The year of the monkey doesn't look like being a high water mark in the career of our lame-duck Prime Minister, John Howard.
The National Embarrassment is an increasingly desperate man, forced to play catch up as his nemesis, Mark Latham, sets the Federal political agenda.
Last week he tried to portray Latham as Mr Flip Flop, only for that epithet to blow up in his face as he did a 180-degree turnaround on parliamentary superannuation. The self-styled man of steel is actually a jellybacked man of rubber. His misplaced sense of his own importance didn't allow him to bite the bullet and impose his new rigorous standards on himself of course; he'll be desperately clinging to his own golden parachute, and the way things are going he'll be using it sooner rather than later.
This intellectual pimple is a classic do-as-I say-not-as-do leader. Who can forget the lavish Italian hotel room; his record spending on plonk; Or his need for two houses - ironically while many of his fellow Australians are struggling to hang onto one.
This from someone who portrays himself as some kind of suburban everyman! Yeah, right.
Australia's worst Prime Minister in living memory is more than likely headed for the high jump the way things are going. He is a thoroughly discredited figure who for years has made a living out of lying.
In his desperation the Godfather of Gormlessness has stooped to some pretty gutless opportunism in his time. We've had the map of Australia on the 7.30 report showing the aboriginal takeover; the 'never ever' GST; non-core promises; the Tampa garbage; his appropriation of One Nation's agenda; the complete rubbish that formed the basis for taking the country to war in Iraq; beating up on public schools; and on and on ad nauseam.
Unfortunately being loose with the truth has a way of catching up with people, as it is now with Mr I-Wasn't-Told. Not since Alan Bond's trial have we come across someone who was so lacking in knowledge as to what was going on. His notion of what laughably passes as leadership is entirely devoid of accountability. And this man is running the country? God help us all.
He has never led a government of much substance. The end result is that his government's policies from health to education to the workplace are a shambles as he scrambles to make decisions on the run. He'll be rolling out the pork-barrel in election year, but will anybody seriously be buying? The fact that Abbott and Costello are the next in line in the talent gives readers some appreciation of how bare the government's stocks are.
This is a man who has truly demeaned us all. If Mark Latham is offering the 'ladder of opportunity', then little Johnny offers us the 'ladder of opportunism'.
Just how much of a joke this pathetic little man has become became clear over the summer when he accused Latham of being "loose with the truth". This was met with sniggers and bemusement rather than anger or dismay. The man is losing his grip.
Now that he's under pressure we start to see him out and about with pre-school kiddies, which is a truly scary thought.
In thirty years of public life Howard has managed to move from kissing babies to photo opportunities with four year olds. At this rate he would have to live to be 300 before we could get him to address issues to adults.
He has obviously managed to assume the mantle of Head of State, with his beloved Governor-General all but invisible. Fair dinkum, Photo-op Howard would attend the opening of a wound!
His megalomaniacal fantasies may suffer a reality check if his increasingly rattled and erratic behaviour continues. The way things are going our Tool Of The Week may well step down prior to the next election, something he should have done thirty years ago.
This Gimp for the Big End Of Town won't be missed - let's just hope he doesn't hit himself on the door on the way out.
The Rail Tram and Bus Union (RTBU) has secured a Memorandum of Understanding with rail chiefs that for the first time sets correct staffing levels for drivers and guarantees jobs for those who fail to meet new health standards.
"We will be working constructively to deal with the real safety issues," says RTBU Secretary Nick Lewocki.
The Memorandum of Understanding sets a number of commitments to address Drivers concerns. These include:
- a commitment to create 124 new positions to address the problem of driver shortages
- A commitment by rail bosses to move towards the new staffing levels. In the interim, drivers will be offered overtime bonuses.
- Disciplinary processes will be clarified to give driversv a better understanding of the procedure.
- Depot rostering will be improved.
- Half a million dollars will be spent to bring driver amenities up to standard.
"Each of the items [in the Memorandum] is what the delegates involved found were important to drivers," says Lewocki. "[It] has worked like a pressure valve. Things aren't perfect, but we'll live with this," Lewocki said.
He slammed the government and RailCorp's handling of the crisis.
"There was a high level of frustration amongst drivers that should never have got to this. This should have been dealt with constructively by sitting down with drivers instead of attacking drivers publicly," he said.
Transport Summit Call
Meanwhile a new peak group consisting of transport unions, community groups and local Government launched the NSW Transport Alliance, calling on the Carr Government to convene an urgent summit to deal with the state's public transport needs.
The NSW Transport Alliance believes the successful model used by Government to address both community drug and alcohol issues is the only way to cut through the current logjam of issues and provide practical solutions.
The NSW Transport Alliance believes the summit should address issues facing public transport in NSW, including investment, planning, the environment, the quality of public and fair access.
A summit will provide the Government with an opportunity to hear from key stakeholders, experts and transport users that will provide the platform for the development of a shared vision that will deliver a sustainable public transport system for the people of NSW.
As Costa patched up differences with train drivers last week, hundreds of maintenance workers angry about "gross inconsistencies" in drug and alcohol procedures flagged industrial action.
AMWU Rail Industry Corporation delegates were meeting in Sydney last Friday to determine the shape of their campaign to force Costa to discuss issues they have been trying to get onto the agenda since last October.
Frustrated AMWU secretary, Paul Bastian, said Costa's inflexibility was costing his members jobs.
"Our members are calling for industrial action primarily because we have a Minister who would rather see rail in chaos than talk to workers about problems that confront them," Bastian said.
"As far back as last October we tried to discuss this issue with him. In November, he handed down this legislation like tablets from the mountain, without any consultation.
"We wrote to the Minister again in December seeking to discuss our difficulties but he won't even talk about them."
His union has the employer in the Industrial Relations Commission, claiming unfair dismissal on behalf of a process worker sacked for blowing .02 in a random breath test.
Bastian said no part of the Act workers found objectionable had been recommended by the McInerney Report or any other safety audit.
"We're fully supportive of safety procedure, safety is every bit as much an issue for rail workers as the travelling public but this system is inflexible, arbitrary and characterised by gross inconsistencies," he said.
He listed the following practical difficulties with the present regime:
- .02 is well under the .05 required to put a car driver over the limit
- experts in the field have told his union that testing machines are callibrated to record .02 as a minimum alcohol reading
- workers have no idea whether or not they will blow positive in a random test after just a few beers with friends the night before
- there is no procedure for self-identification if workers have that concern, something provided in alcohol agreements with private employers
- some workers have been sacked for blowing .02 while others haven't
- there is no differentiation between workers in "safety critical" areas and those in other jobs ie a ticket seller at the station is treated in exactly the same manner as a passenger train driver
- there are no appeal procedures
Bastian called the current regime a complete denial of procedural fairness.
"We want a system that is fair and understood, that's all. Unfortunately this Minister is happy to perform for the press but will only talk to the workforce when it resorts to industrial action."
County Court Judge Joe Gullaci made his stand in gaoling a truck driver after an accident that killed a western Victorian woman.
The court heard the truck driver had been working 14-hour shifts, on fear of dismissal, in the days leading up to the fatal accident.
Joseph Terry Caldwell, 24, of Warrnambool, was gaoled in the Victorian County Court for at least three years and 10 months over the death of Francis Fava on July 6, 2001.
The Transport Workers Union has endorsed the judge's call, after campaigning for years to have excessive hours curtailed.
"It's time employers and clients accepted responsibility for what's happening in the [transport] industry," says Transport Workers Union spokesperson Scott Connolly. "The problem is out of control."
Connolly said there has been a 100% increase in trucking fatalities in January.
"The authorities need to take immediate action because of the crisis on our roads," says Connolly.
Meanwhile the NSW Industrial Relations Commission has heard that only a "superhuman" could have worked the hours a long-distance truck driver did in the days before he died when his semitrailer crashed on the Pacific Highway.
WorkCover NSW is prosecuting a transport company over the death of the driver.
The court hearing is continuing.
Exporting another raft of jobs is central to the telco’s plan to slash nearly $1 billion from its IT bill this year but the resistance of workers and community groups is certain to make the behaviour of Australia’s largest company a key issue in this year’s Federal election.
The ALP, Democrats and the ruling Coalition Government have already hinted as much, releasing contrasting positions on the 51 percent state owned operation, in the past seven days.
Labor Communications spokesman, Lindsay Tanner, has promised a more activist use of the Government shareholding. He claimed unjustified line rental hikes were fleecing consumers and committed the ALP to forcing Telstra to shed its 50 percent stake in Foxtel.
Tanner said it was "inappropriate" and "anti-competive" for the government owned giant to own a purely commercial activity like a pay tv network.
Democrats senator John Cherry also called for more social responsibility in Telstra management, arguing it was cutting infrastructure investment so it could return higher dividends to shareholders.
The Coalition has presided over a laissez faire approach to the company and made little secret of its desire for complete privatisation.
Under its watch, Telstra has cut more than 50,000 Australian jobs and begun to aggressively export well-paid IT jobs that were once touted as the saviour of the Australian workforce.
Last year Telstra subsidiary, IBM, was a key player in the sell-off of 630 tech jobs to lower paying Indian companies.
The company has announced that another $800 million worth of IT contracts are being reviewed with industry analysts saying most of that work is likely to be let offshore.
Some of these arrangements include human resource and payroll applications.
Opposition is being spearheaded by the CPSU, APESMA and the CEPU, and has brought in non-industrial groups such as the Australian Computer Society whose president, Edward Mandla, calls offshoring the "mother of all IT issues".
Those groups will kick off their public campaign with a rally on the corner of Lonsdale and Exhibition Streets, Melbourne, on Tuesday, February 24.
Heavy hitters, including ACTU president Sharan Burrow, CPSU secretary, Adrian O'Connell and Federal Labor front bencher Tannner have agreed to speak.
The rally was confirmed as Telstra reported a record half-yearly profit for the six months to Jan 31 of $2.29 billion.
Confirmation that the Taskforce which aggressively pursues legal action against building workers, isn’t enforcing employer obligations, came in written answers supplied to the Senate by officials from the Department of Employment and Workplace Relations.
Replying to questions asked by Senator Jacinta Collins, departmental officials conceded the Taskforce is aware of allegations of underpayments and non-payments of entitlements on building sites around Australia, but does nothing about them.
"It is not part of the Taskforce's remit to investigate instances of underpayment of employee entitlements in the building and construction industry," officials said.
CFMEU national secretary, John Sutton, says the admission confirms his union's contention that the Taskforce is biased in its dealings with industry players.
Sutton says underpayments are a major industrial problem for building and construction that the Taskforce has simply "washed its hands of".
He produced figures showing that branches of his union have retrieved more than $30 million in underpayments for building workers over a three year period.
The last audited figures, to February 2002, show CFMEU branches returning massive amounts of owed money to dudded workers. Victoria retrieved $10,687,616 and NSW more than $11,629,000 for the period.
Transforming the Taskforce into a permanent fixture on the construction landscape is a central plank in a Bill the Federal Government is trying to ram through Parliament.
Sutton said the Taskforce, a key recommendation of the Cole Royal Commission, should instead be disbanded.
He said the answers supplied to Senate questions confirmed what the union had believed ever since the Taskforce was established.
"It is only interested in chasing unions and workers. When it comes to the most basic breaches of federal awards, you won't see this Taskforce for dust," he said.
Undaunted by costly retaliation against outfits like Jethro Tull and the Dixie Chicks, dozens of acts are adding their voices to the anti-Bush campaign.
The rock against Bush movement spans the musical spectrum, from New York 70s icon Lou Reed and contemporaries like Bruce Springsteen, Don Henley, James Taylor, Dave Matthews and John Mellencamp; through Pearl Jam's Eddie Vedder and reformed hellraiser, Steve Earle; to modern stars Moby, Green Day, the Dixie Chicks and NOFX.
Jay-Z is one of dozens of hip-hop artists linked in the Russell Simmons' Hip-Hop Summit, a project commited to registering four million new voters in time for the presidential ballot.
Mainstream country is represented by two of the genre's biggest names, Willie Nelson and Merle Haggard.
Leading US music mag, Rolling Stone, recently interviewed 30 artists for a feature on the phenomenon. It cited Iraq, the environment, the Patriot Act and the economy as reasons given by rock stars for committing themselves to ousting the president.
Two quotes from the article summed up the tenor of the interviews.
"We must all unite and work for whomever opposes Bush, regardless of whatever differences we may have. Our motto - Anything but Bush," Lou Reed.
"The America we believe in can't survive another four years of George Bush," Moby.
Musicians aren't just talking and singing, increasingly they are getting active in organising and campaigning.
Alongside the Hip-Hop registration drive, 100 bands including Green Day, Offspring and NOFX have lent their support to Punkvoter.com from where registration drives, a political action committee and a Rock Against Bush tour have sprung.
Mellencamp has posted an open letter on his own site, arguing Americans have been "lied to and terrorised" by their government, and declaring "it is time to take action".
Moby and Vedder put their heads together to organise a television advertising campaign to counter Bush's State of the Union address, last month.
Taking a stance can be costly as longtime rockers, Jethro Tull, found when a leading New Jersey radio station banned their material in retaliation to lead singer, Ian Anderson, saying "it's easy to confuse patriotism with nationalism. Flag waving ain't gonna do it".
Eight months earlier, more than 50 radio stations had refused to play the Dixie Chicks in response to lead singer, Natalie Maines' London admission that the group was "ashamed" the US president also came from Texas.
Two months, and much soul-searching later, the Chicks donated $100,000 to the anti-Bush Rock The Vote organisation.
Merle Haggard who recorded his own anti-war song, That's The News, last year, told Rolling Stone of his dismay at the commercial reaction against the Dixie Chicks.
The magazine quoted Haggard as likening the attacks on Maines, and her group, to things he had read about Berlin in 1938. "It pissed me off," Haggard said.
The fledgling East Timorese labour organisation, KSTL, called on the LHMU after Chubb issued dismissal notices to workers striking against unilaterally-imposed clawbacks that would reduce adult earnings to $US94 a month.
Workers Online understands the LHMU and Chubb have forged a workable relationship in the Australian security industry.
The dispute comes hard on the heels of Australian union involvement in a dispute late last year that saw Australian-owned Timor Aviation Services attempt to slash the earnings of Timorese airport employees.
The KSTL says Chubb, East Timor, slashed the wages of workers cleaning World Bank buildings in Dili from $133 to $94 a month without any negotiation. After eight days of on-the-job resistance workers began a strike on December 3.
Chubb sacked the lot and endeavoured to sign-up replacements on individual contracts.
KSTL leaders have described the company's actions as "illegal", citing its failure to give the required 30-days notice and the right to strike enshrined in the new country's constitution.
Even the World Bank has entered the fray, calling on Chubb to settle the dispute, according to union sources in Australia and East Timor.
The KSTL has launched unjustified dismissal claims in the courts but it could be months before they are heard. The LHMU went into negotiations with Chubb this week.
Unions and aid organisation, APHEDA, meanwhile, are urging supporters to back the East Timorese workers by registering protests at: http://www.apheda.org.au/campaigns/east_timor_strike/protest/index.html
Workers Online's original Bad Boss earned the ire of its workforce for pushing a restructure that would see many of it's full-time workforce converted to part-time and casual status.
And when the workers compiled a list of 157 grievances relating to the current restructure, management refused to take the issues to the independent umpire, the Australian Industrial Relations Commission.
The action, from members of the Communications, Electrical and Plumbing Union, won the backing of workers across the organisation who refused to cover for the parcel and delivery workers on the day of the stoppage.
"For too long Australia Post has taken workers for granted and the strike shows they are not prepared to be treated like that any longer," CEPU spokesman George Houssos says.
The CEPU ahs now given Australia Post a February 20 deadline to address their issues or face further industrial action.
Last year's winner of the international Labour Website of the Year poll, Workers Online, was joined in this year's top 10 by the LHMU and CPSU websites. The poll is run by British-based LabourStart which canvasses its readers over the southern hemisphere summer.
Workers Online founder, Peter Lewis, "sincerley" thanked "comrades" Andrew Casey of the LHMU and Dermot Browne, CPSU, for "helping split the Australian vote".
"This is the sort of collective approach that has got the Australian union movement to where it is today," Lewis said.
More than 400 union websites attracted support from thousands of LabourStart readers with the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) finishing on top by a margin of just 202 votes from Norwegian portal, HMS-Portalen.
The British firefighters were third, Workers Online filled fourth spot, with another British website, belonging to the Communication Workers Union, rounding out the top five.
The LHMU was ranked sixth and the CPSU 10th, splitting the American Teamsters and Machinists (IAM) along with the UK's Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers.
The decision has caused alarm and stress amongst frail elderly residents and their families, as well as staff in the crisis-riddled industry.
The Health Services Union has sheeted home responsibility for the problem directly to the Federal Government, claiming that standards have fallen from when Bronwyn Bishop was the Minister who presided during the infamous 'kerosene bath scandal'.
"The whole industry is aligned against the Government," says HSU spokesman Mark Robinson, who said that a laTrobe University study had identified that there was a funding shortfall in the industry of up to $400 million.
The HSU is seeking an urgent meeting with the Salvation Army's management to ensure that staff and residents in the facilities located in Victoria, South Australia, Western Australia, Tasmania and the Northern Territory do not suffer because of the sales.
HSU National Secretary Craig Thomson said it was critical that an agreement was struck with the Salvation Army to make sure that all staff entitlements are preserved and that potential new owners do not cut jobs and wages.
The largely unregulated industry has suffered from inadequate levels of Commonwealth Government funding since the industry was deregulated in 1997.
Currently the industry is looking to the anticipated release of the report by Professor Warren Hogan into the aged care sector to lead to an increase in much-needed funding.
"The government has the report by Professor Warren Hogan but it refuses to make it public or to say when it will do anything with it," says a HSU spokesman
the HSU slammed the performance of current Industrial Relations Minister Kevin Andrews who "did nothing" during his tenure as Aged Care Minister.
Mr. Samuel, an electrical engineering student at Sydney Institute of TAFE, is now taking TAFE to the Supreme Court with the full backing of the NSW Teachers federation, who have slammed the actions of the TAFE Commission.
Sydney Institute of TAFE refused to accept or process Mr. Samuel's application for an exemption.
"Such a refusal is an abuse of authority" said NSW Teachers Federation spokesperson Maree O'Halloran. "To add insult to injury Mr. Samuel was escorted from TAFE premises by a security guard. In desperation, Mr. Samuel eventually succeeded in getting the guard to take his application form."
O'Halloran said that even the Minister, Dr. Refshauge, accepts that exemptions should be granted on the grounds of hardship.
In a separate application to the Supreme Court another student who is seeking an exemption on the basis that the 2004 fees are too high.
On 23 January 2004, Mr. Justice Boland directed the Department of Education and Training to "take all practical steps that are available to it in the time available to further advertise the opportunity to gain exemption".
Instead the NSW Teachers Federation alleges that the TAFE Commission has refused to even process many such applications.
The NSW Teachers Federation has called on the State Government to undertake a genuine review of the 2004 fee increases.
It is believed the matters will be heard by the Supreme Court over the next two weeks.
The Aid organisation, putting workers rights at the forefront of development programs in Asia, the Middle East and Cuba, is raffling round the world airfares for two.
The major prize, including $720 spending money, can be traded for international flights to the value of more than $7000.
Second prize in the Apheda raffle is an Acer TravelMate Laptop computer.
Supporters can order books of the $2 raffle tickets by contacting Lisa Arnold on [email protected] More information is available by phone on 02-9264 9343.
Raffle prizes will be drawn on June 17 at the Trades Hall, Sydney.
_hoWARd the arseLIcKEr - performed playreading
_THE OLD FITZROY HOTEL
_129 DOWLING ST WOOLOOMOOLOO
_MONDAY FEB 23RD 7.30PM
Parnassus' Den will present a rehearsed reading presentation of D.B.Valentine's controversial and timely new political satire hoWARd the arseLIcKEr at the Old Fitzroy Hotel.
Inspired by, current Opposition Leader, Mark Latham's unabashed description of John Howard and the terrifyingly Orwellian language exploited by both Government and the corporate sector, hoWARd the arseLIcKEr - "a sharp edged vaudeville-esque agit-prop tragi-comic political satire that goes straight for the jugular" - has enjoyed two successful reading presentations with Melbourne's much respected La Mama theatre and Playbox Theatre Company, where it was selected from over 200 scripts for their Theatre in the Raw playreading season in 2003.
With Government funding proving impossible it is hoped the reading with ignite enough interest from potential backers for a full season in 2004.
For more information please contact
Publicist Jeanny Surya - 0401911022
Email - [email protected]
The Workers Want Drugs!
A Trivia Night for Mardi Gras Festival raising funds for HIV treatments for workers inSouth Africa.
Join us for a night of humour, drag, music, education, competition, glamour and solidarity.
Thursday February 26, 7pm
Teachers Club, Mary Street Surry Hills (near corner of Reservoir Street)
Tickets at the door:
$15 Individual $12 Mardi Gras Members $10 Concession
Need more info? Email [email protected] or
Phone Ken or Sally on 9264 9343
A d e l a i d e I n t e r n a t i o n a l W o r k p l a c e C o n f l i c t C o n f e r e n c e - 2 1 - 2 3 A p r i l 2 0 0 4
Workplace Conflict Conference
21-23 April 2004
Holiday Inn on Hindley (formerly the Novotel Adelaide), Hindley Street.
The workplace mirrors the world - dealing with conflict at work
Conflict is a characteristic feature of most workplaces and has many manifestations. Its impacts
can be positive or negative. The conference will look at the sources of workplace conflict and its
management. It will be of interest to human resource practitioners, advocates, legal
practitioners, health professionals, conflict resolution professionals, educators, OHS&W
practitioners and representatives, workplace change consultants, unions, employers, government
agencies, academics and policy makers.
Dale Bagshaw, University of South Australia, Australia.
Richard Bonneau, Los Angeles Police Department, US.
Pat Ferris, Organisational Consultant, Canada.
Eric Lee, LabourStart, UK.
Patricia Mannix McNamara, University of Limerick, Ireland
Mark Thomson, Author, Australia.
Dieter Zapf, Johann Wolfgang Goethe-University Frankfurt, Germany.
Privacy & Confidentiality - "Email is Forever"
Workplace Cultures & Managerial Fundamentalism
Workplace Grievance & Dispute Procedures
Training for Managing Conflict
Conference Registration Information:
Registration fee: $545
More information, including registration forms, can be found at the conference web site:
www.e v e n t s t r a t e g i e s . c om. a u / c o n f _ c a le n d a r .htm
F o r m o r e i n f o r m a t i o n , p l e a s e c o n t a c t t h e C o n f e r e n c e S e c r e t a r i a t :
E v e n t S t r a t e g i e s P t y , P O B o x 4 8 6 , U N L E Y , S O U T H A U S T R A L I A 5 0 6 1
T e l : 6 1 8 8 3 7 3 4 5 8 0 E m a i l : c o n f l i c t c o n f @ e v e n t s t r a t e g i e s . c om. a u
WHEN WORKERS UNITE - FOUNDATIONS OF TOMORROW
An exhibition of banners, badges and posters produced by trade unions, and
original artworks by Jeff Rigby highlighting the strong historical role
unions have played in the creation and conservation of our built
environment, whilst May Day materials emphasize the workers' achievements
in gaining and maintaining the rights and conditions of those who built it.
From: 1st May to 16th May 2003 at Braemar Gallery, 104 Macquarie Rd, Springwood
Friday, Saturday, Sunday 10.00am to 4.00pm
$2.00 donation to the community gallery on entry
1. Mardi Gras Fair Day Sunday 22nd February
Unions NSW will have a stall at this years Fair Day. We need volunteers to assist from about 9am (stall setting up) to about 4.30pm (stall packing up). If you can spare a couple of hours please let Alison Peters at Labor Council know on 0425 231 814.
2. Mardi Gras Parade Saturday 6th March
Once again the trade union movement will have a float at this year's Mardi Gras. Our theme will be "Howard's Wheel of Misfortune" highlighting all the groups/issues that the Federal Government is attacking (unions, workers, refugees, students, academics, peace, Medicare etc). If you are able to assist with the development of the float please contact Robyn Fortescue on 0419 405 885.
As always we will meet at Trades Hall Inn around 5pm on the day of the Parade so that we can get to the marshalling area as a group. Please wear the traditional red (we will have Comrade Darling teeshirts for you to buy) and bring your friends and comrades. Remember, we are participating as trade unionists (regardless of sexuality) to support the right for lesbian and gay workers to work free from harassment and discrimination.
Please circulate details of both events to your networks,
In Australia we love to see private details of a person‚s life, little titillations. We love to see some humiliation; some people put under stress and watch them squirm. When will a network bid to run one of our detention centres? Let‚s watch the good guard, the bad guard. How long do we have to imprison kids before they go really weird? Lets watch the guards do those intimate body searches, put a microphone on
a "Management Unit", no that won‚t be necessary, these solitary confinement rooms are already set up with camera surveillance. How long will it take that young mother to become a pale lifeless doll, curled in the corner of her room? How long till that handsome young man goes blank in the eyes and begins to shake?
We won‚t have to worry about any Hogan‚s Heroes funny accents. The guards talk straight Ocker. The whole world will begin to identify this accent!
Anyone who would like to take part needs to first flee from a repressive regime, take a boat journey. It also helps to have already had some experience of torture and violence. Kids especially welcome, smaller the better.
On Tuesday 20 January 4,500 employees of the Department of Education & Training and TAFE got letters from the employers which put them in a state of shock. The government is intent on deleting some 1,170 jobs or about 20% of the education support workforce.
These job cuts, if fully implemented, will have a drastic effect on the provision of public education in our schools and TAFE. But then this government don‚t seem very interested continuing the unhindered provision of government funded public education any more.
Many of the lucky minority who got letters appointing them to one of the diminished number of jobs have not been told exactly where they are expected to work, exactly for whom or what the job entails, but supposedly it an unchanged job! The rest are mainly left to compete over the remaining jobs.
The government will say that there are no forced redundancies but as I work in TAFE I know many valued and long term colleagues who are so fed up with this and previous governments‚ treatment of TAFE that they are willing to risk the uncertainty of unemployment rather than the certainty of continual restructuring and further job cuts.
Public Service Association members & delegates are trying to organise a resistence to these drastic job losses.
You can help.
Please send emails of support to: [email protected] or emails of complaint to:
the Minister for Education & Training, Andrew Refshauge, at: [email protected]
TAFE worker, union delegate
Please include the email address: [email protected]
The question of when Premier Carr's State Ministers will be seen to be responsible, and there fore answerable to the voter is a time yet to be identified. The unnecessary wrongful deaths at Waterfall and elsewhere including the state's hospitals has seen a Cabinet reshuffled. No slight of hand, just evidence of the outrageous contempt for the people and our Westminster system. Minister John Della Bosca you have been lucky till this day. Those millions of workers using what has been acknowledged generally as dangerous substandard transport to travel to and from work. People who believe they have workers comp (what's left of it) to protect them, to provide compensation for any accident suffered whilst travelling to and from their place of work by the most direct route. These people Minister are not represented you have obviously ignored your responsibility to ensure workplace safety even though your team of spin doctors touts you as doing the business! Its the type of transparent spin thinking people are getting sick of. Why is it that the rail Union and other Unions continue to allow their members (Drivers Guards) to operate and travel on transport which has been acknowledged as dangerous for almost fifteen years. For the public to travel on these things, is to knowingly put themselves in danger and that action, it could be argued is contributory negligence, if there was a claim the claimants could be asked to show that they didn't know their transport was dangerous. WorkCover has trumpeted their responsibility for workplace safety. Well Minister each and every bus, train and ferry is both a workplace and the mode of transport to journey to work on. Minister you are not up to the task, and silence while the abandoned proletariat point out your inadequate representation is just sad weakness.
I have put a webpage up at http://members.dodo.net.au/~derekfiddler
I am asking people to assist in putting pressure onto the Minister responsible for A.S.I.C. and A.S.I.C. itself to start doing something to "Protect and Prosecute" the overseas "Scammers" who have increased tenfold since the mid-nineties.
A.S.I.C. do not even provide the Public (or the Banks) with a list of current "Scammers", also they do not report or prosecute anybody involved!
Is it any wonder that they have grown tenfold and now take around $1 Billion per year from thousands of Australians.
I'm hoping that you can enlist some support to put pressure onto our Authorities so that the "Scammers" can no longer say :
"You will find that your Authorities will do NOTHING!"
Derek G. Wilson Fiddler.
To all those who doubt Mark Latham for a welter of reasons, perhaps it might do to remember the words of Winston Churchill (now there was a Tory, if you like!) "If Hitler marched on Hell, I would make a pact with the devil"
Latham might be the joker to put the blade of cold steel at the end of his .303 into Howard's gizzard and leave him for the crows to eat. That done, there's a bloody lot of work to do in a Truman-esque de-Nazification of Australia.
I have just finished reading George Miller's article on the free trade agreement and the failure of Australian story telling.
Is it just my imagination or is he implying that this whole mess is the fault of those selfish, selfish Generation Xers and their evil neo-liberal agenda. How about looking around you George...last time I looked there weren't that many Gen Xers(those born 1960 to 71) in parliament or making major financial and trade policy, such as this free trade policy, or health policy, or education policy. Facts seem to indicate that all the more neo-liberal policy directions in the last few years have stemmed from those confirmed baby-boomers Costello and Keating.
I would also like to point out that our fearless leader, John 'Bonsai' Howard, for all his youthful good looks was born just prior to WW2 - guess the evil Gen Xers miss out there to.
You would think by reading this article that somehow Gen X was to blame for the Coalition being in power, as everyone - or at least George, seems to know that ALL baby boomers vote Labor, Green, or, when forced to, Democrat. Come on George, get a grip. Not all Gen Xers are evil, self obsessed, reality TV loving, Liberal voters, in the same way that not all baby boomers are bleeding heart liberal intellectuals. We have got enough on our plates trying to save what is left of our country, culturally and economically, from the Thatcherites in Canberra without succumbing to needless and devisive cross generational warfare.
If you need to vent spleen, direct it at those who are actually responsible for the setting of policy and regulation in this country. Do not target those who are coming up behind you and are blamelessly attempting to forge careers in an increasingly hostile environment.
And if all this doesn't convince you to play nice George, then just try to remember who is going to be holding the purse strings when you are old and need that expensive bypass surgery.
The New Medal Group, Australia Wide, is Petitioning the Federal Government for a Medal of Recognition, for ALL who have joined the Australian Defence Forces, since January 1946, both Regulars and CMF / Reserves.
At the moment, only THREE groups are Recognised (Since WW2) and can wear THEIR OWN MEDAL, IN THEIR OWN RIGHT, on ANZAC Day.
1. Served for Fifteen  years. The Average is 8-9 years.
2.Have been Overseas. Many never get 'invited', particularly Women.
3.The Conscripts into National Service.[1950‚s & Vietnam period Conscripts] None of the first Group left Australia -- some, in the Vietnam period, did NOT serve overseas and were not Recognised..
We believe, ALL who have Committed to Serve their Nation, are Battle ready - after 2 years, should Receive Recognition, in the NORMAL Military way. A Medal and Ribbon. Nothing else.
More Information? Contact. John MOORE at [email protected]
The Small Country Town of Brunswick Heads, on the Northern Rivers of N.S.W. ; Residents and Visitors, Challenge other Towns, Villages and Suburbs, in Australia to raise more Petitioners than we have.
This Town, firmly believes in the Concept.
This Week, we have NOW Posted to our Federal Member 3,201 Petitioners Names / Signatures etc. More are amassing.
Does ANY other area believe so firmly in righting the injustice to these proud young Men and Women, who made the Highest Committment to Serve their Nation?
While attention this week has focussed on the baseline losers and winners (if they actually exist) under the deal and the alarming lack of economic modelling on its overall impact, more profound questions about Australia's long-term future have slipped under the radar.
One of John Howard's more celebrated wedges has been his assertion that Australia is not part of Asia, a calculated rebuttal of Paul Keating's vision of regional engagement.
At the time, Howard proclaimed we were more a European nation than an Asian one. Now, as Will Hutton's seminal work 'The World We're In' argues, Howard has a new choice - between the conservative American and expansive, if fledgling, European models of capitalism.
While Hutton writes about Britain's predicament, there are telling similarities with the choices Australia currently faces.
He identifies three core European values: the stakeholder view of property (the proposition that with ownership comes responsibility), the belief in the social contract and the commitment to a vital public realm.
In contrast, he argues, the USA was founded on a spiritual belief that the acquisition of private property was a self-evident good, that social rules were the enemy of freedom and that the only legitimate role of the state was the protection of private property rights.
Hutton sees the current US conservative agenda - embodied in the Bush doctrine of unilateral military and economic dominance - as the end point of this philosophy.
Australia's choice to subvert our national interests - and those of a whole range of producers who saw the FTA as a panacea - and sidle up to the neo-cons - is also a choice about where we see our county going.
Hutton argues the emerging European economic unit is the only
avenue to check its ascent, and while similar trade barriers exist for Australian producers - the mecahanisms to address their barriers are multilateral - that is a set of global rules, that looks beyond market access, to labour standards and environmental measures as well.
For Australians, this is a useful analysis because it makes clear that the model of global capital we embrace is a choice and the model we ultimately choose will have a telling impact on the way our society evolves - or doesn't.
For Howard this is a no-brainer - all the way with George W and his discredited potpourri of Freidman economists (still waiting for the trickle down effect to leave the moneyed classes pockets), preferential trading structures and pre-emptive military adventurism.
But in asking questions about the FTA, Mark Latham is not - as Costello asserts being anti-American - he is merely bringing a rigour to the decision-making process.
If the US experience is anything to go by, this is a formula for increased wealth disparity, spiralling corporate welfare and a growing pile of body bags in a divided and hateful world.
Europe has experienced the pain of dislocation and has learnt - the fusion of Rhineland capitalism, the Nordic welfare state and the joui de vivre of the south is a tantalising mix that embraces the possibility of a more caring, peaceful century.
The Australian Labor Party is already seeking elements of this evolving model, and it may prove a useful way of differentiating it from the Tories
In the wake of the ALP National Conference, it is an interesting distinction to make - limits to executive remuneration, investment in public health and education, a commitment to multilateral solutions to the world's problems
What is clear is that there is no one economic model, simply a series of choices, that politicians and the people who elect them have to make.