Tags: trades hall

23 Apr 2006, Comments Off on Fishy, Pete!

Fishy, Pete!

Author: Helen

Image from http://www.abc.net.au/rn/hindsight/stories/2006/galleries/8hour/index.htm

It was a happy coincidence to be walking up the steps of Trades Hall on Eight Hour Day. (That’s a link to a wonderful program, if you can bear extremely bad folk singing.) I wasn’t there for any event to specifically celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of the Eight Hour Day – I was there to see Sophie Kelly in Miriam and the Monkfish. But it was nice to be there on that day, and I always love to walk up the bluestone staircase with its pits and hollows worn by the steel-capped boots of millions of workers over the last century, and the honour rolls with a list of Eight Hour Day committee members. (It’s interesting to see the variety of trades, too; you don’t see many “cigar makers”now.)

Not that I’m optimistic about the prospects of the eight hour day in the immediate future. Now we have Work”Choices”, of course, the battle might have to be fought all over again in a different way and in a changed work and economic environment.

So what does Peter Costello do to mark this important anniversary? He smirkingly proclaims the 21st of April as Debt-free day, because the Federal government has paid off its debts.

Well, whoopy-do. We’ve shifted government debt to private debt, and it’s worse than before. Yet again the government’s managed to portray itself as a paragon of economic management based on affluence bought with money that isn’t ours. Like a lot of households these days.

Could Peter’s smirk-and-mirrors show be designed to distract our proletarian attention away from the Eight-Hour anniversary by creating a spurious “We’ve Paid off the Mortgage” day? Surely not.


This looks like a picture of the average punter’s reaction to “Debt Free Day”, but in fact it’s the promo from Miriam and the Monkfish, which is still on and well worth a look.