LETTERS

CRAIG THOMSON Corporate ideas pervade unions CRAIG Thomson's defence and everything leading up to it still remains an open book. Yet the whole sorry saga points beyond this particular individual to the corrosive influence wreaked on the union movement following its permeation by a corporate ideology and mode of organisation.

CRAIG THOMSON

Corporate ideas pervade unions

CRAIG Thomson's defence and everything leading up to it still remains an open book. Yet the whole sorry saga points beyond this particular individual to the corrosive influence wreaked on the union movement following its permeation by a corporate ideology and mode of organisation.

The secretary/president of a union functions like a chief executive, drawing a large salary and enjoying benefits such as business-class travel unavailable to rank-and-file members. Decisions are made at the top level about disbursement of union money, seemingly with little input from ordinary members, thus mirroring the yawning gap in corporations between chief executives and their workers. Finally, many union officials hold interlocking board positions in superannuation organisations and other government-established boards, mimicking the interlocking directorships so prominent at the corporate level.

No doubt this does not apply to every union, but it is clear the Health Services Union exemplifies this corporatisation effectively. If allowed to continue, the process will render unions into empty shells benefiting only their officials.

Greg Bailey, St Andrews

Core of legal system

YOU may or may not believe Mr Thomson's explanation, but to allow Parliament to act as a kangaroo court is a serious blow to the democratic process as it risks trashing the principle of the separation of powers. Fair Work Australia's report is a collection of untested findings by a single investigator. It is no substitute for a decision by a court of law. The presumption of innocence is not an optional extra but the core of our legal system.

John Kotsopoulos, North Balwyn

Media under scrutiny. . .

DISTURBING issues have been raised regarding media conduct. When I read about Channel 7 reporters reportedly "hovering underneath the bathroom window" while Mr Thomson's pregnant wife took a shower, I realised some in the media believe they can act with impunity. Have we learned nothing since the death of WA lawyer Penny Easton, who some years ago was subjected to such extreme harassment by TV hacks? As Media Watch regularly reminds us, decency is more preached than practised by some media.

Rex Condon, Ashwood

. . . for its misogyny

ON MORNING radio on Tuesday, presenters ran a quick telephone poll asking whether female listeners would rather be Craig Thomson's or Peter Slipper's wife. The verdict was that women would rather be Mr Slipper's wife because "it wouldn't be their fault" if a man is suspected of being gay and has an alleged affair, the wife is not to blame. The implication was that if a heterosexual man has an affair or uses prostitutes, it is the wife's fault because she "wasn't good enough".

It is appalling that when men's behaviour is under scrutiny, it can be the invisible, unelected wives whose behaviour is called into question or even seen as the "cause" of men's misdemeanours rather than men being accountable for their behaviour. Such shows unveil the undercurrents of misogyny that still operate.

Pauline Hopkins, Beaconsfield

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