Of bullying and a bulging bra

Given the Gillard administration’s inability to govern the nation in any way that persuades voters to

register their approval in opinion polls, it is scary to think about this mob imposing their doctrinaire ideologies even further into our workplaces.

But that’s just what is about to happen according to IR guru, Grace Collier. This occasional columnist for the Fin Review takes a distinctive approach to workplace relations even to the extent of hiding a microphone in her bra to capture comments from an opposition ‘player’ in a dispute in which she was involved recently. Gotta love a girl who gets down and dirty to do the right thing.

That aside, we should be grateful to Collier for calling attention to moves by Employment and Workplace Relations Minister, Bill Shorten, to tell Australian companies how they should run their workplaces. This son-in-law of Governor-General Quentin Bryce and aspirational leader of the Australian Labor Party no doubt reckons he will cement his blue collar pretensions (yeah, right!) by taking a big stick to employers.

He is giving the Fair Work Commission new powers to eradicate bullying. Okay, that’s a reasonable objective. I personally hate bullies so his aim strikes a positive chord with me. But the notion of this government – which cannot even work out how to take a chunk of tax off multi-billion dollar mining companies – meddling in relations between bosses and workers in private companies is truly scary.

Collier makes a key point in suggesting that – despite what many managers might actually think – they DO have substantial authority and clearly delineated powers to act swiftly and decisively against bullies.

The crux of her insight into this issue is that what is needed is not heavy-handed government intervention but, if anything, more effective education of managers as to their particular rights and responsibilities. That would surely be preferable to Gillard & Co riding roughshod into workplaces to demonstrate their pro-blue collar sympathies.

Collier actually queries whether this intrusion by the government is a ploy to implement legislation that the Opposition will eradicate once it comes to power suggesting to die-hard Labor voters that the devil incarnate has returned to re-invoke Work Choices. That is stunningly Machiavellian in concept but given the general inability of this administration to even get its hand into the back pockets of mega-rich multinationals, it is far too clever by half for this lot to conceive.


Acknowledgement: Grace Collier, The Australian Financial Review, 15 February 2013

Collier is Chief Executive of Australian Dismissal Services