Updated: May 18, 2020
"Fuck him! Now, you listen to me! I want trading reopened right now." Mortimer Duke
In 1983 John Landis directed Dan Aykroyd and Eddie Murphy to trade places in one of my favourite movies of all time. The tale mimicked Mark Twain's 'A Prince and a Pauper' and challenged the notion of 'nature v. nurture'. It was all part of an elaborate $1 bet between two millionare brothers to see if they could replace a respectable, upper class commodities broker with a homeless street hustler. In the end, the boys unpicked the social experiment and sent the Duke brothers to the 'poor house'.
DapperDan cautiously announced a return to the trading floor. I have to say, I am pleased with a staged, strategic approach to a return to trade. I'm pleased with the 20, 50,100 approach per enclosed space. I'm pleased that there are short intervals between stages to allow us to 'ramp up'. Scratch that, I might have 'punched air'. Hot Pies, Cold Beer and Footy by the Fire? We're back! I read on.
DapperDan acknowledges "The hospitality industry is one of the pillars of the Victorian economy and has been among (sic) the hardest hit." He recognises the importance of saving jobs and restoring local communities. He goes on to qualify the fact that this is not a 'done deal' and further work needs to be done in consultation with the industry, unions (oh oh) and the public health team. No mention of business viability or survival? No mention of reform? What about us?
Lieutenant Dan, the industry is not the employees, customers, unions or public health officials. The industry is us. We are the ones 'in the trenches'. On one hand you say we are a pillar, on the other you represent us as simply employers and taxpayers. Lieutenant, you've got to put your big boy undies on and pluck up the courage to peer over the trench. There is a machine gunner ready to mow us down if we go over without a bulletproof vest.
I've got 3 orders for you:
1. Abolish the State based Payroll tax,
2. Call your mate ScoMo and tell him to dump FBT,
3. Stick your union card in your back pocket and support industrial reform. Just watch hospitality job losses spike when JobKeeper ends if no changes are made prior.
In 1988, John Landis directed Coming to America, again starring Eddie Murphy. The uber rich African Prince drops some 'pocket change' on the now homeless Duke brothers who are still not talking. Randolph thumbs through the wad of cash, turns to his brother and says "Mortimer we're back!"
I don't want to wait five years between movies. I pray that I’m not homeless before I get my lifeline.