|Issue No 115||12 October 2001|
Abbott Flees Ansett Workers
Workplace Relations Minister Tony Abbott today cut short a speaking engagement after being confronted by angry Ansett workers.
Abbott was at Sydney's Darling Harbour presenting the Equal Opportunity for Women in Workforce Agency Business Opportunity Awards when Ansett workers gathered outside.
When the workers began their peaceful protest, calling on Mr Abbott to back a union rescue plan for the airline and protection of their entitlements, the Minister cut short his speech and left.
Ansett worker Elizabeth Krstevska said the group had wanted to speak to the Minister to brief him on their plight.
"When Mr Abbott was confronted by a group of women who wanted their own opportunity to get their jobs back, he turned and ran," Ms Krstevska said.
"We expected more for a man with a reputation as a Tough Guy, instead he acted like a wimp."
Ansett workers are planning to shadow the Howard Government and his ministers throughout the election campaign.
"We feel betrayed by the Prime Minister and we want all Australians to understand the way he has betrayed the Ansett workers," she said.
Howard could sabotage Ansett jobs
Meanwhile, Commonwealth Government documents released by the Federal Court last night show that the Howard Government could sabotage the Ansett Administrators' plans to save thousands of jobs and rebuild a viable business.
ACTU Secretary Greg Combet says a letter dated 7 October to the Administrators from Deputy Prime Minister John Anderson showed the Government was trying to tie the Administrators' hands, thereby driving Ansett towards liquidation.
"John Howard is pretending to help Ansett workers with their employee entitlements, but this letter shows that the Government does not intend to put in any money unless the Administrators first sell Ansett's assets. This threatens the Administrators' rescue plan and 17,000 Ansett jobs.
"To save it from paying a single dollar in employee entitlements, the Government is also demanding that the $150 million agreed to be paid to Ansett from Air New Zealand be frozen. This could sabotage the Administrators' chances of developing a viable airline. At the same time the Government is collecting the $10 ticket tax, which was supposed to fund the employee entitlements", said Mr Combet.
"By attempting to tie the Administrators' hands, the Federal Government is forcing Ansett closer to liquidation, with the loss of 17,000 jobs.
"The Court documents also confirm union concerns that the Federal Government has been on Qantas' side since at least June this year, when the Government blocked Singapore Airlines' investment plans and torpedoed the attempted recapitalisation of Air New Zealand and Ansett.
"John Howard owes it to thousands of Ansett employees and their families around Australia to let the Administrators get on with their job. Mr Howard should withdraw this grab for Ansett's assets and instead do everything he can to save thousands of Australian jobs", Mr Combet said.
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Review: Rings of Confidence
In his study on the 2000 Olympics, Tony Webb argues that the government and unions reached a new level of cooperation.
Satire: Greens 'Quietly Unconfident' of Forming Government
A leaked memo from a senior member of the Greens reveals the party is unconfident of winning government on November 10.
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Last Modified: 15 Nov 2005