Page 3975 - Week 12 - Thursday, 20 October 2005
suffering multitude, without the means to protect itself, relies especially on the protection of the State. Wherefore, since wage workers are numbered among the great mass of the needy, the State must include them under its special care and foresight.
Rerum novarum also says:
Labor which is too long and too hard and the belief that pay is inadequate not infrequently give workers cause to strike and become voluntarily idle. This evil, which is frequent and serious, ought to be remedied by public authority, because such interruption of work inflicts damage not only upon employers and upon the workers themselves, but also injures trade and commerce and the general interest of the State.
I thought that one was particularly interesting, because Mr Mulcahy was going on quite considerably yesterday about how the economy is not just related to wages, et cetera, and I had meant to say in closing—I am not sure if I did; I cannot remember, because I had a lot to say and I ran out of time, unfortunately—that I am quite well aware that the economy relies on much more than just wages. Fair wages certainly are important to those people who are the engines of the economy, that is, the work force.
Rerum novarum also says:
The following duties … concern rich men and employers: Workers are not to be treated as slaves; justice demands that the dignity of human personality be respected in them … gainful occupations are not a mark of shame to man, but rather of respect, as they provide him with an honourable means of supporting life.
It is shameful and inhuman, however, to use men as things for gain and to put no more value on them than what they are worth in muscle and energy.
The final quote that I would make, which is probably the most pertinent, is this one—
Mr Seselja: Is this still Rerum novarum?
MS MacDONALD: It is Rerum novarum. I am just reminding you of that great encyclical. The final one that I quote for those opposite and for federal minister Kevin Andrews, who is a noted Catholic, to keep in mind is that you cannot pick and choose which popes you want to take information from and which particular things they say. This was a very important work at the time and did a lot to change things. You could not say that it was specifically socialist in ideology because it was not. The pope at the time made many comments about the rights of people to earn wages and to spend that money as they chose; that was their ownership. We are certainly not advocating that all money be centralised by the state.
As I was saying, the final quote from Rerum novarum is:
Equity therefore commands that public authority show proper concern for the worker so that from what he contributes to the common good he may receive what will enable him, housed, clothed, and secure, to live his life without hardship. Whence, it follows that all those measures ought to be favoured which seem in any way capable of benefiting the condition of workers. Such solicitude is so far from