Big Russ has been around a long time in Canberra - just ask him. The self-proclaimed longest-serving health lobbyist in Canberra has dealt with at least six health ministers and more than a dozen shadow ministers; so he reckons he knows his way around the paddock.
He has also delivered big time for his constituents - the private health funds - by getting the Howard Government to agree to one of the public policy crimes of the century - committing over $2.3 billion worth of taxpayers funds every year to prop up a bloated unreformed private health insurance industry.
Not only that but he has shown up with a straight face every year and explained to the government that the money is not enough and private health insurance premiums will have to go up or the funds will go out of business.
Every private health insurer should have a gold bust of Big Russ in the lobby for his efforts in protecting that gravy train and it now seems to be the reason he gets up in the morning.
But what a terrible price he has paid and helped force taxpayers to pay. To keep in sweet he said of the former health minister Michael Wooldridge: "The best health minister I have known in the last 30 years observing federal health policies and politics. Unlike any of his predecessors he put public health on the agenda."
Fair dinkum. You would have thought the introduction of Medibank and Medicare by Labor ministers would have been putting public health on the agenda but not according to Russ.
This week though he went about as far as any man should have to go. Kay Patterson is doing an outstanding job, he said. This the minister who has delivered a Medicare package roundly condemned by everyone including herself, refused to even meet the state ministers to discuss health funding and reform of healthcare and sparked panic among thousands of women by questioning their pap smear results.
Ask anyone, including her staff, how bad she is for health and the nation.
But not according to Big Russ, our worthy winner of Tool of the Week.
Industry sources say the pair was sent home last week before the Maltese-flagged, Teen, arrived at Portland, Tasmania, where agents refused to allow an ITF inspection.
Shipping agent, Jennie Jeal, was not forthcoming about either the deportations or the refusal to allow an inspection. Speaking from Tasmania, she refused to confirm or deny either situation.
ITF Australian representative, Dean Summers, was more informative but said the agent's inspection refusal had hampered his organisation's effort to get to the bottom of the Teen issue.
"The ITF understands two crew members were sent home on the basis of fraudulent documentation," he said.
The Teen is working the Australian coast under one of the Howard Government's contentious Single Voyage Permits, issued by Transport Minister, John Anderson. The permits allow foreign ships to avoid Australian laws and regulations, and have decimated Australian owned and crewed shipping.
The Teen issue blew up as the ITF revealed its Australian inspectorate had recovered more than $4 million in back-pay for ripped off Flag of Covenience crew members in the past year.
Summers said the recovery of exactly US$2,720,138 represented only the tip of an underpayments iceberg.
He said the three-strong Australian inspectorate, although backed by a network of union volunteers, could not hope to keep tabs on all the FOC shipping green-lighted by the Government.
"If the Federal Government is interested in stopping this exploitation it should not encourage FOC shipping," Summers said.
"As we sit here today there are people carrying Australian cargo around the Australian coast being abused and cheated. It's par for the course under the FOC system."
CFMEU spokesman, Peter Zaboyak, made that claim as members of his union and the AWU voted for a series of rolling stoppages, beginning with a 48-hour walk-out this week, that will halt progress on the $1.7 billion project.
Zaboyak accused Abi Group and Leightons Contractors of using "slave labour" on the ring road that will link many of Sydney's existing motorways.
The two established contractors have formed a joint venture company, Abi Leighton, for a project expected to employ more than 1000 people at its peak.
The joint venture, Zaboyak says, is evading its responsibilities by using non-union body hire labour on all-up rates as little as $14 an hour - an amount supposed to factor-in workers compensation, super, long service leave and payroll tax payments.
"These people are getting 50 percent of what directly employed workers are receiving. Abi Leighton is using body hire to slash wages and evade its responsibilities," Zaboyak said.
"They are screwing workers with the sub-contractors to a degree I have never seen in my 20 years' experience."
Zaboyak said the credibility of the NSW State Government had been "seriously undermined" because Abi Leighton had breached the employment code it trumpeted in an effort to highlight industrial relations differences between itself and the Federal Government.
"Frankly, it is a little hard to distinguish any difference between what is happening here and Tony Abbott's regime," Zaboyak said. "The RTA has gone to sleep at the wheel."
AWU secretary, Russ Collison, said "substantial breaches" of workplace laws had been uncovered on the project and predicted an "extensive industrial campaign" lay ahead.
Labor Council will contact Roads Minister, Carl Scully, to urge implementation of his Government's NSW Construction Code of Practice on the Western Orbital.
Workers voted to strike after months of negotiations on a project award failed to bring an agreement.
Industry insiders, on condition of anonymity, confirmed the Australian outfit, which has slashed jobs in recent years, had asked two Indian companies to contract for the work.
The decision by a joint venture headed by Government-controlled, Telstra, has been lashed by CPSU Communications Division secretary, Stephen Jones, as "ridiculous".
"It flies in the face of Government talk about building a high-skill, high-wage industry in Australia. Instead of being the clever country, this Government is turning Australia into the departure lounge for jobs of the future," he said.
Jones confirmed that his union had been informed of plans to ship IBM GSA jobs to the sub-continent.
"That fits with our mail," he said. "A couple of very good sources in Telstra have warned us this was on the drawing board."
IBM GSA was formed nearly 10 years ago by Telstra, Lend Lease and US tech giant, IBM to take advantage of IT consultancy and outsourcing opportunities, particularly the massive outsourcing forced on the public service by Federal Government policy.
It has been shedding Australian jobs over the past 18 months and has had disputes with CPSU over cutbacks and redundancy terms.
IBM GSA's decision to take work off-shore comes as rumours of rifts between the joint venture partners persist.
Key Carr Government Minister, John Della Bosca, has announced his intention to intervene in a landmark Teachers Federation case that could deliver casual and part-time TAFE Teachers equality with their permanent colleagues.
Many TAFE casual part time teachers work full time hours but their employment status presents obstacles to buying a home and meeting health care needs.
The case, which will be heard in the NSW Industrial Relations Commission from September 1, could have repercussions for all casual workers.
"For most PTCs there are 16 non-teaching weeks of enforced annual unemployment. There is no security, no leave loadings, no compensation and little grounds for claims of unfair dismissal for this disposable workforce," says Northern Sydney TAFE teacher Dianne Sykes.
"It allows no capacity to plan futures; it's difficult, if not impossible, to create a decent life for oneself and one's family," says Sykes who is employed as a Part Time Casual teacher.
Sykes points out that she, along with some 15,446 PTC teachers in NSW TAFE, have no access to family, carer's, or bereavement leave and in many cases there is no sick leave. Their mode of employment perpetuates the culture of intimidation and exploitation which ensures they perform many hours of unpaid work in an effort to retain their paid work, subsidising public education to an extraordinary degree. They may be dismissed, no explanation required, on just two hours notice.
75% of teachers are Part Time Casuals, many of whom are living marginally above the poverty line.
"You're forced to take anything that you can merely to survive. No matter how worn out you are you can't take a holiday at the end of the year because there may not be a job for next year. I've watched people become haggard because of being caught in this bind," says Dianne Mullin a PTC at Randwick TAFE.
The Department of Education, at the direction of the government, has lodged its opposition to the TAFE PTC Pro Rata Award variation on the grounds that they do not perform all of the duties of permanent teachers, and even if they did, the State cannot afford to pay them.
A disturbing development has been an intervention into the case from the NSW Minister for Commerce, Mr John Della-Bosca is opposing the PTC teacher's case on economic grounds, arguing that the NSW Government does not have the capacity to pay the teachers permanent salaries.
"I don't know what role the Minister for Commerce has in intervening in this role," NSW Labor Council Secretary John Robertson told the NSW Labor Council meeting on the 28th of August.
"This case sets a framework for the basic justice of equal pay and conditions for equal work," says NSW Teachers Federation Assistant General Secretary Phil Bradley.
Bradley pointed out that under current arrangements PTC teachers could not get a mortgage or have any employment security. PTC TAFE teachers working the same hours as full-time teachers received only 60% of the salary.
The teachers will mark the first day of spring by rallying outside the NSW Industrial relations Commission where their plea for justice will finally be heard.
"Supporters will be wearing/leaving flowers and foliage outside the IRC to symbolise the first day of Spring - the season of stunning change and new growth," says Dianne Sykes
The action to support TAFE PTC Teachers will be held on Monday the 1st Sep at 9:15am at the NSW IRC, 815-825 George Street Sydney.
The case is scheduled to continue until September 30.
The giants of the game have taken lead roles in RLPA demands to be cut into a stake in the professional sport and will be among 30-40 player delegates to consider the NRL’s latest offer.
Rugby League Professionals Association (RLPA) chief, Tony Butterfield, praised the efforts of his high-profile members, saying their commitment had raised the prospect of players being taken seriously after generations of being side-stepped by administrators.
"Frankly, the association can't do a lot for these guys but they have become involved because they want to leave a legacy for the kids coming through," he said.
In a major step forward, two or three delegates from every NRL club have attended the last two EBA report back meetings. Fittler, Tallis and Barrett have attended both while Johns tuned in by mobile phone to the one he couldn't attend in person.
Key issues dividing the parties, after months of negotiations, include a minimum wage; intellectual property rights; insurance; NRL rights to intrude into the personal financial affairs of players, their partners and families; education and welfare.
Footballers are understood to be questioning why the News Ltd-backed NRL signed off on a media deal that narrowed players' ability to make money outside the game, when C7 had tabled an offer that would have pumped an extra $300 million into the sport.
Butterfied said the NRL response to his members' core issues, to be delivered on Wednesday, would be "interesting".
"We have been through the front door and done everything right for three years," he said. "We have produced document after document but had no success.
"It's up to the NRL now. They need to respond and the players will consider what they have to say.
"The players have bought into this in a way we haven't seen before because it's about their lives and the future of their sport."
We’re asking our readers to come up with concepts for a new workers’ anthem, with the winner given the opportunity to discuss their ideas with Bragg before one of his Sydney gigs.
Bragg's national tour, with backing band 'The Blokes' kicks off at Sydney's Metro Theatre on September 12, 13 and 14; before travelling to Byron Bat (Sept 16), Brisbande (Sept 18), Melbourne (Sept 20), Adelaide (Sept 23) and Perth (Sept 24).
While Bragg is a regular visitor to these shores, this will be his first tour since the War in Iraq and it will be interesting to hear his take on the Blair Government's contribution to global security.
Earlier this year, he recorded 'The Price of Oil' - recorded straight to the web where more than 50,000 people down loaded.
New Sounds on the Air
The Bragg concert coincides with the launch of radio station Fbi - a communtiy-based radio station that aims to the fill the void in music and culture in Sydney.
Modelled on Melbourne's successful 3RRR, FBi has received financial support from the NSW Labor Council and will run L:aborNet's 'Wobbly Radio' website.
NSW Labor Council's Michael Gadiel, who is on the Fbi board, says the station offers a new outlet for unions, particularly those with younger membership.
"Radio stations like FBi help shape a town's culture and I'm hoping there will be room for workers' voices in Sydney newesrt station," Gadiel says.
Clough, former CEO of Clough Constructions and Engineering, admitted donating thousands of dollars to "Australians for Honest Politics" - a front organisation established by Abbott to fund prosecution of One Nation
leader, Pauline Hanson, when it became apparent her race-based policies were luring away Coalition voters.
At the time, before much of her agenda had been adopted by the Howard Government, Abbott publicly denied the existence of such a fund.
In the face of court evidence produced during Hanson's prosecution in Brisbane, Abbott this week recanted, sparking CFMEU insistence that he reveal the extend of construction industry backing.
National secretary, John Sutton, has written to the Minister seeking information on other construction companies that chipped into the hush-hush account.
"Considering Tony Abbott's position as Workplace Relations Minister and his establishment of a Royal Commission which white-washed building industry
employers, we believe the community should know whether or not other industry employers donated to his fund," Sutton said.
"We've little sympathy with Pauline Hanson's racist policies; what we're committed to is politics that's above board in practice, not just in theory."
The union's call comes one year after Abbott's $60 million Building Industry Royal Commission went through its funds with a fine tooth comb.
In the face of independently audited accounts, Counsel Assisting and the Commissioner, himself, publicly raised questions about the propriety of donations made to union funds.
They had to withdraw some claims, and apologise for others, but earned a lot media coverage on the way through. Twelve months after those proceedings
finished none has resulted in legal action, despite Abbott funding a follow-up Interim Taskforce to the tune of another $10 million taxpayer dollars.
Labor front bencher, Mark Latham, has joined the chorus for Abbott to level with Australians about the identities of slush fund donors.
The Minister's failure to disclose, Latham said, raised important questions, including ...
- do donors include business people who Abbott has favoured and assisted in his capacity as Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations?
- do they include corporations Abbott has mentioned and assisted in Parliament?
- were the donations organised by Ian Harley Macdonald, Abbott's campaign director and fundraiser who was subsequently gaoled for embezzlement?
The win comes as unions call for the focus of drinking to be on impairment, its occupational health and safety implications and its wider causes such as fatigue, overwork, and the use of casuals and outsourcing.
"We will not tolerate drug and alcohol stories being dealt with in isolation," says Paul Bastian of the AMWU, who pointed to impairment being the real issue that needed to be addressed
Brian Agnew, Barry Jelly, Frank Peinado and George Mandilakis had been dismissed for drinking under what ultimately proved to be an unclear workplace policy.
The Australian Industrial Relations Commission in its ruling recognised the culture of the industry was a contributing factor, with the ruling appearing to confirm that the application of the company's anti-drinking stance had been inconsistent.
"The company can't form arbitrary policy [in regard to workplace drinking],' said Bastian.
No Numbers On Workplace Drinking At Alcohol Summit
Meanwhile the NSW Government's Alcohol Summit covered the area of drinking and the workplace this week but found that there was a lack of statistics on the Australian situation.
In the absence of statistics there was no real evidence to prove that drinking was a problem in Australian workplaces.
The summit issued a recommendation that employers and employees establish clear guidelines regarding the use of alcohol in the workplace.
NSW Labor Council representatives at the summit noted that the need for this course of action stemmed from unscrupulous employers instigating unilateral and inappropriate policies on alcohol in the workplace.
Of more concern to the NSW Labor Council was the failure by employers to address the issue of fatigue. This problem is as equally debilitating as alcohol abuse, but is caused by management factors such as excessive workloads and placing unrealistic demands on employees. The failure of employers to address fatigue while concentrating on alcohol abuse was seen as inconsistent.
The summit also recommended the establishment of a Drug and Alcohol Workforce Development Council.
From the September 1 NSW employers will be required to notify WorkCover immediately when "serious" incidents occur.
The NSW Labour Council is hoping the new reporting regulations will improve the collection of data on workplace accidents.
"The data that is [currently] collected is appalling," NSW Labor Council secretary John Robertson told last week's Council meeting. "This will allow better data collection and will allow for prosecutions under the WorkCover legislation."
Affiliate unions have also welcomed the changes to the regulations.
"NSW Police have congratulated the government on this initiative," says Peter Renfrey of the NSW Police Association. "There is ample evidence that the number of workplace injuries is dramatically under reported. This system will...ensure that appropriate preventative strategies can be developed"
"It should remove any excuse for employers not complying with their reporting obligations."
Under the new amendments to Clause 341 of the OHS Regulation 2001 serious incidents also include:
- An incident where there has been a fatality;
- An incident where there has been a serious injury or illness such as when a person is placed on a life support system, loses consciousness, is trapped in machinery or a confined apace or has serious burns;
- An injury or illness that causes a person to be unfit to attend their usual place of work for seven days;
- Damage to any plant, equipment, building or structure or other thing that impedes safe operation,
- An uncontrolled explosion or fire,
- An uncontrolled escape of gas, dangerous goods or steam,
- Exposure to bodily fluids that presents a risk of transmission of blood-borne diseases,
- Electric shock that involves a risk of serious injury to a person,
- Any other incident that involves a risk of explosion or fire; escape of gas, dangerous goods or steam; or substantial property damage.
A special WorkCover hotline has been established on 13 10 50 to notify incidents.
Other incidents require the employer to notify their insurer.
ETU state secretary Bernie Riordan says a union analysis of the power industry since the break-up of Pacific Power in 1996 had found:
- a 40 per cent cut to field staff at Energy Australia and Integral Energy - responsible for maintaining and repairing lines
- outsourcing of tree clearing around power lines, leading to greater chances that high winds will bring down lines
- insufficient training of apprentices creating a long-term skills shortage in the industry
- and demands from the NSW Government for higher dividends creating a drain on resources within the power entities.
Riordan says all these factors had contributed to the high number of blackouts over the past week.
"A well-resourced power sector won't stop storms like last weekend's occurring, but it will ensure that the impact on the public is minimised," he says.
"In NSW we have an industry that is constantly under pressure to cut costs and deliver a greater dividend to government.
"In the long run it is the public that suffers through reduced services, with the impact felt at times when it matters most - like last weekend."
British Collapse Questions National Grid
The warning came as the electricity grid in Britain collapsed - in what the ETU has described as a timely reminder of how important the continuity of electricity supply is to the proper functioning of any society.
"Today's problems in Britain follow similar serious incidents recently in eastern parts of the United States and Canada," ETU national secretary Peter Tighe says.
"Unless major changes to investment and maintenance workforce levels are introduced in the Australian industry it is only a matter of time before Australian households and businesses suffer similar serious disruptions. We need to reverse the expenditure-reduction madness in this industry before it is too late.
Tighe says the introduction of a national industry regulator - currently under consideration by COAG - along the market-driven lines proposed, will only lead to further dangerous cuts in investment and labour force levels across Australia's electricity generation, transmission and distribution industry.
The power companies themselves have admitted last week, through the Electricity Supply Association of Australia (ESSA), that the industry needs as much as $30 billion in investment in the next few years just to keep up with demand.
That includes $15 to $18 billion on new distribution facilities, $5 billion on power generation, $3 billion on transmission facilities and $3 billion on renewable energy generation.
The AMWU has released a pamphlet on occupational health and safety aimed at improving safety for labour hire and contract workers.
With injury rates for labour hire workers higher than for other workers in the same industries the AMWU is moving to increase protection for this often under represented area of the workforce.
"We're driving to ensure that the permanent workforce realise that contract and casual workers have a say in their occupational health and safety,' says the AMWU's David Henry. "Their lives are as important as any other worker."
In comparison to direct hire employees, the injuries to on-hire workers occur more often, occur early on in the placement with the host employer, are more severe and the on-hire worker is off work longer.
Qantas Remains Hard Nosed Despite Safety And Security Risks
Qantas unions, under the umbrella of the ACTU, are continuing talks with the airlines management, who show no sign of relaxing their hard-line position on the use of non-union labour.
"Health and safety is paramount, not just for Qantas workers, but for the safety of fellow workers and, of course the public," says Richard Watts from the ACTU, who points out that security is also a paramount issue, being a great concern to staff. Airlines are at the front line of security concerns in the current world climate.
Talks between the parties are continuing.
Ansett Workers Engineer Pay Claim Win
Aircraft Engineers had a victory in the Federal Court this week after the Ansett administrator ordered approximately $7 million in additional severance pay entitlements be handed over to members of the Australian Licensed Aircraft Engineers Association.
The move opens up an opportunity for other Ansett unions to claim another $15 million in entitlements for other employees of the collapsed airline.
The administrators, Mark Korda and Mark Mentha, opposed the Engineer's claim on the bass that it would lead to further claims from other former employees.
Media reports state that the administrators have approximately $400 million to carve up between Ansett's creditors, which including its former employees. Other airline unions are suing the creditors for $200 million in employee superannuation entitlements.
Program officers, the staff who organise and supervise activities at 11 centres around the state, overwhelmingly supported the strike - rejecting a recommendation from the NSW Industrial Relations Commission to cease industrial action.
The program officers, members of the Public Service Association, have asked for a number of improvements and protections. The four main items on the table include maintenance of the current salary structure, limits on the number of nights rostered, two weeks extra leave to compensate for the hours worked, and maintenance of teacher qualifications.
The claim for extra leave was based on a survey showing Program Officers worked 64 hours per week, consisting of 46 hours teaching and 18 hours in residential support. The agreement specifies a 35 hour standard. The extra hours are only partially covered in the current 6 weeks leave and their allowance.
After a number of delays the Department of Sport and Recreation has made a counter claim that abolishes teacher qualifications, reduces leave by one week, only partially restricts night rostering, and reduces salaries.
Under the Department's salary proposal some staff stand to lose $17,000 per year.
Workers are located at 11 centres across the state, including; Berry, Borambola, Broken Bay, Jindabyne, Lake Ainsworth, Lake Burrendong, Lake Keepit, Milson Island, Myuna Bay, Point Wolstoncroft, and Sydney Academy of Sport and Recreation.
After the industrial action the PSA and the Department of Sport and Recreation have been meeting in an effort to resolve the dispute.
"If things break down we'll have to consider our options about further industrial action," says PSA industrial officer Anthony D'Adam.
The PSA has called upon the Minister, Sandra Nori, to instruct her Department that qualifications are not negotiable.
The move by the NAB on the AMP would mean massive job losses according to the Financial Sector Union.
"Mergers are devastating for jobs and the community because they always lead to less choice, greater market concentration and increased prices, " says FSU National Secretary Tony Beck.
Beck said AMP staff were shocked by the company's recent decision not to renegotiate an employment agreement.
"We fear the AMP is gearing itself up for job cuts and did not want to give employees the protection that an enterprise agreement offers," he said.
The FSU has demanded that the AMP reconsider its position and meet urgently to protect jobs and conditions.
Rachland Nashidik is warning Australians that their pain over the Bali bombing is being exploited to rehabilitate internal security forces that have shown a profound disregard for democracy.
Kopassus has been implicated in military strongarm tactics, from the 1984 Tanjung Priok massacre which claimed the lives of hundreds of Jakarta dock workers to massacres in East Timor.
The Kopassus Special Forces Commander will be welcomed to Canberra next month when Prime Minister John Howard is expected to confirm the resumption of military co-operation between Australia and Indonesia.
Nashidik said Canberra appeared to be being used as a stalking horse by the Bush Administration, prevented from co-operating with the Indonesian military by its own Senate in response to the recent murder of a US citizen in West Papua.
He is asking students, trade unionists, politicians and NGOs to pressure Howard out of supporting the Indonesian military.
Nashidik praises recent co-operation between Australian and Indonesian police forces and says upgrading that support would be more beneficial in the fight against terrorism.
"You must understand that we are still fighting for civil dominance (over the military) in Indonesia," he said. "Invariably, in my country, the military and forces like Kopussas become involved in internal security, that is the problem.
The "War on Terror" was a smokescreen for the Indonesian military, he said. If it wasn't, he argued, you wouldn't be able to buy Indonesian passports for $50, and the military would move to control the flow of small arms swamping the country.
GLEEBOOKS and PLUTO PRESS AUSTRALIA invite you to the launch of
By Lindsay Tanner MP
to be launched by BOB CARR
Premier of NSW and Minister for the Arts
WHEN: Monday 1st September, 10:30 for 11:00am
WHERE: Gleebooks: 49 Glebe Point Rd, Glebe 2037
Please RSVP by 27th August to gleebooks - ph: 9660 2333 or email:
It is two years this week since Howard and friends used the SAS to intercept the Tampa and prevent it from carrying out its humanitarian duty, two years since the Liberals so dramatically stepped up their fear mongering that "we" were being invaded.
The Refugee Action Coalition has organised a protest outside Town Hall to mark the second anniversary of Tampa Day. Come along and demonstrate that the campaign for refugee rights will continue until we have won.
Please bring signs and friends
Friday 29 August, from 5.30pm at Sydney Town Hall
Speakers include federal MP Tanya Plibersek, refugee speakers, others TBA
OTHER TAMPA DAY ACTIONS in SYDNEY:
Tampa Day on the North Shore
Candlelight vigil from 5:30pm, Friday 29th August
Outside Gordon Library, Pacific Hwy Gordon
A vigil for those who can make it to Ku-ring-gai to express opposition to the Government's handling of refugee issues since the Tampa was refused entry into Australian waters in our country's darkest military operation two years ago.
Contact Susie Gemmell: 0402 654 528.
Tampa Day at Parramatta / Western Sydney
There is a commemoration rally at 4.30 on Friday at Parramatta Mall, Church
St followed by a refugee solidarity performance night from 6.30pm at the
Mars Hill Cafe, 331 Church St
If you would like to join western Sydney refugee supporters on the day, circulate flyers or help bring together artists / performers, please contact Katrina
ph (h) 9681-1349
Join the Labor Council's Activist Register to find out about labor movement and social movement events. Go to http://www.labor.org.au/activist
In response to the jailing of Pauline Hanson and the Howard government minister Tony "Mad Monk" Abbott's admitted role in pursuing Hanson to the point of establishing a slush fund one can only ask how far will this ideologically,maniacal government go to achieve their end. This Miserable, Miserly, Dishonest, Lying, Rorting Federal Government (and I'm being nice) will stop at nothing, ruin the lives of anyone who stands in their way as Shaun Carney (Melbourne Age)recently wrote of securing "Absolute Power".
One would have thought that Howard,Anderson and the likes of state premiers such as Kennett,Court etc have achieved plenty in their short time to belt all battling Australians including Workers, Families, ,Unemployed, Aborigines, Disabled, etc. whilst providing policies to favour the wealthy.
Pay rises to Ministers and Backbenchers of up to $150,000 for postage and election propaganda whilst cutting the benefits of the least fortunate in society including Carers of people with a disibility (up to $87.00 per fortnight)of these meagre entitlements.
Legitimate Refugees fleeing Bin Laden, Hussain or Mugabe, Honest Workers defending job losses and entitlements whilst executives and Government ministers and backbenchers cant get their noses deep enough into the trough, Unions defending such workers are put through a waste of $70 Million in the Royal Commission targeting Martin Kingham as an individual and his union the CFMEU whilst at the same time not one word from the Morally Bancrupt and Corrupt Howard Government or its ministers on the Adler, Williams affairs in our largest corporate loss in HIH.
Should Abbott have pursued these two the way he admits he pursued Hanson?
Ansett workers are still waiting for their entitlements while John Howard pays Stan Howards workers their entitlements with Taxpayers money.Bishop and Kerosene scandal, McGauran staying at his girlfriends flat and claiming $300 per night Living away from home allowance as much as a pensiner or unemployed person gets in a fortnight.McGaurans punishment was he was given a rise and made Science Minister by John Howard.From bringing thousands of Wealthy (and white) skilled people to Australia (pushing up house and land prices because they can pay cash whilst Australian get a 30 year loan if they can find a place.Howard needs an inquiry to tell him this!) whilst imposing crippling Hecs on Australian Youth and selling rich overseas students our own Students University places and bringing trades men and women to this country because its cheaper and easier than training young unemployed Australians including Aboriginal Australians.(Howard would rather look after the Rich from another country than the Poor from his own.
Cuts to Public Schools and Universities while increasing funds to the wealthy private.
This is the worst, talentless, miserable, uncaring,
hypocrytical, Federal government ever in the history of this once great nation and the best part is "History will show/prove it".
To end as much as i DISAGREE with Pauline Hanson's views, Policies and Party as an Australian in a supposedly free and democratic society i DEFEND her RIGHT to say what she believes in.
That was what Australia and Australians used to be about.
Abbott should resign in disgrace from this goverment but after habitual episodes of Lying from the Prime Minister and Corrupt or Incompetant episodes from the likes of McGauran,Ruddock,Bishop,Reith,"Iron Pen"Tuckey, etc one wont be holding their breath.If ever we needed a true Socialist Labour Government now is the time.
Whew i got all that off my chest in time without getting disconnected !
The letter „Misplaced Trust „in issue 192 of Workers Online caught my attention - not through lack of empathy with the complainant, but rather an overwhelming, pervasive and unrepentant contempt and revulsion as once again a parasite having reciprocally fed on the collective (Unions) with their host to the exclusion of the collective for 25 years now pleads and bleats about rights which they obviously and voluntarily have abrogated through a long term mutually satisfying relationship.
It is self evident from this recurrent and pathetic cry from the Œfoxhole‚ of life, that Union membership was not a priority to the likes of these industrially licentious lice during their referred to , 25 years of employment and contentment , and my assumption is ; that until this forced reality, any mention of joining a Union would have be met with ridicule.
It was this letter which brought back memories of a sermon I attended in 1997 at the 400 old years Killinchy Presbyterian Church while on a visit to Ireland .A sermon, although in the genre of the benefits of Comradeship , and not specific to Trade Unions; I found quite relevant to the state of the Union movement not only in Australia, but world wide.
The Valley of the Dry Bones:
In a vision God caused. Ezekiel to see himself in a valley full of dry bones. Perhaps it was a field of battle where years ago the Babylonians had defeated the Jews. It must have been a terrible defeat because the passage says; the valley was full of dry bones. Each of those skeletons had once been a human being who had lived just as you and I now live with hopes and fears and plans and expectations. But a great and terrible battle had been fought; they had been defeated and killed, and now all that was left was bleached, dry bones.
Is this not an accurate description of the current state of the Unions within Australia; in disarray as the Mad Monk and the Howard machine like the Great Nothingness relentlessly ravages the Unions?
It would not be difficult for any battler to understand this vision. We know about valleys of dry bones. We have all been there. The 1998 Maritime Battle caused some to see only dry bones where once there had been vitality and life in the Union. Sometimes we enter a valley of dry bones when the doctor tells us our cancer cannot be cured. Or maybe we have invested years of effort in some project or dream or career, and then things beyond our control happen, and the project falls apart; the dream is destroyed; the career is ended by redundancies, and we find ourselves in the midst of a valley of dry bones. The loss of a significant relationship can leave us wandering in a valley of dry bones. Sometimes what happens is the consequence of what we did or what we failed to do.
Sometimes it is the consequence of what others did or failed to do. Sometimes we do not know why all that has happened has happened. All we know is, for us, in Australia our situation in life is like a valley of dry bones , this danger being exacerbated through the shameless cannibalistic behaviors of many of those who have usurped the will of the members through electoral rorting and Branch stacking .
This is where your correspondent Jenny and family have found themselves, and in their case, while I have complete empathy, I can offer no sympathy or compassion, as this would only serve to encourage the proliferation of comparable cockroaches, and I suggest they seek consolation in their acceptance as to the moral of this tale of woe, as the inexorable law of action is invoked 'as ye sow, so shall ye reap.
The Rev. Martin Niemoller a German Lutheran Pastor imprisoned by the Nazis, articulated how we bring these calamities upon ourselves when we refuse to speak out against tyranny no matter what face and to whom it presents itself to us:
First they came for the Communists, and I didn‚t speak up, because I wasn‚t a Communist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I didn‚t speak up, because I wasn‚t a Jew.
Then they came for the Catholics, and I didn‚t speak up, because I was a Protestant.
Then they came for me, and by that time there was no one left to speak up for me.
I would like to nominate Tony Abbott for the Tool Shed.
Can anyone possibly be more deserving than Tony "the tool" Abbott who not only employed and trained Oldfield, but unwittingly placed him in a possition to set up One Nation with Pauline, jump ship, grab a monster share of the vote and roll in success, but then decided that his old friend and collegue, and Pauline, were a threat to the "honesty" of Australian politics.
However, in seeking to bring honesty back into the government, he lied to the ABC (and the people), and a few years later claimed that lying to the ABC wasn't really that bad. All while secretly trying to win back the racist far-right by attacking One Nation in the courts, and making Liberal policy as close as possible to Pauline's.
What more can i say, he has my vote.
While the groups are still being analysed, a few things are clear. First, it's not that people are anti-union; it's that people, particularly younger workers, have no concept of what we are at all. More depressingly, most believe that they, and only they will look after their own interests.
On one reading this is a triumph of American culture - we see ourselves as individuals who don't need a community to protect us. If we have a problem, we move on; we start again. After all noone else will care about us.
If there is a single barrier to unions rebuilding it must be this breakdown in the notion of community, individuals as members of inter-related groups.
In this context, the launch this week of new community radio station Fbi is a small step back. After ten years struggle, the volunteers behind the station have secured a licence is broadcasting on the fm band at 95.4.
Fbi's brief is to play 50 per cent Australian content and 25 per cent Sydney content - a commitment to local artists which recognises music as more than just a commodity, more a part of our collective lives.
Labor Council is proud to have supported Fbi because we see its mission as similar to our's: creating a culture of community through which anything - even industrial strength - is possible.
FBi won't be Radio Pravda, or anything of an overt political ilk. But it will assert some basic values: notably the importance of local community and local voices in the face of the global imperatives that drive Britney Spears and Geoff Dixon to dumb down very different business operations in search of the bottom line.
Cultural Hansonism you say? Scratch the surface and you'll find the opposite. More an optimism that people working together can create their own rules, their own space and maybe even realise their own dreams.
FBi may just be one of those avenues that makes young people more open to collective responses to their problems at work.
And for us old farts, there's always Billy Bragg.