By Hugh Stretton
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Extra resources for Australia Fair
They’re all making the best of their opportunities. Efficient market relations are the main cause of all these people’s rewards, not just of the dressmaker’s profit. Next, the local secretary of the Textile, Garment and Footwear Union is asked why the dressmaker is so successful. Because he knows that she’s breaking the law, he explains how she gets away with it. Australia’s Clothing Trades Award for outworkers and contractors extends the award to all garment workers, wherever they work and whatever their legal relations with the people they work for.
In 1996 we left Australia with a strong legacy of reform. These were the national interest policies that the Liberals were too timid to implement: | 25 | strettontextpp6 14/7/05 12:28 PM Page 26 | A u s t r a l i a Fa i r | a floating exchange rate, financial deregulation, tariff liberalisation, competition policy and national superannuation (Mark Latham in The Australian, 13 October 2003). Keating might be excused for accepting those policies early in their destructive career, before their worst effects appeared.
The pay is low, but it’s work they can get when they can’t get any other. As law-breakers, they dare not report any ill-treatment they suffer. Some of the immigrants’ husbands keep them at it whatever they suffer, for the money or for fear of reprisals. The employers risk tougher official penalties than the workers do, so some of them threaten any informers with unofficial penalties. ’ Doesn’t working at home at least free young mothers to adapt their work time to their children’s needs? For some, perhaps.
Australia Fair by Hugh Stretton