Published in Southern Highlands Newsletter, No. 244, October-December 2021, pp. 35-40.
Rodney Cavalier’s review (Newsletter 241) of the book The Write Stuff (Connor Court, 2020) comments on my Chapter, ‘Faithful and Labor: What Labor Ignores at Its Peril’ and argues that there is no problem. People in the ALP are more secular than decades before, but all are welcome. He denies the suggestion that people of faith (that “weasel word”, he says) are discriminated against within the party by militant secularists. The views of the orthodox religious in the ALP are now a minority because there are fewer of them. Plus, broken down, their views on some social issues are absurd, unpopular, and/or, mostly poorly thought through. As a result, he denies that there is an electoral problem, particularly at the national level, for Labor. He thinks conservative Christians, for example, have a natural home with the conservative parties.
In fairness, Rodney expresses respect for the Christian idea of mercy and compassion for others, and Christians’ belief in redemptive witness and action for social reform.
My argument is an answer to this question: Do we harm the Labor Party by being doctrinaire about people who are Labor or Labor-inclined in everything else, but for some moral and religious views out of keeping with ALP members’ majority thinking? Can we build a social justice coalition if we despise some because of their religious viewpoint?
This article references those Christian Labor MPs who quit the ALP in recent years. My argument amounts to this: Labor frequently forgets its own principles on conscience voting, causes unnecessary antagonisms, and consequent loss of electoral appeal. As elections federally are rarely won by Labor with a substantial margin, alienating potential sources of support limits Labor’s electability. Moreover, even if there were no electoral consequences, or if they are exaggerated, it is right for conscience to be respected by Australian Labor as an integral aspect of the dignity of the person.
Up to a point, Rodney hits the right issues; it is certainly truer than it was that Labor people are secular, as in the non-religious sense of the word, and it might be true that the group wanting a conscience vote on varying issues shrinks every election.
Complacency in assessment, however, can be contested on two grounds: First, that cutting Labor off from communities and ideas we need is a problem. This is particularly so because, as segments of the community ‘volunteer’ not to be Labor, including in ethnic Christian communities who do not hear Labor speaking to them, Labor’s potential appeal shrinks. Second, how a political party renews itself, particularly from a narrow base, can be fatal to its broader appeal. How Labor deals with conscience issues is not only relevant to those whose conscience is directly affected, Labor MPs and party members, it also matters to those who seek the party’s respect for their beliefs and are wary about the party’s answer.
The 2002 National ALP Executive Review
In 2002, the Federal ALP Executive reviewed party policy on the conscience vote. A sub-committee of then Senator John Faulkner, then SDA National Secretary Joe de Bruyn, and others, reviewed the history, custom and practice, and future of voting by conscience.
The reviewers followed Labor orthodoxy in proposing that binding ALP caucuses is a good thing, but that some exceptions are merited. (I have argued in the pages of this Newsletter that the UK practice of three-line, two-line, and one-line Whip voting, depending on the seriousness of the issue, as well as the electoral and personal perspectives of MPs, is much preferred to the Australian practice, but that need not detain us for now.)
In Labor’s early years in the Australian parliament, “free votes” were allowed on some contentious economic policy, including tariff measures. Over the years, the Federal ALP Caucus allowed free votes on certain Bills and Motions of the Parliament, including divorce laws, the Matrimonial Bill, 1957, Matrimonial Causes Bill, 1959, Marriage Bill, 1961; fluoridation (of Canberra’s water supply (mid 1960s); abortion in the ACT (1973 & 1978); decriminalising homosexual acts (1973); family law reform (1974); medical benefits for the termination of pregnancies (1978); euthanasia laws in the Territories (1996 & 1997); research involving embryos and prohibition of human cloning (2002 & 2006); the Therapeutic Goods Amendment (Repeal of Ministerial Responsibility for Approval of RU486) Bill (2005 & 2006); etc. In the early 1970s, with all-party Committees in the Senate and the House of Representatives, ALP Leader Gough Whitlam argued that ALP members had a free vote on all committee matters.
In some of the state branches of the ALP, the history is interesting. In South Australia, perhaps reflecting the strong historic influence of anti-gambling Protestants, conscience votes were allowed on lottery, gambling, racing, casinos Bills, as well as on abortion, divorce, and sexual matters. The simple proposition being: if the matter is a “social question”, a conscience vote is allowed. Other State Branches, however, are more limited in their tolerance of conscience voting.
Overall, the position of the Labor Party is that where there is Federal or State policy, then that position is binding on MPs. Where there is no policy, the majority position of the relevant parliamentary caucus is binding. One exception is abortion. In 1984, the ALP National Conference decided: “Conference resolves that the matter of abortion can be freely debated at any State or federal forum of the Australian Labor Party, but any decision reached is not binding on any member of the Party.”
The conclusion of the National Executive review of conscience voting in 2002 was pragmatic: resolving to consider the conscience vote on a case-by-case basis, considering deeply held moral, social, and religious views as key.
The National Executive also asserted that any ALP member or MP seeking the right to a conscience vote could appeal to the National Executive to consider the merits.
Freedom of Religion and Conscience in Australian Law
It is interesting to note that the High Court in the Scientology case (1984) interpreted the relevant section (Section 116) of the Constitution as protecting the religious conscience of minority groups in Australian society. The justices went beyond the case to consider wider issues.
In a joint decision, Justices Sir Ronald Darling Wilson AC and Sir William Patrick Deane AC opined that there are five indicia useful in this area: (i) That the collection of ideas and practices involved a belief in the supernatural (being something that could not be perceived by the senses); (ii) That “the ideas relate to man’s nature and place in the universe, and his relation to things supernatural” ; (iii) That the adherents accept certain ideas as requiring them or encouraging them to observe particular codes of conduct or specific practices having some supernatural significance; (iv) The adherents themselves form an identifiable group or groups; (v) The adherents themselves see the collection of ideas, beliefs, and practices as constituting a religion. (Australian Law Journal Reports, Vol. 57 (1984), pp. 785, 807.)
Arguably, such principles should apply to Australian political parties, as indicative of good practice. (Some might go further and say that as political parties’ funding comes from the state purse, they should be required to so act. But that is not a view I adhere to. Parties should have an unfettered right to choose whatever they think is correct policy, with exceptions of incitement to violence, etc.) The point is that respect for beliefs that centre on what it means to be divinely human, mankind’s nature, and place in the universe, should be a benchmark for assessing claims to a conscience vote.
By Their Practice You Shall Know Them
Unfortunately, since the 2002 National Executive review, there are instances where management by party officials and Federal and State Leaders of dissenting views show a lack of respect for conscience. This has applied to same-sex marriage, abortion law, and euthanasia. At times the party has allowed itself to be seen as reluctant to respect the conscience position of its members. Some MPs quit the party as a result.
Overall, Labor is respectful of dissent from prevailing, majority opinion on life and morals. The exceptions, however, have been damaging, particularly in Tasmania. But there are relevant examples in every state.
At the Federal ALP Conference in July 2015, then Federal Leader Bill Shorten promised to legalise gay marriage in the first 100 days of an ALP government. He moved a motion, seconded by deputy leader Tanya Plibersek, resolving that there was a time limit, such that the conscience vote on this matter only applied until the 46th, parliament, when support for marriage equality would then become binding. (That is, within four to five years.). By then, the right to a conscience vote would lapse. In contrast, in December 2011, Labor’s Platform was amended to support same-sex marriage, but allowed MPs an unfettered conscience vote. In 2015 the numbers in favour of a conscience vote on this issue were failing. This was in response to the overwhelming feeling within the ALP itself in favour of marriage equality. Ironically, Tony Abbott, the then Prime Minister, denied a conscience vote among Liberal MPs (some of whom had drafted a Private Members’ Bill) and then proposed a public plebiscite. Instead of Labor slamming the reprehensible action of Abbott disrespecting the consciences of his MPs, Labor decided to do the same with theirs (who had time, however, to decide if they still wanted to seek re-election, given the change of the party Platform.) A distinction and precedent were being made to restrict conscience voting to life and death matters and not more broadly, on moral and religious convictions.
Senator Joe Bullock, a conservative Labor Senator from Western Australia, delivered a speech on 1 March 2016 which announced his resignation from the parliament. He stated that he could not remain a member of a party that did not support the conscience vote:
This … has consequences for me as a member of the parliamentary Labor Party, which are distinct from its consequences as a member of the party itself. As a member of the party, I am free to disagree with party policy, to lobby for change and to encourage people to join the party with a view to achieving that end. … As a member of the parliamentary Labor Party I have different obligations. It is a part of the job description of every Labor senator to work as hard and as effectively as they can to persuade every voter possible to direct their vote to Labor so as to maximise the prospect of a Labor victory. As a Labor senator, it is my job to tell voters that it does not matter that Labor will outlaw the conscience vote on homosexual marriage and to recommend a vote for Labor without reservation.
He considered whether he was so popular as capable of winning a seat in his own right, but concluded:
… putting that to one side, if I am to resign, it cannot be to continue as a senator. I was elected to the Senate and elected as an ALP senator only because I was on the ALP ticket. The ALP needs all of its senators to work without reservation for the election of a Labor government. I can’t do that, and I am morally obliged to resign from the Senate and allow my party to fill my position with someone who can give the commitment that I cannot.
Bullock was never that popular within the ALP, though he played an effective factional role when he was WA Secretary of the SDA. (As a Senator he had poor public recognition in WA. As a politician in Canberra, he took to the life as a duck to ice. He slipped on unsure ground, felt out-of-place, and unhappy with the atmosphere of Federal politics.) Yet his resignation speech was of admirable clarity and principle. Bullock eventually settled in Tasmania and joined the Liberals.
Ultimately, on 7 December 2017 Australian voters decided in a national plebiscite in favour of changing the words of the Marriage Act 1961.
Then the matter went to the Parliament for ratification. Some Liberals absented themselves from the Chamber at the crucial juncture. (Morrison was one such MP, notwithstanding that his electorate, Cook, voted for reform.) A small minority of Federal Labor Caucus members reportedly wanted to exercise the conscience vote they were still allowed by the Platform and Rules, and either oppose or abstain from voting on amendments to the Marriage Act. But in the House of Representatives, there was no Division on the vote. In the Senate, two ALP Senators voted against and two abstained.
It is unclear where the whole thing sat on the spectrum of “doing the right thing by the Leader” to accepting the view of the Australian electorate.
In most western Sydney electorates, the “No” vote won by substantial margins. Labor MPs representing no-voting seats weighed conscience and long-term politics in deciding to be on the “right side of history”. For one or two, solidarity was their temporal excuse.
The question to ask is this: Whether it is correct to say that Labor’s people are self-selected secular types? Or is it more correct to say that they choose not to be sectarian? This is reflected in the Constitution drafted at the same time as the labour movement took shape (i.e., in the 1890s), where religion and politics were defined in non-sectarian terms.
Conflicts on Conscience
Pre-selection is where conscience is being denied or thwarted in the ALP. Can you get onto Emily’s List, “the ginger group that provides a financial, political and personal support network for progressive Labor women in Australian politics”, for example, if you advocate for restricting abortion in the final trimester? Emily’s values include: “We believe women must have control over their own bodies and choices in their lives” which is interpreted extremely liberally. (Emily’s List Australia is based on an US precedent; EMILY is an acronym which stands for “Early Money Is Like Yeast – it makes the dough rise,” a very American expression.)
Before the last Federal Election there was a push by a pro-abortion group in the ACT ALP to end the conscience vote. Had the matter gone to a vote it might have won but would have had no effect because of the overriding status of the 1984 Federal Platform amendment supporting conscience on abortion.
In the euthanasia debate in Tasmania in 2020, the Left sought to deny Labor MPs a conscience vote. But ultimately, conscience voting was allowed. An MP, Madeleine Ogilvie, who had left the ALP, because of a vicious campaign of harassment due to her stance on same-sex marriage, concluded she did not belong. Her history is instructive.
In 2014 Ogilvie, a Christian of Catholic and Quaker background, was elected for the ALP in the Division of Denison in the Tasmanian parliament at the state election. Under Tasmania’s Hare-Clark election process, the order candidates appear on ballot papers is randomised and each candidate fights it out with others, including those in the same party, for recognition and support. A personal vote matters more than in any other lower house electoral system in Australia. Ogilvie presents herself as a reasonable, pragmatic politician, who saw her positions on issues of principle as a right to be encouraged and countenanced. In 2015, Ogilvie was one of two Labor MPs who voted against a Greens’ motion declaring in favour of same-sex marriage; the other was David Llewellyn, a former Deputy Premier.
Demonstrations were held outside her electorate office, hate mail was sent to her. The pavement outside her office was decorated with slurs and nasty comments. She was in favour of Labor showing tolerance to those who disagreed with the capital L Tasmanian Left position on moral issues. She said then: “I will not be bullied by a small group of people who say they want tolerance but behave with anything but tolerance.” Further, she argued: “Tactics of intimidation, property damage and bullying on social media … are completely unacceptable.” At the time, senior Labor figure and State secretary of the Health and Community Services Union, Tim Jacobson, who took part in protests outside of Ogilvie’s office, responded: “Maddie, you know that the [ALP] state conference has a binding vote on marriage equality … you are a state ALP member and are bound by the decision.” In other words, he said what most Tasmanian party members wanted: that her conscience be subjugated to the majority will.
Both Llewellyn and Ogilvie refused to publicly reveal how they intended to vote on the same-sex marriage postal survey in 2017 and this caused more ructions. (She was open to voting in favour but thought MPs and Labor members had a right not to be dragooned into publicly revealing their position.) Earlier in 2017, at Labor’s State Conference, Ogilvie was again threatened by the Left with expulsion from the party if she did not toe the “yes” line. She was also attacked because she expressed opposition to a Bill to allow euthanasia in Tasmania. Nonetheless, she ran once more in March 2018 as a Labor candidate in the state election (Llewellyn retiring at the same election) but was defeated. The reaction in party headquarters was jubilation. She considered whether her continued party membership was warranted. She let her membership lapse. Unexpectedly, on a countback she re-entered parliament as an independent in September 2019, replacing an MP who quit the parliament. Naturally, Labor people hoped she would do the right thing by her former party. As she was replacing a Labor MP, Ogilvie contemplated rejoining and sought assurances from Labor Leader Rebecca White. It is understood that Ogilvie asked for a commitment to stop the bullying, but there was an inability to honour her request.
In the most recent vote in 2020 on assisted dying in Tasmania, as an independent MP Ogilvie secured assurances from the Premier that conscientious objection by Catholics would be respected and won a promise to exempt Catholic hospitals from a legally mandated obligation to euthanise patients. On this basis, despite some qualms, she voted for the Bill. Shortly after the 2021 state election was called, she joined the Liberal Party and ran for re-election in the Division of Clark. She was elected to the fifth and last seat beating the former Speaker, the independent, former Liberal MP, Sue Hickey, thereby securing for the Liberal Party an absolute majority in the Tasmanian Legislative Assembly. When she was in the ALP, Ogilvie felt isolated, with no support from party office or the leadership, or the party nationally. Ogilvie came from traditional Labor stock (a grandfather was a State Labor MP, and she is a great-niece of a former Labor Tasmanian Premier, Albert Ogilvie), was known as a refugee advocate, and as a supporter of Aboriginal treaty rights. She had worked for UNESCO. But Ogilvie was driven out of the party and ultimately considered her views better suited to the broad church of the Liberals, rather than Labor’s.
In Tasmania, Labor has a problem with the main Left faction using its numbers to crush dissent and enforce the will of a handful of its leaders. Ogilvie was abused by them. An indication of the wider malaise became apparent at the time of writing in late August 2021. Dr Bastian Seidel, a former president of the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners, Labor’s state health spokesperson, resigned from the Shadow Cabinet and the parliament saying: “I can’t work in a toxic environment, and I can’t work with people who constantly leak information to the media out of pure selfishness.” He lamented: “There’s got to be virtue in politics, but I just can’t see it. And for that reason, I’ve decided to resign.” If ever a state branch of the Labor Party needed federal intervention, it is Tasmania’s.
Part of the undermining of the ALP tradition of conscience votes on life matters is that historically abortion/euthanasia Bills were introduced as private member Bills. But now they are frequently — Queensland, Victoria, Western Australia, under Labor governments, Tasmania under the Liberals — introduced as government Bills. This means that the full weight of the government and all its resources is applied to the passage of a Bill, as it is government business.
In Queensland in 2018, with the decriminalisation of abortion Bill, it was made very clear from day one by the Left, especially Deputy Premier Jackie Trad, that anyone who opposed it was anti-woman, anti-choice, etc., and could expect to be identified and attacked as such. The government, which sponsored the Bill, did not provide political or organisational safety to any MP who was opposed. This lack of leadership was magnified by the fact that not one Minister/senior MP or party figure publicly defended ALP MPs’ right to a conscience vote that should be respected.
Privately, some members of Cabinet and MPs were waverers, especially since the Bill was a wholesale reform of abortion and not just addressing criminal action. But they were told that voting against the Bill, as it was a government Bill endorsed by Cabinet, meant that Ministers should consider resigning from Cabinet. Backbenchers with ambition were told that it would not help them realise their aspirations if they voted against a “government” Bill.
In Queensland, Labor MP Jo-Ann Miller, after 20-years as the Member for Bundamba, resigned in February 2020 amid escalating tensions, citing a “health scare”. She was the only Labor MP to vote against the decriminalisation of abortion in 2018. She said she could no longer continue and resigned from the party. (Her seat was subsequently won by the Labor candidate.) Labor MP Linus Power abstained from voting altogether in 2018. Strangely, the Liberal-National Party (LNP) opposed all amendments with a view to voting the whole Bill down, upsetting the position of those within Labor who wanted to weaken some provisions of the proposed legislation. Though a conscience vote was allowed for LNP members on the final Bill, along the way MPs were denied a vote on the amendments.
In Western Australia, state MP, Margaret Quirk, an MP since 2001, who described herself as an “imperfect Catholic”, spoke of the pressure imposed on MPs and argued that Labor needed to articulate a defence of the conscience vote more forcefully. Quirk rejected the idea that those opposing voluntary assisted dying lacked compassion. She denounced Western Australia’s euthanasia laws, attacked her own government’s consultation process, and described it as running up a “white flag” on palliative care.
But there was overwhelming support on both sides of the Legislative Assembly supportive of the proposal. Quirk argued that “…we are conceding we cannot marshal the considerable resources in our health system to allow those with a terminal illness to enjoy a quality of life in their remaining time.” She noted that the Bill offered Western Australians fewer safeguards than those contained in recently enacted Victorian legislation: “By giving up, we consign the vulnerable, depressed, the mentally-ill and the socially isolated to the risk of coercion or — worse still — that they feel that they have no choice but to accede to an early and untimely death,” she said. Quirk criticised the $41 million in funding for palliative care provided in the May 2019 state budget as far too little, some of which she said was previously announced money, and some which would be used to implement the voluntary assisted dying laws.
Her stance was informed by Labor principles, drawing attention to the inequitable provision of resources to, the need for increased funding for, the state’s hospitals. Of course, the issue of voluntary assisted dying is complicated and necessarily emotional. People of goodwill can and do disagree. A former WA state Labor MP, Ed Dermer (MLC, 1996-2013) passionately argues: “A proportion of Australian electors hold the view that independent trade unions and quality public services are important while also holding the view that protecting human life in its most vulnerable circumstances is no less important.” He told me: “A substantial and respected provision of the conscience vote on life related issues attracts such electors to the Australian Labor Party.”
The recent experience on other states is also interesting. In Victoria in 2017, the Deputy Premier, James Merlino, and then Upper House MP Dr Daniel Mulino, led the opposition to the assisted dying legislation. Some amendments were passed. It was a government Bill, introduced by the Health Minister Jill Hennessy and championed by Premier Daniel Andrews. In practice, rather than a genuine conscience vote being afforded to all Labor parliamentarians, a small number of Labor members aligned with the SDA were granted conscientious objector status. As a result of Mulino’s efforts, Senator Kim Carr said he would oppose Mulino’s re-endorsement as a Labor candidate for the Upper House electorate covering Eastern Victoria. Even in Victoria’s Balkanised factional system, with shifting allegiances, and sometimes unpredictable consequences, the threat was not entertained too credulously. He eventually side-stepped state politics to win Labor Federal preselection and ultimately succeed at the 2019 Federal Election to the electorate of Fraser, a new seat created in the 2018 redistribution.
In the November 2017, a private members’ Bill legalising euthanasia was defeated in the New South Wales Legislative Council by 20 votes to 19. Labor’s MLCs split evenly, with six voting for the bill and six against. If the Bill had proceeded to the Legislative Assembly, the best estimates at the time had 17 Labor MPs in favour and 17 against.
Several months prior to the vote, the then NSW Labor Leader Luke Foley made clear publicly that state Labor MPs would be granted a conscience vote, that Labor would not take a collective position on the euthanasia Bill, and that every one of his caucus colleagues was free to vote for or against the Bill in accordance with their conscience.
Foley stated that he would vote against the Bill if it came before the Lower House. Paul Keating was a vocal critic of the NSW euthanasia legislation. Chris Minns, then a first term MP, was an active opponent of the Bill. Minns, now Leader himself, has stated that any new Bill on euthanasia would be the subject of a conscience vote for his caucus colleagues.
This reveals that the New South Wales Branch of the ALP is more enthusiastically tolerant of conscience voting on life matters than the Victorian, Queensland, Western Australian, and Tasmanian state branches.
The approach that prevails in New South Wales Labor is consistent with the conclusion that John Faulkner and Joe de Bruyn reached in 2002, that “the most appropriate model is the case-by-case, political model, but with consideration and tolerance of other factors relating to religion, the Party platform, and precedent”.
In NSW, at the time of writing, a Private Members’ Bill on assisted dying is being circulated by independents and the Greens. Both major parties, Liberal and Labor, are committed to a conscience vote, though it is possible a Bill will not be debated in this parliament. In 2019, the Premier supported abortion law changes. The ALP allowed a conscience vote, 10 Labor MPs in the Legislative Assembly voted against. The atmosphere was respectful of contending views. Surprisingly to some, after the Greens, the NSW National MPs are the most socially liberal party in the parliament, with an overwhelming number of their MPs supporting liberalised abortion and euthanasia laws.
In June 2021 in South Australia, assisted dying legislation was passed with the South Australian Leader of the Opposition, Peter Malinauskas, a former South Australian secretary of the SDA, supported the legislation, causing a reaction from some orthodox Catholics in the party. A former South Australian Treasurer and State MP to 2018, Jack Snelling, another ex-SDA staffer, resigned from the ALP in July 2021 and, with former South Australian Labor Minister Tom Kenyon, co-founded the Family First Party. In launching the new party, Snelling said: “We are very concerned about religious freedom and attempts to restrict that freedom”, and that “I think that particularly in the last few years the political environment has shifted significantly in both the major parties where you simply cannot prosecute arguments about religious liberty.” They are likely to be a thorn in the side of both major political parties in that state, a reminder of the volatility of religious faith, conviction, and its implications for Labor politics. They might also siphon support from religious voters hitherto comfortable with South Australian Labor to join them, thereby weakening erstwhile supporters. The history of minority parties like Family First is that they create a lot of fury on the road to a dead end.
Rodney Cavalier said in his review: “Labor has not lost one religious voter for reasons of religion.” This article points to those MPs the ALP lost from parliaments on issues of conscience motivated by their religious outlook. The example of Ogilvie is particularly instructive. Labor is doing badly in Tasmania. Her departure from Labor’s ranks explains one reason why. But her example is more than a case where the stridency and intolerance of her opponents within the party led to unfortunate consequences for political Labor.
It might be that those who embrace religious views will continue to decline within Labor’s ranks. Matthew Arnold’s 1867 poem ‘Dover Beach’ captured a mood that has remorselessly gained momentum in the 154-years since: “The Sea of Faith/ Was once, too, at the full, and round earth’s shore/ Lay like the folds of a bright girdle furled./ But now I only hear/ Its melancholy, long, withdrawing roar,/ Retreating, to the breath/ Of the night-wind, down the vast edges drear/ And naked shingles of the world.” Arguably, across the western world, the loud roar of Christian faith is muffled or muted. All “established” religions are in decline (some evangelicals and Pentecostals, however, stand in contrast), but too much can be made of this. Labor and Australian society operate in a secular environment. Yet only 30% of Australians reported “no religion” in the 2016 census. (We will see if there is much change in the 2021 census.) Whatever the reason, the 70% are saying something, and their reasons could be operative at the polling booth. In other words, it is not only the hard-core church goers who matter.
Sadly, the tolerance of which Faulkner and de Bruyn wrote in 2002 is in short supply in some branches of the Labor Party today. It is not merely pragmatism, and electoral consequence, that is important. It is the principle of respect for ideas, beliefs, and practices that constitute a religious viewpoint that is compatible, indeed aligned, with social democracy, which strives for improvement, and seeks to care for “those who have borne the heat and burden of the day.” (Matthew 20:12). Doing anything less is harmful — to Labor and all concerned.