Politics permeates IR: news

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Politics permeates IR: news

Mill closure has political echoes; Hockey says some Howard Ministers are 'duds'; Anti-union scare campaign and NSW marginals.

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Mill closure has political echoes; Hockey says some Howard Ministers are 'duds'; Anti-union scare campaign and NSW marginals.

Mill closure has political echoes

The closure of a small timber mill in the south of NSW has the potential to affect the outcome of the Federal election.

It was announced yesterday that Hume timber mill is to finally close, putting 110 people out of work only weeks before Christmas.

Federal seat

The problem is that the mill is close to the border of the knife-edge Federal seat of Eden-Monaro and many of the workers live in that electorate. Eden-Monaro has traditionally been won by the party taking government.

Current member, Liberal Gary Nairn, holds the seat by 3.3% and both Howard and Rudd have visited it a number of times in the election campaign.

CFMEU union representative, Dusty Miller said the workers, including 88 full-time employees, had been caught in a bidding war between a property developer and a potential new sawmill operator.

Receivers were appointed after the NSW Government decided not to proceed with a large contract which might have helped the mill survive. $4m of taxpayers money has already been spent keeping the mill going.

Hockey says some Howard Ministers are 'duds'

Joe Hockey, the Minister for Workplace Relations, thinks there are some 'duds' among his ministerial colleagues - leading to mischievous speculation as to who they might be.

On Perth's Nova FM breakfast program, when asked how he justifies personal compromises in politics, Hockey said:

'It's like playing in a football team or anything like that. You might not necessarily agree with the tactics. You know you might think another player's a dud. But you're playing as part of a team and you really want to win. And it's no different in politics.'

This caused Labor's Anthony Albanese to maliciously speculate that Hockey might be referring to - listing a half dozen candidates. However, after this week's efforts, Health Minister Tony Abbott has firmed in the betting.

Anti-union scare campaign and NSW marginals

A new poll in marginal seats in Sydney has shown voters are not convinced by the Federal Government's self-admitted 'fear campaign' against the unions.

Workplace Relations Minister, Joe Hockey admitted it was a fear campaign at the weekend, but claimed it was based on 'facts'.

The Galaxy Poll, published in the Daily Telegraph, shows that electors in two seats in which former trade union officials are the Labor candidates, were not concerned by the Liberal Party's warning about union influence on a possible Rudd Labor government.

Only 27% said the ex-union leaders were poor choices as candidates, while 45% said they were good choices and 28% were uncommitted.

In the seat of Dobell, Liberal Ken Ticehurst is defending a 4.8% margin against Craig Thomson, former National Secretary of the Health Services Union.

In Lindsay, Liberal Karen Chijoff (with a 2.9% margin) hopes to replace her former boss Jackie Kelly against Labor's David Bradbury, a former official of the Australian Services Union.

Voters in Robertson (6.9%), where Local Government Minister, Jim Lloyd is facing Belinda Neal, wife of State Education Minister, John Della Bosca, and in Paterson (6.3%), where Liberal Bob Baldwin hopes to fend off former ambulance officer Jim Arneman, were also unfazed by the anti-union ads.

Labor needs an extra 16 seats to take government.

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