Michael Egan has a cogent argument in The Australian regarding the need for the Labor Party to stand up to the unions. My arguments have centred on macroeconomic policy concerns and the need to avoid a wages explosion that will damage the economy and force a recession.
Egan's argument is more pragmatic. Labor will be unelectable federally and in any Australian state if it is perceived by the community to having its policies dictated by narrow trade union interests. He then argues that the Prime Minister and the Labor Premiers will understand this and therefore will not allow themselves to be dictated to by the unions. They will need to assert themselves to assert autonomy in order to survive.
There is not a gram of principle in this approach but it does bring joy to my heart. If Egan is right then Rudd and the Labor Premiers will stand up to the unions and limit the riole of the unions. This is certainly the appropriate policy. But if he is wrong and the Labor leaderships do not assert themselves then they will be replaced by an opposition who identify their cowardice in the face of the union bullies. Thus any pain that the community experiences as a consequence of Labor rule will be transitional - there is light at the end of the tunnel or, dare I say, at the top of the hill.