||Issue No. 260||22 April 2005|
Interview: [email protected]
Unions: State of the Union
Industrial: Fashion Accessories
Legal: Leg Before Picket
Politics: Business Welfare Brats
Health: Cannabis Controversy
Economics: Debt, Deficit, Downturn
History: Politics In The Pubs
Review: Three Bob's Worth
Poetry: Do The Slowly Chokie
The Locker Room
Trade Deal Built On Corpses
Australian Manufacturing Workers Union National Secretary Doug Cameron says John Howard's proposed free trade agreement with China was based on the "fundamental lie" that China had a market economy.
"The Chinese Government controls and intervenes in every aspect of its economy," Cameron says.
"They have a suite of national and provincial non-tariff barriers to protect and promote their industries. Workers have no bargaining rights. "
"The country has no human rights, poor environmental standards and a diabolical health and safety system."
Last year, 14,595 Chinese people died in workplace accidents, according to the US State Department.
"The Prime Minister is asking Australian manufacturing workers to compete directly with that system. It will be a disaster for Australian jobs."
Cameron says both the EU and US had refused to accord China market economy status.
He described Howard's call for Australians to "have faith" in his bargaining prowess as "laughable", given the results of the recent US free trade agreement.
"Australia was comprehensively out-negotiated by the Americans. The facts undermine any right for John Howard to ask for our faith in regard to trade negotiations.
Cameron says China represents a threat to living standards and jobs security around the world.
"It has become a haven for multi-national corporations who want to slash wages, environmental and safety standards.
"China is the base from which they want to drive new, lower standards across the globe and John Howard is helping them achieve that."
"We call on John Howard and the state Premiers to immediately convene a meeting of manufacturing industry stakeholders to commence the process of developing a long- term vision and strategy for Australian manufacturing."
"Australia must ensure increased investment, improved technology, innovation, improved skills and exports. These are the key issues we should be looking at."
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