Food buff Amanda Vanstone had her fingers on the pulse when she let the world know that $5.00 would be lucky to buy a sandwich and a milkshake.
Vanstone, who showed a surprising lack of understanding of what exactly a sandwich and a milkshake costs in the real world, was celebrating the governments generosity in the area of welfare.
"Five dollars - hell, what will it buy you?" said the Minister for Relentless and Grinding Poverty, Senator Vanstone. "A sandwich and a milkshake if you're lucky."
And how lucky are we to have this Federal Government? If it wasn't for bad luck we'd have no luck at all.
While welfare - or caring about anyone who earns under $500 000 a year - is obviously not the Federal Governments strong suit it was enlightening to see that they do have a grasp of the new math. Henceforth it is understood that $5 is not being too generous while $4 is - well, at least according to Federal Treasurer and Prime Minister in waiting and waiting, Peter Costello.
It certainly was a generous budget if you are on the BRW Rich List and your offspring are too thick to get into Law at Sydney Uni. Now you can buy them a seat at a good firm while the great unwashed watch their living standards, health system, education and the environment all go down the tubes.
Indeed the upper echelons, who to the unenlightened merely appear as parasitic larcenous thugs, will have a tad more than the $5 being shoveled at those welfare recipients that curtsy correctly. With their $11 tax cut they can look forward to being able to splash out on the corkage at Scully's.
This is what is known as a responsible budget.
As well as offering dietary advice to the less fortunate the Marie Antoinette of Australian politics, Senator Amanda Vanstone, has defended the government's responsibility while not actually indicating who is responsible. When it has been established just who is responsible people can look forward to charges being pressed.
Vanstone urged Australians not to blow their $4 on Milkshakes, Sandwiches Pate De Fois Gras or Larks Uvulas; or even most of an AMP share. In these hard times when so many Australians are doing it tough, the Minister for the Deserving Poor asked Australians to think of those in greater need, and to give their tax cut to the banks.
According to South Australia's answer to Mother Theresa, by repaying our mortgages sooner we can now look forward to the board of directors of the National Australia Bank being able to rescue their children from the threat of poverty - on Hayman Island. This is certainly a slap in the face for those that think that the Minister for Breaking The People's Spirit doesn't care.
Our tool of the week is correct in suggesting that $5 for those on welfare is next to useless, but I doubt that they'll be dropping it on a sandwich and a milkshake - most will put it towards trying to get the kids new shoes before winter sets in.
That was the warning delivered by Professor Ron McCallum of Sydney University’s Law Department in a speech that challenged Australians to “stand up and fight back”.
McCallum said the change, denying state remedies to employees of "corporations", was a cornerstone in Tony Abbott's drive for a single IR system.
He predicted the more restrictive, complex and costly Federal procedures could leave 30 percent of working Australians without any rights to challenge unfair sackings.
"In NSW 60 percent of workers are covered by the state system and three fifths of them are women. This would deny them the right to use the state system to challenge unjustified dismissals," McCallum told Labor Council delegates.
"It will force workers, unions and employers to operate under two system - state for awards and agreements and federal for unfair dismissals. That is bad public policy."
He said the federal unjustified dismissal system was "discriminatory" because it wrote large sections of the workforce out of coverage. Then, he said, it was more legalistic and expensive than its NSW counterpart, limiting the IRC to conciliation and forcing workers into formal Federal Court action if that procedure failed. The NSW jurisdiction, on the other hand, provides for the IRC to make binding decisions.
"The system in NSW is easier and fairer and the biggest impact of these changes will be felt by women. Transport drivers and outworkers, deemed to be employees in NSW, would lose coverage," McCallum said.
He prediced that if the change was voted up in the Senate it would mean the eventual "death" of state IR systems. Robbed of the majority of their work, he said, they would lose funding and eventually relevance.
McCallum urged unionists to lobby Democrat Senators "hoodwinked by the Minister" to reverse their support for the proposal.
In other key budget announcement, Treasurer Peter Costello ...
- confirmed Government would allow general practitioners to levy upfront charges whilst being subsidised by the public purse in changes to Medicare that critics say will wreck the public health. Labor, Greens and the Democrats have pledged Senate resistance, leaving Meg Lees and other indepedents as keys to whether or not the changes are passed into law.
- announced that $404 million in funding to universities would be tied to the introduction of individual Australian Workplace Agreements and that an amendment to the Workplace Relations Act would make industrial action by academics illegal. Huge hikes in student fees were also announced and the policy of allowing full fee paying students to jump better credentialled applicants for popular courses was reconfirmed.
- refused the request of the ABC's Government-appointed board for an "urgently needed" funding boost.
- proposed restrictions on the rights to take protected industrial action of hundreds of thousands of Australians employed in health, education and community services.
- announced another $17 million for the implementation of recommendations from the Cole Royal Commission, taking to $67 million the public spend on the Government campaign against building workers.
- failed to deliver on maternity leave, costed at $200 million a year, whilst delivering tax breaks to Australian-based multinationals worth around $270 million.
- announced personal tax cuts averaging $4 a week, worth less in the words of Cabinet Minster Amanda Vanstone, than a sandwich and a milkshake.
The federal budget forshadowed plans to curtail the rights of health, education, community service and building workers to take industrial action in support of bargaining claims.
Clamps on university and TAFE teachers, under higher education changes, have been well documented but Government policy papers make it clear the forshadowed amendment to the Workplace Relations Act would give the AIRC power to terminate protected action by workers across the health, education and community services sectors.
In addition, the budget earmarked another $13 million for implementing recommendations of the Cole Royal Commission. These include outlawing pattern bargaining in the building industry and making trade unionists liable to massive fines and prison terms.
Nurses Federation national secretary Jill Iliffe said her members would mobilise public support to resist Abbott's agenda.
"We have a very limited right to take industrial action to support our claims and nurses have always used it responsibly, our record speaks for itself," she said.
"On one hand it would be surprising if Tony Abbott gave the AIRC any more powers but if he chooses to do this nurses will fight him and my prediction is we will be supported by the Australian community."
Iliffe said nurses would begin with an intensive lobbying campaign of Green, Labor and Independent senators in a bid to have Abbott's amendement voted down.
Unions see Opposition leader Simon Crean’s promise to hold companies more accountable for the money they pay their executives as an important first step to addressing corporate excess.
In his Speech in Reply Crean promised to end the 30 per cent tax deductibility for companies making redundancy payments over $1 million.
He also vowed to force executives to disclose their pay packages in full, including their share options and strengthen shareholders' rights by giving them a vote on these packages when they are unfair and unreasonable.
The comments come on the eve of the release of a ground-breaking report commissioned by the Labor Council of NSW into executive pay.
The report - 'The Bucks Stop Here' - by academics John Shields, John O'Brien and Michael O'Donnell examines the performance of companies in view of the salaries they pay their CEOs.
A forum on the report will be held next Friday, May 23 at the Carlton Crest Hotel. Speakers will include John Shields, Opposition treasury spokesman Bob McMullan and shareholder activist Stephen Mayne.
For more details contact Mark Morey at email:[email protected]
Crean's New Deal
Other highlights of Crean's Budget in Reply, where he cast the ALP agenda as a 'New deal' for working families, included:
- doubling penalties for companies breaking the Corporations Law.
- cut tax the superannuation contribution tax from 15 per cent to 13 per cent.
- Oppose increases in university fees and block queue-jumping by full-fee paying students
- And, commit funds to rebuilding Medicare bulk-billing, with incentives to doctors who do not charge up front fees.
The ACTU welcomed the measures, saying Simon Crean's plan would help rebuild a fairer society by improving the living standards and opportunities of working people.
"Low and middle income earners in particular will benefit from free GP visits, cheaper medicines and lower education costs," ACTU President Sharan Burrow says.
"Giving people access to bulk billing regardless of their income would restore an essential element of Medicare and save families on average incomes from paying hundreds of dollars a year in extra GP co-payments under the government's plan.
"Stopping the 30% increase in the cost of essential medicines under the government's changes to the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme will especially benefit working families experiencing chronic illness."
Maritime Union representatives this week swooped on two Flag of Convenience ships, sanctioned by the Howard Government, to provide assistance for hungry Ukranian, Sri Lankan, Maldive and Russian crew members.
Weekend investigations found the Ukranian crew of the MV Panamax, registered in Panama, had been deprived of hot water for five months and underpaid tens of thousands of dollars.
"They had been working 12-14 hours a day for the past five months and half starved," MUA branch secretary Keith Ridgeway said.
The union was responding to pleas for help from the crew who had contacted an Adelaide priest about their predicament.
As Workers Online went to press, the Panamex Sun was being detained in Adelaide by the Australian Maritime Safety Authority because of deficiencies in emergency equipment and issues of structural soundness.
Simultaneously, in Newcastle, IUF representative Dean Summers was opening negotiations with the Greek owners of the Cyprus-flagged Stone Gemini.
Summers reported that the crew from Sri Lanka, the Ukraine, Russia, Greece and the Maldives had been reduced to half a can of baked beans and some margarine.
The Sri Lankan contingent had been forced to pay $3000 a head to a manning agent as "insurance" they would not deal with the IUF, and their families had had to sign in advance for monthly allotments that was never received.
Last Saturday, after 35 hours of negotiations, crew took matters into their own hands and voted to strike.
"Only then did the agent in Colombo admit he had not paid $35,000 in family allotments and owed two months wages," Summers said.
Negotiations in Adelaide brought more than $US50,000 in backpay, while the Newcastle strike won workers $95,000 in unpaid wages and allotments.
Summers described the Flag of Convenience rip-offs as "endemic".
Flag of Convenience ships, operating on special permits signed by the Commonwealth Government, now dominate the Australian domestic trade. Their presence has cost hundreds of Australian jobs and cost the country control of its coastal fleet.
The Labor Council of NSW has called a forum this week to discuss the status of disabled workers, while the Australian Industrial Relations Commission is so concerned its reviewing whether enterprise agreements should even apply.
Fears that disabled workers are getting second class workplace protection, even by the standards of the Workplace Relations Act, have prompted the Australian Industrial Relations Commission to announce a special forum on the issue.
The forum will air claims by disabled advocates that enterprise agreements enterprise are being rubber stamped although they fail to meet No Disadvantage Tests or carry the "consent" of disabled employees.
The AIRC full bench decision, in the Safety Net Review, comes as NSW Labour Council prepares to again grapple with employment issues facing workers with disabilities.
The Council and the community organisation, People with Disabilities, will host a conference next Tuesday at the Redfern Town Hall where organisers hope to establish a formal Alliance to push for better conidtions.
Labor Council secretary John Robertson said unions needed to work with disability groups to ensure "some of society's most vulnerable people are not exploited".
The issue has come to a head as the Howard Government moves to formalise wages and conditions by requiring funding for the 'Business Services sector' (the official term for sheltered workshops) to be linked to registered agreements.
As part of that process, which becomes law in December 2004, the Australian Industrial Relations Commission has reviewed a rash of questionable agreements.
These include the Warnambool-based Vantage Incorporated, which has recently had an agreement registered providing for hourly rates of $1.71 across its half dozen operations. A Bendigo provider employs 30 persons on a weekly payroll of $800.
Advocacy groups have long argued that employees of Business Services should have their wage rates based on the type of independent assessment of disabilities applied to counterparts in open employment.
Under that regime a trained, independent assessor puts a percentage figure on the employees' capacity, and wage rates are struck accordingly. The exercise is repeated annually.
The AIRC, in calling its forum, has asked whether enterprise agreements are even appropriate for disabled workers, questioning in some instances, their "legal capacity" to give the required consent.
Some unions have argued for awards to underpin disabled work while others see themselves as industrial professionals ideally placed to give independent advice that would satisfy the issue of consent.
The Rail Infrastructure Corporation clerks, who have no contact with the general public, believe management have gone over the top in imposing a corporate dress code.
But they've now fired back, with the Australian Services Union calling on members to report report senior managers who do not conform with their own corporate dress standard (ie: full business suits and matching co-ordinates).
"Having verified corporate breaches, the ASU can insist the offending executives be sent home - without pay - fully conforming with the strict dress code conditions as they intend to impose on our members," the ASU's Trevor Naylor says.
The workers are also organising a "mufti" day where we will be requesting members to come to work in their humblest jeans and daggiest joggers.
Naylor says RIC's draconian dress code recalls a bygone age when rail employees were treated as 'humble servants' subject to severe discipline for minor offences.
To add some spice to their campaign, the clerks have issued their own Dickensian suggestions for RIC's next EBA claim.
"TO ALL EMPLOYEES ...
1. Goodliness, cleanliness and punctuality are the necessities of good business.
2. This firm has reduced hours of work and clerical staff will now only have to be present between the hours of 7am and 6pm on week days.
3. Daily prayers will be held each morning in the main office. The clerical staff will be present.
4. Clothing must be worn of a sober nature. The clerical staff will not disport themselves in raiment of bright colours nor will they wear hose, unless in good repair.
5. Overshoes and topcoats may not be worn in the office, but scarves and head gear may be worn in inclement weather.
6. A stove is provided for the benefit of the clerical staff: coal and wood must be kept in the locker. It is recommended that each member of the clerical staff brings four pounds of coal each day during cold weather.
7. No member of staff may leave the room without permission from Mr. Rogers. The calls of nature are permitted without permission and clerical staff may use the garden below the second gate. This area must be kept in order.
8. No talking is allowed during business hours.
9. The craving for tobacco, wines or spirits is a human weakness and is forbidden to all members of the clerical staff.
10. Now that the hours of business have been drastically reduced, the partaking of food is allowed between 11.30am and noon, but work on no account ceases.
11. Members of the clerical staff will provide their own pens. A new sharpener is available on application to Mr. Rogers.
12. Mr. Rogers will nominate a senior clerk to be responsible for the cleanliness of the main office and private office. All boys and juniors will report to him 40 min. before prayers and will remain after closing hours for similar work. Brushes, brooms, scrubbing brushes and soap are provided by the owners.
13. The new increased weekly wages are: Juniors boys to 11 years, 1s 4d, boys to 14 years, 2s 1d; juniors 4s 8d; clerks 10s 9d; senior clerks after 15 years' service with owners 21s.
"..the owners recognise the generosity of the new labour laws, but will expect a great rise in output of work to compensate for these near-Utopian conditions.."
The Finance Sector Union is highlighting the impact of the changes, comparing a recent $100,000 payout to a hold-up victim under the previous system, to advice that victims of a recent spate of hold-ups at ANZ Peakhurst will receive nothing.
FSU NSW-ACT secretary Geoff Derrick says the new laws leave bank workers without protection because of new thresholds calculating psychological loss.
Under the changes, workers need to show a 15 per cent whole of boy impairment, a threshold that psychiatrists are struggling to apply to cases of shock.
"We are finding that the new laws effectively absolve employers from taking responsibility for the psychological well-being of their workers," Derrick says.
Derrick points to the recent successful claim by a member at St George's Chester Hill branch who received more than $100,000 in compensation because of injuries she suffered after her employer was found to have breached its duty of care
But the FSU has been advised that despite four hold-ups at ANZ Peakhurst in last eight months, and evidence that the ANZ has failed in their duty of care, the bank workers will not be able to take action because of the prohibitative threshold.
To add to the insult, the major banks do not even contribute to the WorkCover Scheme that the reforms were designed to save. As self-insurers, the major banks take out their own insurance, although the same rules for assessing claims apply.
Derrick says this amounts to a major saving for the banks. " Their exposure to claims has been reduced by the changes.
"Self-insuranc eis a gamble, and the compo changes have shifted the odds dramatically in favour of the banks."
The FSU is calling on WorkCover to reconsider the major banks' status as self-insurers and seeking a review of the workers compensation laws to ensure victims of armed hold-ups do have access to compensation.
As for ANZ, the union is considering a prosecution for breach of the Occupational Health and Safety Act, focusing on the string of hold-ups at Peakhurst.
Job delegate, Edith Rapana, urged other workers to support the lunchtime protest in Clarence St that will target lawyer, Judith Beswick, who doubles as the boss of Arncliffe printing and packaging firm, Morris McMahon.
AMWU members at the company have been striking for nine weeks in a bid to negotiate wage improvements but Beswick has responded by refusing to recognise their representatives, bussing in scabs and offering individuals $1000 lures to sign non-union Australian Workplace Agreements.
Commissioner Munro, in the NSW IRC, was highly critical of the lawyer's tactics when issuing 166 Orders under the Workplace Relations Act.
In a written judgement, Munro expressed regret that industrial law didn't provide adequate sanctions for her sort of behaviour.
He said Beswick's company had engaged in "practise that is not fair labour process" and had "not bargained in good faith with representatives of the bulk of its employees."
It was, he said, "appropriate to place on record that in my view the company, by its bargaining conduct, has contributed to or engaged in a form of conduct that would merit sanction or prevention if relevant powers or defences were available".
Gary Hingle, secretary of the AMWU vehicle division, said the strikers, battling for the right to union representation, faced busloads of scabs from a "professional strike breaking company" every morning and afternoon.
"They have been standing in flood waters and mud up to their knees. But they will not give in to a boss who treats them as if the Master Servant Act was still in place and refuses to pay them a fair wage, allow them to belong to their union, or have a legally-registered agreement," Hingle said.
Labor Council is backing the Clarence St rally and is urging members of affiliated unions to attend.
The workers, members of the CPSU, are asking all rural workers and their families to join the National 'Switch off WIN' Day on Friday, May 23.
WIN is the largest regional television broadcaster in Australia with a potential audience to over 5 million people across Australia. WIN have offices in Wollongong, Dubbo, Orange, Griffith, Canberra, Wagga Wagga, Cairns, Townsville, Sunshine Coast, Toowoomba, Rockhampton, Ballarat, Albury, Mildura, Shepparton, Gippsland, Launceston, and Mt Gambier.
Its workers are employed on minimum conditions of the Television Industry Award, delivering inadequate wages and conditions, including redundancy entitlements.
They have been trying to reach a new agreement that would deliver a fair pay increase, on-call allowances, redundancy provisions and recognition of multi-skilling.
CPSU state secretary Stephen Jones says the negotiations have been made difficult because WIN's owner, Bruce Gordon, prefers to live in the Bahamas and refuses to talk with his employees.
""Unfortunately, it seems that the only way the owner will hear us from his luxury resort home in the Bahamas, is if we change the channel," Jones says.
For more details of the campaign, or to receive a copy of the Community Pledge email Leah Piper at mailto:[email protected]
For more information go to www.cpsu.org/wintv
That outcome was forshadowed by managing director, Russell Balding, who said Government had turned down the request for an extra $250 million in its triennial budget submission "in the full knowledge it will have a negative effect on ABC programming, and any negative effect on programming ukltimately does translate into job losses."
Mr Balding said some programming decisions, based on funding levels, would be made within weeks.
The ABC, a key target of the Howard Government and its supporters on the Hard Right, has seen staff numbers tumble from 6500 to 4000 in the past decade. It has been subject to the ill-fated and politically-motivated Jonathan Shier regime, and has had an increasingly right wing board imposed on it by Coalition masters resistant to calls for the organisation to be freed from political control.
CPSU representative, Graeme Thompson, one of the key figures in the successful campaign to unseat Shier, characterised the latest funding decision as "political payback".
"Independence and integrity have cost the ABC favour with this government," Thompson said. "This Government doesn't believe in an independent broadcasters that won't toe the party line."
Thompson said the ABC had moved quickly and successfully into areas such as News Radio and New Media but those activities had never been separately funded.
"We are now at the point of cutting programs and services," he said. "There should be a proper debate, involving the community, about what the ABC's function should be.
"What we are seeing is deliberate vandalism. It may take time for that to become apparent because the organisation is being bled by 1000 cuts."
Changes recommended by the tripartite review of the 1996 Act that would have closed dozens of loopholes have yet to become law after the Government held off amending the laws until the State Election.
But that delay has caught Australian Workers Union members employed at the Elura mine near Cobar, whose mine is being brought by Consolidated Broken Hill in a liquidation sale.
Their problem is that CBH are not union friendly and are showing no inclination to keep the same award wages and conditions struck by the AWU.
If the workers were covered by the federal system, the new owners would be forced to employ the workers under the same agreement; but a loophole in the NSW Act means that the new owners can start from scratch and effectively lock the union out of negotiations.
It's one of many issues raised in the Five Year Review of the NSW laws and was slated to have been fixed in late 2002, before the legislation was pushed off the priority list.
NSW Labor Council secretary John Robertson says the plight of Elura miners shows why the Five Year Review needs to be implemented as a priority.
"Workers in the real world can't wait for the most conveniently or politically advantageous time to make amendments," Robertson says. "They need action from a government that needs to keep its good record on industrial relations by getting on the front foot."
All media stars in their own right, the three all took top (dis)honours in this year's Orwell Awards for violations of press freedom. Bob and Don shared honours for the coveted Gold Orwellian international prize announced by the Alliance last week in Sydney. In very different environments, both carried on the traditions that Orwell satirised - Bob with his line on Iraq and his blatant mistruths while Don's analysis and account of current events was every bit as comical but with far more deadly impact. Ironically once awarded a presidential medal of freedom, Rumsfeld was honoured for introducing a system of US Govt-dictated censorship.
Meanwhile, national winner Philip Ruddock and the Department of Immigration was awarded for the manifestation of the policy of preventing scrutiny of the conditions in which men, women and children seeking refugee status are incarcerated. All recipients of these salubrious awards have been inspirations to each other in the course of their respective careers. Well done!
About Our Winners
In keeping with the spirit of G. Orwell, the judges agreed on Phillip Ruddock as the worthy recipient of the national prize.
Although it's true that his department deserves a lot of the credit for the restrictions under which the media operate, but under the Westminster system Phillip Ruddock is entitled to be recognised for his and their hard work.
While Ruddock is accessible to the media, what he spouts tirelessly is the party line.
He is the manifestation of the policy of preventing scrutiny of the conditions in which men, women and children seeking refugee status are incarcerated. At the same time he casts the policy as one of "protecting" these "illegal entrants", "illegal immigrants", and now we're really sure what to call them because according the latest directive from Ruddock's office they are .... Well, what are they?
As Media Watch reported recently, Ruddock has had his department send a stern letter to the news editors and producers of Australia, to
encourage media outlets not to use the label "refugee" or even "asylum seeker" in relation to the people on the two boats...from Vietnam until it is clearly established that these descriptions are appropriate... there is no reason to assume automatically that because people are in a boat in regional waters, reportedly heading for Australia, that they are refugees or in fact even seeking asylum here.
Jenny Hoskin, Public Affairs, DIMIA, 24 April 2003
Always Ruddock bats away the interrogatories with calm detachment,
explaining that these inhumanities are in the interests of the detainees and the nation (not to mention the vote harvesting potential for the government).
What could be more Orwellian?
And while the Senate Privileges Committee should be highly commended, the judges felt they didn't deserve the gong because they're not trying hard enough: they're only considering making receiving a leak a strict liability offence.
Internationally, in the traditions of Oceania and Eurasia, the judges decided to give the award jointly to Baghdad Bob and Donald Rumsfeld as honourable recipients of the inaugural Gold Orwellian award.
Mohammed Saeed al-Sahaf is a character straight out of "Nineteen
Eighty Four" and its slogan strewn regime. His exposition of the
exact opposite of reality was a joy to behold. On top of that as
"Information" Minister his disinformation was just about unbeatable
and then there was his rigid enforcement of the Ba'ath Party line in
the Iraqi media.
As for Donald Rumsfeld, his analysis and account of current events was every bit as comical as Baghdad Bob's...but with far more deadly impact. The Iraqi seemed to have learnt his skills from the Master. Both of them had a fine understanding of one liners and the relative safety of only addressing media pools - bald lies can be asserted and broadcast before their truthfulness can be challenged. Rumsfeld gets a further leg up for the targeting and murder of Al Jazeera journalists
Our National Shortlisted Finalists Were:
Immigration Minister, Phillip Ruddock
For presiding over a federal government department and public affairs sector that has continually put up walls to the media by placing restrictions on interviewing asylum seekers, blockading access and filming of detention centers and, in the case of ABC reporter Natalie Larkins, arresting a journalist for "trespassing" outside the Woomera Detention Centre in 2002.
In her own words, Larkins said of the experience of Woomera:"It's ironic that international journalists have been given quicker and less restrictive access to prisoners at Camp X-ray at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba".
The Federal Attorney General, Daryl Williams
For his enduring ability to avoid even-handedness with the media. This included the Government's anti-terrorism legislation, which was blocked by the Senate, that significantly beefed up ASIO's powers and incriminated journalists in the process if caught protecting their sources. Then their was also the attempt to amend the criminal code which would make revealing leaked documents a crime.
The Senate Privileges Committee
For attempting to give itself the ability to fine, jail or otherwise penalise journalists and the media for doing their jobs when it foreshadowed its intention to examine whether leaked documents should constitute contempt.
Peter Reith, former Federal Defence Minister
For his release of photos purporting to prove refugees threw their children overboard and his lies and misuse of the media during the Children Overboard issue in the lead-up to the Federal Election.
Qld person or persons unknown
For abiding by the "shooting the messenger" ethos when they fired upon journalist Hedley Thomas' home.
Our International Shortlisted Finalists Were:
Robert Mugabe, President of Zimbabwe
For his dedication to muzzling the media in Zimbabwe by attacks on journalists and being behind legislation designed to give the government greater control over who can work as a journalist in the African nation.
The government's Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act means the media can be imprisoned for publishing ``falsehoods''.
Twelve journalists have been charged under the act since it came into force last year. Despite the Guardian's reporter Andrew Meldrum being found not guilty of this at his trial, he was deported the very next day anyway.
Mugabe's media laws also allows for a two-year jail term for working as a journalist without accreditation and so all Mugabe has to do is withdraw accreditation from foreign journalists he doesn't like and they either leave the country or face jail.
Mohammed Saeed al-Sahaf, "Baghdad Bob", Iraq's Minister for
If George Orwell was writing today, he wouldn't need to invent newspeak. He'd have Baghdad Bab to do that for him in his determined campaign of misinformation in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary during the Iraq war. A few of his newspeak gems:
-- "There are no American infidels in Baghdad. Never!"
-- "I blame Al-Jazeera - they are marketing for the Americans!"
-- "They're coming to surrender or be burned in their tanks."
-- "We have them surrounded in their tanks"
-- "I have detailed information about the situation...which completely proves that what they allege are illusions ... They lie every day."
-- "Lying is forbidden in Iraq. President Saddam Hussein will tolerate nothing but truthfulness, as he is a man of great honour and integrity. Everyone is encouraged to speak freely of the truths evidenced in their eyes
Donald Rumsfeld, US Secretary of Defense
Holder of the presidential medal of freedom, Don has been honoured for introducing something new to journalism: government sponsored self-censorship. Who else showed such commitment that he was able to take a break from invading Iraq to personally telephone major broadcasting companies to encourage them not to broadcast images of American POWs? This followed his earlier exercise in government sponsored self-censorship in encouraging media corporations not to broadcast images or comments of bin Laden.
All journalists would have felt that much safer by his deep contrition
Given that he showed such enthusiasm to accept responsibility whenever things went wrong in Iraq, it is only fair that he also be credited with the censorship achievements of the US Army who:
Caused collateral damage to Reuters cameramen in Baghdad in the Palestine Meridien hotel, by shelling them with (friendly) tank fire, then trying to argue they shot first. With their cameras.
And showed their respect for global media by bombing the Al Jazeera press offices. Twice.
Of course, their spokesperson demonstrated their deep understanding of their obligations to protect journalists with their comments after the initial deaths: "Reporters who get between coalition and Iraqi forces put themselves at extreme risk.''
Rumsfeld also oversaw the incredibly useful briefings throughout the war.
Who can forget the red line around Baghdad which, once crossed, would lead to the use of chemical weapons? Apparently, the red line is now in hiding in Syria.
Or the briefing that the bodies of the American POWs shown on television had been found. Twice. Then, of course, they were found alive.
It's irritating when those pesky journalists won't swallow self-censorship line. Luckily, plucky corporations like NBC are there to step in. They've been nominated for sacking correspondent Peter Arnett for saying what everyone thought but, apparently, weren't allowed to say.
Not content with one warning shot, NBC is now reviewing the comments by another NBC News correspondent Ashleigh Banfield in which she criticised the network's coverage of the war in Iraq. In a statement, NBC News rushed to defend her right to speak freely.....no, that's wrong....actually they said: "We are deeply disappointed and troubled by her remarks, and will review her comments with her."
With close to half a century of fighting press freedom, it is difficult to see what Fidel Castro could have done to top all his achievements. But the chutzpah of locking up 28 journalists in March when attention was fixed half a world away shows that all the newcomers still have a lot to learn from the old masters.
Nominations were accepted from members of Australia's media and the Media Alliance. Final judging was undertaken by past Gold Walkley winners
Kate McClymont, Richard Ackland and Mark Davis.
Stay tuned over the next year to see what violators have in store for us and make your vote count in 2004!
On May 1, Juan de Jesus Gomez president of the rural workers union, was gunned down in the cit of San Alberto.
Seven days later, Nelson Lpez, Wilmen vergara and Jorge Vasquez were killed after a powerful bomb exploded outside their hut at the Cali Drinking Water Plant. All three were union activists who had been involved in a long-running industrial and political campaign to prevent Government privatising the facility.
Their union, SINTRAEMCALI, had reported the presence of suspect vehicles and urged increased security in the three days before the killing.
The murders occurred as union representatives and the Superintendent of Public Services were negotiating over the future of the plant's operator which provides water, sanitation and electricity to the city of 2.5 million people.
Nobody has been arrested, much less charged or convicted, for any of this year's murders.
Both the International Union of Foodworkers (IUF) and Public Service International (PSI) are involved in a campaign to pressure the US-supported Colombian government to stop the killings.]
A model PSI letter is attached below. It should be sent to the Colombian President at:
Sr Alvaro Uribe Velez
Presidente de la Republica de Colombia
Carrera 8 No 7-26
Palacio de Narino
Sante Fe de Bogota
For those who have followed the debate over the future of the facility, now is a perfect time to see what was fought for with such passion.
The future of Currawong has been subject to much public debate, with a bid to upgrade facilities lapsing earlier this year.
Bookings are being taken for the next twelve months and support continues to be strong, particularly at weekends, however due to a couple of unavoidable cancellations vacancies exist for the weekends of June 13 & 14, and June 27 & 28. The Friday-Saturday night packages are $255 for union members and $290 for non-members.
To book these weekends, or other times in the next twelve months fax Ian Robinson on 9974 1328 or telephone 9974 4141.
There are nine vacancies for the weekend of June 13/14 and June 27/28
To make a booking fax your details: 9974 4141
Defend Womens Rights
Help Amina Lawal appeal her death by stoning.
28th May 2003
Join a vigil at:
To highlight the appeal of Amina Lawal against her sentence to death by stoning for adultery in Nigeria
dress in black to mourn the loss of women's rights
and help to bring International support to Amina Lawal for her forthcoming appeal in the Nigerian Federal Court
Sign the Petition
Write to the Nigerian Consulate
Come to the vigil
DEFEND WOMEN AGAINST HUMAN RIGHTS ABUSES
Organised by the NSW Working Women's Centre
Contact details 9559 5355
Pluto Press invites you to joing Gough Whitlam as he launches Mark Latham's new book.
You are invited to one of the highlights of the forthcoming Sydney
Writers Festival - the launch of Mark Latham's new book, 'From the
Suburbs: Building a Nation from our Neighbourhoods'.
At 11.00 am on Thursday May 22 former PM Gough Whitlam will launch
Mark's book in the Sydney Dance Co Cafe at the Sydney Writers
Festival, the Wharf 4/5 Hickson Road, Walsh Bay.
'From the Suburbs: Building a Nation from our
Neighbourhoods' defines the direction in which he believes the ALP
should head as a party with a radical edge, rattling the cage on
Australia's political, social and economic establishment.
Latham outlines ways to disperse power and wealth
widely across society, bringing economic assets and cultural
influence into the hands of the 'outsiders' in Australia's vast
suburbs and towns.
Latham is the Federal Member for Werriwa and Shadow Minister for
Economic Ownership, Housing, Urban Development and Community
Security. He is co-editor of The Enabling State, and author of What
did you learn today? and Civilising Global Capital.
What The Critics Say
'Latham, with his uncompromising language and debating skills, is the
one Labor MP every Government Minister has seemed loath to confront
in parliamentary debate. You can rest assured, he will be Labor
leader one day.'
Alan Ramsey, Sydney Morning Herald
'Latham's pitch goes to the heart of how we live our lives.'
Maxine McKew, The Bulletin
Mark Latham's book is available in bookstores now: ISBN 1 86403 208 1
Dear Workers Online
I refer to your toolshed inhabitant of issue 177, Ron Brunton.
While big Ron is setting up his sleeping bag and alarm clock
amongst the spanners, empty paint tins and other assorted tools, he
might reflect on his illustrious predecessors as Liberal appointees
to public broadcasting boards.
An outstanding example was Dr. Grisha Sklovsky, the first appointed
Chairman (sic) of the Special Broadcasting Service, from its start
of pilot broadcasting in 1978 to 1982. This character wasn't a
right-wing intellectual like Brunton, or even a particularly bad
tool by the standards of your shed. He was just a decent industrial
chemist and Antarctic explorer who got shanghai-ed into being the
Government's man on the board of a new ethnic broadcaster, in
charge of making sure that it didn't do very well. He knew nothing
about the media, and precious little about ethnic affairs or
He believed that migrants were best off integrated without delay
into mainstream 'Australian society', that political comment should
be barred from broadcasting, and that controversy was not the role
of ethnic media at all. The Fraser government picked an excellent
man for bureaucratic stalling, conservative decisions and delaying
From 1978 to the appointment of a better SBS head, Nick Shehadie,
in 1982, SBS grew to be a successful and political entity in spite
of its leadership. It is just as well that Dr. Sklovsky failed to
prevent SBS becoming the outstanding broadcaster it is today. We
can only hope that more reformed, active reactionaries like the
Tool Brunton can find the same failures.
I regularly read your journal when viewing the Labornet web pages and some of the articles are certainly excellent, even the ones I find I am not in agreement with are usually constructive and I feel give an insight into the demise of organised Labor.
However, I cannot recall ever seeing such a malevolent and fuckin' offensive attack on an individual, possibly with the exception of politicians who are obviously public property and should expect this and most doing so gracefully although there are some exceptions such as Costello and more recently Bolkus suing the publisher of crickey.com.
Sadly your exception; was the publication of ignominious poison pen letters directed at one of your regular 'letters to the editor contributors' whom I have found at times extremely acerbic or even rancorous, but always ending with levity or explanation as to the purpose of the sometimes sharp comments.
Your own criticisms of Piers Akerman are more mellow than the attacks which were made on this individual who has apparently, after long-term unemployment succeeded in finding a work sweeping streets, a station which surely does not attract such venom, and raises the question of the morality of a person who would launch such an attack, an attack that could be compared to stealing from the blind, pulling the wings of a fly or crucifying a prophet.
I make no claim to camaraderie with this person, I did work along with him at Parramatta City Council, and as a casual employee I helplessly watch as futile attempts were made to remove him, not for incompetence but because of his folly in standing up against the fuckwits running that Bedlam.
Where shortly after his stand against blatant racist behaviors that pressure was put on everyone to get rid of this personality and after he had been made redundant (only this individual), we were collectively told in the depot that his name was not to be mentioned again.(This is no lie)
I know this guy has been doing it tough for the past couple of years, on a fuckin' Dole Cheque, because the fuckin' Union and the paroxysmal and mentally challenged yes men employed there screwed him, not the employer. He never explained why he focused on Sartor instead of the Union. However, has done alright without these fuckin' deadweight's around his neck despite the mounting expenses in his attempts to provide for his family and educate his children. Then, I read criticism clearly from the low Bastards who have obviously benefited from this man's efforts in a previous life, since he certainly did not, unlike other 'Union Employees' obtain any personal gain. These bottom dwellers deserve to have their balls cut off, that's if they ever had any.
Is it any wonder people treated in such a manner turn on those claiming to be looking out for the worker, I now only join a Union if I have to these evil cunts cost you the Unions more support than they are worth.
As for his turning on the worker, if even a fraction of what he has told me is true, he has turned against his own class, in support of the worker, but then it might be that he is just a fuckin' good liar.
Being objective there is not much else I can say, except that it appears you too have turned on a regular contributor possibly costing him his fuckin' shit job, you may have done him a favor, perhaps you can write to him explaining your warped fuckin' logic it might just take the pain from having to selling more of his assets to pay the bills.
I thought Workers Online was a fair dinkum publication and you, although never having to actually work yourself had a bit of understanding of those that have been disadvantaged you are just another up yourself fuckin' bogus socialist wanker.
Fuckin' Unions looking after the workers, Right!
Fuck the Unions and the political correct arse wipes, usually politicians incestuously retarded offspring passing as peoples representatives (DOGS).
Eddie Jagamarra Flynn
In the real world, his $4 tax cut, wouldn't buy you a sandwich and milk shake - and even the Daily Tory-graph cut him to pieces for his 'piddling' offer to Australian workers.
But what the Human Smirk's latest fiscal effort did deliver was enough white noise to divert attention from the real issue - the attacks on the universality of health care and equitable access to higher education.
These twin policy assaults amount to a policy victory lap by Australia's most conservative of leaders, a man who now is recognised the leader of the international Right.
The 2003-04 budget will be remembered as the death knell of Medicare, the socialisation of Australian health pioneered by Whitlam and maintained for more than 30 years to deliver care to all Australians.
It will also mark the death knell of the Clever Country, with the sons and daughters of the rich now able to buy their way into universities, while academics are demoted to pawns in an ideological game to kill the award system.
And it does not stop there. Budget 2003-04 continues the conservative party's payback on public broadcasting, with programs and jobs within the ABC slated for closure within weeks.
And while it's Costello's baby, his comic side-kick Abbott's paw-prints are all over it, from a brazen grab for state unfair dismissal laws to another $17 million to prosecute his vendetta against the CFMEU.
Abbott's also emerged successful in his crusade to poison the water on paid maternity leave, with the money required to fund this initiative of Sex Discrimination commissioner Pru Goward now in the hands of the bosses through some deft corporate welfare.
But at the end of the day this is Howard's vision of Australia, a land where government is the problem not the solution and the role of politicians is to pare back services and balance the books. Nothing more and often less.
As the corporate giants like AMP are finding, being run by money men might help you manufacture a decent share price for as long as it takes to cash in the options, but long-term viability requires vision.
This budget has none of that, just an idea of community that belittles us all, a community built on wealth and status where you can buy your way to the front of queue; where your fellow citizens are competitors and where you're expected to be grateful and shut up for a couple of shekels.
We can only extend Amanda Vanstone's ham-fisted food analogy. For working Australians and their families, Budget 2003 is a shit sandwich - not enough bread and lots of crap in between.