"Oh what a tangled web we weave, when first we practice to deceive."
- William Shakespeare.
Tony Abbott is degenerating into a sad parody of himself as we draw closer to the day when this chinless wonder pushes his salivating self forward as the great white hope of the Liberal party.
In a discussion on Lateline this week the man who makes Attilla the Hun look like the Dalai Llama discussed child pornography and his relationship with Archbishop George Pell.
By the end of it the Minister for Private Health Insurance looked like one very stunned Mullet.
In a moment of refreshing self-reflection the Member for Warringah admitted that there "was a dark side" and then went on to praise the incompetence of Attorney-General Phil "Monty Burns" Ruddock.
On the question of his portfolio our Tool Of The Week graciously accepted that it wasn't necessarily Liberal party policy that the old should be left to die, but it would be in keeping with his general philosophy of life.
After all, Australian workers know that Abbott's view of industrial relations is not that far removed from bear baiting.
He described the popular ALP health policy as "cute" but "undeliverable". No doubt anything that's based on human decency and fairness is undeliverable under any government that would have Abbott as a member.
The man with all the charm of the Ebola Virus flailed away trying to claim that he had no truck with a health system that actually made people healthy. After all, as Abbott will tell you, a health system is there to make insurers rich, goddamit!
The self-described "imperfect catholic" showed perfect timing in visiting Archbishop George Pell prior to that great bastion of Australian hypocrisy coming out and warning that a vote for Latham was a vote for anarchy and destruction the like of which had not been seen since the Council of Nicea.
Not that Abbott could recall meeting George Pell at first until, with Tony Jones' prompting, it became a case of "oh, thaaaaaat archbishop"!
As Tony Jones pointed out, Abbott has form in this area. Someone, who may or may not have been Tony Abbott, defaced his office prior to his campaign launch achieving some rather over-rated publicity.
This moral zygote would have us believe that he and the archbishop had some innocent "counselling' session. No doubt they did, but it does appear that Abbott was the one doing the counselling.
In the end our Tool Of The Week came out of it looking about as straight as a coathanger.
Abbott the Rabbit looked very much like the bunny caught the headlights of the Australian people.
Abbott rates himself as a chance to overtake Costello in the race to fill the very small shoes of Dear leader Howard. If his Lateline effort is anything to go by our Tool Of The Week will certainly carry on one great Howard tradition.
It has come to light as further research has exposed employers as the industrial bully boys of the past decade, with a dramatic rise in lock-outs .
The study by Kristen van Barneveld from the University of Newcastle disputes the sweeping assertions that AWAs pay more, concluding gains for the employer come at the expense of individual employees.
Launching the Coalition IR policy this week, Workplace Relations Minister Kevin Andrews quoted ABS figures proving that workers on AWAs are paid more.
But van Barneveld has unpacked those figures, reporting on literature that highlights that - as well as the ABS figures being distorted by the high number of managerial AWA employees - collective agreement figures are also negatively distorted by a high number of part time and casual workers. In fact, the research suggests that non-managerial employees achieve better wage outcomes through collective agreements.
In fact, the research suggests that non-managerial employees, in fact, achieve better wage outcomes through collective agreements.
She also refers to research from ACIRRT showing that AWAs were less likely to contain provisions for a wage rise during the life of the agreement and, where they did, were more likely to be performance-based and at management's discretion.
More importantly, the research by van Barneveld highlights that wages are not the only factor in determining the impact of an AWA.
Looking at AWAs in the hospitality industry in detail, van Barneveld finds that "most of the benefits which had been achieved through the introduction of AWAs were one-sided, with employers achieving wages and hours of flexibility at the expense of employee entitlements."
"There is little evidence of AWAs being used for complementary purposes - to foster positive employee relations or to encourage or reward employees for excellent performance," she writes.
"Rather than use the 'carrot' approach to managing employees, it seems that hospitality employers prefer to wield the stick."
Van Barneveld's research tested these statistics by conducting case studies of four businesses in the hospitality industry using AWAs.
Among her findings:
- favouritism and division in workplaces both between AWA employees as well as non-AWA employees - in particular in relation to rostering - leading to a collapse in morale
- wages levels falling below the award during the life of the AWA
- little evidence of AWAs being used to reward good employees
- very little evidence of truly 'individual' AWAs.
"The case study findings suggest that organisational efficiencies were often gained at the expense of the individual employee," she concludes.
"This could occur not only in monetary terms but also in breaking down acceptable community standards such as the notion of a weekend ... or a substantial lunch break.
"In other words, under a system of individual contracts, inequitable outcomes for employees were often the corollary of provisions to enhance organisational efficiency."
< b>Bosses in Balaclavas
Meanwhile, a study by Chris Briggs of AC IRRT found strike action at historic low levels while employer lockouts were on the rise.
The study, which looked at the frequency of lockouts and strikes over ten years, found employer lockouts accounted for 57 per cent of all disputes between 1998 and 2003, compared with seven per cent between 1993 and 1997.
"More than half of all long disputes, which last for more than a month, are employer lockouts," Briggs says.
"Employers, not unions, are now responsible for most of the long-running disputes in Australia."
Briggs says the type of lock outs in Australia would be illegal in other countries, because they are designed to force workers to sign individual contracts.
The return of the lockout was led by the manufacturing sector in which
lockouts accounted for a quarter of disputes, the research found. About half of all lockouts took place in Victoria and in regional areas.
The news comes as an ACTU and childcare unions’ survey revealed that almost half of all parents were prevented from working because of a shortage of childcare places.
Figures show childcare costs have risen by almost a third in the last two years while the take up rate for the rebate has also been underestimated by at least 120,000 children.
"Already under pressure over its massive pre-election spending spree, the
Coalition is trying to cover up the full cost of its childcare rebate,' says ACTU president Sharan Burrow. "
John Howard has already back-flipped over allowing wealthy families with nannies to claim the childcare rebate and now he is trying to mislead Treasury and hoodwink the public as to the true impact of his election promises."
"The ACTU calls on the Treasury to take these factors into account in the costing it is due to make public by Tuesday 5 October. The Coalition should also release full details of its proposal for independent scrutiny."
ACTU modelling estimates a shortfall of up to $575.2m in the costing of the Coalition's childcare tax rebate over only two and half years of operation; while Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) data shows that childcare costs for parents have risen 31.8% in the last two years alone, six times the general rate of inflation.
"The Coalition is also misusing the 'Charter of Budget Honesty' by requesting
Treasury cost the rebate on the basis that only 575,000 families will benefit - a gross under-estimate - and by failing to identify 'behavioural responses' such as rising costs & a lift in demand," says Burrow.
Many independent experts have already commented that the rebate is likely to push up demand for childcare and lead to a jump in fees.
No Care = No Job
Meanwhile, the ACTU-LHMU survey revealed that for 52% of respondents a lack of childcare is limiting the number of hours they can work while almost a third were unable to return to work after maternity leave.
"These results highlight the need for a national rescue plan that applies to all sections of the childcare industry," Greg McLean, Assistant National Secretary of childcare union ASU.
The survey revealed that the childcare shortage was impacting on families with waiting lists of more than 12 months common and high staff turnover and inadequate facilities also featuring as major concerns.
"High staff turnover is a direct result of the low wages for childcare workers," says Helen Creed, National President of childcare union LHMU.
In echoes of Patricks’ tactics in the 1998 Waterfront dispute, technicians on training visas from Singapore and New Zealand were used to clear the backlog of jobs caused by the week long strike.
The full extent of this operation is unclear, but Workers Online understands at least 30 foreign nationals were on the road for Fuji-Xerox in Sydney this week.
The 100 ASU members took the action over their EBA deal, which included a bid by the company to install global positioning tracking devices in workers' cars, in order to spy on their movements via satellite.
The dispute took a bizarre twist this week when strikers received a DVDs with a personal message from the CEO delivered to their doors imploring them to return to work.
They also received letters threatening to take away the strikers vehicles and mobile phones, a clear breach of the Workplace Relations Act.
The video pitch fell flat though, with 98 per cent of workers voting to extend the strike for two more days the next morning.
The story of Fuji-Xerox management bastardry went global, with articles running in many Australian newspapers and as far a field as The Inquirer newspaper in Britain.
Yesterday workers decided to switch tactics and return to work as a goodwill gesture and to facilitate further negotiations. ASU Organiser Gabi Wynhausen is in no doubt Fuji-Xerox technicians will ultimately win their dispute.
"I have been a union organiser in a variety of industries for nearly 10 years and I have never before seen such a solid group of workers. They have right absolutely on their side and they know it.
"All these guys wanted was a pay rise of less than 4%. The company has responded with the spectre of satellite surveillance and an international strike breaking conspiracy!"
The revelations come as the wave of action against James Hardie gathers steam, with high-level talks in Sydney and workers claiming victimisation for protesting in Melbourne.
As union negotiations began, workers in the Gippsland revealed how they used to play with the deadly substance as recently as the eighties.
The Gippsland, which suffers seven times the national average in asbestos deaths, is still battling with the problem due to the widespread use of the material in the local power industry.
"There are still problems with various government's attitudes to removing asbestos from power stations," says John Parker, secretary of the Gippsland Trades and Labor Council. "There is a lot of the fibrous stuff around that becomes highly airborne."
Local trade unionists have been battling for contractor Able Demolition to be held accountable for what workers claim is inadequate safety measures.
An independent hygienist, WorkSafe Victoria and unions have all been kept out of an Able Demolitions job at Lurgi Gas Plant.
"In the past this company imploded a chimney at the old power station, blowing asbestos all over Yallourn," says Parker. "They let a worker fall through a sheet of asbestos. "Workers are still being exposed to asbestos from the demolition of the Lurgi plant."
The Gippsland Trades and Labor Council is working with the Gippsland asbestos r elated Diseases Support Group (GARDSG) and the local La trobe Council to develop a community response to the widespread incidence of asbestos in the community.
The disturbing news of the history of State Electricity Commission workers was contained in a Melbourne University report, 'Work and Health in the La Trobe valley' compiled by Tony LaMontagne and Hannah Walker.
Gippsland unionists have accused the Victorian government of "sitting on its hands" over the issue.
< b>Sack Threat For Asbestos Victims
Meanwhile, workers at a German multinational in Victoria became the latest victims of the ongoing James Hardie debacle after being threatened with the sack for protesting against the asbestos giant.
The news comes as legal pressure mounts on James Hardie bosses after US based CEO Peter Macdonald stood down this week.
German multinational KSB is taking disciplinary action against 45 Australian Manufacturing Workers Union (AMWU) members working at Tottenham in Victoria, because they participated in a protest rally against James Hardie.
KSB Ajax Pumps had demanded that they machine asbestos without protection in the past, according to employees. Workers asked for asbestos protective equipment at the time but were denied it by the company.
AMWU members employed by KSB Ajax pumps stopped work and joined thousands of workers at a rally to protest against James Hardie's attempt to limit compensation rights of those exposed to asbestos.
"The workers and the union gave the company plenty of notice that they would be attending the protest demonstration," says Julius Roe, National President of the AMWU. "KSB Ajax Pumps decided to threaten the employment of our members for their decision to go to the rally. It issued written warnings to the workers and threatened to sack them if it happened again.
"It is the only manufacturing company in Victoria to do so."
Workers at KSB Ajax struck for 24 hours in protest over the company's refusal to lift the threat to sack them.
"Many members who have worked for the company for decades with an unblemished record are deeply offended that the company have targeted them in this way," says Roe. "We believe that this company has no right to threaten workers with termination for exercising their human right to protest over corporate misbehaviour on asbestos."
The Victorian Trades Hall Council executive has unanimously decided to back the workers at KSB Ajax if called upon by the AMWU.
The AMWU have also written to the Chairman of the company in Germany, as well as to German trade unionists as part of their campaign.
Hardie's Boss Cuts And Runs
The move by James Hardie CEO Peter McDonald to stand down follows the release of the Jackson Inquiry report into James Hardie's dealings over its asbestos liabilities.
Inquiry Commissioner David Jackson, QC, found the CEO had misled and deceived the public.
The NSW Premier Bob Carr lifted legal protection from James Hardie, opening the company up to investigations by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission.
Mr Jackson also found that both Mr Macdonald had breached the Trade Practices Act and the Fair Trading Act.
The misconduct occurred when Mr Macdonald claimed in February 2001 that enough money had been set aside to cover all future asbestos-related claims.
Pressure from unions and NSW Premier Bob Carr has pushed embattled James Hardie chairman Meredith Hellicar to announce that the company would "work with the ACTU, as requested by Premier Carr".
The engineers, members of the Electrical Trades Union, are so concerned about the run down in maintenance standards that they staged a protest outside the Amberley RAAF Base in Queensland last week.
The workers do maintenance work on instrumentation for F-111s, missile guidance systems, and electronic components on other RAAF aircraft. The systems are vital to maintaining Australia's regional aviation supremacy.
ETU Queensland secretary, Dick Williams, says since 2001 the avionics maintenance workforce at Amberley has been more than halved from 110 to 50.
Maintenance work on the crucial Fighter-Bombers has been contracted out to private firm QANTAS Defence Systems (QDS).
Williams' believes Australia's defence capability is being eroded by bean counters at the firm, which is especially concerning in light of the war against terrorism
"The Queensland electricity supply industry is a classic case of what can go wrong when you slash maintenance workforce levels.
"I think many Australians would be concerned to learn that similar corporate behaviour could now be undermining our defence capability," says Williams.
"We took the matter to the Australian Industrial Relations Commission earlier this week...and the Commission recommended we take further action over the issue. Today's protest meeting is part of that further action."
As Victims Wait for Compo ...
Meanwhile, a Howard Government decision to delay compensation to dying F-111 flight engineers until after the election has been condemned by victim's groups, the ALAEA and the ALP.
A general health and medical study on the workers was handed to the RAAF two months ago.
A previous report found over 900 former and serving Air Force engineers are 50 percent more likely to develop cancer after working on fuel tanks of the Fighter-Bomber.
Author of the cancer study, Dr John Attia, says the combination of organic solvents, cramped working space, lack of protective equipment and hot temperatures many have led to the high rate of cancer.
For 30 years engineers at Queensland's Amberley Air Force base were required to enter the cupboard sized tanks and break down chemical seals with highly toxic solvents like SR51.
Many of the workers, some of whom are in their early 30's and late 20's, have developed cancers, cardio-vascular problems, skin conditions, lung complaints, and neurological disorders - some have been confined to wheel chairs.
The workers are calling for full compensation from the government.
Australian Licensed Aircraft Engineers Association federal secretary, David Kemp, has urged the government to fully compensate affected personnel, many of who went into civilian life as members of the ALAEA.
"These are men who worked to protect our country by keeping a technical advantage over potential aggressors and now it looks like the government is prepared to abandon them," Kemp says.
Paul King, ALP candidate for Groom where many of the engineers live, said they should not have to wait for compensation.
"These people don't have a lot of time left," says King
"some of them are very, very sick."
For a victim's story click here
Non-smoking jazz violinist George Washingmachine took the test after similar tests in Perth and Melbourne this year revealed patrons recorded nicotine levels almost comparable with those of active smokers.
Musicians have demanded all states legislate for immediate pub and club smoke bans.
The SmokeFree Australia coalition co-ordinator Stafford Sanders says the ban is an urgent work safety issue on a par with asbestos in the seriousness of the harm caused to victims and numbers of workers affected.
The coalition includes the LHMU, MEAA, ACTU and the Musicians' Union of Australia.
Sanders says governments have talked for more than ten years on the issue and need to enforce bans.
"We've had occupational health and safety laws that should have been enforced to remove this danger but have instead been quietly ignored at the behest of tobacco-friendly vested interests such as the
Australian Hotels Association," says Sanders.
"We know tobacco smoke contains more than 130 toxic compounds; we know from many studies that it causes cancer and heart disease; we know that it is killing bar workers in considerable numbers."
"The AHA has been especially culpable, in lobbying governments to block, delay or water down smoke bans.
" The AHA ...continues to conduct unfounded and inaccurate scare campaigns among its members, wrongly claiming businesses will be 'destroyed.'
"This tobacco-tainted lobbying is frustrating the will of the overwhelming majority of the community, who want smokefree venues quickly - not in another two years."
Several countries including Ireland and NZ, and seven US states, have enacted total bans.
To support an e-mail protest campaign to ban smoking in pubs and clubs go to
The Custom Officers' Union, the CPSU, believes management needs to "seriously" address low pay or the service will remain under-staffed and over-stretched.
Over three quarters of employees find it hard to support their families on their salary and over a third are planning to leave due to the poor pay.
"Since 9/11, the work of Customs officers has never been more important, or
more challenging," says CPSU organiser Evan Hall "We need a pay rise that will allow the agency to easily attract and retain highly skilled Officers".
The border protection force held a series of short protest meetings around
Australia last week in support of a new certified agreement.
"The purpose of our short protests ...is to let management know Customs officers are serious about protecting the integrity of the service and are prepared to campaign hard in support of a new agreement, " explained Hall.
At the meetings thousands of Officers signed a 'Customs Officer Declaration' stating they are understaffed and underpaid and are prepared to take action for a better deal.
The current Customs certified agreement (which covers approx 4,800 staff),
expired on 30 September.
Despite six months of talks between Customs and the CPSU, agreement has not been reached on a new pay deal.
AMWU National President Julius Roe says Howard's plan to hand training over to employers would lead to poor quality education focused on the needs to individual businesses rather than on turning out well rounded tradespeople.
"Recent announcements by the Federal Government have favoured short term, narrower trade training, which will lead to mechanics who can't fix the whole car, just part of the car," says Roe.
Over the last decade the AMWU has fought to get trade qualifications recognised across state boundaries and to establish a national training system. But the Howard plan would see separate entities deciding on their own courses for the skilled trades.
If the looming skills crisis is to be averted, Roe believes resources need to be shifted from short term low quality training and into high quality training and nationally recognised qualifications in the manufacturing industry.
Recent ACTU research has shown in the next decade there will be a national shortage of 250,000 traditional trades apprentices which will cost the economy $9 billion in lost opportunities.
Unions have criticised Howard because though "traineeship" numbers have increased many are not in traditional trades, but in new areas such as retail, clerical, tourism and hospitality.
In addition, many perspective apprentices fail to qualify for government training subsidies because they have already done much shorter "apprenticeships" at fast food shops or retail stores.
As a consequence traditional trades have had trouble attracting candidates, especially in printing, metal and electrical occupations.
To address the crisis Roe says pay rates and career opportunities for youngsters entering the trades need to be increased.
"Many of these young people can earn more working casually at a fast food store than in the first years on an apprenticeship," says Roe.
Roe believes there also needs to be a systematic program in schools to encourage trade training and careers.
"We need technical schools of the future, involving all states and territories, which offer real opportunities for school students who wish to enter quality education and training pathways, including careers in the trades," he says.
Roe says University research shows privatisation and labour market deregulation are the biggest causes of falling traditional apprenticeship training.
In the 1970's thousands of tradesmen came our to local and state government workshops every year, and the private sector keenly snapped up the finished product.
But with the rush to privatise government enterprises in the 1980's came accountants who transformed apprentices from investments into costs.
"It is quite clear private industry has woken up to the fact these policies which were advocated by business are now creating a major skills shortage."
"What is needed is an industry plan for the manufacturing sector.
"The solution of these problems are not quick fixes but proper interventionary arrangements to lift the amount of training and investment by government and employers," says Roe.
Ninety flat top wagons arrived in the port of Newcastle on the Cape Dorrington and the Australian Manufacturing Workers Union (AMWU) believes another shipment is due to arrive in mid-October.
The move comes despite three Hunter Valley engineering firms - Goninans, Varley Engineering and EDI Rail - possessing the competence and expertise to manufacture quality rolling stock locally.
Varley Engineering has already been bringing up to scratch wheat wagons that arrived from China with numerous problems including critical braking and suspension faults.
"This is another blow for apprentices," says Melissa Kennedy from the AMWU. "How can Australian companies make a commitment to training apprentices when companies like Pacific National show no commitment to Australian produced goods."
"This is a practical demonstration of what is in store for Australia under the Free Trade Agreement, when procurement policy goes out the window."
The three rolling stock manufacturers employ over 600 workers in the Hunter and the AMWU is concerned that bypassing Australian manufacturers will threaten these jobs.
Kennedy likened Pacific National's move to buying from a cheap discount store rather than a reputable manufacturer.
A confidential report on the company's Mobile Telephone Network embarrassed Telstra and the government when it was made public some weeks ago by the Shadow Minister for Communications Lindsay Tanner.
The report outlined major problems in the maintenance and operation of Telstra's mobile base stations and provided evidence of inadequate mobile technician staff training and a lack of maintenance.
Management at the communications company are conducting "disciplinary investigations" to discover which staff members provided the information.
Len Cooper, Victorian secretary of the CEPU says whoever made the report available provided a service to taxpayers by demonstrating public statements by the Howard government and Telstra management regarding the high quality of Telstra service standards were completely untrue.
"They should be given a medal, not be the subject of a management driven 'witch hunt'," says Cooper.
"The public has a right to know if the politicians and public officials are deceiving them."
The Mining and Energy Division of the CFMEU says that consideration needs to given to the rapid change the industry has undergone in recent years which has lead to a sharp increase in the use of contractors and the working hours of the state's miners.
"This is a timely review because of the rapidity and timing of change within the industry," says NSW President of the Mining and Energy division of the CFMEU Tony Maher. "The union is not prepared to see anyone else hurt."
The union has pointed to the fact that contractors now make up a third of the industry and that they have been poorly integrated into safety practices.
This has occurred alongside increased casualisation, increased temporary work and fragmentation of employment standards.
The loss of job security in the industry and deregulation has also impacted on mine safety, according to the CFMEU.
"A lot of this has occurred since the Howard government came in," says Maher.
Former state premier Neville Wran will head the review that Mineral Resources Minister Kerry Hickey says is aimed at eliminating deaths and injuries in the industry.
The CFMEU has called for an urgent response to the inquiry's findings.
The English employees staged a demo outside the Labour conference in Brighton to draw attention to their plight, then marched to the beach to complete a "Full Monty" striptease.
At noon, members of the Pension Action Group removed their clothes to highlight their claim that they have been "stripped" of their pensions.
Those who took part included employees of steel firm ASW, who lost out after the company went bust.
They were joined by workers from car parts firm Turner & Newall, whose £1bn pension scheme looks likely to be wound up.
As many as 17,500 T&N staff could lose up to 70% of their promised pensions while a further 22,000 pensioners would not receive inflation-linked rises.
"The group is protesting about the insufficient amount proposed by the government to resolve our pension robbery. We are not asking for assistance - we want the restoration of our pensions that we have paid for," said a spokesman.
Not Happy, John
A Festival of Dissent with MARGO KINGSTON (Author of Not Happy, John!) DAVID BRIDIE, LOU BENNETT, EDDIE PERFECT, GUY RUNDLE, MORPH, ANNE PHELAN (Actors for refugees), The Spooky Men™s Chorale, San Lazaro (Hot new Cuban band), The Big John Howard Puppet, Sunga, Asiko, Living Out Loud, Yirriba, Low Budget Millenium Chorus + choirs, roving musicians, drummers, interactive games, stalls, recording of John when he was 15, food & drinks for sale, think tanks, rap karaoke competition , dance bands till late, extra surprises.
SATURDAY 2nd OCT 6pm - 1am, BRUNSWICK TOWN HALL
Cnr Sydney Rd / Dawson St $15/$10/$5 <16
Any surplus $ will help fund a ‚Not Happy, John!™ ad in the Age the week of the election.
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.
Features of Blown Youth
by Raimondo Cortese
A new play at the New Theatre
It's the inner city; a student, a stripper, a struggling writer, a cynical idealist and a wannabe tough guy are living in a shared house. Enter a naïve skinhead, an ambitious prostitute and their very dangerous landlord and everyone's world implodes. A raw, violent and ultimately provocative Australian drama.
This darkly humorous and gritty play is perhaps even more relevant today than when it was first performed in Melbourne in 1997.
Strictly limited season 7 - 23 October 2004
Thurs - Sat @ 8pm, Sun @ 5.30pm
All tickets: $15 Bookings: 9519 8958
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.
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]
Well here I am a single, hetro, anglo male and what is offered to me in this election? Nothing, not a thing. Not even a mention. Well enough is enough. Singles are expected to subsidise every aspect of society, this is
how i am going to vote. My name goes on top everything underneath will be marked loser. And that is just what they all are, losers. In it for themselves. Irresponsible some may say. Who cares. One half is a global embarassment and a liar and the other half I wouldn't send down to the shop for milk. Not happy? Then protest and vote for the only person who cares and
can do the job right. Wote for yourself!
There are sections for journalists' special interests on this portal.
Having had a gutful of corporations and governments using other peoples' money and resources to promote their own agendas, social and economic experiments, policies and goals, lies and objectives, without any follow up evaluation as to benefit, success and impact and with little, if any, accountability, I decided to design a resource.
One that would use modern technology and provide people with the means to gain information, express their views and react with a communications capability equal to, or better than, many corporations' and politicians' capabilities.
It has taken me six years and today the Mosaic Portal has launched its full capacity. To see the future of individual activism in the new millennium enter the term "MOSAIC PORTAL" into Google or Yahoo.
Kevin R Beck
As most of us know trust represents the result of contributing action and simply cannot be attained by its mere expression.
You have to earn trust in Government through accountability and inclusiveness. If you are not accountable for your actions and do not take the electorate into your confidence by releasing pertinent information by which the electorate can derive an informed decision, how can you take on the mantle of the trusted one?
Whatever our political leanings we hope to elect fellow citizens to power based on their commitment to ideals to which we espouse. If the politician's self-interest means more to them than their ideals we vote them out. But how are we to judge if this has occurred, and do we care anyway?
Democracies are invariably based on ancient tribalism: various tribes claim the other is striving to exploit and hamper the well being of their particular tribe. We all want our tribe to win and it would seem at times at
any cost. We tend to overlook the occasional excess and at times obvious failings which in our own immediate lives we would never excuse.
I believe its time we moved past the tribalism to a Democracy based on advancing ethics and accountability first - pragmatism and self interest
second. Not only in Government but also in the broader community institutions.
If we can better shape the process and institutions by which decisions are made and implemented the greater chance we have for shaping better outcomes whatever tribe we put in charge.
We simply need to realise we are employing administrators with certain leanings to posts in Government, and as the employer we should have the
ability to make the employee accountable at any time or way of our choosing.
To achieve change, the first objective is to examine the process by which Governments and community institutions make decisions and are subsequently held accountable for them.
Secondly, we must turn minister's servants into actual public servants, to serve public good. Thirdly, empower individuals within the electorates with the ancient notion good critics do not need to be experts as experts can make bad judgements. Believe in your own capacity to contribute to complex issues relating to society.
Ethics and accountability would thereby become a basis by which decisions are made and not simply an afterthought.
And if Labor does win the federal election on October 9, then this will be the week when the campaign turned around. It was Medicare Gold, it was Howard desperation, and it was so much more.
For the past four weeks the PM has been hammering a single message, the one emblazoned across his lectern, subliminally flashing its evil, distorted message to middle Australia every night 'Keeping Interest Rates Low'
It was a message designed to bring forth all our economic fears, in the same way that border protection bought forth our cultural fears - we are alone, exposed, vulnerable. We are holding on by the skin of our teeth but any change could be fatal.
It was a message stronger than Howard's loss in the carefully concealed Great Debate, more enduring than his own goal of pre-emption, more diverting than his relentless attacks on Latham's inexperience.
But something happened at the Liberal Policy Launch that seems to me to have shifted the momentum of this arduous campaign.
Whether he panicked or decided to go to his final election all guns blazing, Howard over-played his hand - snowing us with $6 billion worth of spending commitments.
The man who was putting himself forward as the only one responsible enough to run the national economy was spending like a drunken sailor - playing the sort of game that could only put upward pressure on the one thing he was promising to keep low.
Voters aren't mugs and they see through payola - who can forget the 1999 NSW election when voters actually rejected a Liberals pitch to give every voter $1,000! This sort of money doesn't grow on trees and people know it.
Having mixed his messages the Liberals then sought to whip up a scare campaign about Labor's IR policy and the bogey man of union influence.
Ignoring the fact that the nation's biggest, strongest economy operates under the set of rules on which Labor's IR policy is based, Howard, Andrews and his neo-con cheer squad at News Ltd let loose with a fast and furious scare campaign.
The beautiful thing about far right rhetoric is that it works best when people are not involved - that way businesses can be productive and unemployment low without actually looking at the quality of work or working life coming out the other end.
In this way, AWAs pay more than collective agreements - if you discount the fact that managers' super salaries are included on the AWA side of the ledger and count part-timers with the collectivists.
As for union bully-boys, research from ACIRRT shows it is bosses who are responsible for most industrial action these days, using the lock-out provisions to bludgeon employees into submission.
But even these porkies got sidelined by Latham's Brisbane Bash, the first campaign launch since the Keating era when you could understand what the leader was actually on about.
Like an AFL team with a star full forward. Latham cleared his attacking zone, leaving space for his single strategic pitch to hit home.
Medicare Gold was about health - it was also about respecting older Australians and assuaging their children's guilt and - truth be known - greed, in the process.
Latham's success was in cutting through the detail of public policy and making his campaign about a couple of simple values.
Howard the manager is now desperately trying to punch holes in it, but it's starting to seem just a little desperate. Like no election before it, the Liberal pitch is a fistful of dollars - hand-outs and rebates rather than a coherent policy agenda.
The PM's payola stands as testimony to the moral and intellectual bankruptcy of this government - despite all the public services resources available to it the only policy solutions it can deliver are simple vote buying exercises. It has been left to Labor from Opposition to devise the bold approaches.
This election is not won but it is definitely there for the taking - Mark Latham has put Labor in the game at three-quarters time. All Australians with an eye to the future will be hoping he has a few goals left to kick.