Moir was spot on. Big business is launching a $6.5 million pro-Workchoices campaign, which will be designed and co-ordinated by... guess who? Yep, the federal government!
The campaign is sponsored by the Business Council of Australia and the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry.Interesting, this news comes out as yet another leak to the Fairfax press. As Alan Ramsay noted a few weeks back, there appears to be a mole in the upper reaches of the Liberal Party, although in this case it could also be a quoted businessman who was not impressed by the approach.
It has since gained the support of the Minerals Council of Australia with the Master Builders Association also likely to join, Fairfax reports.
The document states the campaign will run for five to six weeks in July and August, comprising television, print, internet and billboard advertising.
The government's chief pollster, Mark Textor, will devise and coordinate the campaign.
In other news, Howard patches another abyssmal gap in the moral fabric of Australia by throwing money at senior Australians and carers.
The one-off, non-taxable payments will be handed out to about two million Australians in the next 10 days at a cost of about $1.7 billion to the commonwealth.You have to wonder if such cash bonus payouts are deliberately left until just before an election, however much they may be needed years earlier.
Oh, and the AWB is facing yet another class action from the USA.
The complaint has been filed on behalf of Dennis Brothers.UPDATE: There seems to be some confusion about the degree and form of collaboration between Big Business and the government on this ad campaign. The key point is that the planned business campaign will be 100% co-ordinated with the government's own campaign, because both campaigns will be run by one and the same person. Kevin Rudd spells it out:
The complaint alleges that, by reason of AWB's conduct in relation to the United Nations oil-for-food program, AWB engaged in conduct contrary to US antitrust laws and the US Racketeer-Influenced and Corrupt Organisations Act.
Mr Rudd today said he welcomed and accepted the business community's right to campaign on industrial relations.As we have seen in Iraq, the Howard government and their friends think that anything at all - even an illegal pre-emptive war - can be sold to the voters with the right amount of spin. And this big business campaign is just more spin. Can they really convince workers to vote for a system of laws that are inherently bad for them? How stupid do they think we are?
"But I find it interesting that the Liberal Party's principal pollster Mark Textor, based on this report ... is himself going to be the campaign director of this campaign on behalf of certain big businesses," he said on ABC radio.
"I would have thought, well it's a matter for the business community themselves, but if you're going to have a Liberal Party pollster running this campaign, I suppose it's a question of degrees of separation between the Government on the one hand and these various big businesses on the other.
"But Mr Textor, as we know, is the architect of the Liberal Party marginal campaigning techniques, he's Liberal Party through and through, and this therefore, is being run, it seems, based on this report, as a Liberal Party campaign."
A spokesman for the BCA would not comment on the report, saying only that the organisation was still considering whether to run an advertising campaign.
More to the point, given that Australians have already voted for Howard three times, how stupid are we?