Paul Howes, the Australian Workers Union National Secretary, trade union heavy weight, probable future leader of the Australian Labor Party (ALP), and therefore possibly a PM of Australia one day, in a recent interview has essentially rubbished small farming businesses as worthless and advised “Ma and Pa” farmers to give up and make way for big business and farming conglomerates.
I could go on transcribing and paraphrasing more about what this union boss said but you can “Google it” if you want to read more about his justification for slandering small farming businesses… What I’m more interested in doing is smashing his view to pieces like a sledge hammer on a fat Chinchilla watermelon.
Firstly, Paul Howes is a union boss and it’s in his interests to want only big businesses in Australia because big business means lots of employees under the same roof which in turn means stronger workers unions and that’s seriously needed both funding wise and politically for union delegates and the ALP.
So it’s no surprise that Howes couldn’t give a dam about farming small businesses with its mostly family orientated, owned, and run models because he can’t control them. Incidentally, small businesses are the biggest employers of people in Australia – not multinational farming companies, not huge supermarket chains, not the governments, but ordinary “Ma and Pa” small business owners are the actual backbone of this country so it’s amazing he should attack the foundations of our great country.
As far as the farming sector goes “Ma and Pa” farming is on the rise with more people wanting to know where their food comes from and how it’s made fuelling growth in boutique farming. More and more savvy, educated consumers are wanting: a diverse range of foods not seen in supermarkets, fresh and local produce without chemicals, to encourage and help their local community by buying local, the weekend experience of going to the farmers markets, or to spoil themselves occasionally with gourmet produce from niche online organic sellers.
Hobby farms and small businesses in the farming sector make up a country’s personality. Most of these good people are not in business to become millionaires – they’re not interested in market domination – what’s important to them are the things money can’t buy and that’s a sense of community, family, pride in produce, kindness to animals, honour, a hard days work for a fair days pay, lifestyle, and all those values we love to admire as humans.
There’s more to life than making billions and a union boss like Howes who “represents” workers’ rights to leave entitlements and fair working conditions should know better than to target the family farm and the good people who run them – someone should wash his potty mouth out with organic soap made from Australian goats in the Adelaide Hills.
We won’t listen to scaremongering coming from union officials and as their member base shrinks the louder they’ll squawk until they realise these archaic views of big farming companies with masses of workers (who have the power) can’t intimidate the even older tradition of small “Ma and Pa” farming which is making a strong comeback.
Big business will always be there mostly thriving and if multinationals want to take advantage of a growing Asian market by producing bland crops of GM food for the masses well good on them and good luck! However, don’t be bullying smaller farmers out of their modest takings just for the sake of greed and power. Because no one likes a bully and the people will turn and when that happens we all know the saying, the bigger they are the harder they fall…
Nope, you’ve got it wrong Paul Howes by dissing the family farm in advocating on behalf of big business and next time you sip that boutique Shiraz in your business class Qantas seat I hope you recognise where that wine came from and pull your head in.
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Mark Valencia – Editor SSM
Look, and see the Earth through her eyes…