||Issue No. 232||06 August 2004|
Interview: Trading Places
Safety: Snow Job
Politics: In the Vanguard
Unions: Gentle Giant Goes For Gold
Bad Boss: 'Porker' Chases Blue Ribbon
International: Cruising For A Bruising
History: Under the Influence
Economics: Working Capital
Review: Fahrenheit 9/11
Poetry: Bad Intelligence Rap
Satire: Osama Bin Manchu
The Locker Room
Tom Goes Asexual
Road Rage At Work
Democracy In Action
"Betrayal" Sparks Election Rethink
National secretary, Doug Cameron, flagged a strategy of "targeted support" that could move cash and resources to non-Labor candidates in a significant break with tradition.
Speaking after the ALP caucus voted to throw its weight behind John Howard's Australia-United States Free Trade Agreement, Cameron said the AMWU national council would reassess its election strategy.
"It is quite clear we will not be in a position to put substantial financial or physical resources behind the party, as a whole, because the parliamentary caucus has chosen to betray our members," Cameron said.
"National conference left the issue of donations in the hands of national council and it is well aware of members' concerns about this agreement.
"In all honesty, I cannot recommend support for politicians who lack backbone and principle. There are honourable exceptions in the ALP caucus but there are two other parties in this parliament that have consistently condemned the free trade agreement and the damage it will do to our country."
Workers Online understands that Australian Democrats IR policies are likely to weight against the AMWU moving support in their direction but that Bob Brown's Greens could come in for strong support.
Cameron praised "consistent stands" taken by ALP members including Tanya Plibersek, Anthony Albanese, Jennie George and George Campbell but argued the majority of their colleagues had allowed themselves to be "wedged" by Howard and George Bush.
Cameron said, it defied commonsense that Labor members of the Senate committee examining the FTA could come up with 43 recommendations - one to support the agreement, and 42 others that were critical.
"They recognise the threats to manufacturing jobs, pharmaceutical costs and Australian culture then say it should be supported," Cameron said. "It is evidence of a lack of courage.
"The AMWU will fight, with or without the ALP, for Australian jobs and Australian people."
Labor's backing for AUSFTA was announced only five days after federal leader, Mark Latham, presented a critical assessment to the AMWU national conference.
He told delegates, last week, that even on Government figures, benefits would be "mild" and might be outweighed by "social costs".
Latham said the decision of negotiators to bypass sugar had been "un-Australian", and highlighted pressures it would impose on the pharmaceutical benefits scheme, intellectual property rights, culture and manufacturing jobs.
Throughout, Latham stressed, Labor's final position would be determined by the senate committee.
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