It's baby-kissing season and no one is safe.
The latest piece of jibber to emanate from the mouth of Dear Leader Howard is his $900 offer for apprentices to buy a box to keep him in.
At this stage it remains unclear whether or not he is referring to a core or non-core Toolbox.
Apart from the fact that Howard doesn't even seem to know what an apprentice is, he is obviously unaware that most real apprentices already receive a $1000 tool allowance, courtesy of decades of work by Australian trade unions.
And all this from the same dropkick who thinks that starving TAFE of funding and removing from industrial awards conditions that regulate the proportion of apprentices in workplaces are good ideas.
Getting Howard to understand the realities facing Australian working people is a bit like getting a house brick to understand Euclidean geometry.
Maybe Howard is under the impression that an apprentice is one of those charming people who keep Donald Trump company on the show seen on Channel Packer.
Either that or he thinks that the word 'apprentice' is some management jargon meaning 'cheap labour'.
The confusion is understandable. After all, no one told him what an apprentice was, or if they did he cannot immediately recall the specifics.
Which is why, on planet Howard, an apprentice can mean someone who is flipping hamburgers or stacking shelves.
In fact less than a third of the 400,000 apprenticeships the Howard Government claims it is currently supporting are actual trades apprenticeships.
One can only marvel at the sort of leadership that would rather see future generations working in McDonalds rather than value-adding manufacturing or engaged in technical innovation.
Why bother about a $9 billion skills shortage when you can run around the country like a headless chook promising to make the old feel young and the young feel old.
Yep, there'll be no holes in donuts if Howard gets elected.
This man will do anything, even hug a tree, if he thinks there's a vote in it. He has all the principle of a pawnbroker, but with none of the charm.
Combine his appropriately labelled Tool Box 'initiative' with a foreign policy announcement earlier in the week, which looked like it was written by the Gypsy Jokers Motorcycle Club, one has to worry about leaving our Tool Of The Week in charge of a tennis club, let alone the country.
But diplomacy, the workplace, or even running the country has never been Howard's strong point.
His great forte has always been saying whatever he's had to say to save his sorry backside, regardless of whether or not it approximates the truth.
Nevertheless it should come as no surprise that our Tool Of the Week wants to get onside with tradespeople, after all, a once over of his policies shows that there's a screw loose in there somewhere.
Under the Delta Laboratories Enterprise Agreement, registered in 1994, process workers receive all-in rates of $13 an hour and have to complete more than 50 hours a week to qualify for overtime.
The facts came to light after the IRC recommended the reinstatement of a Manpower labour hire employee, Vicki Barnes, who had been accused of advocating union membership during working hours.
Barnes had been working permanently at Delta for a year when she was stood down by Manpower after complaints about her union activities. She returned to the job on Tuesday after the company and the NUW agreed to abide by the recommendation of IRC Commissioner McKenna.
NUW secretary, Derrick Belan, said her reinstatement was a "clear warning" to employers who use labour to discriminate against workers.
"It points up the pitfalls of permanent employment through labour hire," Belan said. "Employers should be wary about trying to use labour hire to try and avoid their responsibilities, including those that might flow from the Secure Employment Test Case.
"All Vicki did wrong, in the eyes of the employer, was join the union.
"Getting involved in practises like this is why Manpower is regarded as one of the least reputable labour hire employers."
Belan said Delta Laboratories had received "smart" legal advice about their employment structure but it was "inherently unfair" and was a key issue to be addressed by the NSW Labor Council's Secure Employment Test Case.
The company is able to keep its process workforce on the terms of a 10-year-old non-union agreement because labour hire workers, technically employed by Manpower, do not count towards the 65 percent of the workforce needed to assent to its termination, he said.
"The document is criminal. It makes workers pay for their own knives, pens etc and work more than 50 hours a week before they qualify for overtime but, because of the use of labour hire, we can't roll it.," Belan said. "The workers employed under its terms and conditions don't get a say in whether it should be replaced or updated."
"Vicki wanted to go back because she is a personal of principle. She knew she had done nothing wrong."
Punters coughing and spluttering over dealers, dirty sheets, handling potentially violent customers are among the safety risks faced by casino workers, placing them at risk from contracting the disease.
The Liquor Hospitality & Miscellaneous Union has secured the measure to protect employees, a move it says comes from experience in American casinos where the vaccination shots are used to protect hotel and casino employees.
"We have had an ongoing concern about staff in higher risk occupations," says Tim Ferrari. "There are not too many people at the casino it doesn't affect."
"We'd like to stress that there is not a high level of incidents."
The shots will be voluntary but 250 employees took up the initial offer when Medical staff gave the course of free injections on site.
The development follows the success of the casino worker's union in introducing measures to deal with aggressive behaviour by casino customers, which has increased the confidence of staff.
The LHMU has also achieved the introduction of metal detectors to stop guns and knives coming into the casino.
"The odds are getting higher that some disgruntled punter who has lost their life's savings would come in seeking retribution," says Ferrari. "As happened in Mississippi in 1999 when a punter returned and shot three dealers."
State branches of the powerful Mines and Minerals, Motor Trades and Master Builders Associations have urged members to lodge non-union agreements before election day as the Federal Court examines whether one of their members broke the law in an effort to force mineworkers onto AWAs.
Justice French, last week, postponed an expected decision on an AMWU claim that Henry Walker Eltin had illegally locked 130 workers out of a remote Pilbara mine owned by BHP Billiton.
Henry Walker Eltin locked Yandi mineworkers out after 85 percent of them rejected financial inducements to sign AWAs. A key argument now between the company and workers is its unilateral decision to force new starters onto individual agreements which Labour has pledged to abolish.
The AMWU is arguing that the contractor's lockout notice was deficient because it was posted on its Perth office door at 5am on a Sunday, barely 90 minutes the locked out was enforced, hundreds of kilometres to the north east.
AWAs and Western Australia have moved into the spotlight of a federal election campaign in which industrial relations are seen as the most striking difference between the Coalition Government and Labor opposition.
State AMWU secretary, Jock Ferguson, said employer-government justification for AWAs - freedom of choice and flexibility for small employers - were a lie.
"Ask new starters at Yandi about freedom of choice," he said. "The fact is there is no choice for working people, it's an AWA or the dole queue, simple as that."
"Employers in Western Australia have used AWAs to attack unions and reduce safety standards and they are not the battling family firms the federal government talks about. The companies exploiting AWAs most aggressively are billion dollar operations like BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto.
"Our experience is that these companies will go to any lengths to get people on individual contracts. That's got nothing to do with freedom of choice, it's all about control and smashing any collective resistance."
Port Kembla AWU secretary Andy Gillespie says the psychometric tests used to assess 60 employees on the paint line are biased against people from non-English speaking backgrounds.
"The workers had a translator, but they were not available for the whole time," says Gillespie.
"The are just a test to make the people they want to fit, fit and make those they don't want to, not."
The AWU says 400 workers at BHP could face redundancy this year.
Gillespie says there is no practical relationship between the tests and the jobs workers are required to do.
"The tests are a complete and utter waste of time, just kid stuff."
"Any testing should measure competency and skills - and all things being equal seniority should decide who is made redundant," Gillespie insists.
The AWU is before the NSW Industrial Relations Commission arguing the tests should be disregarded.
Truck manufacturer Iveco walked away from the "try on" this week, after a mass meeting of union members endorsed claims put under the microscope by IRC senior deputy vice president O’Callaghan.
O'Callaghan ruled a week and a half of industrial action at Dandenong had not been "protected" because workers' claims did not meet the narrow definition of pertaining to the employer-employee relationship, laid down by the High Court in its Electrolux ruling.
Iveco, part of the giant Fiat Group, used that to demand that workers give up income protection, above award payments, and the right to be consulted over redundancy, contracting out, or labour hire plans.
Also included in three pages of proposed clawbacks were demands aimed at weakening union organisation on the site, including rescinding right of entry, payroll deduction and trade union training provisions.
All the clauses Iveco nominated as "non-compliant" are included in other vehicle industry agreements, covering more than 30,000 Australian workers.
AMWU Vehicle Division secretary, Ian Jones, immediately accused the company of a "try-on".
"A little bit of knowledge is a dangerous thing and this company has as little knowledge about the Electrolux decision as anyone in Australia," Jones said.
"They can't just draw lines through everything that has been negotiated in good faith, over the last decade, and blame it on Electrolux. It would wipe out every agreement we have got."
In dissenting from the majority High Court decision on Electrolux, Justice Kirby warned his colleagues' ruling would have a "chilling effect" on the process of collective bargaining.
More than 300 vehicle industry stewards met in Melbourne last week to plan bargaining strategies. They considered the Electrolux judgement and voted, unanimously, not to concede a single clause in any of their agreements.
Iveco withdrew its demands this week.
Workers Online understands a type of Mexican Stand-off has developed at Iveco, with tacit agreement on the contentious clauses but doubts about the wisdom of handing them up for certification in light of the Electrolux ruling.
The federal election battle is expected to take an entertaining turn when leading filmmakers join musicians in in a bid to dump John Howard.
Over 140 musicians and bands are calling for a "Vote For Change" and accusing the Prime Minister of diminishing Australia by lying, dividing and demeaning Australians, as well as putting big business ahead of ordinary people.
Stars for regime change include Regurgitator, You Am I, Hoodoo Gurus, Frenzal Rhomb, Powderfinger, Daniel Johns, The Whitlams, Jenny Morris, Taxi Ride, The Herd, Deepchild, Baggsmen and Grinspoon.
Their group statement will be published in street press advertisements, on posters in cafes and street posters next week.
But filmmakers have already heard the call from their musical cousins and decided to excite the eyes as well the ears in protest with the audio visual offering - Time To Go John.
Presented by comedian Rob Quantock, the movie is a compilation of fifteen short films documenting pivotal moments in Coalition rule - war in Iraq, kids in detention, the GST, anti terrorism laws and reconciliation.
The project grew from the lament of filmmakers Pip Starr and Catherine Gough-Brady at the lack of an Australian Fahrenheit 9/11.
"No-one had the time to make a 90 minute film abou the liberal government before the coming election, but many of us already had a story told,"says Gough-Brady.
The filmmakers all contributed a piece of the film and the assembled masterpiece became Time To Go John.
To find out screening times visit http://www.timetogojohn.com/screenings/nsw.htm
For more Howard lies check out http://www.johnhowardlies.com
The workers, who have been on indefinite strike since last Thursday, are refusing to fix broken machines that print ballot papers around the country.
The technicians took the action after attempts by Xerox management to install GPS satellite tracking devices in technician's vehicles. Workers view this as a breach of their civil liberties.
Australian Services Union state President Sally McManus has labeled the company's demand "an outrage"
"We need a guarantee from management that their proposal to track employees via satellite is off the agenda permanently. Nothing less will suffice," she said.
NSW Council for Civil Liberties President Cameron Murphy says the move is a gross invasion of personal privacy.
"It amounts to spying by employers. All this will do is break down the important trust relationship in the workplace," says Murphy.
McManus believes the strike will soon start to affect other Xerox clients.
"The dispute will affect businesses with Xerox machines. Any Xerox machine
which breaks down will not be repaired by technicians. Our members feel this
strike is a necessary last resort. Xerox management has pushed our members
into this by seeking to have their every move monitored," she says.
Not only will ballot papers be threatened by the strike, but also bills from telephany companies like Telstra, Optus and payment notices from financial institutions like ING and NRMA.
The technicians will meet again this Monday after six days on strike.
Unions are leading the pre-election charge for corporate law reform after James Hardie Industries was found to have shuffled assets amongst subsidiaries in a bid to deprive dying people of $1.5 billion.
Hardie's strategy to defeat people who contracted lung diseases from its products was similar to that used by Patrick, Metro Shelf and to, some extent, Ansett to deprive employees of entitlements.
"All these companies have structured their affairs so their liabilities and their assets are in different places," ACTU official George Wright said. "The law needs to be changed to stop innocent people from losing out.
Wright dismissed business sector claims that changes to limited liability would stop companies operating effectively.
"There are provisions for getting behind the corporate veil in the US," Wright said. "It doesn't mean the end of capitalism."
Unions want the corporate veil lifted when workers entitlements are pinched or Australians are deprived of legitimate compensation.
They raised their demands after a commission of inquiry lambasted James Hardie's ethics and morality before concluding that, under current law, little could be done to curtail its behaviour.
Institutional shareholders celebrated by pushing the company's stock up by more than 10 points.
The Jackson Inquiry remained largely silent about possible changes to Corporations Law that could stop the sort of behaviour if found objectionable.
Paul Bastian, the force behind chasing James Hardie to ground, said Commissioner Jackson's recommendation to allow the veil to be pierced in cases of injury or death did not go far enough.
"James Hardie is just the latest in a litany of cases where the big end of town has used this strategy to avoid its obligations," the AMWU secretary said.
"We certainly support the call for people like James Hardie's victims but it must be extended to workers who have been cheated of their entitlements."
NSW Premier Bob Carr has written to Howard and Latham urging them to formulate proposals for corporate law reform.
The Jackson Inquiry found James Hardie had underfunded the trust established to meet its asbestos liabilities by $1.5 billion.
Commissioner Jackson raised the possibility of legal action against Hardie's CEO, Peter Macdonald, and chief financial officer, Peter Shafron.
Macdonald was found to have knowingly misled the stock exchange while James Hardie, itself, was found to have breached the Trade Practices Act.
Jackson was highly critical of Macdonald for announcing that the company's asbestos foundation would be fully funded. He described the statement as "false in material particulars and materially misleading."
Jackson also produced damaging findings against actuarial giant, Trowbridge, saying there could be grounds for it to be sued for more than $30 million.
The findings came after months of hearings into James Hardie's corporate restructure that eventually saw it move to the Netherlands after assuring the NSW Supreme Court it would leave $1.9 billion worth of partly-paid shares in Australia. That arrangement was cancelled at a secret directors meeting a year later.
Carr rejected Hardie's plan for a statutory compensation scheme and called on it to negotiate a settlement with unions and victims groups.
Bastian called for Macdonald and Shafron to step down or be sacked before negotiations began.
The bottom line, he said, was that James Hardie must "fully fund" compensation for people who contracted lung diseases from contact with its products - now and into the future.
If James Hardie chooses to fight that through litigation, he said, governments should contest its moves in every court.
"We want James Hardie to come out of this but James Hardie is going to have to pay. Unions and victims will be relentless in pursuing James Hardie and if that means its share price has to fall by another 40 percent, then so be it," Bastian said.
"At the moment, they are spending $US1 million a month on legal fees to defend the indefensible. If they want their share price to improve there is only one way to do it - pay up and move on."
After Customs management ran a straw poll of staff members about an enterprise bargaining proposal, they interpreted the 67 percent vote against as an endorsement.
More than 2000 officers, 44 percent of Customs employees, responded to the poll but agency boss, John Jefferies, announced his belief that silence implied consent.
According to Jeffries those who didn't vote "did not feel strongly that the approach adopted so far by Customs management is unreasonable."
Customs officers dealing with the post Twin Towers environment reacted with dismay.
"Customs officers regularly uncover all manner of twisted and concealed objects but jaws just dropped at this one," said CPSU official Evan Hall. "Management's position is indefinsible. It is trying to call black, white."
Workers have been campaigning for nine months over wages and job opportunities. Their existing agreement expires next week.
The Customs Service, facing increased community and political expectation, is 150 positions short of full complement.
"One of the reasons our customs service remains understaffed is because the pay is ordinary," Hall said. "If government is fair dinkum about border protection it needs to adequately reward the people on the front line."
Fixing low apprentice wages and an underfunded TAFE system, rather than handing out tool boxes, is the key to fixing a $9 billion skills shortage, unions says.
"Most apprentices already receive an allowance of more than $1000 a year to buy and maintain their tools," says Sharan Burrow from the ACTU. "Toolkits for apprentices are a farcical response by John Howard to Australia's major skills shortage that could cost the economy $9 billion and is already seriously affecting businesses."
"The reason young people are not signing up for trades apprenticeships is because the wages rates are so low," says John Sutton, National Secretary of the CFMEU Construction & General Division. "Young people will not take up a trade apprenticeship when they are only paid around $250 per week for their first year and $315 for the second year, while their peers are bringing in double and triple that wage.
"Will the Coalition support our application for a wage rise for apprentices in the Commission and reverse its policy of 8 years' of backing employers' opposition to such wage rises?"
Awards To Be Stripped?
The Australian Manufacturing Workers Union says Howard's move raises more questions than it answers, questioning whether the Howard payment would mean employers could seek to strip this award right for all apprentices.
"Like much of what the Prime Minister says, it is safe not to take his words as the truth," says AMWU national president Julius Roe. "The Prime Minister has already cooked the figures to count young people working at McDonalds as apprentices."
Unions have accused the Liberal Party of dishonestly exaggerating the number of apprentices in training.
Official Government data shows that less than a third of the 400,000 apprenticeships the Howard Government claims it is currently supporting are actual trades apprenticeships.
The skills crisis has been compounded by TAFE funding has being frozen at 1997 levels despite a 16% jump in student numbers and unmet demand for up to 57,000 extra places.
"Although $800 for a tool kit may seem attractive, it is farcical if there are not enough apprenticeships or student places at TAFE," says Maree O'Halloran, President of the NSW Teachers Federation. "The Howard Government froze TAFE student enrolment growth funding, and failed to restore it in real terms."
Apprentice Funding Cut
The move follows news that Howard Government cutting funding to 11 utilities and electro-technology trades courses in NSW.
"We have a government that is actively undermining the trades by removing funding from trades courses," says ETU state secretary Bernie Riordan. "A free tool box might deliver a headline, but the real news is what this government is doing to the national apprentice system."
Riordan believes the cuts show that the Howard Government is not serious about increasing the number of apprentices.
"This is a looming national crisis that will take more than a tool box stunt to fix."
The Electrical Trades Union called on the Prime Minister to reverse the decision to recognise the courses, despite massive skills shortages in the area.
Job vacancies in the traditional trades have already risen 20% in the past year and are now at their highest level for 15 years.
The State Government guaranteed cleaners' hours following industrial and promised further discussions to iron out workplace safety issues.
"All cleaners will receive an offer of a job based on their current hours," says Annie Owens, LHMU NSW secretary. "We have defended every vital issue promoted by our members in this campaign."
The union will hold report back meetings with members across the state early in Term 4 to communicate the breakthrough.
"There are still some issues to be talked through, including safeguarding the jobs of cleaners in non-education facilities if the relevant Department decides to opt-out of the contract," says Owens. "During the report-back meetings we will discuss with members a number of alternative strategies.
"We believe this result can also meet the State Government's concerns, ensuring contractors provide an efficient and effective service to our school system, to our TAFE colleges and in government offices.
"The union has also agreed to hold further constructive talks with senior Government and Departmental officials about on-going concerns, which both sides have, about Occupational Health and Safety in the workplace."
Owen expressed thanks to the community for the widespread support it received from local P&Cs, teachers, unionists, the clergy and leaders of ethnic community groups during the campiagn.
More than 2000 people sent e-mails to Premier Carr expressing their support for the LHMU members.
Union Calls Cleaners Conference
The LHMU has called a special conference in December on the role of cleaners in helping to create a safe and healthy school environment.
We will invite cleaners to stand up and speak about their issues," says Owens. "The union will also invite key stakeholders - parents, teachers, occupational health specialists, asthma groups, Government Departments, as well as cleaning contractors who are considering putting in a tender for the 2005 contract - to hear the voice of cleaners.
"We want everyone to join with us to discuss all the issues. We believe they should concern all of us if we are to deliver safe workplaces and healthy schools.
"We are, after all, talking about working people earning just $13.50 an hour; working people who race through classrooms to make them clean and healthy for staff and students," says Owens. "We know we can campaign to win respect and a real voice for change for low-wage workers across this State. But we also know we still have a long, long way to go to deliver decency."
A national law firm issued the warning after Unions NSW exposed bullying and harassment as a breaches of laws requiring employers to deal with psychological hazards in the workplace.
Law firm Sparke Helmore says high-tech harassment is emerging as a threat to employers because it provides stalkers with an immediate and relatively anonymous form of abusive communication.
The Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission (HREOC) this year reviewed sexual harassment complaints in Australia and found computers, mobile phones and the internet were a growth area.
HREOC recorded how staff had been harassed with sexually explicit emails, pictures and SMS messages.
Unions NSW recently launched it's Dignity and respect in the Workplace Charter, which offers a five point plan to tackle bullying and harassment in the workplace.
Copies of the charter and extensive information on the Unions NSW anti-bullying campaign can be found at the UnionSafe website.
Whistleblower Lands Seven In Court
The news comes amidst allegations that Channel Seven management tapped a helicopter pilot's phone calls and placed his family under surveillance after he tried to blow the whistle on workplace harassment.
Helicopter pilot Tim Boase accused news director Shaun Menegola and news producer Howard Gretton of harassing and bullying female reporters, editors and other newsroom staff in a six-month period.
He told the Supreme Court that his immediate suspension on full pay in April arose from his allegations.
The prescription is being advanced by an umbrella group of energy unions, representing workers from mine to power point, that was formed during this month's World Energy Conference.
The ASU, CEPU and CFMEU decided to band together and develop strategies in response to expert warnings that modern lifestyles could see Australia short of energy within seven years.
Analysts predict Australia will use an additional two percent of energy every year from now until 2019.
"We support environmental issues but realise they will not meet our core needs: ASU secretary, Greg McLean, said. "The fact is that this country has enormous coal reserves and what we need now is to identify and use the technologies that are most efficient and environmentally friendly.
"Decisions need to be made now because it takes seven to nine years to build a base load power station.
"If we don't have enough reliable energy businesses will relocate overseas and everyone will suffer."
The unions, from across the factional divide, have pledged to combine resources in a joint campaign to ensure workers' have a voice in energy planning.
They have already heard from senior union delegates at French energy giant, EDF, which is facing privatisation and McLean has addressed a Canadian electrical workers forums on the Australians situation.
Its demand for politicians to urgently address industry skills shortages has been placed on agenda of the next national Energy Ministers Conference.
McLean said the running down of trade apprenticeships had put the Australia's ability to meet energy needs at risk.
His organisation has began lobbying employers and governments about expanding and upskilling the workforce. Energex, Queensland's biggest power company, has already announced plans to expand the workforce by 10 percent across the board.
"Our clients' behaviour is going to regress, their skills will be lost, and their self esteem and quality of life are going to plummet," says Mullins
"They love going to work and being in an environment with people who don't have a disability."
Mullins told a rally outside Parliament house last week she believes the $9 million slash to funding of the "ATLAS" program will put stress on the families of people with disabilities and could lead to marital breakdown and even suicide.
"The impact on families will be huge, some parents will have to give up jobs to look after children who have lost their independence," says Mullins.
The 2000 strong rally was organised by a huge coalition of groups including the Australian Services Union, NCOSS, families of people with disabilities and service providers.
Busloads of protesters traveled from as far away as Wagga, Armidale and the north coast.
Australian Services union executive president Sally McManus believes the governments proposed cuts are unjustified.
"The cuts will have a devastating impact on the families of the disabled and will only save the Government a paltry $9 million.
"The result will be reduced staffing, less access to quality services and an increased occupational health and safety risk for workers in disability services," says McManus.
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 and 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 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 closes Friday 22nd October 2004. More information and an entry form can be obtained from the Worksite website
Please call 1800 659 511 (toll free) or email [email protected] if you have any questions.
Young People & Trade Unions
Blue Mountains Unions Council presents Politics in the Pub.
Heather Chaffey (Blue Mountains Youth Worker)
Paul Morris (ASU Organiser, Unions NSW Organiser of the Year 2003)
Joel MacRea (Greens candidate for Macquarie)
John Hayden (Democrats Candidate for Macquarie)
And the Blue Mountains Trade Union Choir
Gearins Hotel, 273 Great western Highway, Katoomba
Saturday September 25 at 2.30pm
Tackling the problems confronting young people.
All unionists welcome to a great day out in the mountains!
Saharawi benefit night
Celebrate the Saharawi‚s love of dancing and the rhythms of Africa with the Café of the Gate of Salvation, Mohamed Bangoura (African drum and dance) plus special guest performers. All proceeds go to the Saharawi refugees in Algeria.
People of North Africa who have been waiting for 30 years to return to their homeland of Western Sahara. While Morocco occupies their country, they have survived in refugee camps in the harsh Algerian desert, one of the most inhospitable places on earth. It's the East Timor of Africa.
27 October 2004 $25/$15conc, The Basement- Sydney. 02. 9251-2797
Films, Politics and Learning Conference
Organization: OVAL Research, Faculty of Education, University of Technology 6 & 7 Dec These nights aim:
- To bring together radical film-makers, radical film buffs, and radical educators.
- To inspire educators about ways they can use film in their work.
- To inspire film-makers about ways they might facilitate learning about politics.
- To foster discussion and advocacy about this field of practice.
We are seeking videos and films under 2 categories:
1. Agitprop: protest, guerrilla, activist, political, subversive short films /videos.
2. Participatory film-making: community films/videos as social intervention. The only format accepted is DVD.
Send copies with entry form to Celina McEwen, The Centre for Popular Education, UTS, PO Box 123, BROADWAY NSW 2007 AUSTRALIA. Deadline for entries is September 30, 2004. Entry forms can be downloaded from www.cpe.uts.edu.au/pdfs/FPLentry.pdf
For further information email Celina on (02) 9514 3847 or [email protected]
There are less than 4 weeks until the election, an election that will decide the next Prime Minister of Australia. The person elected will be the Prime Minister of ALL Australians, not just the Labor Party or the Liberals.
To show our solidarity as Australians, let's all get together and show each other our support for the candidate of our choice. It's time that we all came together, Labor and Liberal alike.
If you support the policies and character of Mark Latham, please drive with your headlights 'ON' during the day.
If you support Prime Minister John Howard, please drive with your headlights 'OFF' at night.
A good old Labor stalwart died and went to heaven.
As he stood in front of St. Peter at the Pearly Gates, he saw a huge wall of clocks behind him. He asked, "What are all those clocks?"
St. Peter answered, "Those are Lie-Clocks.
"Everyone on earth has a Lie-Clock. Every time you lie the hands on your clock will move".
"Oh," said the old stalwart, "Whose clock is that?"
That's John Curtin's, The hands have never moved, indicating that he never told a lie.
"Incredible," said the old stalwart. "And whose clock is that one?"
St. Peter responded, "That's Ben Chifley's clock. The hands have moved twice, telling us that Ben told only two lies in his entire life.
"Where's John Howard's clock?" asked the old stalwart.
"Howard's clock is in Jesus' office," said St Peter. "He's using it as a ceiling fan."
Understanding your vote on October 9th 2004.
Both Labour and the Coalition do not want you to know that in fact you have four votes on the 9th October.
In Australia we only have a say or vote if we vote in the majority‚ because it is a democracy. The system denies every vote of all minority supporters, this is because a democracy always discriminates. The media often uses this fact by the owner‚ of that particular source of media limiting and favouring their particular political affiliation by stifling individual reporters unbiased articles, or articles that may give support to an opposition group or individual.
In most electorates your only real vote is who you place first out of Labour and Liberal, this means that if your first preference is to see an independent or minor party elected:
o To make politicians earn their money rather than just „vote party‰,
o To make politicians see there is a limit to the tax they can take from
o To give your vote some ‰real power‰ and make some changes in the
o To provide yourself with an effective politician, to be able to go and „talk with in person‰.
Your vote on the 9th October for the House of Representatives:
If you want to give the Government the strong message that they are hurting your wallet because of the $800 Billion they take from the people; then understand that you can hurt their wallets directly (as a party not as the government) by NOT placing Labour or Liberal first or second on your ballot form. This is because your first vote receives $1.94 provided they receive more than 4% of the votes for your electorate.
The first vote of every Australian on the 9th October will see the major party‚s receive more than $15 million dollars each, so if the people of
Australia want to give a powerful message to the major parties, then place both major parties well down on your ballot paper.
So you have in effect two votes in the House of Representatives:
1. Vote for your preferred member in the House of Representatives.
2. Vote for who receives the money for your vote in the House of
Your vote on the 9th October for the Senate:
The Senate ballot paper is designed so that most people take the easy way out and only have to make one tick, there is no legal basis under the
Australian Constitution for making a „party vote‰, as Australians are meant to be electing „a person as a representative‰ not a party.
In effect if we vote and support a Party, not an individual then we forfeit our Representatives vote in the Parliament. The Party member is forced by the Party to vote Party, otherwise they loose preselection and most likely loose their seat in parliament (under the present system which is biased toward Party dominance). To quote a candidate in an earlier election; „I don‚t care what the people want, I will vote ŒParty‚‰. Most Australian political Parties do not allow for independent or conscious votes, this is why when a political leader states „I will do‰ something in parliament he or she means they will force your representative to vote „Party‰ not the will of the people.
Your vote on the 9th October for the state representatives in the Senate also results in a payment of $1.94 to your first vote. By selecting a Party as your „Senate vote‰ you forfeit your right to vote for a person to represent you and the Party receives many $Millions across Australia.
Your vote in the Senate also gives each individual voter two votes (unless you vote „Party‰):
1. Vote for your preferred member in the Senate.
2. Vote for who receives the money for your vote in the Senate.
Total election public funding paid after the 2001 federal election was
Candidates and Senate groups become entitled to a payment of election public funding if they obtain at least 4% of the formal first preference votes in the election they contested. The entitlements of candidates endorsed by a registered political party are paid to the party, while those for unendorsed candidates are paid directly to the candidate (or agent, if appointed).
The rate of election funding at this election was 179.026 cents per formal first preference vote for both the House of Representatives and the Senate.
The amount paid of $38,559,409.33 is equal to 10,769,220 voters, voting in both the Senate and House of Representatives.
Set out below is a break-up of the amounts paid to parties and candidates.
Australian Labor Party (ALP) 14,917,024.57
Liberal Party of Australia (LP) 14,492,349.83
National Party of Australia (NP) 2,845,193.98
Australian Democrats (DEM) 2,411,689.69
Pauline Hanson‚s One Nation (PHON) 1,709,752.00
Australian Greens (AG) 1,370,734.04
The Greens WA ˆ Inc 223,129.05
Northern Territory Country Liberal Party 138,997.58
Unity - Say No To Hanson 17,689.55
liberals for forests 14,332.82
Christian Democratic Party NSW (Fred Nile Group)
Progressive Labour Party 7,327.53
No Goods and Services Tax Party 5,488.94
ANDREN Peter James- Calare NSW 73,017.54
WINDSOR C Antony Harold - New England NSW 64,435.04
KATTER B Robert Karl - Kennedy QLD 63,652.69
MacDONALD Peter Alexander - Warringah NSW 38,472.69
THEOPHANOUS Andrew Charles - Calwell VIC 15,023.86
PAULGER S Shane Peter - Fairfax QLD 13,460.96
MELVILLE Peter Lloyd - Hinkler QLD 12,794.99
BOWN Conway - Herbert QLD 11,588.35
COCHRAN Peter Lachlan ˆ Eden-Monaro NSW 11,522.11
HOURIGAN Rosalind - Fisher QLD 10,745.14
COOPER Thomas James - Page NSW 9,814.21
MCINTOSH Nelson Douglas - Indi VIC 9,459.73
KESSELS Colin James - Dickson QLD 9,314.72
STEGLEY Kristin - Goldstein VIC 8,605.78
HAIGH Bruce Douglas - Gwydir NSW 8,301.44
TREASURE Douglas Harry - Gippsland VIC 7,606.81
MOTT William Trevor - Cunningham NSW 7,581.75
DOUGLASS Ross Thomas - Mallee VIC 6,631.12
WICKS Graeme Francis - Wide Bay QLD 6,051.08
DALGLEISH David Bruce - Wide Bay QLD 5,714.51
AUSTIN Pauline Maisie - Solomon NT 4,257.24
Our federal government will have a pool of money worth $25.2 billion to spend over the next 4 years, instead of the $11.9 billion forecast in the May Budget yet ex-military personnel severely injured and covered under the Veteran‚s Entitlements Act 1986, have seen their worker‚s compensation payment known as the TPI pension, increase $203 per week over the past 18 years while ordinary wages increased $750 per week over the same 18 year period. Indeed, over one three year period, this being 1996, 1997 and 1998 the TPI pension increased by a staggering 90 cents a week. Prime Minister Howard considers that their payments are great, after adding a means tested welfare payment. No other form of worker‚s compensation takes into account what the partner earns.
The spin at the Top End of Town is that Jackson's recognition that there is no legal barrier to Hardie quarantining its liabilities to asbestos victims presents the company with a 'Get Out of Jail Free' card.
The market seemed to follow this line in the days immediately following the report's release, pumping the share price up - although to nowhere near its original level.
But far from being an admission of defeat, the Report has become a call to arms for all those who believe that the terms 'legal' and 'moral' have different meanings.
The outcome of this battle of principle will depend on the next round of negotiations between Hardie and the union movement - who are taking a position of national leadership which the conservative forces are carefully ignoring as they continue their puerile IR scare campaign.
So what's on the table? Hardie is pushing hard to limit its long-term liabilities by establishing the sort of statutory fund that NSW workers have become familiar with through the state's workers compensation scheme.
Experience shows that payouts are limited by such a scheme, with claimants being 'processed' by insurers rather than have their stories heard by courts of law.
Court payouts will inevitably be higher, allowing Hardie to argue that anything more generous would itself be illegal - a breach of their directors fiduciary duty to maximise profits.
In arguing this legal red herring, unions need to show that copping out on compensation will carry its own financial implications that would harm the company's share price.
That's why the mooted consumer boycott is so important - to the extent that it keeps Hardie's share price low it presents a cogent fiduciary argument to meet compensation in full, even beyond their strict legal liability.
The Carr Government is leading the way threatening a boycott of Hardie products, other states have followed suit, dozens of councils have stepped up to the plate. But ultimately, any impact in Australia will be small beer - this is only about 10 per cent of Hardies' total market.
The real question is whether international pressure in the key US and European markets can gain sufficient steam to shift the company.
James Hardie shapes as the first significant international consumer campaign of the 21st century - the question yet to be answered is: can consumers place such pressure on a global company that it makes economic sense to act morally.
It's a tough ask - but if it succeeds in moving James Hardie even a little beyond its black letter legal obligations it will be a vindication of the moral weight of the collective.