Power-mad union leader
Australia's top union official is under fire for saying it would be good if unions ran the country as they had done in the past. On the eve of a union rally that will shut down Melbourne today, ACTU secretary Greg Combet admitted making the remark to a group of South Australian unionists. "I recall we used to run the country and it would not be a bad thing if we did again," he said.
Prime Minister John Howard said the union chief had revealed the union movement's true motives. "It's not about the welfare of unionists, it's not about getting the unemployed back into work, it's not about boosting their real wages. It's about union power," he said. Mr Howard said the unions had bullied Labor into promising to axe Australian Workplace Agreements.
Mr Combet defended the comment, saying it was taken out of context. "The comments I made were a joke and a light-hearted aside to a large group of people," he said. He accused the Government of dredging up old claims about union power to justify its IR changes. But the lapse could not have come at a worse time for the unions, with disruptive rallies across the nation today over industrial relations changes. Trades Hall has vowed to gridlock Melbourne, with 100,000 unionists in the streets....
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