BRISBANE - Australia’s track record covering human rights is rather abysmal and several notable and controversial struggles include the Home Children child migration scheme, Stolen Generations and Wave Hill pastoral workers.
More recently Aboriginal Deaths in Custody and the Pacific Solution involving the Manus Island and Nauru Island regional processing centres have attracted significant worldwide media attention.
The United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights enshrines obligations covering just and favourable conditions of work.
Moreover, the federal government somewhat belatedly and rather reluctantly ratified the International Labour Organization Convention C155, which was fundamental to the national uniformity and harmonisation of safety legislation throughout Australia.
Following several decades of relentless neoliberalism under the hendiatris of deregulation, diminution and privatisation supplemented by widespread outsourcing, the entire work health and safety legislative framework has been undermined and emasculated.
This was quite evident during the coronavirus pandemic, which exposed its fragility and many structural inequalities. It also revealed substantial deficits pertaining to decent work and the paucity of social protection mechanisms.
Over the past few decades, the Australian federal government has shifted or reconfigured this functional responsibility and the departmental titles and language often reflect its dehumanisation of the downtrodden.
It initially came under the Department of Antisocial Services and following a directive from the fecund mad monk, Tony Abbot, it transformed into the Department of Inhumane Services.
Many of its functions have since been outsourced to Serco Asia Pacific and it is currently entitled Services Australia. It means the muzak has changed from looped renditions of Greensleeves to Beethoven’s Für Elise: ‘Stay on the line, your call is important to us’.
The response to the coronavirus pandemic from a neoliberal federal government via a National Cabinet is underpinned by authoritarian populism.
Indeed the medium is the message and it is supported by an imperial National Covid-1984 Commission Advisory Board, which is merely a subsidiary of the Business Council of Australia and covertly affiliated to the Centre for Independent Studies, McKinsey & Company or even the clandestine Harlow Foundation.
The regal sect embraces a positivist worldview that typically generates more questions than answers and has established a hegemony underpinned by power, control, compliance and enforcement.
It places an unwarranted emphasis on scientism and its discourse is preoccupied with objects and metrics and littered with stentorian language such as zero community transmission, flattening the curve, transmission coefficients, herd immunity and over-dispersion, which inevitably ensures that humans come last.
A recent appointment to the advisory board includes the national managing partner of KPMG Enterprise, an organisation that was embroiled in the controversial home insulation program in Australia and the catastrophic collapse of Carillion in the United Kingdom.
The forked tongue turncoat is a former trade union powerbroker and bedfellow with the Alan Joyce corporate stable and wallows in the faux celebrity status.
This often involves dropping obscure economic statistics, irrelevant complex political terminology and other non-sequiturs into discussions to masquerade the paucity of any formal education.
Most of the current and former members with the advisory board have been rewarded with an order of chivalry and its hierarchical status is typically inversely proportional to the professional integrity of the recipient.
Several notable omissions from this nest of vipers, which deifies the Friedman doctrine, free market fundamentalism and corporate welfare include George Christensen, Clive Palmer, Ross Lightfoot, Marcus Einfeld, Gary Helou, Gerard Henderson, Gina Rinehart and even Madam Peta Credlin.
In Papua New Guinea anecdotal evidence from its unimpeachable corporate world at the Royal Papua Yacht Club in Port Moresby suggests a Knight or Dame Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (KBE or DBE) costs almost $400,000.
The inferior Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (MBE) can be procured for approximately $70,000.
The fees covering this preposterous charade are subject to change and additional processing charges may apply.
Much of this neoliberal malaise is mirrored throughout the occupational health and safety sector in Australia.
The relentless propaganda is inculcated via a parochial and shallow curriculum administered by the Australian OHS Education Accreditation Board and supported by a parboiled and immature OHS Body of Knowledge. It places an inordinate emphasis on scientism, statutory legislation, metrics, rational decision making and the black box psychology of behaviourism.
This is reinforced via a remunerative displacement activity masquerading as a professional certification scheme, which provides naïve acolytes with meaningless post nominals and authorises the indoctrinated SHEeple to drink the Kool Aid from its fountainhead of safety.
It disregards the inherent subjective nature of risk, fallibility and the enigmatic power of the collective unconscious, which eventually extirpates learning, communities of practice and tacit knowledge.
This renunciates wisdom and a miasma of despair, distrust, intimidation and fear eventually enshrouds a carousel of culpability.
This positivist stem worldview is regurgitated at national and regional safety conferences or via zoom webinars.
It typically consists of a formulaic and relentless stream of turgid sesquipedalian sludge from cohorts of mirror wanking solipsists or narcissists, who would shout out their own name when making love.
Most presentations are littered with pseudo-academic cowardice and rarely challenge the prevailing stem or antediluvian behaviourist ideology.
This typically enables many disingenuous proselytes and their band of caliginous parasites, gutless panjandrums, public serpents, delusional bloggers and circle jerking sycophants to wallow in the micturating patronage and accrue credits under the chimera of continuing professional development.
Over several decades the response from our peak safety body towards this sustained socio-political and economic neoliberal offensive with its malevolent freedom to harm has been a resounding silence and merely substantiates its collaboration and complicity in the sinister crusade.
This reticence and pusillanimity with an extreme reluctance to challenge the orthodoxy has generated inertia or stasis and constrained meaningful change or progress.
It is often underpinned by vanity and exacerbated by a brutal fatwa of zero harm, which enables authoritarian sociopaths to masquerade the turpitude under a rubric of righteousness.