employment have always gone together, ever since they were gainfully employed feeding the lions.

But there are some job opportunities: apparently a new shopping complex is opening in Sodom…

With new workplace agreements, only those who are bold and upfront keep their jobs… but the meek still inherit the earth.

Anyway, the meek shall inherit the earth. They don’t need jobs.

Already the changes are making their way into businesses. The company counsellor has been retrenched, replaced with a company confession-booth…

The new legislation includes Ten Commandments of Industrial Relations, including “Thou Shalt Not Strike”, “Thou Shalt Not Unionise”, and “Thou Shalt Not Lodge An Unfair Dismissals Claim”.

The new legislation includes Ten Commandments of Industrial Relations, including “Thou Shalt Not Strike”, “Thou Shalt Not Covet Thy Neighbour’s Assets”, and “Thy Assets Shalt Not Be Covet By Insurance”.

At last, the Red Sea is back in the Black…

According to Kevin Andrews, Moses didn’t part the Red Sea in the Bible himself; he outsourced the parting job after considerable discussion of marine workplace agreements, and first-parting insurance…

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