‘In recognising the humanity of our fellow beings, we pay ourselves the highest tribute’ - Thurgood Marshall
BRISBANE - Much like most superficial western democracies, the Australian economy is underpinned by a ruthless feudal system of indentured servitude, peonage or serfdom.
More recently, it is fashionably and somewhat deviously referred to as a gig economy, which disguises many sinister neoliberal features that secure and protect the interests of the powerful over the powerless.
A shallow and furtive engagement process obscures and further complicates statutory duty of care requirements and provides many notorious corporate brigands with a malevolent freedom to harm.
This typically consists of a loose and impassive tripartite arrangement between the host employer, labour hiring agency and the subjugated peons or ragged trousered philanthropists. Most of the victims are unable to forge any identity and are merely a dishonoured pay check or expensive dental invoice away from misery and destitution.
It leaves cohorts of oppressed itinerants surfing between mundane McJobs with fluctuating and erratic incomes without any prospects of career development.
Moreover, the impositions or chores no longer offer additional benefits such as vocational training, holiday entitlements, sick pay and maternity or parental leave and the inconsistent pittance merely puts a loaf of bread on the table and keeps many wolves from howling at the door.
The volatile predicament is often antagonised by wages of fear with stagnant remuneration, underemployment, wage theft, escalating costs and declining living standards, which have generated a pecuniary subsistence and deracinated any reliance on job security.
Many of the demoralised and embittered precariats endure a rapidly diminishing range of sociopolitical, cultural and economic rights or opportunities and a miasma of anomie emerges amidst the escalating insecurity, anxiety and despair.
It inevitably cultivates alienation and anger with a profound intolerance and distrust towards colleagues and strangers, which destroys communities of practice and extirpates learning, especially tacit knowledge.
This is exacerbated by a tyranny of bureaucracy within the federal government’s chaotic visa system and antagonised by coercive corporate business models.
These often include inequitable franchising arrangements, which are tantamount to extortion and typically involve the subjugation and exploitation of vulnerable and helpless migrants.
Despite the many bright lights, ostentatious advertising, opulence and executive bacchanalia, a ruthless heart of darkness prevails, which is underpinned by corporate impiety or perfidy with a contemptuous disregard for human rights, industrial relations and work health and safety legislation.
The incumbent government must ensure everyone has physical access to an affordable and sufficient supply of food and potable water, which fulfils specific dietary requirements.
This must be supplemented by equitable access to the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health care, which includes provision of initial and emergency medical treatment, irrespective of nationality, residency or immigration status.
Furthermore, each individual has a fundamental right to reasonable conditions at work, which includes a safe and healthy working environment with ethical standards in beneficial surroundings supplemented by equal pay rates and freedom from discrimination or harassment.
Refugees and asylum seekers are particularly vulnerable and have no protection from their country of origin.
The incumbent federal government has special legal obligations, which ensure stateless or displaced individuals cannot be expelled from Australia.
There are also prescribed requirements covering the provision of reasonable accommodation and primary and secondary education programs.
These must be supplemented with suitable arrangements to seek and engage in proper, decent and legitimately paid employment, which reflect and align with established processes that are afforded to its citizens or permanent residents.