||Issue No. 244||29 October 2004|
Raking Over The Tea Leaves
Interview: The Last Bastian
Unions: High and Dry
Security: Liquid Borders
Industrial: No Bully For You
History: Radical Brisbane
International: No Vacancies
Economics: Life After Capitalism
Technology: Cyber Winners
Poetry: Do It Yourself Poetry
Review: Hard Labo(u)r
The Locker Room
Nothing To Stand On
Itís The End Of the World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine)
Dear Mark letter
Cameron Flags Fightback
"We will fight for the wages and conditions of our members," Cameron pledged in a Melbourne speech to the Industrial Relations Society.
"We will fight to ensure that our members have respect from their employers. We will fight on behalf of working people and we will fight on behalf of democracy in Australia.
"Our members and our union know that fighting back makes a difference."
Cameron took the argument up to Howard and his supporters in a clear statement that further moves against workers' rights will be resisted.
He argued that the philosophy behind the Federal Government's legislative plan - that trade unions were third parties interfering in workplaces - was a "myth" aimed at denying workers their right to freedom of association.
"It is based on the false premise that the interests and aspirations of employers and employees are as one and differences are non-existent," Cameron said.
"Proposals by John Howard to further constrain trade union activity are a fundamental attack on the democratic rights of working people in this country."
Cameron, also a member of the ACTU's national executive, used the Electrolux ruling to argue that federal government and High Court were colluding in the destruction of Australian democracy.
He contrasted their approach with that of Canadian judges who recently held the right to not associate was "antithetical" to its duty to protect the right to associate.
That Court unanimously concluded freedom of association was mean to protect the collective pursuit of common goals.
Cameron also had a shot at political Labor leaders for their failure to confront the Coalition's IR agenda.
"Unlike Bob Carr and Mark Latham, I do not believe the Howard Government has any political mandate to destroy core labour standards in this country," Cameron said.
"It is about time that Labor politicians stood up for working families and their unions. History will judge the silence of Labor in this debate as on of the great betrayals of democracy in Australia's history."
Cameron said the planned legislative assault on workers' rights was a reaction against the success unions had had in challenging the right of business to dominate, control and "in some cases destroy" the lives of workers.
Workplace Relations Minister Kevin Andrews this week flagged that at least three IR bills, including legalising unfair sackings, would be reintroduced to the House before Christmas.
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