The Gilbert and Sullivan aficionado who's been suffering from relevance deprivation since we abolished child labour is back in the media again.
And, like a snake that sticks its head up when you beat the grass, it's his old bugbear of a fair and decent standard of living that has sent everyone's favourite Scrooge, Des Moore, off foaming at the mouth.
This time he is very, very cranky.
Not with working people expecting to be paid this time (although that's a part of it) but with his old mate, Johnny Howard.
As far as Des is concerned the planned changes to workplace laws don't go far enough.
Des is disappointed that they didn't bring back the Masters and Servants Act apparently.
Apparently John promised Des they would, and Des is still dopey enough to think that a Howard promise actually means anything.
According to Des it is a travesty that we are not also taking to the halt, the lame and the sick with a length of chain in an effort to encourage them back into the workforce to work for, ohhh, salt, perchance?
Apparently a freer labour market is fairer because it allows people to be forced to work for whatever the boss is prepared to dish them up, or they have the fine economists choice of slowly starving to death.
What could be fairer or more egalitatrian than starving your fellow citizens?
On planet Des, apparently fairness is something to do with beating all the poor with an equally hard stick.
Poor old Des, he makes Ghengis Khan look like a smiling Amway rep.
Des is director of the Institute for Private Enterprise, which must also double as the institute for Very Public Embarrassment.
He is upset that Howard and Andrews will still let unions exist. This is obviously some dangerous Marxist trend on the part of the Liberal Party according to our Tool of the Week.
"[They will] not cut wages, not abolish awards, not stop workers joining unions, not prevent strikes, not outlaw union agreements and not abolish the Australian Industrial Relations Commission,' says Des, who then storms off in a huff back to his Ivory Tower.
In a deft display of why no one is asking Des to solve anything more difficult that a crossword puzzle these days, Des explains that this soft effort by Howard has been forced onto him by what he describes as a "politically powerless" trade union movement.
When Gogol wrote Diary Of A Madman he may have had our Des in mind.
Des believes that workers are paid too much; the worker's, of course, not being human beings who have kids, families or need to eat and live. No, that would be investing them with a quality quite alien to Des Moore, the quality of humanity.
Their humanity may even be a part of their shared existence known as Community.
But concepts like humanity and community are foreign to Des, who doesn't particularly believe in sharing anything, especially humanity - and certainly not the nearest thing that he understands as community, profit margins.
We now look forward to Des's next foray into public life where he can advocate single mothers selling their children into slavery and the use of chain gangs for the unemployed.
What a salesman Des is. He's offering us a chance to dismantle our society, and he can't for the life of him figure out why we're not buying.
"We just want to give our kids a safe environment and stability and many of us here are going to lose it," says local disability care worker Mary-Ellen Crimp. "Many of the staff here are young, with young families. We’re all getting a lesson."
Proprietor Wayne Nicholas threatened 30 employees of Silver Lea Care and Respite with the sack before Christmas if they didn't sign AWA's that would have reduced conditions and removed penalty and weekend rates.
A Federal Court ruling ordered Nicholas to reinstate the workers and restore their earnings.
The service re-emerged as Summit, with the same workforce and Nicholas calling the shots, but without guaranteed hours that delivered income security.
The new arrangements cost Broken Hill workers around $200 a week.
"He's thumbed his nose at the Federal Court and walked away from agreements," says Simon Williams from the Australian Services Union.
But Crimp and her colleagues are standing firm against the use of AWAs and any attempt to undermine their conditions, concerned it will affect the standard of service they provide to the disabled and their families.
"A lot of our staff are really concerned," says Crimp. "It takes a certain kind of person to do this work
"You can imagine how the clients families were feeling."
The AWAs are offering different hourly rates of pay for people doing the same work with the same experience. Some of the rates vary by as much as three dollars an hour.
"We're worried about the conflict this would cause within staff. We fear it is going to set worker against worker."
Crimp was offered a deal that would have seen her give up overnight, weekend, on call and active nights rates, in exchange for a twenty cent an hour pay rise.
"My husband and I would have had to leave town,' says Crimp. "A majority, many young families, would have lost homes and cars."
Employees are calling for the service to restore their conditions in line with the directions of the Federal Court.
Western Australian authorities confirmed, last week, they would lay four charges against BHP Billiton over the death of AMWU member, James Wadley, in a horrific gas explosion.
Since then, the fiance of AMWU delegate, Corey Bentley, killed at BHP's Nelson Point iron ore facility has filed papers suing Australia's largest company for negligence, and Jasmine Rose Bailey has launched a damages claim arising from the death of apprentice, Ross McKinnon.
Bentley asked Tracey Appleyard to marry him just weeks before he was crushed in an early morning incident at Nelson Point, on May 2, last year.
Bailey has filed papers on behalf of her four-month-old daughter, Cheree, against contractor, Westrac, who operated at BHP's Ore Body 25, near Newman.
Workers Online understands Bailey was pregnant when McKinnon lost his life.
The flurry of court action follows a damning report into mine safety in the Pilbara by Perth-based lawyer, Mark Ritter. The state government ordered the Ritter Inquiry in response to a campaign led by the AMWU and Pilbara Mineworkers Union.
Ritter found BHP's aggressive use of AWAs, at the centre of Prime Minister John Howard's workplace change agenda, had contributed to serious health and safety shortcomings.
It's use of individual contracts, he said, was a "factor which has impacted and continues to impact on the successful implementation of safety systems".
Ritter made 32 recommendations for improved health and safety procedures to the state government.
Last week, Workers Online revealed BHP had recorded a staggering 32 "near fatalities" in the 10 months since Wadley, Bentley and McKinnon lost their lives.
BHP described the situations, all from the Pilbara, as "potential level four incidents".
Melbourne University academic Leslie Cannold told the Working NSW conference "Things Break Down’ that her research into fertility decisions had led her to industrial relations.
Cannold, author of 'What, No Baby?' says much has been written about women's decisions to delay or not have babies, there was a growing realisation about the impact of work on men's contribution to the decision.
"Men are feeling like they have to work more intensely for longer hours - but its cashing out in ways that we didn't expect," Cannold says. "And one of the ways that it's cashing out is that its making men quite hesitant about having children."
Cannold says these personal choices are influenced by the broader economy - and will ultimately impact on our national economic well-being.
"There has not been a connection made in the minds of decision makers between the global forces of the economy in terms of downsizing and efficiencies and increased productivity and people's decision to commit to a family."
She is also concerned about the growing chasm at the workplace between workers taking the 'Daddy or Mummy Track' and choosing to limit their time and those workers who are childless and being expecting to work extra.
Rather than increased monetary benefits, Cannold sees the solution as limiting working hours for all workers - looking towards a 30 hour working week.
Kid's Suffer Most
Foundation Director of the Australian Institute of Family Studies Don Edgar told the conference that it was the nation's children who were the real victims of labour market deregulation.
Accusing the federal government of 'hypocrisy of the highest level' Edgar says the focus on workers as economic units and not human beings was undermining 'family values.'
"It is my hope that the Trade Union movement will continue to argue the cause of family life, rather than the self-interest of unionists, and that this will produce a backlash against an uncaring oligarchy of economic rationalists at both the political and business level," Edgar says.
Endorsing those comments, Unions NSW secretary John Robertson said it this the first step to building a broad community alliance against the industrial relations changes.
"I have repeatedly said the changes to our industrial relations laws are not an attack on trade unions, they are an attack on the Australian way of life. Unions on their own, can not defeat these changes.
"What we can do is work with groups across the community and make the case for a different view of work, that sees working people as family members and members of the community.
"Together, we have a responsibility to explore a future for work that doesn't make people choose between having to be good parents and good workers, between being good citizens and good workers."
John Restuccia, Surf Lifesaving NSW director of lifesaving, warns the very people who rescue thousands of Australians every summer are those being targeted by employer demands for "flexibility".
"The increasing demands of work, and the changing nature of work is affecting our ability recruit and retain members," he warned.
"It is fair to say the ranks of surf lifesavers in Australia are mainly from the lower to middle income classifications. Most of our active patrolling members are teenagers or people in their 20s or 30s.
"I am no labour market expert but this seems to be the group of people bearing the brunt of change in the nature of work, and labour market deregulation."
Restuccia told the Unions NSW "Things Fall Apart" conference, that many people who had traditionally volunteered to be lifesavers now had more than one job, or uncertain hours.
This, he said, threatened the survival of an iconic Australian institution, based on the volunteer ethos.
Restuccia said surf lifesaving clubs had "implicit" contracts with the communities that supported and funded their operations.
"Each season surf club members are allocated into rostered patrols and they must attend those patrols, or if absent, arrange a substitute." he explained.
"There is little flexibility in the system and most clubs penalise members for missing patrols by suspension. If volunteers don't turn up, for whatever reason, the beach is not patrolled and safety is at risk."
Restuccia said when minimum patrol requirements were not met, clubs were fined, and even suspended.
Surf lifesaving is Australia's largest volunteer water safety organisation. It has 303 clubs scattered along the coast of every state, and the Northern Territory.
There are around 37,000 patrolling members and, last year, they made 12,000 surf rescues.
Nigel Hadgkiss made the admission to a Senate Estimates Commission while refusing to rule out attacking civil liberties in pursuing the Howard Government’s anti-worker agenda.
In an extraordinary admission, Hadgkiss admitted there had only been one successful prosecution arising from the $66 million Cole Royal Commission - and that there was no intention to launch any more.
He also repeatedly refused to rule out using covert tactics such as secretly recording building workers.
CFMEU construction national secretary John Sutton says the revelations should concern all Australians.
"At $66 million, this has to be the most single most expensive prosecution in Australian legal history," Sutton says.
"The Cole Royal Commission is the basis of the current legislative attack on building workers - based on a myth of union lawlessness in the industry.
"By Mr Hadgkiss' own admission, the grounds for treating building workers as a special case have no legal foundation.
"Of even more concern is that in order to promote the Howard Government agenda, Mr Hadgkiss is prepared to turn a blind eye to basic civil rights and secretly tape workers.
Laws coming into effect on June 22 will add to Mr Hadgkiss' powers and allow him to also suspend a workers' right to silence during interrogation.
"What all Australians need to understand is that these laws, once established in the building industry, will be spread across the economy to all workers," Sutton says
Hadgkiss also admitted the Taskforce had spent $287,000 in legal costs during a failed prosecution on Smith Plant Hire. The Taskforce also spent 12 months investigating the case and was also forced to pay the union's costs.
The workers at Appaloosa Holdings, Banksmeadow, met Carr outside the gate, during morning tea, to explain how they were being forced to choose between individual contracts or the sack.
Appaloosa management immediately "closed the shutters" and lodged a dispute notification claiming the premier's presence constituted a picket line.
"They laughed them out of the Commission," says Mark Ptolemy from the National union of Workers. "They've showed themselves as bullies. They've tried to bully their staff. Now they're trying to bully the Premier.
"It's a laughable situation, but the last laugh is going to be on them."
Speaking of the plight of the 14 warehouse workers affected, Carr said it was an example of the future under proposed federal industrial law.
"This is precisely how it would work," says Carr. "If John Howard's takeover goes ahead, these workers would be forced to sign up to agreements, individual agreements, or they'd get the sack."
"We believe the sacking of these workers is absolute bastardry,'" says NUW state secretary Derrick Belan. "If this is how companies will treat workers under individual contracts, then all Australian workers are under threat."
The NSW Industrial Relations Commission has granted a stay of the sackings, pending further hearings.
The Queensland premier announced, this week, he would legislate to protect a range of conditions threatened by Howard's workplace "reforms", including severance pay, termination notice, penalty rates, jury service, disputes-settling procedures, overtime and shift loadings.
Beattie said the protections would be afforded by amendments to the state Industrial Relations Act.
The changes could cover federal award employees and independent contractors, as well as workers on state documents.
Sydney University, dean of law, Ron McCallum said states had the constitutional power to move into areas where federal awards were silent. WA and NSW would have the same capacity.
Beattie said, under Queensland's IR system, only 2.5 days were lost to industrial action per thousand working days, whereas in Victoria, where Jeff Kennett long ago ceded workplace control to the Commonwealth, that figure stood at 8.7.
Beattie set out his plan in a letter to the Prime Minister, formally rejecting Howard's demand for control of state IR regimes.
The premier concedes the Commonwealth can probably seize IR powers if it wants to use its corporations but argues his move it will make it much more politically damaging.
"They will have to actually legislate away the rights of Queensland families," Beattie said. "This makes it much more difficult."
An International Labour Organisation committee will rule on whether Howard's workplace relations and building industry laws contravene rights to organise, collectively bargain, and to join a union.
ILO president Sharan Burrow said the case would test the Government's willingness to respect international standards and "be part of the international community's efforts to promote and protect the rights of workers around the world".
An ILO Committee of Experts has previously slammed the Federal Government's Workplace Relations Act for providing inadequate protection against anti-union discrimination - particularly for workers who choose to have their terms and conditions governed by collective agreements.
Other countries to be trialed for labour rights violations alongside Australia include Burma, Zimbabwe, Saudi Arabia and Colombia.
Australia was a founding member of the ILO in 1919 and it's authority has since been upheld by both Liberal and Labor governments.
The shock revelation came as the country's largest airport emerged as a security hotspot, fending off allegations that lax standards were playing into the hands of crime bosses and potential terrorists.
The airport, now under the control of former secretary of the Prime Minister's department Max Moore-Wilton, has reeled from one devastating security revelation to another.
Recent allegations have included ...
- the involvement of rogue baggage handlers in a cocaine smuggling ring
- interference with travellers luggage, highlighted by the Schappelle Corby case in Indonesia
- ducking security improvements because of cost as in not introducing shrink wrapping until months after Melbourne and Brisbane adopted the practise
Only last week, Sydney Airport's head of security was dumped, after it was revealed he had received adverse mentions in the explosive NSW Royal Commission into Police Corruption.
Then, the Australian, broke news of a Customs report that detailed serious security flaws.
Max "the axe" Moore-Wilton, pointman for new owner Macquarrie Bank and close associate of the Prime Minister, has played the "ignorance" card on every occasion.
He has also sought to use political connections to press state government for a greater NSW police presence at the privatised federal facility, eliciting a dry response about user-pays from the state's police chief.
Now the airport is at the centre of claims that contracting out policieshave seen casual security screeners, some with radical affiliations, accessing secure areas.
The LHMU claims up to 20 percent of security screeners bypass usual clearances, courtesy of daily passes gained by producing a driver's licence.
LHMU secretary, Annie Owens, says the temporary pass system is a serious security loophole.
"You could rock up there today and the company, or someone properly authorised, could get one for you if you have business there," she said.
The union says the only requirement to gain access to secure areas is that an existing passholder signs a newcomer in. Unlike casuals, permanent passholders are put through an eight-week security checking procedure.
EDI relented on its hardline stance, at the beginning of a fourth week of an "unofficial lockout" and agreed to pay members of the AMWU, CFMEU, AWU and ETU for work performed.
"We told them we wouldn't work unless we were paid after they refused to pay people for two days," AMWU organiser Rohan Webb said. "Unfortunately, it took another three weeks of lockout before they saw sense.
"It came after the unions took a strategic decision to lodge Federal Court proceedings to try and get our money.
"Every day, at 7am and 2 oclock we have seen the company and offered to work, on condition of getting paid. Every day they refused, until the paper were filed."
The company has also walked away from its refusal to negotiate with unions, imposed after workers turned down its first pay offer.
The issue blew up after EDI told workers at its Maryborough Rail operation they would not be paid for two days when they had overtime bans, and other restrictions, in place.
The AMWU says EDI's hardline stance has stripped about $600,000 out of the local economy and that money is still at issue.
"We still have legal action underway to recoup the wages lost when our people were prepared to work but the company wouldn't pay them," Webb said.
EDI has split the old Maryborough workshops into five different business units, operating under various employment agreements.
Colleagues at the adjacent EDI Services, also have a range of bans and limitation in force.
Three months ago, a sit-in forced the company to reinstate two tradesmen who had refused to do the work of striking EDI Services employees.
The Queensland workers want equal pay and conditions with other rail workers around Australia, common expiry dates for EDI documents, and arms-length control of their entitlements.
Webb says the company's different business units are an "artificial device" to split the workforce.
"What we are looking for is equal pay for equal work, whether you live in Queensland or the southern states, it's as simple as that," he said.
Union members have lifted their "peaceful vigil" but warn it is likely to be reimposed if negotiation founder again.
The federal government says the low-paid already get at least $44 a week too much, and has announced plans to scupper annual minimum wage case hearings.
As the IRC considers this year's $26.60 minimum wage claim advanced by the ACTU, and vigorous counter arguments from Canberra, Howard and Workplace Relations Minister Andrews have put their hands out for 4.1 percent boosts to their salaries.
In his submission to the minimum wage bench, Andrews said Australia's lowest paid workers should not get more than a 2.35 percent increase.
Howard and Andrews will both reap substantial benefits from the Remuneration Tribunal's May ruling on executive salaries.
From July 1, Andrews wage will increase $3617 a week, while his boss will knock off more than $5600 a week.
If the government's minimum wage case argument is accepted by the IRC, Howard would make as much in four weeks and one day as a minimum wage family earned in a year.
Andrew argued, this week, that proposed changes to workplace laws, including doing away with annual minimum wage hearings, was based on his understanding of Christian principles.
Members of the CFMEU, AMWU, AWU and CEPU vacated the project after learning the company had stayed mum about rocketing mercury readings.
"They gave a presentation at which it was obvious some people had known about the problem for some time," AMWU organiser, Jamie Robertson, said.
"The boys learned that readings, up to seven times the recommended level for drinking water, had been taken at the site. Since then, they said, they had put filters on and the levels had fallen.
"The problem was they hadn't communicated the situation very well."
Alcan, and a range of contractors on the $2billion bauxite plant extension, are considering demands for bottled drinking water and independent testing. Workers also expect answers to other safety issues, including air quality and exposure to asbestos piping.
Workers Online understands asbestos has been removed by unlicensed operators.
Union members returned to the job today (Friday) following yesterday's arrival of officers from the Northern Territory Departments of Mines and Health. Their findings were expected at a report back meeting, later in the day.
Alcan's remote bauxite operation employs nearly 1000 people, including 500 on the expansion project.
Desperate to hear the government's side of the story, South Coast Unions say they will accept staffers or friends of the family of any Government MP prepared to defend the changes, or even role play Liberal politicians themselves, at a meeting at Wollongong Town Hall this week.
Due to the unwillingness of Wollongong based Liberal Senator, Ms Fervanti-Wells, to publicly debate the merits of her own government's policies, the South Coast Labour Council (SCLC) has decided to go straight to the top.
"We are resolved to issue an official and public invitation to the Federal; Workplace Relations Minister, Kevin Andrews, or anyone he can convince or direct, into coming to Wollongong and take part in a debate in favour of the governments IR program," says SCLC Arthur Rorris.
Disappointment at refusals by Liberal politicians or business leaders to publicly debate the reforms has led to workers to consider 'role playing' the MPs' part in the upcoming debate.
When approached by the SCLC, local employer's group, the Illawarra Business Chamber, said that they only agreed with 'some' of the changes, and that they were not an apologist for the Howard government.
The rallies, backed by all unions in the sector, were well attended by academic and general staff from universities and TAFE institutions.
"This was not a rally against the bosses," says National Tertiary Education Union NSW secretary Chris Game. "This was a rally against the Howard governments IR agenda."
The message sent out from last Wednesday's rallies, held in Sydney and major regional centres, was that the changes would be bad for tertiary education.
"They will affect teaching quality, the capacity for unbiased research and lessen the autonomy of universities."
TAFE teachers and staff echoed the concerns of universities, with the federal Government threatening a privatisation by stealth - handing training over to for-profit institutions behind TAFE's back.
"We will defend student's access to TAFE facilities and an affordable TAFE system," says Phil Bradley from the NSW Teachers Federation. "From here we will continue to urge membership to take part in the major union campaign against Howard's legislation that is designed to force us back into the maters and servants conditions of the nineteenth century.
"The response by academic and general staff show that a majority are concerned about the impact of this agenda," says Simon. "We will be participating in the various statewide union activities that are planned for the near future."
The health and safety authority argues it is not bound by a memorandum of understanding between Unions NSW and Macquarrie St not to give work to companies with questionable employment practices.
WorkCover says it acts "in trust for employers".
"Workers have been worse off since the changes to workers' compensation while insurers are better off," says Geoff Derrick from the Financial sector Union (FSU). "WorkCover has a responsibility to ensure that those who receive contracts have fair labour practices."
Derrick has singled out labour practices of SunCorp, owners of major workers compensation insurer GIO, who have run a bitter anti-union campaign. He also pointed to another insurer with a big market share, NRMA.
"They have a new collective agreement coming up later this year," says Derrick. "We would expect that they would continue to respect collective bargaining.
"It goes to the integrity of insurers. If they do this to their own fit workers, what are they going to do to injured workers?"
The FSU has pointed to the improving bottom line for insurers, built on cutbacks to injured workers and a recovery of the international investment market.
"WorkCover has refused to participate in a process with FSU that would give effect to the objectives of the MOU," says Derrick. "Including improved industry work practices, cooperative industrial relations, job security, training opportunities and high standards of OHS."
Unions NSW will be seeking a meeting with the minister over the issue.
The staunchly anti-union weight loss multinational has changed tack from criticising activists in workplace memos to making an offer heralded as a great start by the LHMU.
According to LHMU state president Jim Lloyd the company has gone from refusing to even meet with the union to this week offering its workers a new deal for the first time recognising their right to be paid for meeting preparation and attending compulsory events.
"Weight Watchers was adverse to dealing with the union in the early stages and they didn't make it easy for the people who became active," Lloyd said.
"They sent out a memo to everyone saying they were disappointed about the fact these guys had formed a group and were agitating. It named people who had become involved.
"But these women remained brave and strong and stuck to their guns. They won the current offer through an extensive campaign of lobbying, legal support, media interviews, meetings with other Weight Watchers leaders and actions at seminars."
The company's proposal introduces access for the first time to sick leave, annual holidays, and other entitlements. It also increases minimum pay for each meeting held from $27 to $44.70 and locks in an annual pay rise according to award movements.
Despite the good inroads that have been made in the bargaining process, Lloyd said he did not expect members to accept the offer and said more was needed.
While the company agreed for the first time to pay its workers for time taken to prepare presentations, it has proposed to do this through a flat $8.94 each week regardless of the number performed and the fact preparation can take several hours.
Commissions, bonuses and an hourly rate of pay also needed to be discussed.
Lloyd said the workers were also waiting for confirmation they would be getting a collective agreement and were writing to their employer requesting it be in the form of an award.
"They've been saying the right things but the union and its members are looking forward a getting a collective agreement."
He said they expected to get an answer within the week.
Over seven hundred members of the Korean Federation of Construction Industry Trade Union (KFCITU) have been attacked and involved in stand offs with local riot police. They have been bashed, harassed and intimidated for taking a stand over the poor standard of their working conditions.
"What's happening in Korea could easily happen in Australia if the Howard laws are allowed through," says CFMEU Korean organiser Byang Jo Kang. "These workers are feeling very isolated and we need to send our support."
On May 23 just under 600 union members, including KFCITU leaders, were arrested during a peaceful demonstration in Korean capital Seoul.
In response over 200 Australian trade unionists rallied in Martin Place, Sydney, last Friday.
Unions NSW has pledged to the Korean strikers during their dispute.
Letters of support can be sent directly to the KFCITU at [email protected]ail.com
The Wages of Spin
From the company behind the smash hit stage production of the
"Children Overboard" Inquiry, CMI: version 1.0 presents
The Wages of Spin
Does it matter we went to war on a lie?
Sydney: May 20 - Jun 5 Canberra: July 20 - 30
> "You went abroad in our name on a just cause.... Thank you from Australia." - John Howard
> "Nobody knows, nobody has asked and nobody even tries to establish what the level of casualties might be. That is true, isn't it?" - Senator John Faulkner, Senate Estimates Committee
> There is no point in producing information that may be misleading or unhelpful." - Defence Minister, Senator Robert Hill, in response.
Last year Sydney's version 1.0 went overboard with its surreal and gut-wrenching CMI (A Certain Maritime Incident), taking the transcript of the Senate's "Children Overboard" Inquiry as a performance text. Now the company has turned its attention to the war on Iraq, and the fabricated (and shifting) justifications for it, with a new show, The Wages of Spin (Performance Space, May 20 - June 5).
The Wages of Spin is political theatre, version 1.0 style - playful, surreal, visceral and tragic, with no easy answers. There may be casualties. There certainly will be liberties taken with the found texts. So, in the words of a thousand arts journos and a thousand PR hacks, what can the audience expect to see? Expect to see kittens in gift-wrapped boxes, flag gags, fake blood, shock-and-awe slapstick and Benny Hill-esque puns about weapons of mass destruction. Expect to laugh... until you're confronted with the horrors of POW interrogations. Expect to see some serious grappling with the horrific possibility that the Right may have been right... the war may have been a good thing.
The Wages of Spin plays to Sydney's chardonnay set at Performance Space (May 20 - June 5), before entertaining Canberra's political elites at The Street Theatre (July 20 -30). Bookings: Sydney, 02 9698 7235 or [email protected], Canberra 02 6247 1223.
Artists Performer/Devisers: Stephen Klinder, Deborah Pollard & David Williams Dramaturgy: Paul Dwyer Outside Eye: Yana Taylor Lighting: Simon Wise Video: Sean Bacon Sound: Gail Priest Producer: Harley Stumm
Sydney Performance Space, 199 Cleveland St Redfern. 20 May - 5 June (Wed - Sat 8pm, Sun 5pm) Tix $25/20/15. Bookings: 02 9698 7235 or [email protected]
Canberra The Street Theatre, Cnr Childers St & University Ave. July 20 - 30 (Tue - Sat 8pm + 2pm matinee, Sat 30th) Tix $29/24. Bookings: 02 6247 1223
Media Info Harley Stumm 0411 330 654 or [email protected]
Print-friendly Attachment contains more info about version 1.0 & the artists
WOMEN, PEACE AND PALESTINE
What's going on in Palestine? Is peace possible? How women are playing a crucial role in the struggle for justice.
Hannah Safran, teaches in women's studies and is a co-founder of Women in Black (Haifa), Israel
Donna Mulhearn, Australian peace activist recently returned from the West Bank
Rihab Charida, Sydney-based Palestinian activist
Chaired by Greens Senator Kerry Nettle
6.30 - 8.00 pm
Thursday, June 9, 2005
NSW Teachers' Federation
22-23 Mary St
(short walk from Central)
All Welcome : Information 02 9690 2038
Worried about Howard's anti-union laws?
Don't miss the ... National Union Fightback Conference
Saturday, 11 June, 8.30am
Trades Hall, Melbourne
(cnr Lygon St and Victoria Pde, Carlton South)
A national gathering of trade unionists to discuss building resistance to the Howard government's anti-union laws. Our aim is to develop organisation among active unionists across Australia.
CONFIRMED SPEAKERS AND PARTICIPANTS -
· Martin Kingham (Vic secretary)
· Kevin Reynolds (WA secretary)
· Joe McDonald (WA asst secretary)
· Chris Cain (WA secretary)
· Steve Dargavel (Vic metal division secretary)
· Bronwyn Halfpenny (Vic food division secretary)
· Craig Johnston (former Vic metal division secretary)
· Joan Doyle (Vic P and T branch secretary)
· Dean Mighell (Vic secretary)
· Qld branch representative
· Matthew McGowan (Vic NTEU division secretary)
· Marisa Bernardi (NSW organiser)
· Jenny Kruschel (Vic TCFU assistant secretary)
· Tim Gooden (Geelong and region TLC acting secretary)
· John Parker (Gippsland TLC secretary)
· Northern Rivers Union Network (NSW) representative
· Senator Kerry Nettle
· Sam Watson (Qld)
SPECIAL GUEST SPEAKER: Mike Treen (UNITE, New Zealand)
Initiated by Socialist Alliance
Initial sponsors: Michele O'Neil (Vic TCFU secretary); Union Solidarity Group; Northern Rivers Union Network (NSW); Teachers Alliance (Vic); Jim Keogh (MUA Veterans Association Southern Branch secretary); Ken McBride (MUA Veterans Associations Southern Branch assistant secretary; Community Radio 3CR; 3CR's industrial affairs program Strikeback; 3CR's On the Picket Line; national community radio's trade union show Stick Together Show; Members First (CPSU-federal activist group)
9am Opening Plenary: How will the Howard agenda impact and who's in the firing line?
10.30-12 noon Workshops:
o Challenging anti-union laws: lessons in victory & defeat from the 1997 union campaign in Western Australia and New Zealand in the 1990s
o Froim the Clarrie O'Shea campaign to the MUA dispute - where unity and mass action won the day
o Union organising outside the capital cities
o Casualisation and the attack on equal wages
o Film: Oil workers' struggle in Venezuela
1-2.30pm Plenary: Strategies to resist and defeat anti-union laws
2.45-3.45pm Plenary: Proposals for action
3.45-5.15pm Workshops: Break up into industry and regional TLC groups.
Films to run at the same time as workshops
Evening social event : 6pm-late - Live music from Dan Warner, food and drinks.
Old Ballroom, Trades Hall
Childcare will be available on-site on the day, but we need bookings in advance.
SLAPP in the face of democracy
Public forum on how corporate legal actions try to silence community groups
6:00pm - 8:00pm Friday 17 June 2005
NSW Law Society, 170 Phillip St, Sydney
Committee Room 2, Level 2
Bob Brown - Gunns 20 defendant, Greens Senator
Peter Cashman - General Counsel, Maurice Blackburn Cashman
Robin Banks - Director, Public Interest Advocacy Centre
The legal limits of political protest in Australia are being squeezed by law reforms and SLAPP suits (Strategic Litigation Against Public Participation) which pit corporate interests against community groups.
On 13 December 2004, logging company Gunns filed a $6.3 million writ in the Victorian Supreme Court alleging damage had been caused to Gunns' business in the course of a forest campaign. Defendants in this action include Senator Bob Brown, The Wilderness Society and individual activists.
Meanwhile at a federal level, the Howard Government is pushing for a uniform defamation law, which will allow corporations to sue community groups and individuals for defamation.
All welcome - entry is free
Organised by Greens MP Lee Rhiannon and
the Legal Observers Project (Sydney)
For information contact Jemma Bailey on 0401 666 434
Workers rights union rights your rights
Mark Lennon Unions NSW
Sally McManus ASU
Andrew Ferguson CFMEU
Doug Cameron AMWU
Kerry Nettle NSW Greens Senator
Garry Moore NCOSS
Robert Coombs MUA
Derrick Belan NUW
Lee Rhiannon NSW Greens MLC
When the Coalition takes control of the Senate in July
Prime Minister John Howard will introduce industrial relations
laws that will increase the burden on working people and the
The Greens are helping unions to mobilise support for decent
working conditions and an industrial relations system that
recognises the rights of working people to organise and to strike.All welcome
Lee Rhiannon MLC
organising an alternative to the
Coalition's industrial relations agenda
The Past is Before Us
the Ninth National Labour History Conference will be held at the Holme Building, University of Sydney from Thursday 30th June until Saturday 2nd July. Over 100 presentations of papers, films, and an exhibition from Unions NSW and the Noel Butlin Archive. Meredith Burgmann, MLC, President of the NSW Legislative Council will officially open the conference. The Conference dinner at NSW Parliament. For more information go to the conference home page
The conference program is up on the website - http://asslh.econ.usyd.edu.au/program.htm
Union Aid Abroad - APHEDA Study Tour
Union Aid Abroad - APHEDA is inviting applications for of East Timor a study tour between July 17th and 24th. The ideal participant will be active in the Australian trade union movement, deeply committed to international solidarity, and keen to investigate the effectiveness of APHEDA projects in East Timor. An ability to have fun and enjoy warm weather is also a must!
The cost of the study tour is $2,050 which includes airfare ex-Darwin, accommodation, in-country transport, interpreter services, breakfasts and the study tour itself. For more information about contact Thomas Michel (02) 9264 9343, 0410 814 360
Having read Doug Cameron's opinion on the potential effects of an FTA with China I come to the conclusion that this man must rank as one of the last truly great Australian patriots . Howard just doesnt get it . There is a certain amount of national pride when purchasing an item made in Australia by Australians . I ask , does the Government understand that one of the main implications of the potential loss of our manufacturing industry is that we will also lose the cutting edge of technology . Were ever you find major industry you will also find the frontier of technology . God forgive those blockheads in Government because I wont !
Cairns had a small but successful Memorial Day, with former City Mayor, Tom Pyne giving the keynote speech. Tom had to give up his seat on a 12 seater plane 15 years ago, that crashed and killed all on board. Most were leading local government leaders from the Far North, including the then current ALP Cairns Mayor, Keith Goodwin and ALP councillor Rose Blank.
We remembered them along with 270 known workers who have been killed on the job in the last 150 years in Far North Queensland.
I believe that the Workers Memorial Day is just as important as Anzac Day, but most people believe that Anzac Day is more important.
My answer, is to ask the widows of the workers who have died. Their loved one is just as dead as the soldier on the battlefield.
To all Labor Members of NSW Parliament.
I am making a plea over changes to OH&S Act 2000. I fail to understand why the Labor Government would remove unions' power to initiate prosecutions against employers for negligent behavior. Currently the NSW law permits private prosecutions to be initiated against offenders of the Crimes Act. A general power to privately prosecute is an important part of democratic processes and procedures.
There are to many cases where Workcover declines to prosecute simply because the employer promises to do better next time.
Please demonstrate your commitment to the Labour Movement by rejecting the draft amendment and ensure the status quo.
Please note that these changes were not in the original draft nor were they raised in the discussion paper that predated the draft consultation amendment.
I think it is about time we all take a stance against how the workcover insures are treating injured workers.
They are just bullying for a buck.
I am extremely pleased to see that QBE was shamed into meeting they responsibility to an injured worker.
Maybe collectively we are should take this stance.
Then Injured workers may get a fair go.
It is quite interesing that the prime minister claims that "it will never be the policy of this government to deny people a choice". The Federal department charged with carrying out policy on industrial relations, the Department of Employment and Workplace Relations makes no secret of the fact that it will only employ new staff on the basis of those persons accepting an Australian Workplace Agreement. This also leave a problem with merit selection in the public sector - if 10 persons are rated in order of merit after a selection exercise and the first 9 refuse an Australian Workplace Agreement - this is in spite of the fact that the department has a Certified Agreement in place. Choice is not for employees only for employers!.
Although I offer no explanation as to me presence in Fitzroy Gardens Kings Cross , at 3:30 am on the morning of Sunday 22 May 2005 , I as an passionate green and aficionado of Australian native wildlife , I was pleasantly surprised not with the presence of the pink tinged Galahs , or the unkempt Ibis who with their long peckers rummage into every orifice scavenging for sustenance , it was the Koo-hoo-hoo-hoo-hoo-hoo-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha from a Kookaburra , commonly know as the "The Laughing Jackass" who was prominently perched in a Fig Tree displaying the abilities of his massive bill.
Was the bizarre appearance of this bird an omen associated with the full moon, or was it just one jackass knowing my purpose of presence and amused at the antics of another?
It is amazing that the ALP keeps taking mere pot shots at the Howard/Anderson Government while itself failing to come up with the obvious solution: replace federation with a unitary structure of two -tier national government.
The burning issue of inadequate port development by the states is the latest in a long list of national problems requiring national solutions: infrastructure, water shortages, education, health, industrial relations, the environment and agriculture. The ALP has long ago abandoned its policy to abolish the states. Could we hear more about the progressive political parties, and several community groups, that favour this make-over? Centralised federalism of centralised state governments surely is the worst of both worlds. Can the media bring itself to open up the pandorra boxes of innovative ideas that are bursting to come to the surface? Or will they continue to play along with the boring discourse by the majors on state-federal relations without even a semblance of a solution in sight?
Beazley's classic remark in Parliament .
Howard does not regard unionist as fellow australian but as the enemy which must be destroyed.
Faith is emerging as the lynchpin of these reforms, with the Prime Minister's sardonic entreaties to 'trust' him that things will keep going along swimmingly as awards are slashed and workers shifted to contracts.
Meanwhile, his point man, Kevin Andrews, has been telling us to relax about the minimum wage because the decision will be left to the 'experts' who he'll stack on the spookily named Fair Pay Commission.
Given this reliance on faith, it's been interesting to see the reaction from the experts in the field - those who have built their careers on communing with the great unknown.
Some of these religious leaders have already come out publicly opposed to the Howard Government plans.
Bishop Manning has written to the Prime Minister raising his fears about the changes which he says "promises little joy for the poor". It remains to be seen the response of the PM, but other religious groups have been slapped down for raising their concerns.
Uniting Church Reverend Elenie Poulos has raised concerns about the changes to the minimum wage, warning that the most vulnerable would be forgotten in the 'rush for profit'. This drew a stinging editorial from the BCA's official mouthpiece, 'the Australian Financial Review' which accused Reverend Poulos of 'leaping to her lectern' to run an argument that would (I kid you not) lead to an increase in child labour.
This is becoming the government-business modus operandi of dealing with dissent about the changes; personal attacks on individual workers who speak out (including property searchers); a gang tackle on St Vinnies for having the temerity to suggest the gap between rich and poor is growing, even an attack on your's truly by the Minister in Federal Parliament this week! (I wear it as a badge)
Judging by the reaction, you'd think the government was feeling a little vulnerable about the response to their 'liberation' of the Australian workforce.
There was more debate from faith specialists at a Working NSW forum, 'Things Break Down', convened in Sydney this week to discuss the changes.
Archdeacon Derek Howe from the Anglican Church spoke of the sacredness of Sundays, how a strong family life required time and rest and how deregulating work laws attacked these basic goods.
Michael McDonald from the Australian Catholic Commission for Employment Relations spoke of how both the current and previous pontiff believed the right to work with dignity was a t the core of a fair and good society.
As for David Knoll, president of the NSW Jewish Board of deputies, he claimed Moses was the first advocate of workers rights - the founder of a faith that has always been based on building work around family and not the other way around.
"Moses taught us that the obligation of every employer was to create the conditions to allow family life to flourish," Knoll said. Moses was obviously not a member of the Business Council of Australia.
Interestingly, none of these leaders of faith have backed the theological argument put forward by Andrews when questioned about the reforms in light of his own religious conviction at the National Press Club this week.
Andrews, it seems, has no soul-searching around the IR changes because, he says, "the ethical core" of Christian thought on employment was that no-one should be locked out of a nation's economic life.
This may pass as absolution were it not for the fact that the changes will rip away at job security, reduce the wages of the poorest in society and wave goodbye to the idea of the weekend, that most sacred of family times.
And it totally misses the key point that leaders of all denominations have been making over the past week: that workers rights are pillars of stable families and strong communities - and that these laws will tear them down.
Any attempt to spin the current attack on workers rights as anything other than an attack on our way of life and our social and spiritual well-being are either self-deluded, hypocritical or calculated to deceive.
Whatever way you look at it, in most people's language, it constitutes a sin.