The Australian and Janet Albrechtsen in particular are mounting a classic ad hominem attack on the Australia@ Work Report. See also IR critic exposed as a campaigner and Full text of John Buchanan’s speech where the co-author of the inconvenient report said at a Politics in the Pub gathering here in Surry Hills in 2005:
It might be old fashioned it might be idealistic but for me the reason I am a socialist is because I want to live in a world where its easier to have friends. Where its easier to live out the bonds of companionship where we can celebrate our humanity together and we can do that through fishing clubs or we can do it through reading groups or we can do it any way we like but capitalism makes it systematically more hard for people to be friendly and comradely together and we have got to preserve that amongst ourselves to weather the coming storm because that is a deep aspiration amongst all people. There is a growing literature now on the politics and the psychologist of happiness and it shows that once material living standards reach a certain level which the west reached sometime back in the late 40s it doesn’t matter how much growth grows people don’t get any happier in fact they get more unhappy and those who are happiest are those with strong social bonds and this is what the right has picked up on. The neo-cons have picked up on it. That’s what they are talking about when they are talking about family values, that’s what they are talking about when they are talking about being proud to be Australian, they are dealing with people as collective entities and its absolutely vital that the left reconfigures and thinks about how it projects itself as the people who are concerned about people in a collective and companionship sort of way.
So to summarise I have said the onslaughts has happened a long time ago, the onslaught it started. This is just another stage in the steady winding down of the left so don’t think its all about to end we have been losing it for a long time anyway. The strategic challenge is to build up those red bases and that means some really hard decisions are going to have to be made but for my money its going to be looking after the militants in the workplace and opening up new fronts through neighbourhood centres and the like but ultimately the struggle is to have a world where its easier to have friends and, as Gramsci said, whilst we can have pessimism of the intellect we can have optimism of the world.
The English is execrable in places there, but it does appear to be a not very expert and unedited transcript of comparatively informal spoken English after all, not helped by some clanging neo-Marxist cliches.
So? Does this makes the report untrue? The fact the Australia@Work project was rigorously tested for funding by the government’s own research funding agency and has been peer reviewed seems to have been forgotten and all we have is the ad hominem argument and more than a dash of old-fashioned McCarthyism.