||Issue No. 156||11 October 2002|
Work and the Meaning of Life
Interview: The Wet One
Bad Boss: Like A Bastard
Unions: Demolition Derby
Corporate: The Bush Doctrine
Politics: American Jihad
Health: Secret Country
Review: Walking On Water
Poetry: The UQ Stonewall
Month In Review
The Locker Room
Direct Voting Rights
Iraq is a Gobalisation Issue Too
Letter to George Dubya
WTO and Schools
In a week that has seen the powerful US Farm Lobby vow to block the Howard Government's pipe dream of a free trade agreement that included agriculture, you would think that the Australian Agriculture Minister Warren Truss would be pushing the Howard Government to use its profound influence with the Bush Administration to get an outcome that benefited Australia for a change.
Instead, Truss led a chorus of ministers calling on Simon Crean to stop MUA members from helping out waterfront workers in the United States who have been locked out by their employers. "Australian farmers facing drought and poor crops can ill afford to have their farm exports held up by militant unions." Truss said "Australian workers would not want their own union leaders to be contributing to a heightening of tempers on American wharves that will hurt Australian farmers."
The only problem is that it is the American employers with the backing of George Dubya, not the unions, which is escalating this dispute. Port operators and shipping lines have closed 29 west coast ports, locking out thousands of workers. George Dubya has become the first US president in history to use the courts to end a management lockout after opinion polls showed that Americans wanted to devote more attention to the economy than to Iraq.
"No president has ever been on the side of management so overtly," says the AFL-CIO's Richard Trumka.
But back hope, Wazza couldn't help himself: "I call on Simon Crean, and all of the State Labor agriculture ministers and Premiers to use their influence with the unions to ensure that Australian unions do not help create further pain for Australian farmers. The very real concern is that if this dispute escalates, many millions of dollars worth of income to Australian farmers could be threatened."
Many other millions of dollars worth of income for Australian farmers is threatened by Mr Truss himself, after his government told drought-affected farmers that anything they received from Telstra's Farmhand stunt would count as income for Centrelink purposes. So any assistance farmers received from Telstra's Farmhand appeal would mean a loss of their drought relief from guess who? Warren Truss, the farmer's friend.
Not content with dumping on farmers and workers, Truss then turned his sights upon Australia's filthy rich, managing to rename Australian Agricultural Company CEO as Peter Homes-a-Court. It brings a whole new meaning to the term 'household name'.
And how's this sound grip on high school geography from the man who wasn't afraid to dip into the protection afforded to Australian Sugar farmers on his way up the National Party food chain: "Australian farmers know drought is a part of this arid continent." Our Shorter Oxford describes Arid as "Dry, parched or withered". Most droughts would seem to share these qualities.
All of this should all come as no surprise from the man that, after the closure of a Rockhampton meatworks, blamed workers in his own electorate for being paid too much.
Now that it's been established that Agriculture Minister Warren Truss doesn't support drought affected farmers, voters in his own electorate or Australian working people, will he go down in history as the first Truss to offer no support at all? Maybe the Master Builders Association should see if this Truss is up to standard, as it doesn't appear to support anything in this country.
NB. If you want to see a Warren Truss that actually does offer support then click here link:http://www.bryceworks.com/wtrussbridge/wtrussbridge.html
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