The dust has settled on Federal Elections, winners are grinners, losers are licking their wounds, for the rest of us, it’s back to normal lives.
But before I put the issue of politics to rest, I would like to ponder one question which was bothering me for a while now. I blame Julia Gillard for it, for it was on her watch that the term, well-known in Australian politics since the early 60th found its way into the spotlight again.
I am talking, of course about the Faceless Men.
First of all, who are they?
Paul Howes National Secretary of The Australian Workers’ Union
Bill Shorten Secretary of the Australian Workers’ Union
David Feeney Transport Workers Union
Mark Arbib Actively involved in the trade union movement during early career
Don Farrell Former trade union leader
According to ABS, there were 1.8 million people in August 2012 who were trade union members. So my question is: how do 5 faceless men, representing just 1.8 million or less than 8% of Australians manage to twist and turn Canberra political landscape any way they want?
Well, these 5 men are all trade union activists through and through.
To truly understand Labor Party and where power lies, it is necessary to have a look at the party’s structural link with trade unions. Trade unions select 50 per cent of the delegates to the party’s state conferences. Delegate numbers are assigned to a union based on that union’s number of members. The delegation’s makeup is determined by the union secretary. At the conference, these delegates sit together and vote as one, as directed by the union secretary, enabling the secretary to bargain with other powerbrokers to win their hoard of votes.
As one of the Party’s former leaders Arthur Calwell once said, “The Labor Party was founded by trade unions and nobody else. It has always been based on the trade union movement. It can never rest on any other foundation and still be the Labor Party”.
Now, I’m not a whinger, but…..if Australian Labor party wants to remain relevant it should have a look at the way it operates, and ask why in the last election they lost so many votes. It’s not because Liberal Party is so much better. It is because the people of Australia are sick and tired of voting for a party that exists not to benefit all of us, but to serve selfish interests of a few faceless men.