||Issue No. 131||12 April 2002|
Interview: Cross Wires
International: Two Tribes
Activists: Beneath the Veil
Unions: Terror Australis
History: A Labor Footnote To The Royal Funeral
Economics: Private Affluence, Public Rip-Off
Review: The Great Hall of the People
Poetry: Waiting for the Living Wage
Satire: Israel Recruits NAB To Close West Bank
The Locker Room
Week in Review
A Voice for the Shareholders
Noses in the Trough
Memo: Carmen Lawrence
Police: Make the Boss a Woman
Baby Faced Brogden
Workers Online - Aoteroa
Letters to the Editor
Memo: Carmen Lawrence
Gidday Workers online. My thoughts and reply to Labor 21 article featuring Carmen Lawrence 7/4/2002. Steve Presley
Ive just finished reading your plan to invigorate debate from within and without the ALP. One point I've picked up on was that you would like to "pick up young people to replace the baby boomers who are moving on." The ironic point of this comment is that the Baby Boomers would have to be the most self serving -selfish- generation to have ever lived -been raised in Australia.
When one looks at the type of Australia these people lived in post ww2 with full employment, jobs for life, one wage sufficient to feed clothe educate their children, superanuation or a pension, low interest housing loans or 3% fixed loans for the life of the loan etc,etc,etc. Then on the other hand we could take a look at the realities of today. I'm 36, have four children, paying a mortgage which at one stage got to 18% , its now at 6%,Ive worked about 6 months a year for the past 5 years having to travel away from my family to Melbourne or interstate where I have to pay living expenses out of my wage which means there is less to send home.
Before that I moved my family to Melbourne at huge expense and upheaval to all including changing schools renting out house (disaster). We stayed there for 2 years where I worked at the Williamstown Dockyard fulltime. I am currently unemployed, my wife has 15-18 hours per week casual in a nursing home and we are topped up with social security. This is not living, this is shit life in Australia in 2002.
I have hung up my AMWU union card as a boilermaker-welder and have resigned off the Victorian public office selection committee ALP over the Bracks governments handling of the nursing and police dispute (which seemed to be to alike to the policies of Kennett, Howard, Abbott and Reith.) and the handling of the economic disasters in the Latrobe Valley. I worry about where my country is headed. I worry how are my wife and I going to get our children successfully through their education. I worry how we will be able to give our kids a better start in life than we had so there not in the position were currently in. I worry when i/we get to retirement age there wont be a pension left after the Baby Boomers have used it all up like everything else before us. Jobs, Government investment -Infrastructure-Utilities, Public Service, Environment, Superannuation, Pension, Cheap affordable housing and food .
We are currently spending $250.00 per week on grocery shopping. When my three girls and one boy get married what will be the cost of weddings in around 10-15 years time? I've been to three youth suicide funerals in the past year in the Latrobe Valley. If I'm having trouble coming to grips with our younger generations future I can understand why the younger ones are opting for the "Easy" way out.
The ALP MUST provide an alternative to the Coalition or its finished as a workers representative party. To Simon Crean and other leaders I say chase the swingers or the voters who choose what's in it for them only on election day but do so at the risk of losing the Heart the workers who will turn to the greens and other groups if policies are not put in place to give hope to the future.
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