||Issue No. 134||03 May 2002|
The Hijacking of May Day
Interview: Youth Group
History: Back To The Future
Industrial: On the Street
Unions: The New Deal
Legal: The Police State Road
Women: What Women Want
Politics: Street Party
International: The Costs of War
Review: Songs of Solidarity
Satire: Bono Satisfies World Hunger for Preachy Rockstars
The Locker Room
Week in Review
M1 Open Letter
May Day Debacle
Mothers Day Musings
Greetings From Canada
Week in Review
Two Bob Each Way
We should be used to it but, fair dinkum, the double standards of hands-off administrations never cease to amaze. The born-again deregulators in Australia's Federal Government are a case in point, never demurring from regulation when there's a chance of preventing a worker getting a fair go...
The battle to save Australian jobs on the coastal trade escalates as Canberra washes its hands of any resposibilities towards Australian seamen. CSL prepares to lower the Australian flag on the Yarra so it can be flagged in the Bahamas and crewed by Ukranians.
The Howard administration has presided over the destruction of the Australian fleet which has fallen from more than 100 vessels to less than 45 since deputy PM John Anderson took over the transport portfolio and openly encouraged foreign flagged ships.
As Tony Abbott pushes for greater deregulation of the labour market, Rio Tinto exposes an extended digit to the rules as they currently exist. The minerals giant continues to ignore judicial orders to reinstate Queensland and Hunter Valley coalminers, shut out of their jobs since 1998. At least three will never go back, they've died waiting since the first reinstatement order was made.
Sweat shops flourish as immigration and safety regulations go unenforced. Had a look around Canterbury or Marrickville lately?
Meanwhile, under-resourced unions such as the CFMEU and TCFUA are left to try and police immigration and workplace safety as best they can.
Just to make it more difficult, Abbott tosses a wish list of regulations, designed to further limit the rights, effectiveness and resources of worker organisations before the Senate.
His latest batch of proposals seeks to limit union funding; make industrial action virtually impossible in many industries by requiring a tribunal order then a secret postal ballot; bar multi-employer bargaining; make common claims illegal; and further restrict rights to contest unfair dismissals.
Government's refusal to set up an effective mechanism to protect workers' entitlements results in a stand-off at Walker Exhausts, South Australia, which threatens motor vehicle production nationwide.
Dubai Pete would be proud of his protégé as the Mad Monk throws verbal hand grenades from the sideline. His best efforts fail to prevent the company reaching an agreement that sees long service leave protected and, potentially, saves taxpayers millions of dollars.
You have to admit that, at least, they're consistent. Peter Costello picks up the anti-worker baton and lowers the bar with one of the Government's most mean-spirited actions, dodging its share of a 6.5 percent wage increase awarded to men and women employed under the Social and Community Services Award.
We're talking about people, employed by community organisations that take up the slack for Government's failure to take responsibility for mental health and social welfare issues, providing disability services, running halfway houses and places like Sydney's Matthew Talbot Hostel.
While Government baulks at an increase that might lift the take home pay of psychologists working with the nation's most disadvantaged to $500 a week, it resists any call to limit rewards for those who cause the problems in the first place.
Outgoing Tabcorp managing director Ross Wilson, responsible for taking the organisation into pokies in a big way, stares down the barrel of a $41 million golden handshake. At Wilson's end of the specturm it works like this - the company you're in charge of gives you an interest free loan of $8 million to buy 3.74 million shares then, generously, buys back its own shares, pushing the price through the roof. Even though you're required to pay back the original loan, it's still a cool $33 million bonus, mimimum.
Jodee Rich and Brad Keeling's shenanigan's continue to take up valuable court time. They, of course, restricted themselves to $7 million apiece before One.Tel rang off but James Packer, for one, is spewing. Canberra's only reaction, however, is to suggest the abolition of unions' rights to seek community standard severance deals, under which the CPSU gained entitlements for the One.Tel crew.
Everyone's favourite corporates, the banks, are doing rather well out of the deregulated economy. They don't even theorise about trickle down as Westpac and the ANZ announce billion dollar nett profits on the back of drastic staff cuts and branch closures.
With HIH still chugging away in the background doctors cancel private surgery in the wake of the collapse of the country's biggest malpractice insurer. The Government, which conned hundreds of thousands of Aussies into private health insurance with promises of pegged fees, suggests it might be the ideal time to remove any public influence on the industry by flogging off Medicare Private.
But, hey, don't worry they're going to regulate so that, on security issues, Australian citizens can be held indefinitely without legal advice and children, as young as 10, may be strip-searched. It emerges that journalists, doctors and priests may be jailed, under proposed security laws, for refusing to divulge information sought by ASIO.
The president of the Law Council, name of Tony Abbott believe it or not, argues the bill offends fundamental civil rights.
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