September 22nd 2001

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Articles from this issue:

STOP PRESS: Who has declared war on the United States?

COVER STORY: Canberra to blame for Ansett's demise

CANBERRA: Asylum seekers bring ill tidings for Beazley and the ALP

COMMENT: Boat people reaction - echoes of the 1970s

NEW ZEALAND: Army caught in political imbroglio

STRAWS IN THE WIND: Send in the counsellors / Good morning, Vietnam

MEDIA: Out of touch with majority sentiment

LETTERS: Tristar: another view

Letter: Poor reception

Letter: Let them stay

REGIONAL AFFAIRS: Why East Timor chose Portuguese

TRADE: Lamb exports: where to now?

BUSINESS: Selling wholesome food to Australia's homes

FAMILY: Well-being of families and nation intertwined

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Tristar: another view

by M. Daly

News Weekly, September 22, 2001


John Styles' defence of Tony Abbott's handling of the Tristar strike poses some interesting questions.

Although Tony Abbott is undoubtedly a good person and committed Christian, his approach to matters pertaining to social justice does not reflect the social teachings of the Catholic Church. As Bob Santamaria once said, one cannot condemn socialism and leave capitalism unscathed.

Yet, this is exactly what Mr Abbott does.

His philosophy totally embraces the principles of economic rationalism and laissez-faire capitalism. The result is "every man for himself" and the development of a society where the rich get richer and the poor get poorer.

Abbott and the Liberal Government have totally undermined Australia's social security system. The unemployed are treated as second-class citizens who need to be punished because they are either too lazy or stupid to find work.

If anyone doubts this statement, try counting the number of people coming away from Centrelink offices in tears! People are being forced to spend what meagre unemployment benefits they may get travelling to job interviews for non-existent jobs. It is quite common for 200 or more people to apply for the one job.

If the government cannot guarantee full employment, how can it expect people to spend days every week looking for jobs that aren't there?

Abbott's attitude towards unionism is also extremely negative, as evidenced in his comments concerning the Tristar strike. It is only through the existence of strong unions that the minimum wage can be maintained.

As Australia falls more into the hands of multinationals and those who believe in globalisation, the working conditions of ordinary Australians have been drastically undermined. The trouble with the unions since the fall of the Soviet Union has not been their militancy, but their lack of it.

The current Liberal Government also applies its economic rationalism to the illegal immigrant problem. Innocent men, women and children are being kept in what really amounts to concentration camps where they are detained often for years.

Many are sent back to countries where they may be imprisoned unjustly, tortured or even killed.

Our current government seems to be completely devoid of compassion concerning the plight of these people. Like the unemployed, they are considered a burden on society. These people, however, want to work and contribute to Australian society, just as so many migrants have before them.

A short trip to any major hospital will reveal that those caring for sick Australians are mainly migrants or the children of migrants.

Before defending the policies of people such as Tony Abbott, let's ask ourselves if these policies make Australia a better or a worse place.

Probably the best place to discover a coherent social philosophy is in the Catholic social encyclicals such as Quadragesimo Anno.

Maybe if more of us read these documents, we will be able to help create a healthier economy in Australia, one which is based on social democracy, rather then laissez-faire capitalism.

M. Daly,
Flynn, ACT

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