Thanks to Michael on MrLefty's blog, who observes: "I have a suspicion the PM wont show up on there for a while now." I would concur--but for the fact that, despite repeated drubbings at the hands of O'Brien, Howard keeps coming back anyway. (It's because the Battlers have other things to watch at 7.30pm on a weeknight, I guess.)
KERRY O'BRIEN: Mr Howard, what I'm trying to do is to present a complete picture, not a partial picture. Let me quote from one of your own examples of how this system will work for someone seeking a new job. This is from your own package. His name is Billy. The individual contract he's offered "explicitly removes award conditions for public holidays, rest breaks, bonuses, annual leave loadings, allowances, penalty rates and shift overtime loadings". That's giving up a lot, Mr Howard, but somehow or other they don't lose out, now how is that? Because there's no guarantee for what they'll get in return for what they give up.
JOHN HOWARD: Well, why don't you go on and read the rest of the example?
KERRY O'BRIEN: I have it here.
JOHN HOWARD: Yes, well why don't you tell the viewers that that person has been out of work and he's made a judgment after having somebody bargain on his behalf that he will accept that in preference to the...
KERRY O'BRIEN: But there's no guarantee that he'll have somebody working on his behalf. And even if he does have an agent working on his behalf...
JOHN HOWARD: I remember that example very well, because I asked that it be inserted in the document so that we would be completely transparent about that kind of situation, and you should've told the viewers...
KERRY O'BRIEN: Let me finish it.
JOHN HOWARD: You should have told them that the person was out of work.
KERRY O'BRIEN: Billy has a bargaining agent assisting him in considering the AWA.
JOHN HOWARD: Why didn't you tell people that he was out of work?
KERRY O'BRIEN: Because there are many, many people who will be in exactly the same position as Billy who are transferring from one job to another. Do you acknowledge that?
JOHN HOWARD: It would've been a good idea if you had quoted the full example.
Full transcript here.
I predict that the Government is going to have a harder time selling this package than they expect. The ad campaign is unimpressive and short on detail: "things have been good, but, erm, we need to make certain changes to ensure they get even better," and so on. Not to mention the obligatory neoliberal bullshit: "for many years, employers and employees have got together to negotiate," or something like that (if by "negotiate" you mean being bent over a desk with an apple stuffed in your mouth and your trousers around your ankles).