In a week where Alexander Downer tried to beef up our shooting team for the Athens Olympics and line up Australia with the economic powerhouses of Palau and Micronesia, it was always going to take something extraordinary to rise above that most Toolworthy of efforts.
So the Toolshed dips its lid to Donald McGauchie AO, company director, former head of the National farmers Federation and bitter old fool.
Apparently AO is some kind of honour but, for the rest of us in the real world who have to put up with the sad joke that is Telstra's zealous efforts to corporatise human life, in this instance it stands for something far more fundamental.
Why does Donald McGauchie AO hate Australians so much?
He is obviously frustrated by the fact that our pinko industrial relations system prohibits him from paying his staff in salt. But is that reason enough alone?
His one great claim to fame is that as head of the National Farmers Federation he rounded up some idle youths in an attempt to put their fellow Australians out of work.
You have to wonder about the intellect of a bloke who thinks that thugs in balaclavas and attack dogs are the way to win a hearts and minds campaign.
"Einstein" McGauchie likes to pass himself off as a horny handed son of the soil, although it's doubtful that he's had to preg-test a cow of late, no doubt because he's had his arm stuck up other orifices than Bessie in the top paddock.
As a representative of farmers he's been a sad, unmitigated disaster. As a friend of big business hoons like Chris Corrigan he's been an outrageous success.
Luckily for McGauchie he hasn't had a real job in years, having more directorships than some of the people he has thrown out of work have had hot dinners of late.
One of those directorships is with that friend of the worker, James Hardie. No doubt McGauchie slots well into an organisation that likes to count its profits while its ex employees and customers die horrible, slow deaths.
His attempts to flog off the national telecommunications infrastructure - against the wishes of anyone who has to use a telephone - show how out of touch our horny handed son of the soil is.
Is it any wonder that Telstra can't even produce a phone book, let alone operate an emergency 000 service, given that the whole show is now run by this sort of half-baked ideologue.
The scary part is that McGauchie, who makes Attilla the Hun look like some kind of simpering hippie, is some sort of an adviser to Lord Downer of Baghdad. Which would go some way to explaining the quality of Australian foreign policy of late.
There's a word for people who try to sell something that isn't their's, and this is just what our Tool Of The Week is trying to do.
Many of us remember when Telecom, and the Post Master General's department, was there to provide a phone service. That's what we want, a phone service, not this endless stream of turgid frippery and endless palaver that is somehow related to 'marketing'. A pamphlet isn't much help when what you do want is a 000 number to work.
You'd think that McGauchie, as a "farmer", would know that what he keeps feeding us with all this hard sell for privatisation is probably better off used as fertiliser.
It's not as if Telstra's abysmal service standards are confined to the remote outback - especially when you can't even get a decent phone reception within sight of the Harbour Bridge.
But it shouldn't come as a surprise that members of the intellectual B team like McGauchie are being thrown a lifeline - after all the Prime Miniature has a lot of favours to pay back to cling onto his position.
Now, with McGauchie at the helm of Telstra, we can look forward to more kiddies in the bush dying from asthma attacks while the leering form of our Tool Of the Week spends his time pissing in the pocket of the communications industry's answer to Caligula, that clown Switkowski.
If you would like to tell McGauchie what you think about his plans to privatise Telstra, or even go straight to the top with your service difficulties and faults instead of waiting on hold for forty minutes, why not give our Tool Of the Week a call or sms direct.
His number is 0428 390 760
No doubt he'd love to hear from you, after all, as the message says, your call is important to Telstra.
Stunned TCFUA official, David Tritton, understood the implications of extensive scratching and gouging on the bodywork of the organisation’s new Holden Crewman.
"When we came out of a building, after visiting a maker's factory, there were two men just standing there watching us," he said. "They were well-built, well-dressed Chinese who stood out in that area.
"They just stared at us as we walked back to the car which had been completely vandalised. It was obvious someone was sending us a message."
The previous day, Tritton had told an IRC industrial committee that a list of addresses of sub-contractors provided by Valley Girl supplier, Stephanelle, had been bodgey.
Under the Clothing Industry Award, suppliers like Stephanelle are required to comply with requests to supply sub-contractors names and addresses. The measure is designed to drive sweatshops, typically paying non-English speaking women as little as $3 an hour, out of the industry.
One Stephanelle address turned out to be a surveyor's office, another a car audio showroom and a third was home to a furniture retailer. Others simply didn't exist.
Tritton told Workers Online of uncovering a Chester Hill garage equipped with 20 sewing machines and Stephanelle documentation indicatiing that blouses, tops and pants were headed for Valley Girl and upmarket boutique, Dolls Only.
The operator of that premises said he had been manufacturing for Stephanelle for two years but could only provide wage records and Workers Comp policies, for two people, covering the week he was sprung.
His records showed he was receiving $4 a unit and sub-contracting the garments out at $3 a unit.
"We estimate, to meet award minimums only, manufacturers would have to receive at least $5.29 a unit," Tritton explained. "That doesn't include workers compensation, super or any profit margin.
"There is no way in the world that any person actually doing the work could be paid the minimum legal hourly rate, on those figures," he said.
Tritton told the industrial committee that three Stephanelle sub-contractors listed company offices at fictitious Melbourne addresses but issued tax invoices from non-existent Sydney bases.
He told Workers Online of MTN, a company purporting to be registered at 30 Henry St, Abbotsford, Victoria; while billing customers from 20 Henry St, Abbotsford, NSW.
While still sending out GST invoices from Abbotsford, Sydney, he said, it hadn't held an ABN number since July, last year.
Tritton said the bodgey addresses and false invoicing highlighted the need for companies, like Valley Girl, to sign the retailers code of conduct.
The TCFUA asked Valley Girl, boasting 74 retail outlets across Australia, to meet about the issues exposed by Stephanelle's documentation. However, a Valley Girl official said its CEO was "too busy".
Tritton said the vandalism incident wouldn't put TCFUA officials off the trail of companies exploiting outworkers or using sweatshops.
"We are not going to be intimidated," Tritton said. "These checks will continue until companies face up to their legal and moral responsibilities."
Tritton said the vandalism had been reported to police.
ACTU organiser, Will Tracey, called last week’s second arbitrated award settlement “huge”, revealing it had eliminated $10,000 to $20,000 a year differentials BHP had used to try to convert the whole Pilbara workforce onto individual agreements.
The settlement, handed down by the three-man WA IRC full bench, followed the mining giant's refusal to negotiate with unions. It provided union members with 12 percent increases, and flowed on all other benefits applying to non-unionists.
Tracey said the decision meant 32 percent wage increases since, July 2002, for unionised iron ore workers. Over that time, their super entitlements have risen from eight percent of earnings to 15.75 percent.
Perhaps, more importantly, the commission signalled its frustration with BHP's continuing resistance to collective bargaining.
It left the expiry date open, suggesting it could further increase award rates if BHP ups the ante by bouncing up earnings of AWA employees, and expressed "concerns" over the prospect of award workers receiving inferior treatment.
"The bench has formally recognised the concept of equal pay for equal work," Tracey said. "It has flowed on all benefits, equalised pay rates and called on the company to return to the bargaining table.
"Effectively, it means that BHP's strategy to break the unions has failed.
"We call on the Big Australian to start behaving like an Australian and accept the umpire's decision. That would mean sitting down and negotiating a collective agreement with workers' representatives."
The federal government saw mineral developments in the Pilbara as an opportunity to advance its non-union agenda. BHP picked up the ball in 1999 and offered massive differentials in wages and conditions to anyone who would walk away from the unions and sign an AWA.
Unions bled members until the ACTU dispatched Tracey to the region to co-ordinate fightback activities between the AMWU, AWU, CEPU, CFMEU and TWU.
Membership stabilised at about 40 percent, two years ago, and has grown slightly since.
Last week the five Pilbarra unions agreed to further formalise their alliance by combining resources as the Pilbarra Mineworkers Union (PMU).
Tracey said the Commission determination had been the first "big victory" for the PMU, coming one day after its establishment.
He said formal recognition for the PMU showed state and federal unions were prepared to listen to the voices of Pilbara members.
"Joining together is our way of building our union and regaining our strength on the job," Tracey said. "It is an endorsement of our campaigning to date and proof that unions are hearing local workers on the best way forward for this region."
BHP Billiton sought to play down the significance of the united front, last week. An unnamed spokesman told the media the PMU would have little impact.
"We are just bemused by it," he said.
The research conducted by Auspoll for the Australian Manufacturing Workers Union, shows serious community concerns about the FTA in the lead-up to the federal election.
The poll of 1000 voters across 10 marginal seats over the last two weeks shows the strongest oppposition comes from Labor, Democrat and Green voters.
Polling on the Australia US Free Trade Agreement shows that:
- 48% oppose, 41% support - with 64% of Labor voters opposing
- 65% agree that Australia could have done better in negotiations for a Free Trade Agreement
- Only 9% of voters believe that Australia will benefit the most from the FTA, with 61% saying that the US will benefit most
- 61% of voters oppose Australia becoming more integrated with the US
- 52% of voters believe that the Prime Minister is putting America's interests ahead of Australia's.
On all key issues, Labor, Democrat and Green voters strongly opposed the agreement.
AMWU national secretary Doug Cameron says the AMWU is concerned the Australia US FTA might go ahead despite strong community concern, and significant economic research showing Australia would suffer under this agreement.
"This research reaffirms what our members and the union have been saying - this agreement is not in the national interest, it is unbalanced, and Australia has been dudded," Cameron says.
Mr. Cameron said that the Howard Government had been prepared to sign away Australia's future economic sovereignty and that many thousands of manufacturing jobs would be lost.
"We will lose local content policies, and open our doors to billions of dollars of American imports. Our industry will be decimated," Mr. Cameron said.
The exercise, part of a Psychometric Testing program at Rio Tinto’s Hail Creek coalmine saw 10 workers having to shield an egg from a two metre fall using a metre of tape and 20 straws.
The AIRC found that the tests were not relevant in measuring the miner's suitability as heavy-machinery operators.
Psychometric testing has been questioned by some experts and slammed by workers as being a poor measure of job fitness.
"Psychometric testing is just another example of allowing employers to run riot with dodgy methods to exploit workers," says Alex Claassens, divisional president of the Rail Tram and Bus Union (RTBU) Locomotive Division. "At RailCorp we've been putting up with this for some time."
"It's not a perfect science. It's often left up to the individual to assess so it's not easily challengeable."
One RailCorp train driver was forced to work as a housekeeper after being found 'unfit' to drive by psychometric tests arranged by RailCorp.
"The driver was forced to shell out $550.00 from his own pocket to get an independent assessment," says Claassens. "As a result of this report Railcorp re-instated the driver."
"He's been back driving for two or three months now without a problem."
"This comes as Michael Costa is slashing train services over supposed driver 'shortages'."
John Didomizio was sacked by his employer of 22 years for “misconduct”, and claims he is being “victimised” because of his activities as an ETU delegate.
Didomizio has been involved in protracted negotiations over the troubled company's future. Union sources fear Tetra Pak is trying to sell its Fairfield factory and avoid big entitlements payouts.
Didomozio was ordered off the job for two days, last month, by his doctor after coming down with a virus, nose bleeds, and blood pressure problems.
Tetra Pak's maintenance manager phoned on both days and asked Didomozio to fix a machine. The worker said he had a virus - a serious matter in the food industry.
He claims the production manager then engaged a private investigator to follow him around.
The company accused Didomozio of "serious and wilful misconduct", suspended him for two weeks, then sacked him on July 1.
Didomozio's 65 workmates struck for two days in a bid to save his job.
Didomizio says he is being "scapegoated" over his role in the ongoing argument over the company's future.
"Not only do they want to scare my workmates," he says, "they also want to get rid of people like me without paying them their entitlements."
"The whole thing stinks" says Didomizio.
ASU organiser, Col Lynch, appealed for the Bishop’s intervention as Newcastle Trades Hall threw its weight behind eight Centacare youth workers scheduled for "termination".
"They decided to restructure Centacare and brought in a corporate consultant who went for spill and fill by sacking everybody, including the manager of nine years," Lynch said.
"We're not going to stand by and watch people lose their jobs through no fault of their own and nor will the wider union movement.
"We want the Bishop's direct intervention to help us sort this matter out before Centacare is subject to multi-union pickets."
Lynch accused Brian Dunn, director of the Tighes Hill operation that works with homeless youth, of being out of touch with the Catholic Church's community and social values. Most of the affected workers are under 30 and some are single mothers.
Staff at Centacare Yough Accommodation Support Service, walked off the job and rallied outside the director's office, last Friday.
Dunn has already re-advertised their positions and has refused to meet with the union until after the closing date for applications.
Lynch said Centacare had denied the eight existing youth workers the right to be redeployed as part of the corporate restructure.
"We believe senior officials in Centacare and the Catholic Church have no idea of the human and social costs of the director's actions," Lynch said. "He has given us no option but to fight for the jobs and clients' rights to a decent service."
Francois Philippe Sebastian, managing director of Wollongong-based Sebastian Builders and Developers, swore an affidavit to the court that an officer of the OEA, forerunner of the Building Industry Taskforce, had advised him a CFMEU safety notice "doesn't mean anything"
Sebastian said, as the result of involvement with OEA legal action against the CFMEU, subsequently withdrawn, he had not been "very co-operative" when the union tried to draw electrical faults to his company's attention.
The OEA had unsuccessfully moved to have CFMEU officials barred from a Sebastian site in Wollongong in 2001.
The matter was further canvassed at the Building Industry Royal Commission which heard that CFMEU organiser, Dave Kelly, had been assaulted by a sub-contractor on the site.
In an agreed statement of facts, last week, Sebastian conceded his company had "failed to ensure the health and safety of its employees at work", during November and December, 2001. Each of four specified instances related to dangerous wiring or electrical cables.
In the statement, it was agreed the defendant had three prior health and safety convictions in the name of Sebastian Builders and Development, and 11 as F&F Sebastian Builders, dating back to 1996.
CFMEU secretary, Andrew Ferguson, said the public could "draw its own conclusions" about why taxpayers money had been used to support an employer in those circumstances.
The Wollongong revelations revive memories of the OEA's lead role in the federal government's war against the CFMEU, since assumed by the Building Industry Taskforce.
Activist bureaucrat Jonathan Hamberger was in charge when an OEA case against the CFMEU was described by a Federal Court judge as "manufactured".
Justice Marshall found the Advocate's case had rested on secret tape recordings and lies. He awarded costs against the Advocate's witnesses of $96,000 which the federal government decided the taxpayer should foot.
Later, Hamberger admitted to a Senate Estimates hearing, that while his office had used the discredited witnesses against the CFMEU it hadn't passed information to the ATO that at least one of them was a tax evader.
It was an 11-page report, penned by Hamberger, that then Workplace Relations Minister, Tony Abbott, used to establish his controversial Cole Royal Commission into the Building Industry.
The Commission chewed up another $65 million of taxpayer funds before issuing a report that led to the establishment of the Building Industry Task Force.
The Task Force is running a number of legal actions aimed at blocking union representatives from workplaces.
When it was established, at the cost of another $13 million, it employed several officers who had served under Hamberger at the OEA. The Howard Government, meanwhile, appointed Hamberger to the bench of the Industrial Relations Commission.
The union levelled the charge after the medical products manufacturer agreed to "confidential" settlements with three people it washed its hands of on the basis of their labour hire casual status.
ResMed and labour hire outfit, Action James, agreed to the payments after the AMWU launched unfair contracts actions in the Industrial Relations Commission.
"The company had to accept responsibility because these people were employed on regular and systematic terms for up to 11 months before they were let go under the guise of no more work," AMWU organiser, Martin Cartwright, said.
"What ResMed does is 'let people go' and argue they have no rights because they were only casual workers."
It was the second significant hole punched in Resmed's employment practises, after the AMWU, last year, won reinstatement and permanency for a woman who had been "let go" after working five days a week for 37 months.
Cartwright said the results were "important steps" in the campaign to make the market darling face up to its responsibilities as an employer.
Turner Freeman lawyer, Stephen Penning, said the settlement was "significant" because the host employer had accepted responsibility for employees supplied by a labour hire company.
"Given the booming use of labour hire casuals, it's an important use of employment contract law by a union," he said.
ResMed, headed by chief executive officer Peter C Farrell, has become a significant player in the world of medical research and manufacture. Some of its products are ground-breaking.
It is listed on the Australian and US stock markets and has won rave reviews for its financial performances.
In June, last year, the company was listed amongst Business Week's 100 Hot Growth Companies and came in at 89 on Investor's Business Daily's Top 100 Companies in America.
Its latest annual report predicts it will employ 2000 people by the time it relocates, later in the year, to a new home at Sydney's NorWest Business Park.
The problem, according to Cartwright, is ResMed's use of labour hire to try and keep employment responsibilities at arms length.
New starters are supplied by Action James and, at times, 30-40 percent of employees are casuals without access to holidays, sick leave or other basic entitlements.
ResMed is a classic greenfields site where the majority of production workers do not have union of EBA coverage.
According to International Transport Workers Federation coordinator Dean Summers, the captain of Flag of Convenience ship, Cape Donnington, wanted to avoid buying the meat in Australia to feed his crew because it was cheaper in China.
"Bringing in raw, unprocessed meat that is unchecked has the potential to damage our domestic meat and livestock industry," said Summers.
Minister for Transport, John Anderson, who is also responsible for maritime security granted the Single Voyage Permit to the foreign ship which first came to the attention of Summers last month. Workers in Port Kembla had seen the ship's crew fishing in the harbour for food because its stores were empty.
"We made sure that food was purchased before she set sail and complained to Australian charterers, Austral Asia Lines," said Summers. "They've obviously done nothing about it."
Giving permits to Flag of Convenience ships isn't just a problem for quarantine, it also adds to our security risk.
"You can't deregulate our coast and our ports and the same time expect they are going to be more secure," says MUA National Secretary Paddy Crumlin. "Flag of Convenience ships have crews made up guest workers, or people that are hired off the street. These conditions leave us vulnerable to security breaches."
Meanwhile, wharfies from Newcastle raised $500 out of their own pockets to feed the hungry crew of Cape Dennington, after they discovered that the food on the ship was inedible.
Dimitrios 'Jimmy' Theodorelos, a 60-year-old electrical assistant, suffered massive head injuries after falling from a shipping container at Canberra Airport.
Federal Police and WorkCover are investigating the death of the popular worker, the first workplace fatality since the introduction of industrial manslaughter law in the ACT.
That legislation allows courts to gaol employers if they are responsible for negligent practices which kill workers.
Previously courts could only fine employers.
The ACT is the first state or territory to legislate for industrial manslaughter.
The close-knit Canberra building community was saddened to lose Theodorelos, a veteran of the Snowy Mountains Scheme, and has banded together to help his family.
"The community spirit shown by contractors in conjunction with the Electrical Trades Union has been fantastic," says Matt McCann, local ETU organiser.
McCann said "tens of thousands" had been raised for Mr Theodorelos' family through the building community.
In the harsh Canberra winters, workmates remembered, Theodorelos would come onto site at five AM to start heaters and get a fire burning in a 44 gallon drum, ready for his workmates.
Theodorelos had planned to semi-retire to his son's new fish and chip shop when the airport job finished.
Following his death, the ETU banned the storage of material and equipment on top of containers or sheds.
The collapse of a hangar on the same site last year led to six individuals and four firms facing fines of several hundred thousand dollars, under pre-industrial manslaughter laws.
Most workers were at lunch when the hangar collapsed.
ACT WorkCover issued three prohibition notices for serious safety breaches at the site and seven improvement notices.
The RMIT students' union highlighted John's predicament in launching a "Your Work, Your Rights" website this week which aims to inform students of their rights at work.
According to Liz Thompson, RMIT Students Rights Officer, John came to see her about having to sign a "confession" and hand over $600 of his own money before he was allowed to go, although, he insisted, he had stolen nothing.
Thompson called the police who said that there was little they could do since it was an industrial issue.
In a time when most students work an average of 17 hours a week, she has heard of some terrible cases - rips offs and underpayments to threats of deportation.
"Most students don't know their rights at work and accept bad pay and conditions. There's some serious exploitation that goes on. They're not in unions and by the time they come to see me, there's little I can do to help them."
Thompson is also coordinating collaboration between labour unions and student unions to inform and educate students of their rights.
At the same time, the NSW Labour Council has employed Amanda Tattersall to build relationships between student workers and trade unions.
"The reality these days is that work is a big part of every student's life," she says. "We're building relationships between students and labour unions: organising unions to come onto campus during Orientation Week and helping unions develop strategies to reach student workers, recruit them and help them in their work situations."
RMIT student website is at: www.rmit.edu.au/workrights
NSW students can go to: workingstudents.com.au
The walkout followed assaults on six staff and fires and disturbances within the Kariong Juvenile Justice Centre on the NSW Central Coast.
The assaults were the latest in a series of attacks on staff at the centre.
The Public Service Association (PSA), who represents staff at the centre, claim that staff had no option but to walk off the job in order to protect themselves from further violence.
The PSA is seeking that the detainees responsible for assaulting staff be moved out of the centre. The Association is also seeking that restrictions be placed on other detainees and that management plans for all detainees be strengthened in order to protect staff.
PSA General Secretary John Cahill said, "The Department must act immediately to ensure the safety of staff and the security of the centre. The safety of staff must be paramount."
"The assaults on staff could have and should have been prevented"
"These staff do some of the most difficult and dangerous work in the community. They deserve to be treated better by the Department"
"The staff at the centre a sick and tired of being treated as human punching bags. The detainees in Kariong are the most dangerous juvenile detainees in the state. The management of the Department needs to address this danger."
PSA delegates from juvenile justice centres across the state have met following the walkout to discuss what they say are pressing health and safety concerns.
Workers have returned to work following an 'interim' resolution, but have flagged that there is still much to be done before their concerns are fully addressed.
"It appears that there is an epidemic of greed moving through our industry," says Mark West from the Australian Manufacturing Workers Union (AMWU). "The result is that people may not be able to get the Sydney Morning Herald or the Financial Review."
"If you want to phone up and complain you may be one of the half a million Sydney households that hasn't received their White Pages yet as a result of the ongoing dispute at McPherson's Printing, who print the White Pages."
"There is no need for people waiting for their White Pages to have to use the new Telstra pay as you go directory assistance. You can get that for free by dialling 1223."
A picket line has been set up at McPherson's Printing Chullora, where the company is trying to cut printers paypackets by up to $200 a week.
Picket lines could also be a feature at the nearby Fairfax printing plant following stop work meetings being held by the 330 workers employed at Fairfax's Chullora facility to consider a response to the newspaper company's decision to push for the removal of the award safety net.
Fairfax is also pushing for the introduction of entitlements by company policy - allowing the company to unilaterally remove entitlements according to the whims of company policy.
"The workers have been attempting in good faith to negotiate an agreement for more than four months," says Matthew Lowe, secretary of the AMWU Printing Division. "The dispute goes to the heart of the right for workers to have long term job security."
"Management has refused to negotiate. Instead preferring to pay lawyers than speak with their own employees."
Robyn McGoldrick, whose son Dean died on a building site several years ago, has been lobbying for the introduction of Industrial Manslaughter laws in NSW.
Unions welcomed the conclusions of the NSW Upper House Inquiry into Death and Serious Injury in the Workplace at an Industrial Manslaughter conference last week.
The Inquiry, chaired by NSW MLC Fred Nile, echoed McGoldrick's call for tougher laws covering deaths in the workplace.
The news comes as the NSW Government introduced seven-year gaol terms for defacing the Opera House, sparking reaction from unions that the government placed more value on the Opera House than worker's lives.
"The argument is not whether there is a need for a new offence, but where," says NSW Labor Council secretary, John Robertson. "There is a clear need when one worker is killed every 2 days."
"The Government must act. This is estimated to cost the community $40 billion per year."
Unions were also impressed by the presentation of Professor Ron McCallum at the conference.
"It presented convincing arguments on the need for reform supporting the panel's conclusions," says Mary Yaager, who is the OH&S Officer for the NSW Labor Council. "We also welcome Fred Nile's commitment to the working people of NSW in supporting the introduction of tougher legislation.
ACCC Regional Director NSW Rose Webb has written to Labor Council demanding we correct the "misrepresentations and inaccuracies" in this article, about the first of a series of codes covering local government purchasing power.
Webb makes clear that while an ACCC investigation had found that the MOU were not operating in contravention of the Trades Practices Act, this did not amount to approval
"This is very different from, and should not be equated to, any endorsement, approval or authorisation of the MOU's by the ACCC, nor a finding by the ACCC that the MOU's do not contravene the Act or are in any circumstance (her emphasis), incapable of contravening the Act," Ms Webb explains.
"While there may not have been information at the time to suggest that the MOUs were operating contrary to the Act, there may be information available to the ACCC which would alter that view."
We trust this clears things
Boycott and Picket the Safari Restaurant
SUPPORT UNPAID SUBCONTRACT BUILDING COMPANIES IN THEIR CAMPAIGN FOR JUSTICE
How can you help?
Boycott the Safari Restaurant
Sign our Supporters Petition
Make a donation to the campaign
Picket nightly from 6.15pm - 28 King Street, Newtown.
National competition for students - term 3
The Australian Council of Trade Unions' Worksite for Schools website (www.worksite.actu.asn.au) is currently running a national competition for school, TAFE and RTO students - Your Dream Job.
To enter, students must write about the job of their dreams. There is $100 for the student winner, $50 for 2 runners-up, and $25 for the winner of the special effort category.
The competition will not only give students a chance to win, it's a great way for them to learn about the workforce and get them excited about their working future.
Worksite is a terrific source of information about the workforce, providing statistics, encouraging debate, creativity and analysis.
The competition closes Friday 22nd October 2004. More information and an entry form can be obtained from the Worksite website - www.worksite.actu.asn.au.
Please call 1800 659 511 (toll free) or email firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions.
Seminar on Radical Right
The Sydney Branch, Australian Society for the Study of Labour History, with the Business and Labour History Group, University of Sydney presents:
Damien Cahill, speaking on From Fringe Dwellers to Opinion Makers: A History of the Radical Neo-liberal Movement in Australia
Level 7, PSU House, 191 Thomas Street, Haymarket, Sydney
(Thomas Street runs off George Street, just down from Central Station it is in the heart of Chinatown)
SUNDAY July 25, 2004 (2-4pm)
This paper discusses the origins and history of the radical neo-liberal movement - what is commonly called the 'new right'- in Australia. The central question addressed is: 'How was it that a small, fringe movement was able to develop, within a relatively short period of time, into a powerful and vocal political force in Australia?' It is argued that the answer to this question has more to do with the alliances the movement made with key fractions of capital than with the organisational strength of think tanks or the power of neo-liberal ideas. In analysing the movements history and its relationships with capital, this paper also discusses the impact that the movement has had in Australia.
Damien Cahill is a researcher in the School of Social Sciences, Media and Communications at the University of Wollongong and a research officer for Michael Organ MP, Member for Cunningham. He has recently completed his PhD thesis on the radical neo-liberal movement in Australia.
Entry is free. All welcome. Tea and coffee will be provided. Due to difficulties in accessing the building, we would appreciate it if you could arrive before 2pm.
Rail: Get off at central
Bus: Get off at Railway Square
Car: Parking station next door
The Day Before Tomorrow
The Real Threat of Climate Change and What Australia should do about it
62 Enmore Road, Newtown (old Newtown RSL)
Date: Wednesday, 28 July 2004
Time: 7pm to 9pm
world-renowned climate scientist Dr Graeme Pearman
Chief, CSIRO Atmospheric Research (1992-2002)
Anna Reynolds , Climate Change Campaign Director
Worldwide Fund for Nature (WWF)
Kelvin Thomson MP
Federal Shadow Minister for Sustainability, the Environment and Heritage
For more information: Shane McArdle (02) 9564 3588 or Paula O'Sullivan
(02) 9357 6366
Strategic Thinking And Planning
An East coast opportunity to work on your campaign or organisation's strategic thinking and planning.
Would you like to be an activist who knows where their campaign is going? Do your current strategies and tactics match the broader social and political context? Would you like to be the kind of community worker who is clear about the aims of their project so that you can clearly evaluate what you are trying to achieve? Many environmental and social justice advocates are flying by the seat of their pants and looking for effective strategies to address the challenges we face. Sometimes we can get stuck in reactive modes, or feel overwhelmed by the challenges of the moment.
The good news is that there are skills and tools for helping us become more pro-active, and creative as an organisation. We can become smarter at strategy!
So would you like to build the skills base in your organisation? How to develop a plan? Strategic analysis? Are you merely being more reactive about your work? This workshop provides you with an opportunity to not only reflect, but to learn new skills in strategic thinking and planning to add to your activist tool kit.
Four seasoned trainers will be facilitating two days of active and experiential learning on strategic campaign analysis and planning.
Develop skills in understanding how organisations create smart strategies for change;
Learn new tools for campaign planning;
Increase your skills for accessing creativity and understanding your gifts for strategic thinking;
And apply these skills and tools to your organisation!
Brisbane :: Thursday 29th & Friday 30th July :: Brisbane Powerhouse
Sydney :: Monday 2nd & Tuesday 3rd August :: Quakers Meeting House
Melbourne :: Thursday 5th & Friday 6th August :: The Green Building
How much: $220-550 > sliding scale [includes GST unfortunately]
Contact Amy for more details: email@example.com
The ACTU will be co-sponsoring a conference on casual and insecure employment in Melbourne on August 2, 2004.
This timely national conference will examine the impact of casual and insecure work on Australian workers, business and the economy.
Casual employment as a proportion of the total workforce has grown from 13% in 1982 to 28% in 2003. It is widespread in many new industries and occupations and is increasingly long-term. Most jobs created in the 1990s were part-time and casual.
This conference will look at:
* the personal experience of casual workers
* international comparisons with Australian casual employment
* the economic impact of casual employment
* policy challenges for legislators, business and unions
This conference brings together some of Australia's leading thinkers and commentators and policy makers from business, unions, academia, politics, and the media to further this important debate.
Union places at the conference will cost $150 per head. To reserve your place download and complete the registration form below and fax it to RMIT University/CASR on 02 9365 6067. Or email your details to firstname.lastname@example.org. Or post the registration form with payment to: Work Interrupted, PO Box 7267, Bondi Beach NSW 2026.
Oxfam fundraiser - The Corporation
Oxfam Community Aid Abroad invites you to the screening of The Corporation an award winning documentary film by Michael Achbar.
THE CORPORATION is a film which is resonating with audiences all over the world. Analyzing the very nature of the corporate institution, its impacts on our planet, and what people are doing in response, filmmakers Mark Achbar (co-director of MANUFACTURING CONSENT), Jennifer Abbott and Joel Bakan provide a darkly amusing account of the institution's evolution as a legal "person," and a powerful indictment of the roots of corporate power.
Based on Joel Bakan's book "The Corporation: The Pathological Pursuit of
Profit and Power", the film has been generating popular support from street
level to the boardrooms of the Corporate Social Responsibility movement.
Featuring interviews with CEOs and top-level executives from some of the world's largest corporations and critical thinkers including Noam Chomsky, Peter Drucker, Milton Friedman, Naomi Klein, Howard Zinn, Vandana Shiva, Steve Wilson, Michael Moore, and Jane Akre.
Winner of the AUDIENCE AWARD for DOCUMENTARY in WORLD CINEMA at the 2004
SUNDANCE FILM FESTIVAL and numerous other awards including 7 audience
Special Guest: Mark Achbar, Co-director of The Corporation
will give a brief introduction to the film and will be available for
questions after the film.
When: TUESDAY, 3 AUGUST @ 7:00pm
Where: The Chauvel Cinema
Paddington Town Hall, Cnr Oxford Street & Oatley Road, Paddington
Entry $20 / $15. For bookings phone: 93615398 ($10 to OCAA and ACCA)
Nibblies provided. Drinks at the bar.
hoWARd the arseLIcKEr
-Written by D.B.Valentine - Directed by Mark Cleary
-The Edge Theatre - Cnr King & Bray Sts Newtown
-Advance previews Wed 4th & Thurs 5th August.
-Opening Friday 6th Aug to Sunday 29th Aug.
-Time: 7.30pm (tbc)
-Bookings 9645 1611 or www.mca-tix.com
-More info go to: www.newtowntheatre.com.au click on "The Edge"
The Republican Movement and Reconciliation
ARM Sydney Speakers Series #2: author and academic Mark McKenna - Tuesday 10 August 2004
Further details at
Labor and Community Organising in Los Angeles: a popular education approach
12 August Kent Wong seminar - Pop Ed in LA for unions and community organisations
Centre for Popular Education Seminar
Kent Wong Director UCLA Centre for Labor Research and Education
How do unions and community organizations organise in Los Angeles? What role can a University center play as a bridge between the University and the Labor community in Southern California? And how have the dramatic changes in the Southern California economy in recent years shaped this relationship?
Kent Wong, the Centre Director, will talk about the Center and its concentration on working with unions, immigrant worker and other community unions/associations, and how its research - which encourages and draws upon community scholars - provides an important source of information for unions and community organisations. Perhaps this explains why the Center's future has been threatened by Governor Arnold Schwarzennegger's proposed 2004-05 state budget, which aims to dramatically reduce its funds.
When: Thursday 12 August
Where: Centre for Popular Education, UTS
5th Floor Conference Room
235 Jones St, Broadway
Time: 3-5pm followed by drinks
RSVP: email@example.com 9514 3866
Republican Film Night - Tuesday 31 August 2004
Further details at
Just a quick reminder that this coming weekend's opening night of "Parliamentary Theatresports" at Belvoir Street features guest judge Sen Aden Ridgeway (Democrat NSW Senator in Fed Parliament) as well as Nova FM star Bianca Dye and comic Gabby Millgate (among a cast of super impro comics).
The shtick is mock political, with 'parties' competing for the audience's vote...
There'll be the snouts in the trough section (for bribing the audience... this week with Krispy Kreme Doughnuts!) and ample opportunity for audience suggestions ("questions without notice")!
See the attached press clipping - one of many already... or visit http://parliament.improaustralia.com.au
An alliance of faith-based organisations involved in social justice and service-delivery has launched a campaign entitled "Vote  No More Poverty". If you are interested in participating in this campaign please visit: http://www.nomorepoverty.org.au. The site offers resources and a discussion list centred on the struggle to ensure that governments take responsibility for poverty and inequality. The Senate Inquiry into Poverty saw a ground-swell of participation from unions and the community sector.
People who are excluded from the labour market or who are in low-paid work continue to be demonised and blamed for their poverty. The gap between the rich and the poor continues to widen. The fact that we as a nation do nothing to address this is a matter of choice, not affordability.
Recently I was able to pass good news on to a young mother. Her husband has been recognised as a refugee after being locked in Nauru for three years. You would think this would be the answer to her dream, but her nightmare still continues. He is not allowed to apply for her to come to Australia because he is on a Temporary Protection Visa (TPV). She has been discovered in the country where she is hiding and will be deported to Afghanistan in a number of days. She will be unprotected in a place of devastation
That's the upshot of this week's ruling by the NSW Court of Appeal that employment contracts have become so complex that the Industrial Relations Commission no longer has the expertise to deal with them.
It is an argument bizarrely circular in its logic - it goes something like this.
The industrial relations jurisdiction was established to provide cheap, practical, negotiated settlements to workplace disputes free from the formal bonds of black letter law.
Industrial commissioners and advocates were traditionally practitioners rather than professionals, able to nut out a conciliation by banging heads together and delivering an arbitrated outcome where necessary.
The system hummed along for the best part of 100 years delivering practical outcomes with bipartisan support until the neo-conservative ethos of union busting was imported into this country.
The prime attack weapon was the 'rule of law' - advocating for a legislative change to the Trades Practices Act and corporations laws to shift employment and industrial matters out of the tribunals and into the courts.
The logic was venal, in tribunals the settlement was invariably a compromise, in the courts it was winner takes all. And with laws in your favour and the greater legal firepower that the wealthier party brings to the table, the odds suddenly shifted in favour of the boss.
With the arrival of the Howard Government and the Workplace Relations Act, another part of the jigsaw was put in place - actually weakening the industrial tribunals so that they could no longer force parties to the negotiating table, allowing them to wage wars of attrition with the support of hefty damages claims through the courts.
At the same time more and more workers were shifted from common award and enterprise agreements onto contractual relations - even if they were template AWAs.
Through this 'reform' process the legal fraternity was much more than a silent partner - no one can spot a loophole or business opportunity better than a lawyer and an industry of employment practitioners emerged overnight - not just to represent business but to shape the environment in which they operate.
Thanks largely to the Carr Government, NSW tribunals were not emasculated but retained a place where justice could prevail over these power relations.
In fact the industrial jurisdiction has extended so that workers whose conditions were set by contract, but were really just employees, could also avoid costly court litigation.
While it is true that some high-fliers have taken advantage of this part of the NSW unfair contracts jurisdiction - and the Solution 6 executive whose case sparked the current judgement may be one of those - it has become an essential part of the NSW industrial relations framework.
But after this decision, we now we have the proposition that if your contract is complex enough, it will outside the jurisdiction of the IRC - instead you'll need to trot off to the Supreme Court QC in tow.
While this may be where Mr Solution 6 should have gone in the first place, it is not a good outcome for average Australians on contracts.
It is however a good decision for lawyers, union-busters and employers who believe they are a law unto themselves.
If the industrial relations jurisdiction is to survive, Labor governments need to build a strong fence around it quickly before the legal fraternity and the captains of industry they serve pull out their next trick to erode a system that is just too fair for their liking.