Those crazy Texans are at it again. This time the most incompetent and dangerous US Ambassador in living history has launched what is the most disturbing intervention into Australian domestic politics since, well, the last disturbing intervention in Australian politics.
Democracy is obviously too precious a thing to be trusted with the people, so it falls to US Ambassador Tom Schieffer to make sure that Australians get it right. Uncle Tom emerged from the mansion that passes itself off as the US embassy to have a sook about some of the robust debate around the Oil War that's been taking place of late.
Of course the ALP is way out of line for suggesting that a megalomaniacal moron's obsession with getting his hands on cheap oil so that Americans can continue with their god given right to drive an automobile is in any way a threat to world security or the lives of Australian troops committed to the process. What the ALP is doing defending Australian interests must be a mystery to the good mandarins at Foreign Affairs. The last time the ALP did that was when it was led by the member for Werriwa, E.G. Whitlam. We all know that exercise ended in tears for Australian sovereignty.
Tom believes this is a case of good versus evil. George Bush is a good guy, Saddam is a bad guy. John Howard is a good guy, Simon Crean is a bad guy.
Schieffer claims his no-brainer contribution to the domestic debate was driven by the "personal" nature of the attacks and the "anti-American" flavour from another member for Werriwa, Mark Latham. US State Department officials are no doubt now working furiously to have the Federal Electorate of Werriwa added to the Axis of Evil. Libya, Iraq, North Korea, Leppington. It's all starting to make sense.
According to Schieffer to attack George Bush was to attack Americans. Nonetheless, to attack Saddam Hussein is not an attack on Iraqis.
Even Piers Akkerman would struggle to defend that sort of twisted logic.
Shieffer believes that the sentiment expressed by Simon Crean's embracing of the Axis of Evil was driven by "internal Labor Party politics". Well we can be glad we've sorted that out. People may have been thinking that, a hundred and forty years after we sent troops to keep China British, we were getting ourselves involved in another bloodbath that was not of our own making and has nothing to do with our interests, and had very little public support.
It's a rather unique genius that decides that our best interests are served by joining an invasion of one of our largest trading partners.
No doubt the crazy Texan sitting on the Hill keeping an eye on Australian Democracy to make sure that it remains user friendly for US interests has certainly put both of his diplomatic feet in his mouth this time, but at least this time he's honest.
The last time a Labor Leader upset US interests in this neck of the woods we had a good old fashioned bit of regime change.
It's a pity we can't organise a bit of regime change of our own.
The ACTU is stepping up its push for the removal of tax deductibility for corporations who pay their executives more than $1 million per year or reach multimillion termination payments in the wake of Cuffe’s golden handshake furore.
The ACTU proposal, handed to a Senate Economics Committee last month, has been slammed by the conservative press because it would cost corporations more to make multi-million payments.
ACTU Secretary Greg Combet says the changes are needed to stop ordinary taxpayers from subsidising excessive corporate payments and to provide a financial incentive for companies to rein in remuneration packages.
Sources told Workers Online that in the Cuff case, the Commonwealth Bank's tax bill would be cut by about $10 million - 30 per cent of the profit the bank has been forgone.
Under the ACTU plan, the company would not be able to discount the million-dollar payouts from its bottom line, meaning the taxpayer would not be subsidising the exit package.
News of the Cuffe payout has outraged workers, customers and investors. It was announced the same day that the bank, which has chopped 17,000 Aussies off its payroll and closed branches, announced a big fall in profits.
It follows the controversial $4.65 million bonus Commonwealth Bank paid to chief executive David Murray last year. Nationally, the average income of CEO's leapt from 67 times to 89 times the Federal Minimum Wage in the last 12 months.
The Finance Sector Union's Sharron Caddie says the payout would have paid the wages of all the 1,000 workers that the Commonwealth Bank laid off in the past 12 months.
"Its disgraceful that the thousand CBA staff sacked last year could still be in work, and dozens of branches could have remained open, if sums like Cuffe's payout and the bonus paid to David Murray were reinvested in the Bank," she says.
Announcing the ALP Industrial Relations policy to the Labor Council Annual General Meeting, Carr also made commitments to improve regulation of labour hire, reduce asbestos-related diseases and increase industrial protection for taxi drivers.
While failing to renew his 'no forced redundancy' commitment of previous election campaigns, Carr hammered home the record of the Coalition in slashing public sector jobs.
Carr claimed the word around 'the top end of town' was that the Opposition would slash 5,000 jobs from health, education and other public sector agencies if it won the March 22 poll.
He also contrasted the Sydney Liberal's ideological hostility to unions with his governments "open, realistic and ungrudging acceptance of the role of unions".
And he warned that Federal Workplace Relations Minister Tony Abbott would exert greater influence on a Brogden Government as he pushed his federal leadership ambitions.
Working For The Future
Becoming the first NSW Premier ever to unveil his IR agenda directly to the Labor Council, Carr set out a range of initiatives including:
- establishing a Labour Hire Industry Council, involving government, employers and trade unions to oversee the industry. While falling short of the Carr Government's 2000 Labour Hire Inquiry's recommendation that the industry be regulated, the Council would also consider self-regulation arrangements.
- providing the state's 3,800 taxi drivers with access to the NSW Industrial Relations Commission for the first time.
- $2.4 million to establish an Asbestos Research Institute to be based at the Central Sydney Area Health Service
- creating a model set of conditions for all call centres providing services to the NSW Government - both in-house and contracted out.
- improving access to leave entitlements for parents who adopt children
Carr also committed to work safety initiatives arising from the 2002 Safety Summit including more active return to work programs and special case management of 100 companies with poor safety records.
The former Oxford boxing blue is also believed to be gearing for a fresh stoush with building unions with legislation being drafted that would give courts the power to remove union officials from office.
The ACTU has condemned Abbott's move to alter the objects of the Federal Workplace Relations Act, claiming it could lead to real wage cuts for one million low-paid workers.
Under the Abbott plan, the Australian Industrial Relations Commission would need to give 'primary' regard to three factors: the needs of the low paid, employers capacity to pay and the impact on employment.
The ACTU believes effect of these changes would be to restrict minimum wage safety net adjustments to only the lowest paid workers in the economy, and not to all those covered by industrial awards.
"If Mr Abbott gets his way, award wage rises for low paid workers will be abolished or reduced to trivial and tokenistic increases," ACTU secretary Greg Combet says.
The ACTU released figure claiming that Abbott and employer groups were deliberately misleading the public by saying a significant number of workers earning more than $50,000 per annum were benefiting from safety net increases.
In fact, only 0.8 per cent of the Australian workforce fell into this category, with 80 per cent of the nations 1.7 million award only employees earning less than $35,000 per annum.
"Abbott is trying to nobble the independent umpire because the Industrial Relations Commission has rejected the Government's flawed arguments against pay rises achieved by the ACTU for low paid workers," Combet says.
One of unions whose members will be hit hardest, the LHMU, plans to enlist State Governments if the Federal Government pushes through the new law.
LHMU Assistant National Secretary Tim Ferrari says he'll ask State Gov4ernments to support state-based wage increases, effectively bypassing the federal system..
When Senate Estimates revealed the cost of the Royal Commission this week, Melbourne silk John Agius QC topped the money-earner’s list for his effort in extracting $1.489 between August 16, 2001, and February 7, this year. Included in Agius’ haul was a staggering $88,000 in perks and allowances.
Agius topped a chart of 12 Counsel Assisting who benefitted from the exercise, designed to hold down the wages of building workers, by more than half a million dollars each.
Lionel Robberds QC finished second on the money list, boosting his personal fortune by $1,258,000, ahead of controversial colleague Nick Green, who led the assault on the CFMEU's NSW branch and walked away with $944,000 for his troubles.
Other top individual earners were Richard Tracey QC, $861,990; Dr John Bishop, $817,684; Andrew O'Sullivan, $788,812; Ronald Gipp, $681,177; Ian Neil, $665,355; Dr James Renwick, $640,881; Antoni Lucev, $616,525; Dr Matthew Collins, $576,566; Timothy Ginnane, $553,723 and Dr Stephen Donaghue, $465,855.
Bishop proved most adept at utilising the generous allowance regime in place for Commission lawyers, collecting more than $90,000 on top of his $726,000 basic in just over 15 months.
All-up, the Commission forked out a whopping $21 million in legal fees and expenses, up from $19 million in last year's revised budget.
Separate from the allowances already outlined, the Commission paid more than half a million for taxis and cars and nearly $3 million on travel costs.
One intriguing figure was the $1,265,000 devoted to "communications". Throughout its public hearings Commission media officer, Rick Willis, played an activist role in keeping journalists "on message".
Royal Commissioner Terence Cole, QC, will deliver a 6900 page report to Workplace Relations Minister Abbot on Monday, February 24. Abbott is expected to use the document as an excuse to take the power to bar individuals from holding trade union office into his own hands.
Rail Tram and Bus Union NSW secretary Nick Lewocki fired the stinging broadside at Pacific National after it announced maintenance facilities at Parkes and Lithgow would close prior to the March state election.
Lewocki said that Corrigan purchased Pacific National - formerly National Rail and Freight Corp - from the federal and state governments with a cleat understanding that it was required to maintain job security of workers for a three year period.
He says the decision to shed 54 rural jobs in the lead-up to the state election is 'politically calculated' and clearly against the spirit of the purchase agreement.
Lewocki fired the salvo while in the midst of negotiations with Pacific National over a new enterprise agreement. He says the company's announcement of job cuts without prior consultation with the union is indicative of its approach to industrial issues.
The issue has now been referred to the Labor Council's Combined Rail Unions group, which will seek clarification for the NSW Government on Pacific National's contractual obligations.
The report from the conservative financial institution comes as New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark prepares to open a global union women’s conference expected to draw 500 delegates to Melbourne.
Clark will deliver the keynote address when the four-day ICFTU gathering - aimed at boosting the economic situation of women around the world - opens on Tuesday.
The conference will be staged against the backdrop of a World Bank study which confirms that everybody, but women especially, benefit from union membership.
In a report on the impact of globalisation, released this month, the Bank acknowledges that workers who belong to trade unions earn higher wages, work fewer hours, receive more training, and have greater security than non-unionised counterparts.
It also provides a ringing endorsement of collective bargaining, finding that those countries with highly-co-ordinated collective bargaining systems are associated with lower and less persistent levels of unemployment; and fewer and shorter strikes.
World Bank managing director, Mamphela Ramphele, says "co-ordination among social partners promotes better investment climates while also fostering a fairer distribution of output".
At the macro-level, the Bank says, societies with high rates of union membership have lower earnings inequalities, lower unemployment and inflation, and higher productivity.
The study says that union membership reduces wage differentials between men and women and the skilled and unskilled. It lists Germany, Japan, Mexico, South Africa and Unitied Kingdom as countries where unionised women have a greater advantage over their non-unionised counterparts than male union members.
Despite that report card, ACTU president Sharan Burrow says women have a number of problems to focus on.
"Despite large increases in the participation of women in paid work in almost every country over the last two decades, women still do about two thirds of the world's work for only five percent of the income," she said.
Today Owens runs an occupational health and safety business, and contracts to WorkCover as an assessor. Some Sydney building companies won't have a bar of him.
"There are a few with long memories," he admits, "but there is always a bit of work around."
Owens was a rigger and dogman before serving under Jack Mundey as a BLF organiser at the height of the famous green bans campaign He also became prominent in movements for Aboriginal and Womens rights, as well as the mobilisation against the Vietnam War.
Owens became the BLF's NSW branch secretary from 1973 until Norm Gallagher's 1975 takeover resulted in the expulsion of himself and dozens of others.
In common with many others from the Mundey era, he was blacklisted from the industry. After 10 years on the outer, Owens eventually found his way back into construction through the FEDFA and served as site delegate on the Darling Harbour and World Square projects.
Owens and another former BLF activist, Jimmy Avinou, were amongst 12 union stalwarts recognised with Labor Council scrolls of honour at this week's AGM. Owens collected that awarded posthumously to former BLF president, Bob Pringle, who was killed in a 1996 boating accident.
Other workers awarded scrolls for their service to the movement were: Tom Morrison (CFMEU), Alex Malnikoff (CFMEU), Ludwig Strutzenburger (CFMEU), Frank Altoft (TWU), Jack Lawrence (TWU), Michael Johnston (AWU), Leslie Matthews (AWU), Judith Bennett (ASU) and Barry French (TWU).
Two of the workers who alleged in the Chief Industrial Magistrate's Court that they had been ripped off hundreds of thousands of dollars, William Ndlovu and Reevis Khumalo, now face being sent back to South Africa because they no longer have a sponsoring employer.
The third, Elliot Dube, is relatively safe because he has a spouse's visa after marrying an Australian woman.
Labor Council assistant secretary, Chris Christodoulou, called the circumstances facing the chefs "profoundly unfair".
On the one hand, he said, the employer appears to be able to continue sourcing immigrant labour but the workers could be thrown out of the country.
Christodoulou said it was imperative that Government introduced sanctions on employers who used immigrant labour to defeat Australian legal requirements.
"Workers in this situation are extremely vulnerable," Christodoulou said. "They are in this country legally while sponsored by employers but, as things stand, there are no penalties on employers who abuse this trust.
"Trade unions have made the Government aware of dozens of instances where immigrant workers have been underpaid of otherwise exploited but, so far, nothing has been done to close the loophole."
He called on "legitimate" hospitality industry employers to consider employing Ndlovu and Khumalo so they weren't doubly victimised.
Lawyers for the trio and counsel for the Manly eatery reached a "confidential" settlement this week after months of legal arguments. While nobody close to the case would confirm the specifics, Workers Online understands Ribs and Rumps agreed to pay out more than $100,000.
In statements filed with the court, each of the chefs claimed to have been underpaid by more than $100,000. They said repeated requests to be paid in Australian dollars had been rejected by the employer who told them the Australian Government would not allow it.
Until they sought legal representation, last year, they were paid rands into South African bank accounts.
At least two of the men claimed to have been worked six or seven days a week, including stints on the construction of a new Ribs and Rumps outlet at Gordon.
In his statement to the court, the employer sought to offset thousands of dollars in alleged benefits such as accommodation, airfares, soap, clothing and footwear against award entitlements.
Khumalo and Ndlovu both confirmed that they were seeking work in Australia. They said they had constructed new lives since arriving in the country more than four years ago.
Trade union history is rich with the campaigns that have been fought and won to improve working people's lives, and many have been waged with workplace posters, banners and badges,
A selection of these will be on display when the Labor Council of NSW and TAFE - Sydney Institute of Technology will be hold a joint exhibition at the Muse building on the Ultimo College of TAFE campus from the 31 March to 12 April 2003.
Labor Council of NSW secretary John Robertson said that "the exhibition presents a unique opportunity for Labor Council and TAFE to highlight the contribution unions have made to gaining and maintaining decent conditions of employment and training standards in Australia."
He said it was appropriate that the exhibition should be on the grounds of what was Sydney Technical College because it was there that courses on industrial relations began in NSW.
Over 100 posters, a great selection of union badges and banners will be on display. Most of the banners will be modern ones but a small number of historic banners will be displayed from the Trades Hall collection and from affiliates. Images of the restored banners from the Trades Hall collection will be projected. Affiliates are contributing with material from their own collections of memorabilia.
The posters are from the large collection of Alban Gillezeau, a part time teacher at TAFE. They will be organised into themes such as OHS, conditions of employment, May Day and Labour Day, union amalgamations, celebrations (films, theatre), union organising and recruiting, international union actions and support from Australian unions for international actions.
The last major exhibitions of this sort were Working Art at the NSW Art Gallery in 1988, Badges of Labor and Banners of Pride at the Powerhouse Museum in 1987. At the 1993 ACTU Congress a poster exhibition was held showing both Australian and international posters. We hope that the exhibition will be able to tour around NSW.
The Saturday morning incident which occurred near Morriset station highlighted LHMU concerns over the ability of members, prevented from carrying batons, to protect the public
The union says the Morrisett incident left the guard, who was licensed to carry a baton. with cuts and bruises to both legs and his shoulders.
LHMU security union assistant secretary, Mark Boyd, said Chubb had sacked five Newcastle guards after workers in the city took industrial action to have batons returned to licensed persons.
"Our members are committed to delivering safe rail services - but they believe their own personal safety is threatened every time they go to work. They are frustrated by their inability to act," Boyd said.
Throughout January, Boyd said, there had been increased problems because guards' abilities to handle unruly passengers has been compromised by the removal of their batons.
Thanks to support from our subscribers, Workers Online the poll of sites, followed by the Norwegian union movement sote, the British fire fighters campaign page and the Canadian auto workers.
Workers Online received more than 10 per cent of the 6,477 votes cast for nearly 330 diffferent union sites in the annual poll, conducted by the online news site Labourstart. The success followed a runners up title in 2003 and a third place in 2000.
Special mention to Andrew 'Ralph' Casey, whose LHMU site - another of the LaborNet stable - finished in the Top 10.
For final results go to: http://www.labourstart.org/lwsoty/
Robertson says Currawong is losing $30,000 to $50,000 per annum, money the union movement needs to invest in organising and renewal.
The issue has become a political football in the lead-up to the NSW State Election, with Opposition Leader John Brogden joining forces with those opposed to any upgrade of the facility.
Brogden last week vowed to block any development on the site, despite refusing to meet with Labor Council to be briefed on its plans.
The Labor Council terminated a contract with Longevity Management to improve the facilities in December after a deadline to submit a development application to Pittwater Council lapsed.
This has sparked a new wave of activity by anti-development protestors opposed to any change in the current operations. Robertson says there are no offers on the table, but made it clear he'll consider all proposals to stem the cash drain.
The Open Letter reads as follows:
Anyone who has spent time at Currawong knows that this is a magical place. This has never been the issue.
The facts are that over the past decade Currawong has cost the NSW union movement between $30,000 and $50,000 per annum. While the ACTU Organising Centre runs residential courses on the property, the facilities are run down and in need of repair, meaning we will need to spend even more in the future. The other income comes from union members and their friends, overwhelmingly from the North Shore, Northern Beaches, Inner West and Eastern Suburbs taking cheap holidays on Pittwater.
It is well known that Labor Council has been reviewing Currawong for some time. In 1999 Labor Council entered a management contract with Longevity Management to upgrade facilities, pay Labor Council $200,000 in rent per annum and still keep the facility open for union training and holidays. Labor Council terminated that agreement in December 2002 when Longevity Management failed to meet one of the conditions precedents in the Management Agreement.
Despite claims by some, there are no other proposals on the table, although I have made it clear to the Labor Council Executive that I will continue to look for ways to ensure that Currawong is not a drain on trade union resources. Those of us who care deeply about the future of the trade union movement know this is not the time to be focussing on where we take our holidays. Every one of us needs to be working to organise workers and see the movement strong again.
Throughout their campaign the Friends of Currawong have never entered this debate about the most responsible way to manage a trade union asset. Instead they have promised plan after plan to make the property profitable without ever delivering on a real or viable alternative.
At the same time they have engaged in a series of unprincipled attacks to support their case including personal attacks on Labor Council Officers and their families, religious vilification of the TM movement, and entering politically opportunistic alliances with the same Liberal Party that is championing a war on Iraq and attacking workers' rights at every opportunity.
I have told the Friends of Currawong I am open to a reasonable dialogue on the future of Currawong. But I have also made it clear that to continue to squander union resources for a holiday camp is not something I can responsibly do as Secretary of Labor Council.
It's time to take stock and move on. This is where you and the 2nd Australasian Organising Conference fit in. Come join us from Wednesday 7 - Friday 9 May 2003 at the University of Sydney, Holme Building. Hosted by the ACTU, the NSW Labor Council and NZ Council of Trade Unions the Conference will combine plenary and panel sessions, workshops and lots of opportunities to share your stories.
This not to be missed conference aims to:
· assess our progress in strengthening and growing our unions
· refocus unions on the importance of organisational renewal
· provide recognition to unions who have made significant progress
· provide hope to unions who are struggling to achieve change
· launch [email protected] 2 to crystallise what is needed to continue to move forward
· provide case studies, skills and workshops on contemporary issues to assist unions
· enable unions to reflect on their progress and identify key priorities to move forward
The conference will be conducted over three days, commencing the first day at 10.30 am and finishing on the final day in the early afternoon. This will enable most participants to travel on the day of the conference, limiting accommodation to two nights. The conference will be finished on Friday, enabling New Zealand and interstate participants to spend a weekend and reduce airfare costs.
We've come a long way but there's so much more to do. Come join in and celebrate our successes as we all build our way to the next level.
Let's get serious and maybe even have a bit of fun!
Keep checking out this website for all you need to know and news just in. We'll be posting a registration form very soon that you can download to register.
So what's it cost? Only $330 for three days, even less if you register in a group of five and over. Come join us too at our swanky conference dinner at NSW Parliament House hosted by Minister John Della Bosca, it costs $70. All prices include GST.
Got an idea or a question or need more information? Email Suzanne Culph @ [email protected] or call 02 9264 9744 or 0421 802 552.
The LHMU Security Union urged Federal Government action on at all six refugee detention centres after a Villawood guard was knocked unconscious during a breakout by six refugees last Friday.
"A security guard was assaulted during an escape at Villawood and he has been taken to Liverpool Hospital," union secretary, Annie Owens, explained. "Less than a fortnight ago two union members at the Woomera detention centre were hospitalised after being attacked during an escape by six detainees."
At the time of the Woomera escape, she said, the union had warned of staffing and safety problems as contractor Australasian Correctional Management (ACM) would down its activity in preparation for Group 4 Falck taking over detention centre work.
The Federal Government washes its hands of responsibility on the issue, arguing staff safety is a matter for the centre's operators.
"There is some evidence that ACM management are taking short cuts on staffing, which may be related to bottom-line considerations as they plan to pull out of the centres over the next few weeks and months," Owens says.
Union Choir Needs Help
The Sydney Trade Union Choir is looking for volunteers to assist in the maintenance of its website, and to help train its members in monitoring and updating the site themselves.
The site at http://unionchoir.labor.net.au was set up last year in conjunction with the launch of the choir's first official CD http://unionchoir.labor.net.au/newcd.htm. However, lack of IT skills among the choir members has not allowed it to aid in the promotion of its performances and message of inspiration and strength through song.
Anyone interested can contact the choir via Joel Beasant at [email protected]
All help which allows the message of the choir to grow in recognition is appreciated.
The Choir meets at the PSA building at 160 Clarence St, each Tuesday from 6-8pm.
FREE ASBESTOS DISEASE
AND SKIN CANCER SEMINAR in Newcastle
5.00 pm Wednesday February 26
With Professor Douglas Henderson
Asbestos disease is reaching epidemic proportions in Australia.
Skin cancer is an increasing problem for outdoor workers.
Union representatives will be speaking with the world-renowned mesothelioma expert, Prof Douglas Henderson.
The Asbestos Diseases Foundation (adfa Inc) and The Newcastle Trades Hall Council are supporting the event.
ADFA will be there to advise on rights and options for victims of asbestos disease and their families. Health professionals will talk on treatment and support services. There will be time for questions after the speakers.
This is important for people who have worked with asbestos in factories, in the construction industries, on the waterfront, at sea or just doing renovations at home. Even washing clothes covered in asbestos dust can lead to asbestos disease.
5.00 pm Wednesday February 26
Newcastle Trades Hall Council Meeting Room
Ground Floor, Devonshire House, 406 King Street, Newcastle.
Refreshments will be served
Please let us know on 02 9637 8759 or 0414 893 826 if you can come
An NCOSS Conference exploring the role of community welfare organizations in seeking changes to the policies and practices of Government.
Wednesday 12th March 2003
Masonic Centre, cnr Castlereagh and Goulburn Sts, Sydney
Seeking changes to the policies and practices of Government is a fundamental role for community welfare organisations. This systemic advocacy role is increasingly under threat through funding pressures, economic rationalism, and changing relationships between community organisations and Government agencies.
This conference re-examines why community organisations engages in systemic advocacy, and investigates some recent union and community sector campaigns, both the wins and the ongoing battles. It considers the place of systemic advocacy in social capital debates, and whether contemporary advocacy is undertaken 'with' or 'for' consumers. It debates the role of unions in community advocacy, and whether the growth in community participation processes is helping or hindering advocacy work. It also includes practical discussions about using the media, developing strategies, and managing relationships with politicians.
This conference is for community organisations, consumers, unions and
For more information:
ph: (02) 9211 2599
Women of Troy
An anti-war play by Euripides.
Directed by Robert Kennedy and Jenny Green . With Jeanette Cronin.
Belvoir St Downstairs Theatre
Preview Wed 29th. 30th Jan to 16th Feb
Tues 7pm Wed-Sat 8.15pm Sun 5pm
Tickets: $25 Adult $19 concession. (Group Bookings of 6 or more $19)
Jan 29th preview $17. Pay what you can Tuesdays (Min $5)
Bookings: 02 9699 3444 or www.belvoir.com.au (+7% for Online Bookings)
For enquiries please email: [email protected]
August 2004. A refugee camp in the shadow of a bombed out city. The coast of the Persian Gulf: Troy. The West have won the war and have sent in a commander to liquidate the camp. The mothers, wives and children of the dead don't know where they will go. All they can do is wait. How much does victory cost?
Robert Kennedy and Jenny Green's Women of Troy is an unashamed protest against the impending US-led war in the Middle East.
AXIS OF HOPE
x3 Public meetings in March, Research Initiative on International Activism + Sydney Social Forum
6.00-8.30pm at the Great Hall, UTS Tower, Broadway. Entry by donation, Disabled Access.
Monday, 10 March
Supported by AidWatch + Indonesia Solidarity
Nurdin Abdul Rahman: twice imprisoned Human Rights advocate and academic from Aceh, Indonesia, with the Aceh-based organisation, 'Rehabilitation Action for Torture Victims'.
Olga Havnen: of Western Arrernte descent, from Tennant Creek, has a longstanding involvement in international human rights and Indigenous rights issues, including the National Indigenous Working Group, the Central Land Council, the Fred Hollows Foundation.
Carmen Lawrence: ALP MP, federal Member for Fremantle, former Shadow Minister and prominent critic of the Government's policy of mandatory detention for refugees.
Thursday, 20 March
Supported by Greenpeace Australia Pacific + Mineral Policy Institute
Jacqui Katona: : member of the Djok Aboriginal clan, former executive officer of the Gundjehmi Aboriginal Corporation which campaigned against the proposed Jabiluka uranium mine.
Anuradha Mittal: with 'Food First', campaigning for global food security. Originally from India, Anuradha is heavily involved in the global movement against Genetically-Engineered food.
Helena Norberg-Hodge: from Sweden, heads the International Society for Ecology and Culture, is co-founder of the International Forum on Globalisation and the Global Eco-village Network.
Monday 24 March
Supported by Labor Council of NSW + Walk Against the War Coalition
William Blum: anti-war journalist from the USA with Znet; author of 'Rogue State, a "mini-encyclopaedia" of US intervention around the world, 'Killing Hope' and 'West-Bloc Dissident'.
Karen Flick: a community activist who has campaigned against Black Deaths in Custody, and is currently engaged in establishing training and development programs with Aboriginal communities.
Maree O'Halloran: President of the NSW Teachers Federation, with a teaching career spanning city and country schools; in 2002 the Federation unanimously opposed the War on Iraq, calling for an end to sanctions on non-military assistance.
Tom Uren: former federal ALP Member for Reid; Minister in the Whitlam and Hawke Governments; an active member of the left wing of the ALP, opposed the Vietnam War, conscription and nuclear testing, and today, against the war on Iraq.
For further information on the speakers see: www.international.activism.uts.edu.au (click on 'new') + Sydney Social Forum, www.sydneysocialforum.org
You are invited to a fundraising dinner for humanitarian projects in
Palestine and with Palestinian refugees in Lebanon.
Speaker Ms Abla Masrujeh, Women's Officer of the Palestinian Federation of
When : Monday 24th February 7:00 PM
Where : Summerland Restaurant
741 Punchbowl Rd Punchbowl
Cost : $40 /$35con
For more information or to R.S.V.P contact Sawiyan by 20th February 2003
Tel: (02) 8572 6052
E-mail: [email protected]
Funds raised on the night will be channelled through Union Aid
Abroad-APHEDA and will go to humanitarian projects in Palestine and
Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon.
National Program Manager
Union Aid Abroad-APHEDA
Tel: +61 2 9264 9343
Fax: +61 2 9261 1118
Re-thinking politics for the new millenium: beyond left and right'
A paper by David McKnight, UTS
This paper will discuss the book David is writing which examines the state of the Left and radical social movements, their political ideas and the need for a fundamental re-think. Some of the ideas I will be discussing are similar to those in Eric Aaron's just-published book, 'What's Right?'
Sponsored by the Research Initiative on International Activism
Thursday, 20 February, 1-3pm
Bon Marche Building,
Corner of Harris and Broadway (NB: entry through Harris St, lift to 4th floor)
Workers Online - Labour Website of the Year. Congratulations to Peter Lewis and his editorial team for W.O.L. being voted the website winner against international competition. Truth in reporting is all we demand.
Pity the Dailies don't follow suit.
You do good work.
Congratulations on winning the Union Web Site of the year.
Also congratulations to the Federal ALP , in welcoming Kim Beasley back into the fold. There can be no doubt that, with his extensive knowledge and some have said 'excessive' interest in the American Civil War , the proposed embrace of Kim Beazley back into the fold of the Federal Inner Sanctum as Minister of Defense will go long way in dragging A.L.P. polices from the Mediaeval era and into 19th century emancipation , this will certainly close the gap between the party and the electorate.
It would appear that the wheels have not , as some wag suggested, fallen off the NSW Branch of the ALP , and they appear to be not only headed for another landslide , but have been overwhelmed with volunteers. Our family was very disappointed when our offer to help out in Rockdale was not accepted , but we have found an excellent candidate to work for in Penrith , which is closer to home , and with any spare time , we will maverick as boundry riders on the dog watch in Rockdale.
As they say , you get the government you deserve!
Good God, Lewis, what planet are you living on? Do you inhabit some kind of parallel universe? I read the last editorial for Workers On-Line and what do I see:
"We sit cowed in a corner, braced for war, too scared to think beyond the next attack".
Aren't you being a tad too melodramatic here? I mean, do you really know *anyone* who is sitting "cowed in a corner" or "too scared to think beyond the next attack"? Because I sure don't. In fact, I don't even know anyone who seems to be slightly worried, in any meaningful sense of the term, although most people are more *aware* of the issue of terrorism and are maybe less likely to ignore frankly suspicious actions. And that's not such a bad thing, really, given that we are a potential terrorist target.
Are the circles we move in really so different or are you just gilding the lilly with undergraduate rhetoric?
Moving on I see other gems like:
"This white noise has drowned out the other trend in 2003: the continuing mutations of global capital as it spirals out of control" So capitalism is "spinning out of control" because of a few company collapses, hey? Pardon me for not noticing. The Glorious Age of the Workers' Paradise and the Dictatorship of the Proletariat are surely at hand!
To be honest, your editorials have been becoming sillier and sillier over recent months. That's a shame because Workers On-Line continues to be packed with good content. Unfortunately, its Editor, who I would have thought would be aligned to the ultra-realistic NSW Labor Council Right, is increasingly pumping out the sort of Trotty rubbish that fills the pages of immature rags like Green Left.
You are not doing your readership a favour - please treat us like we have a brain and some experience of the world, rather than nongs who can get all excited by stupid, inflammatory and vacuous rhetoric.
Just read the story on ninemsn about your 'Tony' Award to Aust Post. Not that i'm any great lover of Aust Post but the reply.....
' Australia post complained that the award was misleading, maintaining it had a good employment record.
The company said it was recently named the top corporation for employee management - and one of the judges was the ACTU.
Australia Post said wage rises were above inflation, no redundancies were involved in restructuring and the latest enterprise agreement was reached without losing a single day to industrial action.
"These incidents (which earned the Tony), while they generate their share of publicity, involved a handful of staff out of a generally harmonious workforce of 36,000 people," Australia Post spokesman Gary Highland said.
"These kinds of tongue in cheek awards are not in the interest of working people and do nothing for cooperative workplace relationships." '
see what happens when u try and be a smartarse...ya come out looking like the pencildicks you probably are.
You recently published this letter "Why does it take a 9-11 to move people to help?" by Sean Mason. Except, he works for CCBC (ccbc.ca). From the company's web site: "Sean Mason joins the CCBC team as Public Relations Manager, with a commitment to increasing CCBC's local, national and international exposure."
So in fact you actually published free advertising for this lame "school" he works for. He's just a PR flack spinning something so tragic into a "good news" item that would get your attention and publish it. Shame on you.
Dear Workers Online
The war on Iraq presents opportunities for the labour movement - both its political representatives and the industrial wing.
Howard is vulnerable.
The question is whether the Left understands the situtation and takes the opportunity presented to take on and beat Howard.
The ALP's response - to accept a war on Iraq if it has UN support - could backfire.
This is because the UN Security Council could give Bush what he wants. At a minimum whatever comes out of the UN will be ambigoous and give Bush and his allies enough wriggle room to invade Iraq.
Crean will then possibly support the invasion. This could see some leave the ALP (including MPs).
The Greens are no solution for the Left because they have no class analysis of society.
But one group in society does have the power to shift the whole debate to the Left.
During the Vietnam war some unions and workers adopted the slogan stop work to stop the war.
That lesson applies today. Australian workers can stop Australian participation in this immoral slaughter.
Stopping work heightens the class antogonisms.If we are resolute enough we can cut off the flow of profis to the bosses and as a consequence force the Government to stop its support for this imperialist adventure in Iraq.
Stopping work to stop the war also makes sense as part of a strategy to revitalise the union movement. The majority of Australians oppose in some form Australian involvement in teh war on Iraq. Thirty per cent oppose any attack, even if it is sanctioned by George Bush's UN. With solid trade union oppositon, that base could grow even more.
Further, twenty years of economic rationalism have produced an underlying working class anger that is looking for an outlet. Mobilising workers against the war has the potential to generate a more generalised response to globalisation and improve workers living standards.
: Writing to Howard is not not the best approach. As Australians we should be writing to the Governor General also, demanding a referendum or the dismissal of the Howard government. The government is responsible to the people, we can sack a government who does follow the wishes of the people in two ways.
Firstly by writing to our own MP and demanding he or she resigns or by writing to the Governor General and asking him to act on our behalf.
The Governor General does have the power to dismiss the Howard government if it is acting dictatorially. Howard is acting on his own even members of his own party are not listened to. Bush is now running Australia through Howard do your duty for Australia and demand that we are the bosses not Bush.
Copy and paste the following to [email protected] put your name and address on;
Govenor General, Mr Howard and his government are acting against the wishes of the Australian people in going to war against Iraq. I ask that a referendum be held on the issue or Mr Howards goverment be dissmissed before our troups are sent into action.
On Saturday morning (8 February 2003) something remarkable happened in the Steel and University city of Wollongong, south of Sydney. Thousands of people, as many as 7000 according to helicopter scrutineers, but certainly 5000, took to the streets to protest against war with Iraq. Not just war without the blessing of the UN, but WAR FULL STOP.
The huge crowd choked the streets of the CBD, stopped traffic for the best part of half an hour, as it streamed from the Labour Council building near the railway station to the amphitheatre in the heart of the city Mall.
It was a multicultural and cross generational mix. There were old people with walking sticks, and those too frail to walk rode on fire trucks; there were adolescents with spiked hair; there were trade unionists with union flags and banners (the Teachers and the Maritime workers stood out); there were young people in their early twenties, protesting for the first time; there were people who hadn't protested since the 1960s and 70s; there were Muslims; there were Christians; and there were young families, many young families, complete with kids, strollers, and pet dogs on leads with peace ribbons around their necks.
The crowd settled in the amphitheatre area around the stage, and filled the Mall. During the songs and speeches that followed there were, for me, two memorable occasions. The first was the speech by the Catholic Bishop of Wollongong, Peter Ingham; he spoke calmly, his confident delivery carefully paced and phrased. He drew from the Sermon on the Mount, and ended with the Peace Prayer of St. Francis Assissi. In between he spoke about God in a way that crossed faiths, and he spoke about peace, and how while war is expensive, peace is priceless, and he questioned the motives of politicians who seem intent on creating a huge conflict with the Muslim world. God, he said, was smiling on the Wollongong demonstrators, which in context seemed to imply that He was not as close to George Bush as the White House claims.
The crowd was quiet; the Mall was quiet; many shops ceased trading; and as I moved through the crowd I saw people on tip toe craning to catch the Bishop's words. It was as though the Mall had momentarily become an open air church.
On the verandah of the restaurant overlooking the stage, Saturday morning coffee drinkers also listened attentively, and when the Bishop finished, joined the huge applause.
Later John Maitland, National Secretary of the Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union, spoke; the second memorable occasion. What concerned him was the racism that courses through Australia's "war against terror" and the forthcoming war with Iraq. He spoke with conviction, and with controlled passion, and when he told the crowd that the trade union movement welcomes Muslims, there was thunderous applause that sent the Mall's seagull community packing.
At the same time in another Mall, sixty kilometres south-west of Wollongong in the Southern Highlands town of Bowral, right in the heart of Liberal territory, 300 local anti-war protesters gathered. They were addressed by former Midnight Oil singer Peter Garrett. Again, the same generational mix of people, the same sort of sentiments, but minus the multiculturalism of Wollongong. And this at a time when the Bowral Post Office reports a deluge of demands to return John Howard's 'anti-terror' booklet to the sender; a local citizenry outraged by the waste of public money and the attempt by the Howard Government to create a political climate of uncertainty and fear.
There is something stirring in the Australian soul, possibly similar to the cantankerous oppositional spirit that variously came alive during the anti-conscription battles of 1916-1917, during 1951 and the campaign against the banning of the Communist Party of Australia, and during the 1960s and early 70s in opposition to conscription and the Vietnam War.
Is the proliferation of 'shock jock' type radio announcers in Sydney Radio, with their promulgation of on the 'edge of reality' views and opinions, the cause of society's discontent with our civilizing codes of conduct?
These 'Wind Bags', cherry pick the rules which they wish their listeners to adhere to , and depending on the 'Wind Bags' current circumstances then push these views while being paid through advertising revenue , by those whom they berate.
These bloated bladders of water and steam contribute nothing productive to society, they do not even reflect Public Opinion; they attempt to thwart it through the verbose manipulation of our desire to belong.
A bit like some corrupt politicial parties and their rorting , branchstacking , disenfranchisement of members and their generally low life behaviour.
I believe it was Mark Twain who said:
"Its name is Public Opinion. It is held in reverence. It settles everything. Some think it is the voice of God. Loyalty to petrified opinion never yet broke a chain nor freed a human soul"
They are nothing more or less than Carpetbaggers of rabble-rousing rhetoric.
Is life imitating art?
The situation with North Korea is froth with danger. With a little bit of bad luck, we can end up ON THE BEACH.
Assuming the North Koreans are as off the wall as they seem, I foresee the following occurring. When Oil War II goes hot, North Korea will make a move. A country with seven million of it's people suffering from or near malnutrition, what do they have to lose? They do not have a consumer economy & other than weapons, they export nothing. Rational nations see economic promise in their populations. North Korea sees a portion of it's population as an obstruction to maintaining an insane brand of Communism.
China will exploit the Oil War & Korea, to move on Taiwan. If the US attempts an intervention, conventional forces will be scarce or non existent for Taiwan's defense. The US would be forced to go tactical nuclear, PDQ. China would react accordingly. China exploiting America's preoccupation with Korea & Iraq would be the smart move. A smart, dangerous move.
Even if the use of nuclear weapons can be contained, the genii of global pollution with radioactive material will be out of the bottle. If we are not killed outright, disease, deformity & drastically reduced birth rates will follow.
Holocaust have occurred many times in the course of human history. With all the fancy institutions we have & toys we have, man has not progressed as a species. If anything, we are sliding backwards. Holocaust are inevitable as are waves ON THE BEACH.
Edmond L Day
Beyond the threats and diplomatic manoeuvres we could be witnessing the ultimate end game in a two-decade project of deregulation - the deregulation of international relations.
The consensus reached after the ravages of World War II looks like going the same way as the post-Depression Keynsian economic compact and the still-born environmental agreement of Rio and Kyoto.
The architect of its destruction is a Far Right US Administration born of the Culture Wars of the 90s, oil hungry extremists who won the Republican Party, the Congress and then the Presidency with a potent mix of lies, dirty tricks and big corporate dollars.
Their mission has been to cut the State out of every sphere of life, except of course defence - where the massive corporate donors dominate the one remaining subsidised
industry in their lean, mean world.
These Deficit Hawks cut all layers of public spending for the poor and delivering a trillion dollar tax cut to the rich; until they have a new surplus to squander on armaments.
Until they achieve their ultimate goal - a system where the only valid regulations are those to ensure corporations have freedom of movement, until the only rule is that of the market, controlled by the executive class whose idea of society begins and ends with their shareholders.
On a global stage, they have trashed international cooperation on climate change, multilateral trade and an International War Crimes Tribunal, while demanding the UN bend to its will on Iraq.
And all the way with Dubya our own brown-nosin' PM, chief cheer-leader in the Coalition of the Willing, talking up our obligations to America, while squibbing on our international responsibilities on refugees - many of whom are fleeing the dictator we are now told must be eradicated.
Maintaining the fight for a system of rules are those who felt the brunt of WWII - France, Germany and Russia, insisting it must be the UN that deals with the real threat that Saddam Hussein poses the world, knowing more than most that national interest carries untold pain for their people.
But there is a growing sense that the USA will block this push: pressuring the UN Security Council into approving US intervention in Iraq or risk being circumvented and rendered completely irrelevant.
If this occurs, those of us opposed to a War in Iraq face a difficult dilemma; having argued for months that the US must not act unilaterally, what do we do if the UN gives its rubber stamp?
For a union movement that sees a global system of international conventions under the auspices of such bodies as the ILO, UNHCR and UN Security Council as one of the key rays of hope for regulating global capital, this is an important call.
In this context, for the peace movement to simply condemn the UN for pandering to America's might in the increasingly likely event it caves will do even greater harm to our chances of rebuilding a harmonious world into the future.
Instead we must regard such a breakdown, should it occur, not as the international community's death knell, but as its low point, a rallying call for a fight to reassert a global consensus.
If the UN is forced to approve action in Iraq, it must do so as the leader of a peace-keeping mission, with the explicit role of disarming Saddam.
If the operation is brief, we must pressure the UN to assert control over the reconstruction, allaying those who believe this is all about America's thirst for oil by ensuring these resources remain in the hands of the Iraqi people.
If it drags on, we must pressure the UN Security Council to manage its mandate, continually pushing on the warring parties towards peace. Even as the United States stomps over it, we must continue to assert the rights of the United Nations.
In fighting the USA's intervention in Iraq the peace movement must also begin to wage its own culture war, where individual citizens join forces around the globe to assert the right of international bodies to temper the excesses of individual nations.
Out of the wreckage that looms, this must become a launching pad for a broader dialogue about the rules that should cover our globalised world - core labour standards, core environmental standards, limits on corporate excess - to fight the biggest threat to world peace, the widening gap between rich and poor and the resentment, extremism and violence it fuels.
It all starts this weekend when unions will join hundreds of thousands of citizens worldwide to elevate an international consensus ahead of the will of the richest.