||Issue No. 157||18 October 2002|
End of Ignorance
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
Memo to Junior
Pandora's Box on Prayer?
Unions Back Sinn Fein Mandate
A group of Australian national and NSW State union leaders joined 14 NSW State MPs and leaders of the Irish and Aboriginal community in Australia in urging British Prime Minister Tony Blair to respect Sinn Féin's electoral mandate. The statement called on the British Government to reject Unionists demand that Republicans be removed from power sharing in the Six Counties.
The following is the text of the message sent to Blair on 10 October, which was released to the media in Australia, London and Ireland. Copies of the letter were also sent to the British and Irish Embassies and Consulates in Australia:
"Dear Prime Minister Blair,
"With the Peace Process in Ireland facing yet another Unionist-created crisis, as Australian Members of Parliament, Trade Union and Community leaders, we urge you to stand firmly by the power sharing terms of the Good Friday Agreement and the institutions established under it.
"We believe that the present crisis has been deliberately contrived by the Unionist leadership to undermine and destroy political reform and power sharing. We urge your Government to honour all the commitments made in the Good Friday Agreement and not allow the Unionists to exercise a veto on political reform that they have no right to.
"In elections at all levels on both sides of the border in Ireland, Sinn Féin has won a strong mandate. We note that Sinn Féin is the only political party to have elected representatives to the Parliaments in Belfast, Dublin and London. We have no doubt that this electoral success is based on Sinn Féin's Peace Strategy and its commitment to the Good Friday Agreement.
"To exclude Sinn Féin from power sharing would be to disenfranchise hundreds of thousands of voters who supported the party at the ballot box. It would be an offence to the principle of democracy and a repudiation of the political process that so many throughout the world believe holds the key to the peaceful resolution of the centuries long conflict in Ireland.
"Prime Minister Blair, we believe that despite the present difficulties, the historic opportunity to resolve the conflict in Ireland by political means remains if all the parties to the Good Friday Agreement have the will and determination to see it through. We urge your Government to firmly support those in both communities who are genuinely bound by the 1998 Good Friday Agreement and who continue to promote a resolution of he conflict through political reforms and the peace process.
"We urge you to reject Unionist pressure to exclude Irish Republicans from power sharing and we urge you not to suspend the democratic institutions established under the Good Friday Agreement."
The statement was signed by the following NSW MPs:0
Hon Meredith Burgmann,President NSW Legislative Council; Hon Tony Kelly, Deputy President NSW Legislative Council; Jim Anderson, MP for Londonderry; Deirdre Grusovin, MP for Heffron; Tony McGrane, MP for Dubbo; Col Markham, MP for Wollongong; Alison Megarrity, MP for Menai; John Mills, MP for Wallsend; Ernie Page, MP for Coogee; Milton Orkopoulos, MP for Swansea; Neville Newell, MP for Tweed; Paul Lynch, MP for Liverpool; Hon Ian West, Member Legislative Council; and Hon Peter Primrose, Member Legislative Council.
Trade Union leaders: National Union leaders - Paddy Crumlin (Maritime Union of Australia), Tony Maher (CFMEU Mining and Energy), John Sutton (CFMEU Construction) and John Maitland (CFMEU National Secretary) were joined by NSW union leaders Russ Collison (Australian Workers Union), Maurie O'Sullivan (Public Service Association) and Luke Foley (Australian Services Union).
Other signatories were: Denis O'Flynn, President Irish National Association of Australia; Kevin Tory, Director of the Trade Union Committee for Aboriginal Rights; Rt Hon Jim Macken (retired Judge); Damian O'Connor, NSW ALP Assistant Secretary; and Paddy Gorman, President Australian Aid for Ireland.
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