||Issue No. 231||30 July 2004|
Interview: Power and the Passion
Unions: Tackling the Heavy Hitters
Industrial: Seeing the Forest For The Wood
Housing: Home Truths
International: Boycott Busters
Economics: Ideology and Free Trade
History: Long Shadow of a Forgotten Man
Review: Chewing the Fat
Poetry: Dear John
The Locker Room
Tom On Alienation
The Worker’s Friend
The Central Coast used to be a lovely place - until the Liberal Party and their developer mates got a hold of it.
We are reminded of this by Erina's finest, Chris Hartcher, taking us all for a wonderful trip down memory lane with a bizarre outburst about the perils of Trade Unionism that revealed more about our Tool Of the Week than it did about anything to do with the real world.
The amazing lack of talent in the Liberal Party was on display as the property developers mate had a tantrum about not being able to pay backpackers $10 an hour cash in hand.
In a press release written on the back of a serviette after a long lunch Chris wailed about a proposal that would ensure that vulnerable workers aren't taken for a ride by unscrupulous bosses.
"It's an ill-though-out plan designed to make it harder for small businesses to hire anyone who doesn't have a union membership card," said Hartcher, who forgot to add that it would also make it harder for his mates to hire people who don't have a visa, workers compensation or a tax file number.
Who has gone into bat for illegal workers who have been killed in NSW? Not the worker's friend, Chris Hartcher, that's for sure.
It's been a union, the CFMEU - which he accuses of sponsoring a racist policy - who have stood up for workers who've been killed.
What is racist is saying tripe like "it was well known foreign workers were reluctant to join trade unions".
It's also racist to take advantage of vulnerable people and pay them by piecework, or as little as $6 an hour, knowing full well that they can't complain. If Hartcher has a problem with illegal workers he might well want to have a look at the practices of some of his business mates.
Hartcher needs to be reminded that it isn't the union movement that is pitting worker against worker. Unions aren't pushing a "Free Trade" agreement that doesn't allow the vast bulk of humanity to take the only 'product' they have, their labour, across borders.
It isn't the union movement that locks up people who have committed no crime, who simply wish to flee tyranny.
If he's got a problem with racism he might want to take it up with his colleagues Amanda Vanstone and John Howard, who have turned it into a trade secret.
Hartcher's dream of paying workers in sawdust was matched by his no-brainer that unions should work with the Department of Immigration
Well, after you've woken up and smelt the coffee Chris, you might want to know that, shock horror, they are!
Einstein Hartcher's coup-de-gras last week was his revelation that Tony Abbott has nothing to do with the collapse of the Public Health system.
Still, coming from a party that believes that the Foreign Minister isn't responsible for Foreign Policy and the Defence Minister isn't responsible for Defence and the Prime Minister isn't responsible for anything this shouldn't come as a surprise.
Truth be known, what Chris Hartcher knows about Public Health could fit on the back of a postage stamp, with plenty of room left over for his complete knowledge of the realities of working life.
The time has come for our Tool Of The Week to leave the Pelicans of Brisbane Water alone and get a real job. He isn't much of a politician so working on a cash-in-hand death trap might just open his eyes to the realty of the fate that befalls those Australians his party forces to work without union protection.
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