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Swan avoids union ties
letter published in The Australian Financial Review, 7 March 2012

Your article on Treasurer Wayne Swan is published under a headline based on a billionaire critic’s comment (Swan ‘playing man, rather than ball’, March 6). But Swan is on the ball in attacking vested interests as a threat to democracy.

Unfortunately, he dodges the most dominant vested interests. Those are the unions which he characterises as no more than workers’ advocates.

But in reality the unelected (to Parliament) union leaders financed Swan’s party in exchange for a promise by (now) Prime Minister Gillard and Swan to pass legislation when in office that recognised supposed workers rights.

The resultant dramatic increase in union power, and the accompanying quasi-judicial support, operates completely outside Parliament and seriously threatens the functioning of Australia’s economy.

But in their submission to the legislative review the unions say they want more workers’ rights. In an economy based on competitive private enterprise the power given to unions constitutes a threat to the functioning of democracy.

By contrast, how do the vested interests of Swan’s billionaires threaten Australia’s democracy? Their opposition to the carbon and mining taxes has failed. They have not prevented the passage through a Parliament under the control of Swan’s party of the carbon tax or (seemingly) the likely passage of the second.

Unions are cleverer at running their political party than the billionaires are, it seems. Or perhaps they have more spare money.

Des Moore,
Director Institute for Private Enterprise
South Yarra Vic

The rich and shareholders are all fair game for Swan
letter published in The Australian, 7 March 2012

Your editorial (“Swan’s rhetoric of envy occupies the cabinet room” 6/3) points out that Treasurer Swan’s attack on Australian billionaires “openly borrows his inequality agenda from Barack Obama”. Perhaps Swan is laying the groundwork for a budget including an Obama copy: a 30 per cent minimum tax on anyone who earns more than $1 million regardless of liability under tax laws.

But how do such people have vested interests which threaten Australia’s democracy? Apparently they miraculously prevent the passage of taxes through a parliament under the control of Swan’s party.

By contrast, the other vested interests, trade unions, simply finance his party to pass legislation when in office which empowers them and threatens the functioning of Australia’s economy outside Parliament. Cleverer than the billionaires, eh?

Des Moore, South Yarra, Vic

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