Barbed Wire. Militant October 1997
Sisters and Brothers, the Industrial Relations Commission has handed down its decision on our award. Do you want the good news first or the bad news?
[from the back] “Give us the bad news first, then we'll string you up” “Shut Up! Let’s hear what he’s got to say”
OK then, the bad news is this: our award has been cut down to the 20 allowable award matters at the community standard — the community standard, that’s what everybody’s entitled to get.
Our dirt money’s gone, the on-call is gone, there’s no relocation allowance when you get transferred to the Wagga branch, lunch break’s OK, but there’s no tea breaks and you don’t get overtime for working Saturday and Sunday and we've got a 40 hour week now, maternity leave’s OK but you're not going to get paid for it, but we've still got jury service leave, Good Friday and Christmas Day, but if you work them you get normal time, not overtime.
“Christ mate, what’s the good news?”
Well, I said we'd be prepared to benchmark ourselves against international best practice.
“What the hell are you talking about?”
Well, I said we'd be prepared to use the honour system, you know, that’s the system the government uses for itself, that’s have to be international best practice, wouldn’t it?
Well, under the honour system you get free first-class international travel, a free VIP accident breakdown service, up to $320 a night for staying overnight in a capital city, up to $44 a night while travelling around on business, up to $36,400 a week to charter aircraft or hire cars, a $22,000 a year postal allowance, two free home phones and a free mobile phone.
“Where’s the honour come in?”
Well, you don’t have to show receipts or anything you see, it’s an honour system, you get all this for the asking, but if you rort the system you get sacked.
“And the Commission agreed to this?”
Well funnily enough, they thought I was taking the piss and didn’t I realise that if the government operated that system there wouldn’t be anyone left in Parliament to run the country and there was no way they were going to agree to rorting the system being a sacking offence. It seems that the one guy that did get sacked picked up a $23,500 pay-out, so there was no way the Commission would agree to rorting the system being a sackable offence.
“So what happened then?”
Well they said we could have the honour system and if our members could manage on the $100,000 worth of allowances and freebies for a full year then there'd probably be enough vacancies in the government and we could take over running the country.