The good Doctor, Brendan Nelson, has upped the ante in the Federal Government's crusade against godless collectivism.
Before he joined the Coalition of the Billing, as the more ideological members of the medical set like to see themselves, Nelson himself was a student who managed to struggle through a fee free university system with the assistance of a student union.
Then Brendan went on to bigger and better things, shifting from the Hippocratic Oath to the Hypocritic Oath in his role as federal president of the Doctor's union, the Australian Medical Association at the age of 35.
Nelson was seen as a dangerous Bolshevik by some sections of the Melbourne Club because of his penchant for sporting a rather dashing earing.
It was feared in some circles that he was 'Not One Of Us'.
Since then he's had to cover a lot of ground amongst the less broad-minded elements of the conservative class (i.e., all of them) to prove his worth.
And what better a way to prove your worth than to be a foot soldier in the war on the evils of the U word.
He is now able to join the tradition of such mentally stable luminaries as Stanley Melbourne Bruce, Joh Bjielke Petersen, Peter Reith, Tony Abbott and serial pest Peter Hoare.
It is a blinding model of efficiency that the Australian Liberal Party is able to synthesise sixty years of philosophy into three words: Unions Are Bad.
So one can see the delight that the good doctor must have felt when he discovered that there were, in fact, unions on his very own bailiwick.
He discovered that there were student unions!
What's more they were offering such diabolical North Korean style tyrannies as subsidised food and child care, socialised medicine and support for students on low incomes!
Now our Tool of the Week could stick his chest out in cabinet - just like Peter Reith used to do - and say that he too has found a union that can be driven out of existence.
The Minister for Keeping Riff Raff out of University has been rather pleased with himself as a result of his kneecapping student services.
He has been wondering around selling his idea as being about choice.
While at first glance Nelson's policy appears to be about getting people to choose to not go to university unless they're related to someone on the BRW top 100 list, it is I fact about something of even deeper significance for ex-union boss Nelson.
Apparently it's all about people's right to choose the sausage roll of their choice.
One can only stand back in awe of a man who realises that the key issue in tertiary education in this day and age, the key issue determining whether or not Australia remains a clever country, is the price of a sausage roll.
Someone should really get a blueprint of Brendan Nelson's brain - it will be useful if ever we need to build a moron.
It's great to see that the government is not blinded by ideology or is worried that their arguments
Heaven help us when Federal sports minister Rod Kemp discovers Rugby Union
MaxiTrans withdrew offers to local school leavers, after being granted Section 457 visas to import Chinese workers by a federal government that says the economy is being held back by skills shortages.
AMWU Victorian secretary, Dave Oliver, blew the whistle on the MaxiTrans rort, in Melbourne, this week.
He said 25 youngsters had been promised starts at MaxiTrans through a group training company. But, after the manufacturer got the green-light to import guest workers, it trimmed that figure to 16.
"One young guy had been and got his medicals, only to be told the deal was off," Oliver said.
Oliver's claim was vindicated when 26-year-old, Chris Walters, told local media his promised steel fabricator's apprenticeship had been shelved, last week.
He called the MaxiTrans about-face a "kick in the guts".
MaxiTRANS managing director, Michael Brockhoff, defended the company's decision to prefer qualified Chinese tradesmen.
He said it had decided to recruit 43 Chinese welders because it couldn't find skilled locals.
But Oliver says that line is a furphy and he can prove it.
Maxitrans and fellow trailer manufacturer, Vawdrey Australia, sparked AMWU protests, last year, when they went public with plans to import 100 Chinese welders.
National secretary, Doug Cameron, called it "globalisation gone mad" and urged employers and governments to join manufacturing unions in devising a plan to meet Australian requirements.
The Victorian branch went one step further, identifying labour hire companies that had enough local tradesmen on their books to meet the needs of both manufacturers.
"When MaxiTrans indicated it was going to do this, last year, we found a company that could supply all its labour requirements," Oliver said. "MaxiTrans turned those workers down on the basis that it wasn't prepared to pay going rates.
"Originally, this wasn't about a skills shortage, at all, but the refusal of companies to pay Australian rates of pay. Now it appears they are also blocking career paths for young Australians.
"We have lost thousands of manufacturing jobs to globalisation. Now John Howard is promoting globalised labour to drive down Australian wages and conditions."
Australian Hotels Association general manager Andrew Vlachos thinks individual employees have too much bargaining power and has written to members promising to lobby the Howard Government.
"The nature of the hotel industry is such that you have to be able (to) agree on an employment contract at the point of interview, otherwise you may not see that employee again," Vlachos says in a newsletter to members.
Liquor union official Mark Boyd says many workers are not in a position to refuse AWA's, especially in an interview situation, and the move will disadvantage workers.
"My concern would be the AHA will convince residential hotels in Sydney to offer AWA contracts on a take it or leave it basis," said Boyd.
Boyd says the five percent of industry workers already on AWA's have significantly worse conditions than those on the award.
"They take away penalty rates," he said " the majority of work done in the industry is on the weekend and late in the evening when penalty rates usually apply.
"Then they stuff around with overtime and make it a flat rate, or time and a quarter for all overtime."
Boyd says workers on AWA's are more likely to be casual and so have no sick pay, long service leave, annual leave or security of hours.
"AWA's are already tough enough, now they want to make them worse," he said.
Treasurer Costello and Coalition cohorts, including the Prime Minister and Workplace Relations Minister, want a brake applied to the minimum wage on the grounds that it costs jobs.
Figures released this week show that Australian employment has grown at three times the rate of low-minimum wage countries like the US.
Analysis of movements over the past five years shows the Australian minimum wage has risen 2.9 percent, in real terms, while the US figure has fallen by nearly 12 percent.
Over that period, Australian jobs grew by 10.4 percent, while the US could manage only 2.9 percent. UK jobs growth, during a period of rapid minimum wage increases, has also outstripped the US where conservative politicians have driven real-dollar minimums down.
The US minimum wage, $5.15 an hour for adults, hasn't moved for eight years and has been cited as a factor in the burgeoning growth of that country's working poor. In Kansas it is only $2.74 an hour and, in Oklahoma, employers of less than 10 people can pay $2 an hour.
Critics of the Howard Administration claim that a raft of anti-worker laws - outlawing strikes; restricting unions; sidelining Industrial Relations Commissions; legalising unfair dismissals; proscribing matters that can be negotiated; and changing minimum wage criteria - head Australia down the US track.
"The Government's plan to reduce minimum wages and cut award conditions will hurt families but won't help the unemployed," ACTU president, Sharan Burrow, says.
"It wants to take Australia down the road towards a US style of minimum wages system where there is a very low minimum and no awards to protect people's pay, working conditions or living standards."
Also flying in the face of federal government claims is strong employment growth since last year's IRC award of a $19 minimum wage increase.
The feds told the IRC the economy could stand no more than a $10 rise but that evidence was dismissed and, according to government figures, jobs have grown another two percent since the increase became effective.
Floor Sinks Again
Meanwhile, 7.4 million minimum and low-wage workers in the US missed out on a raise for the eighth year straight when the Senate, last week, voted 46-49 against
raising the minimum wage from the current $5.15 an hour to $7.25.
A Republican amendment that called for an 80-hour, two-week work period in exchange for a $1.10-an-hour increase was also defeated
Two eye-witnesses said a University of NSW manager had singled out the casual librarian for attention, following an industrial row reported in Workers Online, last week.
"I saw your name on that petition,' the manager said. "Nobody undermines my authority - you're sacked."
More than 100 workers and students rallied in support of Murray Whitford, last week, expressing disgust at the Uni's heavy-handed tactics.
Whitford had signed a letter from staff protesting management proposals to sack casual workers inside 12 months, in order to dodge unfair dismissal laws.
The university has refused to re-instate the librarian, leading to the National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU) challenging the dismissal in the Australian Industrial Relations Commission.
Last week the AIRC ordered the re-instatement of Whitford's colleagues who had been dumped under the university's casual sacking policy.
Unions NSW Assistant secretary Mark Lennon told staff and students Whitford had been unfairly dismissed.
"I know that because I studied law at UNSW," said Lennon.
Lennon condemned the University's actions, stressing that unions needed to work together in the climate of Federal government attacks.
"Staff at UNSW are disgusted by the behaviour of University Management ," says Susan Price, General Staff Vice President of the NTEU. "This is an attack on the right of staff to raise their voices in concern.
"This sort of discrimination and victimisation directed towards a staff member, for engaging in perhaps the mildest form of protest at a management proposal, is unprecedented in the University sector.
"UNSW have certainly sunk to new depths in this dispute"
The rally, organised by the NTEU, CPSU and Student Guild, was well attended despite the wet conditions and also celebrated the reinstatement of other library casuals.
Musicians are tuneing up to resist Strong’s recommendations which include job losses, workplace contracts, slashed conditions, and the downgrading of regional orchestras, including the ground-breaking Tasmanian Symphony.
Don Cushen, former principal trumpeter with the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra, said the millionaire businessman had told Arts Minister, David Kemp, what he wanted to hear.
"Senator Kemp is the person behind this agenda," Cushen told Workers Online,
"What they are trying to do is shift the cost to the states because the Commonwealth won't increase its contribution.
"It's a ridiculous situation because the arts are struggling and Peter Costello's GST is a big part of the reason."
Strong, a former Qantas chief executive who honed his cultural tastes with New Zealand mass market brewer, DB, criticises salary loadings, "above award standard" severance arrangements, and a number of "restrictive" conditions.
He calls for "further improvements in flexibility", warning that difficult, painful change is "vital today in every area of corporate and community activity'".
Cushen said the call for the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra to be downgraded to a Chamber Orchestra would mean putting around 17 musicians out of work.
The easiest way to achieve that would be by eliminating the brass section - trumpeters, trombonists, french horn players and the like. But he would also need to downsize others, with flautists, clarinetists and, possibly a percussionist, most likely to be drummed out.
Schwarzenegger was forced into an embarrassing exit through a hotel side door in an attempt to dodge protesting workers in Washington DC, last week.
Nurses, teachers and fire fighters were amongst Californian workers protesting retirement cuts who followed Governor Schwarzenegger across the country to a high-flyers' fundraiser.
"When you're a governor 3000 miles from home, raising millions of special interest dollars to attack working people, it's easy to get homesick," said a spokesperson from the International Association of Fire Fighters. "So a group of California firefighters arranged a welcoming committee."
They were joined by hundreds of union employees from the IAFF, AFL-CIO, Nurses, Labourers, SEIU and others who braved freezing conditions in front of the St. Regis Hotel to protest Schwarzenegger's plan to eliminate public employee pensions.
"We wanted Arnold to know that he can run, but he can't hide," said Andy Doyle, a Los Angeles County firefighter who led the Local 1014 delegation.
"The governor needs to know that front line firefighters are going to stand with all working people in defence of retirement security for our families," Doyle said.
The previous day Los Angeles County fire fighters chased Schwarzenegger through New York with the help of local fire fighters' unions.
The Governor had no defence against the protestors as he ran from his car and ducked in a side door.
Schwarzenegger was on a fundraising campaign for his re-election and to raise money for a ballot initiative that would torpedo state workers' guaranteed pension plan.
The initiative would not only force all new public servants into a lower-tier privatised retirement plan, it also would eliminate death and disability benefits for firefighters and law enforcement workers.
Schwarzenegger's corporate friends paid from $5,000 to as much as $23,300 for lunch with the governor. The $23,300 also bought photos with the actor-turned-politician.
In a two-pronged assault on small business operators the feds want to deny them union representation before both the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), and state industrial relations commissions.
Thousands of independent contractors are members of unions in trucking, construction, agriculture, cleaning and other industries.
In a deliberate attempt to have them shift allegiance, the federal government has drafted a bill that will disallow any unfair contract action before the ACCC where an application is from "a union, a union official or anyone acting on behalf of a union". The same bill specifically provides for applications to be brought by employer associations.
The Howard Government won't release drafts of separate contractors' legislation but Canberra sources say it will cut contractor access to state industrial relations commissions.
"It is an arrogant use of the Commonwealth's accidental majority in the Senate," Della Bosca said.
He said thousands of NSW independent contractors were akin to employees in terms of their bargaining power with big business.
"For close to half a centrury, they have used the NSW Industrial Relations Commission as an independent umpire.
"Without that protection, big business will be free to use its market power to exploit family businesses and contractors," Della Bosca said.
In the trucking industry, he warned, results could be fatal. He said it would give large companies the green light to make unfair contracts, resulting in unrealistic timetables that threatened all road users.
In a clear annoyance to the Howard Government, recent months have seen two large groups of contractors fight and roll corporate giants under union banners.
Hundreds of Perth tilers and their employees joined forces in the CFMEU to beat-off unfair contracts imposed by a tiling cartel, while cable and pay tv technicians ran a successful wages and conditions campaign through the CEPU.
The latest moves call into question the credibility of statements the Prime Minister has made on the Parliamentary record.
"We will never place a penalty on people who want to join a union ... There will be no attempt by us to put a penalty on people who belong to unions," Howard told the House on May 15, 1991.
Della Bosca said the Trade Pracises actions contravened the Council of Australian Governments Agreement which required consultation with the states.
NSW Police Association members have endorsed a campaign of industrial action to improve their death and disability protection.
A March 31 deadline was imposed for an agreement on a death and disability insurance scheme that will give adequate protection to all serving NSW Police Officers. Minister Scully has said he will not meet the deadline.
Currently NSW police officers are on two separate schemes depending upon whether they joined the force before or after 1988.
NSW Police Association President Bob Pritchard says the move towards industrial action stems from frustration that death and disability cover has not been fixed.
"The issue has now been put before five Police Ministers with no result - and our membership is understandably fed up with waiting."
Police have also set a May 20 deadline for a premium pay package above the public sector standard from the NSW Government as part of the Police Award 2005.
"Our members deserve a wage rise commensurate with the risks they take every day protecting the community," says Pritchard
Police Condemn Witch-Hunt
Over 60 frontline police officers have expressed concerns about political grandstanding following recent riots in Sydney's south-west .
The officers are determined to participate in a review of the events at Macquarie Fields to raise their concerns about the operation to people with experience and understanding of policing.
The meeting also condemned Opposition leader John Brogden for placing police at risk by going public on operational issues during the riots.
Forty-two year veteran, Col Marsh, was only entitled to a third of the $190,000 in unpaid redundancy, long service, annual leave and superannuation under the Government's GEERS scheme
But action from the CFMEU meant a Walter client on whose project Mr Marsh was working agreed to provide the entitlements he was owed.
Mr Marsh said the collapse of Walter had forced him to retire and the minimal amount of money he was expecting to receive under the GEERS scheme threatened major financial hardship.
"The Federal Government needs to change the laws so all workers have their entitlements protected, because not everyone will be as lucky as me to have a strong union like the CFMEU to negotiate a full settlement for them," said Marsh.
CFMEU assistant secretary Brian Parker said the union had made it clear from the beginning it would fight for all workers' entitlements.
"Some white collar workers like Col joined the union, manned the picket lines and stood with us in our fight and that is how we have been able to win this victory for them."
Over 450 former white collar former colleagues of Mr Marsh are owed over $18 million dollars in pay, superannuation, long service, redundancy, annual leave, and untaken RDO's.
Former workers of bankrupt construction giant last week launched a mobile billboard calling for the GEERS scheme to be beefed up.
The government funded GEERS scheme only ensures minimal entitlements, such as eight weeks redundancy, are paid.
After the company collapse a busload of the workers met with Kim Beazley in Canberra and presented 4000 signatures calling for change.
The workers argue the scheme is too slow and should cover 100 percent of entitlements.
"It doesn't work," former Walter Construction corporate services manager, Mike Walsh, says.
"Despite the collapse of HIH, OneTel, Ansett and now Walter there is still no provision to protect the full entitlements of Australian workers in case their employer collapses," Walsh says.
This one, the Panamanian registered, Mastrogorgis B, has been arrested in Newcastle, allegedly owing millions of dollars to creditors around the world.
That's right, under maritime law, sherrifs can arrest a vessel. They achieve this by attaching a sticker to the mast and that's exactly what happened, this week, to the latest foreign vessel contracted to carry Australian wheat.
ITF reps rushed to Newcastle to gauge the wellbeing of crew and ensure minimum rates and conditions were in place.
The news came only days after another Greek-owned, flag of convenience vessel abused terrorism procedures to try and keep union officials away.
The captain declared a "heightened risk of a security incident" when ITF reps arrived in Wallaroo, South Australia, to represent 16 striking Filipinos.
Crew claimed they had been denied fresh food and water, and had been underpaid for more than a year.
They locked themselves in cabins to prevent retaliatory action as ITF officials called on the Wheat Board to honour long-standing agreements on minimum rates and conditions.
Investigations revealed the seamen had been on board for 13 months, without leave, earning $US150 a week.
Their employer, Cardiffe Maritime, agreed to pay $6500 in back pay, fly the men home, and to hire replacements under the terms of an ITF agreement.
"We have an agreement with the Australian Wheat Board that this ship will be covered by an ITF agreement for the next 12 months," International Transport Federation spokesman, Dean Summers, reported.
"The company told the Wheat Board it was paying rates in accordance with ITF minimums but it wasn't and has agreed to back pay the crew.
"The issue for the Wheat Board is that it needs to do more than make a phone call and take the word of dodgy companies flying flags of convenience."
The Minister claimed two children, aged six and eleven, had to be arrested during classes as their mother's detention meant they had no home to return to.
Gavrieltos says the children's mother had been detained on arrival in Australia having been deported several months earlier.
Children said the lived with family friends and an aunt. Immigration officials refused to allow the school principal to contact these carers.
Gavrieltos says Immigration agents arrived unannounced at Stanmore Public school on the March 8 and behaved in an "intimidatory" manner.
Gavrieltos has condemned the fact there was no departmental warning of the action and the action broke a long held understanding children would not be removed during school hours.
The federation says in the last fortnight up to seven children were whisked from school to the Villawood Detention centre.
Gavrieltos says children should not be locked in detention.
"In the morning they were in a suburban school, now they are behind razor wire," he says.
"Last year the Howard Government said schools were lacking in morality," says Gavrieltos "But this action is a direct result of Howard government policies that are underpinned by indecency and inhumanity."
"The government must be held accountable for the traumatisation of children.
"The NSW Teachers Federation calls on the federal government to end the cruelty and respect the basic human rights of children."
Centrelink's links to minister
http://www.joehockey.com/index.php >Joe Hockey's personal website
http://www.joehockey.com/index.php >Joe Hockey's personal website, which offers visitors an invitation to join the Liberal Party, asks them to make
a donation to the Liberal Party or become a "Friend of Joe".
Management describes as "inappropriate" use of the
Centrelink system to pass on Community and Public Sector Union (CPSU) bulletins about pay negotiations, claiming they are "political".
Workers have been threatened with the sack, fines and demotion.
"It's a fundamental principle that members of a union should be free to receive information about issues that affect them," says Mark Gepp, CPSU national president.
"Centrelink is sending seriously mixed messages.
"On one hand they are intimidating delegates and union members by stopping the distribution of information about their new agreement on the grounds it is political; on the other hand they are happy to have a direct link to a liberal party fundraising machine on their own website."
The Centrelink link to Hockey's website was subsequently altered to link to the minister's more innocuous parliamentary website, but only CPSU intervention.
Centrelink staff have entered the first round of negotiations for a new agreement where the establishment of a more family friendly workplace,
addressing 'time at work' is high on the workers' agenda.
Engineers will be ordered to cease inspections if regulations proposed by the Civil Aviation Safety Authority are passed by parliament.
Australian Licensed Aircraft Engineers Association president Michael O'Rance said the public had every cause to be concern about the impact of the changes.
"We are going to have the bizarre situation where trained engineers will be directed to stand aside and do nothing when a plane is preparing for take-off," says O'Rance.
The changes to maintenance regulations, being pushed by industry representatives, remove the requirement licensed engineers conduct safety checks on domestic flights before take-off.
Currently experienced engineers at major airlines check for 'bird strike', slashed tyres, leaks, and damage from ground equipment.
Under the changes the only safety check carried out by a Licensed Aircraft Engineer would occur at the start of the day, with pilots carrying out visual checks before other flights.
Pilots are not trained to carry out detailed safety inspections. The Australian and International Pilots Association supports the continuation of safety pre-flight inspections by engineers.
"Where individual carriers have done away with pre-flight inspections and replaced them with pilots in the past, serious risks were missed," Mr O'Rance said.
The regulations were re-opened for industry alteration as new CASA honcho Bruce Byron ordered a total review of all regulations.
Negotiations had finished last November. Byron wants to ensure regulations focus on "safety outcomes", rather than being "too prescriptive".
The ALAEA today called on the federal transport minister John Anderson to direct CASA to require the continuation of pre-flight safety checks.
"This is one of those moments where the government has the opportunity to step in and prevent a tragedy before it occurs.
"If it fails to do so, it will be responsible for the diminution of air safety in Australia."
For more details go to the JetSafe website - http://www.jetsafe.com.au
An 11th hour agreement with Energy Australia will limit the chance of members being exposed to radiation through the slipshod work of bodgie contractors.
ETU members raised concerns about the prospect of radiation exposure if work on 5000 NSW homes was contracted to the lowest-price tenderer.
Organiser Steve Butler said the corporation's track record led to fears it would contract work on the obsolete Zellwegger relays, exposing electrical workers to unnecessary risks.
The energy provider had claimed outsourcing was required to beat a July deadline, imposed by Chinese waste dumps.
"Our view always was that if hot water relays were enough of a worry to warrant removal, that work should be done in the safest possible way," Butler said.
Energy Australia had known about the obsolete and potentially hazardous relays for over five years. In 2000 it developed a safe removal method with the ETU but work only began 18 months ago.
Butler says the corporation has had plenty of time to do the job.
The ETU argued Energy Australia had enough staff to complete the removal before July and saw contracting as part of a broader push to take work away from permanent employees.
Zellweger ZE22/3 relays spread off peak load evenly by regulating when hot water systems fire up. Their glow tubes contain radioactive isotopes Tritium and Radium.
Anti-war action in Sydney, and global, this weekend
Parramatta - 2pm, Palm Sunday rally and march for peace and justice for the Iraqi people. Prince Alfred Park, cnr Church St and Victoria Rd, servcie and multi-faith prayers for peace. March at 2.40pm to Parramatta town Square. Speakers: Bishop Kevin Manning, Doug Cameron (ACTU), Prof Stuart Rees (Sydney Unio Centre for Peace & Conflict Studies); Mr Fayez Lababedi (Arab Council Australia); Rose Jackson (Sydney Uni SRC). Performance: Susan Andres & Shimmer, Urban Guerrillas. MC Genevieve Lemon. Organised by Sydney Peace & Justice Coalition (http://www.nswpeace.org)
Sydney City - noon, Hyde Park North. Speakers: John Pilger, Senator Kerry Nettle (Greens); Kaysar Trad. March to Belmore Park. Organised by Stop The War Coalition.
This coming weekend will mark two years since the U.S.-led bombing and
invasion of Iraq began. No weapons of mass destruction were ever found; no
compelling reason for the war was ever given. Yet more than 1500 U.S.
soldiers have been killed, more than 11,000 wounded; 100,000 Iraqis are
dead, and the country remains gripped by horrifying violence, with no end in
Despite saying Australia would not increase its presence in Iraq after the invasion was over, Prime Minister Howard announced a month ago that an extra 450 soldiers will be sent to southern Iraq to replace the 1200-strong Dutch force that has been withdrawn.
This is a political deployment, aimed at Australia's relations with the Bush Administration and the Japanese government, not the best interests of the Iraqi people.
Global actions against the war
All over the United States, and all around the world, people will be
converging through the March 18-20 weekend to protest the war and
occupation, mourn the losses, and demand immediate U.S. withdrawal from
Iraq. More than 365 activities in at least 45 states are already listed on
our calendar at http://www.unitedforpeace.org
The March 18-20 weekend will feature an array of vibrant events ranging from
marches and rallies to silent vigils, civil disobedience actions, interfaith
services, musical and theatre performances, and art exhibits. Events will
take place on main streets and courthouse squares, alongside highways and
bridges, in public parks and in front of military recruiting stations, at
statehouses and Congressional offices.
· Marches, rallies, vigils, and nonviolent civil disobedience actions
in Juneau, AK; Atlanta, GA; Wilmington, DE; Appleton, WI; Springfield, MO;
Amarillo, TX; and elsewhere, with many of them focused on military
· Interfaith memorial services in Des Moines, IA; Chicago, IL; New
York, NY; Portland, OR; and elsewhere. These are being organized in sync
with a call by Clergy and Laity Concerned about Iraq, a new UFPJ-supported
· A major regional mobilization in Fayetteville, NC, home to Fort
Bragg. With military families and veterans at the center of the organizing,
this will be a powerful and historic protest. Activists from as far north as
Minnesota and as far south as Florida are organizing buses to attend this
event. For more information, visit the website of the North Carolina Peace
and Justice Coalition, http://www.ncpeacejustice.org
After two years of pointless and costly war, the anti-war movement is more
determined than ever. And with increased organizing by military families,
veterans, faith-based communities, and young people who are resisting
predatory military recruiters, the movement is growing broader and more
diverse each day. Join us in taking action this weekend to bring the troop
GLOBAL DAY OF ACTION
SUNDAY 20th MARCH
12 NOON AT TERRIGAL SKILLION
BRING : * PICNIC LUNCH
* RUGS and a spare blanket or length of cloth with which we will form the word NO as a giant 'patchwork'.
* WEAR A WHITE RIBBON [
white ribbons are a symbol of our grief for all those killed in Iraq and our desire for the war to end. White is the symbol for peace in many countries around the world and the symbol of mourning in others.]
NO erosion of human rights
NO troops in Iraq
NO Australians in Guantanamo Bay
NO mandatory detention
NO forced deportations
NO deaths in custody
"Measuring Social Results"
NCOSS is holding a half day seminar to look at how the social impact of Government and Corporate performance is, or should be, measured.
When: 9am to 1pm, Monday 21st March
Where: Sydney School of Mechanics and Arts, level 1, 280 Pitt St, Sydney
Cost: $80 ($50 for NCOSS members)
further info: www.ncoss.org.au
Sydney: Is Government Delivering a Livable City?
What sort of city should Sydney be? What challenges does it face? And is Sydney a sustainable and livable city?
The NSW Fabian Society is conducting this seminar with:
Craig Knowles (Minister for Infrastructure & Planning)
Julia Finn (Lord Mayor of Parramatta)
Professor Peter Newman (Murdoch University)
The seminar will be chaired by Sean Kidney, Executive Member of the NSW Fabian Society.
When: Wednesday 23 March from 6.00pm - 7.30pm
Where: Theatrette, NSW Parliament House, Macquarie Street, Sydney
The Sydney Branch of the Australian Society for the Study of Labour History in association with the Business and Labour History Group, School of Business, Sydney University, will present Ross McMullin speaking on "Chris Watson and the World's First National Labour Government", the subject of his recent acclaimed book (2004). Ross will look at the astonishing press abuse this government received, and examine its record, achievements and its place in history. Wednsday March 23, 6pm, ACIRRT Training Room, Institute Building, University of Sydney. Admission Free. For furter details contact Rowan Cahill (02) 48 612323 or
The controversy of one man - Kisch in Australia
When Czech journalist and peace campaigner Egon Erwin Kisch (1885-1948), came to Australia in November 1934, he challenged a conservative Lyons government, caused a media sensation and won the hearts of many
The renowned political activist will be remembered in a new exhibition - Kisch in Australia - opening at the State Library of NSW on 14 February 2005.
The exhibition tells the story of the man who publicly defied the government's ban on his entry to Australia by jumping overboard at Port Melbourne (breaking his leg) in his determination to reach the Australian public with his message of anti-Fascism.
According to State Librarian & Chief Executive Dagmar Schmidmaier AM: "The fascinating story of this extraordinary man will be brought to life through original items from the Library's renowned collection, including Kisch's hand-written notes used in his public speeches."
The exhibition panels also include newspaper reports of the controversy surrounding his arrival, rare protest posters campaigning for Kisch's release and letters written in defence of Kisch's freedom.
Dr Heidi Zogbaum, author of the recently published Kisch in Australia: The untold story (Scribe, 2004) said, "Kisch had the ability to give rousing speeches with limited English and drew enthusiastic crowds wherever he went."
"Kisch was convinced that his ban was the result of Nazi pressure on the Australian government," said Dr Zogbaum, "but he was quite wrong. The newly appointed Attorney-General, Robert Gordon Menzies had staked his reputation on keeping Kisch out of Australia."
After his return to Paris, Kisch worked tirelessly on behalf of his fellow writers who had fallen victim to the Nazi regime. Upon the fall of France in 1940, Kisch managed to escape to Mexico. He returned to Prague in 1946 and died of a massive heart attack in 1948.
"The memory of Kisch is kept alive in Germany through the renowned Egon Erwin Kisch Prize for journalism, which honours the "reporter of truth" in a most fitting way," said Dr Roland Goll, Director of the Goethe-Institut, Sydney, who initiated and is supporting the exhibition.
Kisch in Australia is a free exhibition in the State Library's Picture Gallery from 14 February - 24 April 2005. It will then travel to the Migration Museum in Adelaide.
Community Organising School
In light of the re-election of the Federal Liberal Government, reflecting on and increasing our ability to organise and work across movements is vital. We can gain strength if we learn new strategies for working with people from different sectors and experiences.
The Community Organising School 2005 is a part of a broader project that seeks to link experienced organisers from a variety of movements, including community organisations, the union movement, environmentalists and social justice movements, to learn together and to build our collective strength.
Details of the School
The School will be held at Currawong (Pittwater training facility) from Sunday April 3 to Wednesday April 6 2005. It is the first of a variety of cross-movement, capacity building projects to begin in 2005.
People attending the School will learn, share and build organising techniques for expanding our capacity and effectiveness for social change in Sydney and NSW. It will run sessions to draw out experiences and lessons on effective organising and social change practices from participants.
The School‚s residential accommodation only allows us to provide 40 places and we are aiming to have a very diverse range of participants in the school. For this reason we are asking people to go through a registration process. If your or your organisation is interested in participating in the school, we request that you distribute the attached registration form to individuals in your organisation, or to other organisations that you work with, and encourage them to register for the School. Registrations are due by Friday 11 February.
The registration fee for the school will be approximately $300 per person (including three and a half days of training, accommodation and food). However we do not want costs to prevent people from registering. If your organisation cannot afford this cost, please indicate this on the registration form. We are seeking sponsorship from larger organisations to subsidise the costs of others. Please do not see costs as a barrier to attendance.
The Community Organising School is the culmination of a year-long discussion between union organisers, community organisations, adult educators and environmentalists. While the School is the first public project, it will be one of many opportunities provided to reflect and learn about community organising. To find out more about the School or to discuss how you can participate in this exciting and timely project feel free to contact either:
Tony Brown, Centre for Popular Education [email protected]
Christine Laurence, Western Sydney Community Forum [email protected] 9637 6190
Melanie Gillbank, Search Foundation [email protected] 0403 051 606
Amanda Tattersall, Unions NSW [email protected] 0409 321 133
Community Organising School Committee
C/- Centre for Popular Education, UTS
PO Box 123
Community Organising School
3- 6 April 2005
To increase our ability to organise and work across movements in order to build cross movement collaboration, by:
o providing the opportunity for organisers and activists to share their experiences with other organisers and activists working in different fields
o identifying differences while examining commonalities and opportunities for working together
o learning, sharing and developing organising techniques for expanding our capacity and effectiveness for social change
o discussing different approaches to strategic campaigning and community organising
The School will draw on the experience, knowledge and expertise of those attending.
Are you organising for social and economic change?
Concerned at the growing power of employers, the state and big business?
Concerned at the state of advocacy and activist groups to influence the agenda?
Wanting to turn the tide and re-build grassroots capacity in local communities and the workplace?
Wanting to build cross movement collaboration?
We are seeking organisers working in/with:
popular arts, cultural development and education
community organizing and development organisations
who are committed to working for social, economic and environmental justice.
What's in it for you?
The School will:
bring together organisers and activists from across different sites of activism who are focused on developing new ways of working to build strong and effective organizations,
enable participants to meet, learn from and work with organisers in different fields of practice,
provide an environment where organisers from a range of backgrounds can develop mutual respect, understanding and knowledge,
develop networks as a continuing resource of skills, expertise and influence, and
challenge you to think and act differently.
The program will run from Sunday afternoon April 3 ˆ Wednesday April 6 2005. The Community Organising School is a residential weekend; applicants must be available to attend the entire event.
Union Aid Abroad APHEDA raffle
The annual Union Aid Abroad APHEDA raffle is on again. There are wonderful prizes including an around the world trip for two and the proceeds go to UAA-APHEDA's work to help build human rights, workers' rights and justice in developing countries. If you can sell a book of tickets to friends, family and workmates please contact UAA - APHEDA on tel. 1800 888 674 or by email [email protected]
The raffle closes on June 2nd with the winner drawn on June 16th.
Thank you for reviewing the book 'Dirt Cheap - Life at the wrong end of the job market'.
Thank you Elizabeth Wynhausen for bothering to write about the daily life of the working poor.
'Dirt Cheap' is extraordinarily timely given the Howard Government's rhetorical build up to further erode welfare benefits and industrial relations laws.
The Australian economy has now had fourteen consecutive years of economic growth driven by exploiting workers and calling the increased profit - 'productivity'.
I hope your book will change the way Australia perceives its working poor and notions of poverty and prosperity.
This is a fab website and I encourage you to keep up the work of stimulating and engaging us to think!
Apathy is what we wish to avoid as the youth of Australia and involvement in unions is a paramount way to do that.
Cheers, Ariane Gallon
Enjoyed reading 'A skillful Ruse' How true it is .. but who do we shoot first? Labour or the Tories for this skilled worker shortage .
After all the apprenticeships were being dudded years before Johnny 'rotten ' Howard got in so Labour has sins to be "flogged for" as well ... Why did they listen to the economic irrationalists who are always focused on short term outcomes for long term loss?
The problem in Australia is we have no party of the "Hard Left' who would force economics to suit the people not the other way around.
Where it not for 'communist china' Australia would be in a hole deeper than Mt Isa .
WE are led by a COST CUTTING BEAN COUNTER who has the vision of a mole ..His tatcics have reached an endstop . There are no "HOLDEN
CAR initiatives by that little man at Kirribilli.
The land of the mythical 'fair go ' is now truly full of fair bastards whose real ethos is "stuff you I'm alright jack'.
They have been seduced by 'selfish individualism' by clever but appalling right wing spin doctors and actively promoted by this appalling NEO -CON government .. the WORST IN AUSTRALIAN HISTORY .
Frankly I think we are about to reach a violent crossroads anytime soon.. we already see it with increasing youth voilence and riots as new generations ask questions we are too ashamed to answer .
Brendan Nelson's move to abolish university student services will strip away from the workforce of the future access to bulk billing doctors, subsidised child care and cheap food.
Not to mention free legal advice, budget sports facilities and low-cost entertainment. Is this meant to be a solution to the skills crisis?
Nelson wants to destroy all these services even though he and his ministerial colleagues enjoyed their fruits in their own student careers.
Nelson's move will simply put tertiary education further out of the reach of average Australians than it already is.
Hasn't he done enough damage to the sector with his introduction of $100,000 degrees?
Loyalty schemes have been proven to be another trick of capitalism. All that inconvenience for a negligible 'reward'.
People should know by now there is no such thing as a free lunch.
It also represents the mainstreaming a new way of thinking that is hostile to both social democratic and conservative principles - that is the active promotion of an individual's 'right' to opt out of the structures of their society.
The mistake is to look at this issue as simply a partisan ideological obsession - although for that generation of Liberals who cut their teeth of campuses in the 1970s it undoubtedly is.
The real drive behind VSU is linked to the rise in free market fundamentalism - a mind set that sees a person as an individual consumer rather than as a participant in and product of their society.
The arguments advanced in support of VSU by Brendan Nelson have been all about pitching students as consumers of a degree - the institutions of universities are purely suppliers of this product.
The end product is a degree divorced from the rich varsity experience - long regarded as playing as much a part in educating our young people; whether their interests be in sport, culture or even politics.
The justification? Because some students choose not to use the services offered to everyone, no one should be compelled to contribute to any of them.
The fractured logic on this type of 'free choice' argument reminds me of the lines trotted out by the Tories whenever unions raise the point that non-members should be asked to contribute to the costs of bargaining a pay rise.
In countless focus groups you hear the line repeated - why would I join if I get the benefits anyway? This is the logic of the rational consumer, but one who has no comprehension of their place in the broader society.
But when the institution - be it a university or a trade union - makes the point that everyone benefits from their service offer, they are howled down with charges of coercion and compulsion.
Similar logic is at play across the society - with the rampant evasion of taxes identified by Malcolm Turnbull this week - the end point of a population that is so self-focused it ignores the bigger picture.
The separation of the self from the social structures frees us from a sense of mutual obligation, until, of course, the structures themselves begin to collapse.
Until we won't have university communities to nurture our young, we won't have trade unions to improve working conditions and we won't have public schools or hospitals either - because we will have become such canny consumers that the institutions that have supported our individual life stories will lie in ruin.
As they say in the economics textbooks 'caveat emptor' - the buyer beware.