Posted by: jkirkby8712 | March 23, 2011

Tuesday, 22nd March 2011 – talking about Award conditions and a country drive!!

I was delegated to attend a job related workshop today – up in Bendigo of all places [where Susan is]. Thought that would be a good opportunity in fact to catch up with my daughter, but it turned out not to be a good day – she had a full program of lectures, etc, which went into the evening, and while I’d already decided to have a break from my Tuesday night radio show, I didn’t really want to returning down the highway after dark!  I was a little disappointed at that outcome, but couldn’t be helped and didn’t press the issue. Another time!

With the Federal Government’s new Modern Awards system, in respect to wages and conditions for Australian workers due to officially come into force [for our ‘community organisations’ sector of the economy] from the 1st July, this was a workshop aimed specifically at that sector –  a program for community organisations to provide information about the ‘modern award’ as well as details of the transitional arrangements from existing awards and conditions to the new award, and employer responsibilities  – the assumption being, that most of us present today were in fact, employers or payroll personnel responsible for an organisation’s obligations under the Award. Broadly speaking, because there are only three of us where I work, most of those provisions were not particularly relevant, but I have a ‘boss’ who has to know everything!!!  Most of these conditions seem to come under the umbrella of Julia Gillard’s ‘Fair Work Act’, which was Labor’s response to the so-called despised legislation introduced by the former Howard Liberal Government.

The presentation admittedly, was relatively interesting, though during the first half, I was beginning to feel a little concerned – being held in a reasonably modern church hall, but without any obvious air conditioning, I found it was becoming   oppressively hot in that room, and was certainly glad for the brief break after about an hour. Whether the information became more interesting and immediate relevance afterwards, or the room simply became cooler, I don’t know, but the ‘heat’ didn’t concern me so much from that point onwards.

Actually, I came away from that workshop grateful for a couple of things – I was getting out in a few months, and really wouldn’t have to worry too much about what appeared to be an enormous administrative complexity about the whole process, with transitional processes which I felt were way over the top, and placed an unnecessary burden on payroll and accounting people, particularly in larger community organisations. It would not really have been a problem where I am now, but in some of my earlier work places, it would have created major headaches to implement. The other grateful point related to that I was part of a very small organisation, where the changes shouldn’t create too much hazzle, apart from the need to work under the ;driving force’ of a woman who was so obsessed all the time with dotting every ‘I’ and crossing every ‘T’.  Another incentive to move on before the end of the year.

Apart from the ‘business’ side of the day, I generally enjoyed the drive to and from Bendigo, a trip of about 75 minutes for me, and my relatively relaxed style of driving. Made plans, as  I went along for a bit of ‘another’ family history research trip, later in the year in this direction.  Meanwhile, nice to have a full Tuesday evening at home, having relinquished my radio spot for the night, though I was pleased to hear that another presenter had filled in for me – always better to have a live program going to air in preference to the automatic broadcast.

Managed to do a little more reading of John Howard’s biography, which I have slowly being getting through over the past few months. When we hear discussions and debate about the recent war in Iraq [or the ‘invasion’ of Iraq as some refer to it], mention is often made of the criticism of the American for not finishing off Saddam Hussain during the first Gulf War, which had been precipitated by Iraq’s invasion of neighbouring Kuwait. –  the fact that the job was ‘unfinished’ In the chapter on ‘George Bush’, Howard refers to his relationship with former US General, Colin Powell, and on that subject of the Americans walking away from the first Gulf War, he had this to say.

“I asked him why the Coalition forces had not gone on to Baghdad in 1991 and finished off Saddam Hussein. My strongest recollection of his response was Powell saying that Coalition forces would have found it morally repugnant to pursue the Iraqi Army, which by then was so shattered and vulnerable that heavy losses would have been inflicted on a defenceless foe. It was a soldier’s explanation rather than the rationale of a politician. He sounded sincere”.  [p. 464 ‘The Howard Government’, pub 2010]  An interesting comment, and an ‘explanation’ I’d not heard before – usually the argument for the withdrawal is based on the fact that the UN resolution only permitted the ‘rescue’ of Kuwait, although such resolutions have not always been so strictly adhered to on other occasions as we have seen……………………..\

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