In his tenure as head honcho of what was once the labour movement's pride and joy, David Murray managed to steer the Commonwealth bank out of the hands of the many and into the hands of a few.
The departing Commonwealth Bank CEO managed to turn the people's bank into the person's bank, with our Tool Of The Week being that person.
A less discerning person would recognise this sort of theft for what it is. In the old days people used to rob banks; under Murray this transaction was reversed.
David has taken full advantage of the Not Nailed Down Act during his time at the helm of an organisation that he moulded in his image, making Attilla the Hun look humane and personable by comparison.
During the ravages of the restructuring he so wholeheartedly supported, our Tool Of The Week was often to be seen on the economic battlefield, rolling the corpses over and pocketing anything shiny.
He trousered the assets of anything with the word state in it. The NSW State Bank, the State Savings Bank of Victoria. For a while there the only state he didn't own was a state of excitement.
Murray has his $50 million payout to keep him company in the Tool Shed.
What an extraordinarily talented man is David Murray that he is recognised with a payout of such magnitude.
What wondrous life saving, socially useful and community spirited contribution has David made that he shall be adjudged to be deserving of fifty million smackeroos?
Well, it should be said from the start that you'd have to work very hard to bugger up the Commonwealth bank, and, for forty years, he did.
Many of us will remember a Commonwealth bank that had the common touch, looking after ordinary people who don't think it's possible to accept $50 million for sitting on your fat arse and still show your face in public. It was a bank that underwrote the dreams of working families. It was a symbol of staid fiduciary integrity.
The Commonwealth bank is now none of the three.
His $50 million works out at around $3333.33 for every person he sacked along the way, or $83,333.33 for each branch he shut down. Cheap at half the price.
In the meantime a few privileged customers and even more privileged shareholders have benefited. Many small businesses, working people and farmers have been bent over the table and been given a solid lesson in free market forces.
David Murray is about as cheerful as a bushfire on Christmas day. The pity is that he decided to spend forty years inflicting that arrogant misery on the rest of us.
The greatest regret we can have of his retirement is that it didn't come sooner.
It is forty years too late.
The workers have been called "wankers" and received threatening messages in Hertz envelopes.
the threatening note that was left under Nicki Shea's windscreen
They are trying to ditch unregistered contracts forced onto them by the WA manager for the hire car company.
"We signed an agreement we didn't agree with,'" says Transport Workers Union delegate Nicki Shea. "We were forced to sign, there was no negotiation."
The car detailing facility works 365 days a year and employees want union wages and penalty rates for working evenings and giving up weekends and public holidays.
When they met outside the facility on May 27 the husband of the WA state manager called staff a "pack of wankers". The WA manager was forced to apologise for her husband's behaviour.
A threatening note was left under Shea's windscreen. The note, inside a Hertz envelope, said, "Not so clever now are you all? Nice car hope it is allright[sic]". The matter has been referred to the police.
The Hertz employees have slammed the threats as "stand over tactics".
The workers took protected industrial action, which resulted in them being locked out over the long weekend of June 4-6.
"It's not a very pleasant place to work," says Shea. "This will only be stemmed when Hertz is prepared to sit down and negotiate in a mature and professional fashion with its workers.
"A fair go is all that is asked. We want to be covered by a TWU agreement."
"We haven't even got Howard's system and already a renegade company thinks that it can contract outside the award system," says Transport Workers Union (TWU) organiser Rick Burton.
The TWU is taking the matter to the WA Industrial Commission this week.
Andrews is mulling over a radical demand to ban all strikes in oil, gas, power and possibly other sectors. The proposal, which breaches core ILO conventions, has been served up by a business taskforce, backed by corporate law firm, Clayton Utz.
Unions NSW secretary, John Robertson, said caving to the energy moguls' would be an attack on the living standards of thousands of Australian families.
"If these workers are going to be denied any right to strike their bargaining power will be severely curtailed," Robertson said.
"Effectively, they will be facing powerful multi-nationals with both hands behind their backs, courtesy of the Australian Government.
"Some of these companies play hard-ball. It would be extraordinarily difficult to go into negotiations with them knowing, no matter what they serve up, there is no capacity to take industrial action."
Big business clearly believes it has the Howard administration in its pocket.
Two weeks ago, lobbying by Business Council of Australia and Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, was rewarded with an IR blueprint designed to restrict the minimum wage, and slash rights workers have enjoyed for generations.
Awards and the concept of equal pay will be undermined by legislation that puts individual agreements at the centre of workplace life, denying people choice in whether they are covered by collective or individual agreements.
Howard and Andrews went further than the business lobby had requested, proposing to strip five million Australians of the right to challenge unfair dismissals.
On a roll, the business lobby and Clayton Utz, which also acts for big tobacco, have told Andrews to strip Australians in what they consider "essential services" of the right to strike.
Observers say previous business attempts to get such a favour have defined essential in the broadest terms, roping in occupational groups such as train drivers and nurses.
Another option suggested by the business lobby involves making it illegal for "higher paid" workers in electricity, gas and oil to take industrial action.
The business wish-list was delivered to Andrews at secret meetings in Canberra this week.
The Australian reported, last Thursday, that an Andrews spokesman confirmed "radical recommendations for essential service industries were being considered by the Government".
"It seems funny that John Howard can fight for freedom in Iraq but not in Williamstown," says workplace delegate Adam Szady. "For four years we’ve tried individual contracts and they don’t work. It just pits worker against worker."
The 42 workers at the RAAF base outside Newcastle have been stood down indefinitely after placing bans on filling in paperwork. The bans were placed over Boeing's refusal to negotiate a collective agreement.
The majority of the 62 maintenance workers want a collective agreement to replace individual contracts imposed by Boeing, a subsidiary of the US-based aerospace multinational Boeing Hawker de Havilland.
The Australian Workers Union members want to continue working to keep the F/A-18 jet fighter fleet fully maintained and ready for any emergency, but have been locked out by Boeing since June 1.
Boeing has collective agreements with other Australian and US workers and the Williamstown workers cannot see why they should be any different.
"Howard says that it's about freedom of choice," says Szady. "Well, we've chosen to have a collective agreement.
"We are paying tax to upkeep our military and defend our democratic rights, and we're giving that money to a US company who are cutting off our democratic choices.
Workplace delegates travelled to the state ALP conference over the long weekend where they were acknowledged with a rousing ovation by the nearly 600 delegates. Fundraising buckets passed around at the conference raised over $3,500 for the workers who are into their third week outside the gates.
The picket line at the base is receiving widespread support from the local community, as well as being visited by state and federal union and political leaders.
"We've had people honking their horns in support, dropping off food, ladies dropping of bacon and egg rolls and mikos dropping off milk," says Szady. "People realise that this is a fight that is going to affect a lot of Australians.
"We're not after more money, but after the better conditions of a collective agreement."
The local Australian Workers Union Office is coordinating donations for the locked out workers and their families. Donations can be sent to PO Box 226, Mayfield NSW 2304 or Freecall 1800 649 696 or (02) 4967 1155.
The workers are also asking people to email the CEO of Boeing, James A Bell, calling on him to get his company to negotiate a collective agreement with the workers. His email address is [email protected]
Anthony Dawson is one of 108 workers who face redundancy after Australian Topmaking Services announced they were moving their Parkes plant to China where textile workers get 80 cents an hour.
He threw down the challenge to his local National Party MP for Parkes, John Cobb, who is part of a government is pushing for a free trade deal with the communist republic.
"It's terrible to think the Howard Government is looking at going into a free trade deal with China at the same time as they are going to knock back our workplace rights," says Dawson. "Our living standards are going to drop."
"We should be hanging onto these standards and rights and showing them to the rest of the world."
"Employees made many sacrifices in an attempt to keep the operation viable."
To remain competitive with the Chinese the Australian Topmaking Services would have had to run with 10 staff members.
Australian Topmaking Services workers and their families are now looking at having to leave the regional centre.
"Many are saying they don't want to, but they'll have to," says Dawson, who has lived in Parkes for 32 years. His young family may also face the joining the exodus.
Dawson and his co-worker, Geoff Smith, drove 300 kilometres to tell delegates at the state ALP Conference of the "catastrophic" effect the closure of the plant will have on their community.
"There's an attempt here to reduce our wages," says Dawson. "Is it going to come to the point where our sheep get shorn there and are cut up into chops and sent back here because it's cheaper?"
The Australian Topmaking Services textile workers have secured a redundancy package over and above the agreement, which they put down to the efforts of their union, the TCFUA.
"The collective bargaining system that worked at Austop was a success," says Dawson.
Local Independent MP for Dubbo, Dawn Fardell, has also backed them, coming out "unambiguously" against the IR changes, according to Dawson.
"We need practical support so people have a future," says Dawson, who is surprised by the silence from John Cobb. "We haven't heard anything from him. Not even a facsimile."
The news comes as textile manufacturer Gale Pacific announced that around 100 jobs would go to China from it's Melbourne plant.
The Finance Sector Union, representing 15,000 CBA staff, is seeking a clear the air meeting with Norris, a Kiwi with form.
Norris was a key figure in New Zealand's Business Roundtable, a powerful lobby group that engineered that country's radical Employment Contracts Act.
In the 1990s he shook the New Zealand banking industry, by introducting individual contracts and seven-day opening at the Auckland Savings Bank.
Norris comes to the multi-million dollar chief executive's position as Australian shareholders demand workers' heads to pay for a dizzying round of corporate acquisitions and mergers.
American, Solomon Trujillo, has been delivered an $11 million salary package to slash costs before the federal government privatises Telstra.
Business analysts are urging Australia's largest company to punt another 10,000 people to make it more attractive to investors.
Competitor, Optus, has announced it will try to compete with a minimum of 370 scalps.
It has already started a national round of sackings expected to deliver 220 bodies, ahead of plans to close an outsourced call centre that will see 150 Tasmanian jobs exported to a low-cost Indian operator.
The National Australia Bank, still suffering the fallout of last year's foreign currency debacle and board room wrangling, has already offered the market a sweetener of 2000 Aussie jobs.
Fosters Group is expected to cut hard and often to fund its debt-laden takeover of major competitor, Southcorp.
Fosters stumped up $3.2 billion to eliminate the rival and is expected to announce major job cuts after a two-month review of the combined operation.
Australia's most profitable company, BHP Billiton, will start paying off the $9.2 billion it outlaid to eliminate WMC Resources by applying the bullet to at least 600 members of WMC's management and middle-management teams.
Dairy Farmers hopes the elimination of 20 percent of its workforce will boost its coming sharemarket float. The producer of Ski yoghurt, Coon and Cracker Barrel cheeses, has already announced it will dump 460 Australians.
International giant "Nestle" has promised to axe 147 Victorians as it moves to "rationalise" its operation.
Norris was brought to Australia to replace retiring CBA chief executive, David Murray.
Chinese Takeaways Explode
Meanwhile, the federal government's desire for a no-minimum-standards trade deal with China has delivered up another 600 car component positions.
AMWU members at Trico, Melbourne, downed tools after learning 160 of their jobs would be exported to China, a country that refuses to sign off on core labour standards.
Across town, seatbelt and airbag maker Autoliv, targeted another 65 jobs as part of its move to punt 450 people by the end of next year.
Last month, Workers Online reported that the proposed free trade agreement had cost more than 1000 people work at two NSW car component companies.
Representatives of Trico and Autoliv said, last week, they had no alternative to moving operations to China.
This week his plight was outed when the cleaning contractor that turned a blind eye to the employment practices of its subbies scored the LHMU's annual Toilet Brush Award.
Quad Services was hired to clean the Belconnen Leagues Club but outsourced its duties to subcontractors, including Sues Cleaning Services.
The LHMU said Quad refused hold Sues accountable for the below award wages paid to its staff, one of whom was father of three Peter Ippolitti.
Ippolitti cleaned the Belconnen Leagues Club as a second job to help pay of his mortgage and support his family, the LHMU said.
He endured 4am starts in addition to his day job for four months before the ACT Magistrate's Court ordered Sues to pay him $2000 in underpaid wages and interest.
When Sue's disappeared it was Quad's refusal to reveal its location that cemented Quad's position as the winner of the 2005 Toilet Brush, said LMHU cleaning division secretary Gil Anderson.
"Quad is perpetuating a conspiracy of silence by keeping the subcontractor's location to itself.
"Regardless of whether he has the money or not the moral imperative is on Quad Services as they are making money out of the cleaning contract," he said.
All of the mainstream cleaning companies had signed the ACT Cleaning Industries Code of Best Employment Practice, which requires companies using subcontractors to consult with the union to ensure correct wages are being paid.
Anderson said Quad's refusal to sign gave it an unfair advantage.
The Leagues Club was also approached to sign the Code and were currently considering their position, he said.
He won a claim against NSW Police after the practical joke left him with permanent ringing in his ears.
The NSW Industrial Relations Commission found the police had no systems in place to ensure sirens were used safety.
The commission rejected police claims that a noise policy, providing information, training and hearing protection, would not have prevented the incident.
Current Workcover legislation provides compensation for industrial deafness sustained over long periods but does not recognise exposure to sudden, loud noises.
The Public Service Association (PSA) ran the case for the technician. It is seeking to have injury from short, sharp noises added to Workcover legislation and regulations.
The technician could not continue in his job because of the injury.
A penalty hearing against NSW Police will take place on July 7.
The TV and radio advertisements, to run in all capital cities and regional areas, are designed to raise awareness that the human costs of the work changes.
The advertisements show how taking away rights to unfair dismissal can wreak havoc on Australian families and how individual contracts will undermine job security and take home pay.
ACTU President Sharan Burrow says research shows that few Australians were aware of the changes being proposed - but that once they understood the changes they overwhelmingly opposed them.
"Now that he has control of the Senate John Howard is trying to take away workers' rights by pushing through complex legal changes with little public debate," Burrow says.
"The challenge for unions is to make the public aware about what is at stake and hold the government accountable for this attack on working families."
The advertising campaign will be backed by action in workplaces and communities around the nation, as unions mobilise opposition to the changes.
"Making work less secure impacts on families and the community. These laws are not just an attack on unions they are and attack on the living standards of every Australian worker. They would be a backward step for working families at a time when many of them are already struggling just to keep their heads above water", Ms Burrow said.
The workplace changes announced by the Federal Government include plans to:
The Americans have imprisoned union leaders without trial and raided workers' offices, while 10 union reps have been assassinated by insurgents.
Representatives of six Iraqi unions arrived in the US this week to plead workers' rights to be respect in the new American-driven constitution.
"We need to get our voices heard and by coming to the United States we hope this will happen," said Adnan Rashed of the Mechanics, Printing and Metal Workers Union.
"We are trying so hard to organise workers and make our lives better."
Speaking at a new conference, the six said efforts to improve workers' lives had been actively opposed by foreign companies, insurgents, the US and Iraqi military.
Rashed said eight union activists were arrested by US forces in 2003 and held, without trial, for seven months until their release. He said offices had been raided and shout down by the military and a least 10 others had been tortured and killed by insurgents.
Falah Alwan of the Iraq Federation of Workers Councils cited a case where a woman working at a grain silo, had been labelled mentally unstable, for helping organise protests.
Faleh Abbood Umara of the General Union of Oil Workers said his union had opposed the introduction of US companies like Halliburton to Iraq, and continued to organise opposition to the US plan for privatisation of his country's oil resources.
The unionists are taking their message to 20 American cities before returning home on June 26.
Dogs Join Teamsters
Two Iowa dogs have been inducted into the Teamsters Union.
Echo, a yellow labrador, and Hank, a mongrel, were given honorary union cards--after uncovering more than $16 million in cocaine and marijuana during a recent vehicle search.
The police dogs' handlers are full members of the Teamsters Union.
Workers Online understands both canines were marked for "euthenasia" before being rescued from a Polk County pound.
The racket has been going on for decades with BHP and Rio Tinto paying discounted royalties under a deal thrashed out with a conservative government in the 1960s, despite a 70 percent jump in iron ore prices this year, alone.
The AMWU is back state government calls for the world's two biggest mining companies to pay the same rates as other operators.
"The non-payment of appropriate royalties has provided another way for these companies to avoid investing in WA," AMWU state secretary, Jock Ferguson, said.
"We already have a major problem with minerals companies exporting as many jobs overseas as possible.
"While these companies have taken billions of dollars out of WA, they repeatedly short change the community on jobs, opportunities and now facilities and services."
He said big mineral companies BHP Billiton, CRA and Woodside had taken conscious decisions to export more than 2000 skilled jobs out of the state.
Ferguson was backing State Development Minister, Alan Carpenter, who has drawn hostile fire from the minerals companies for suggesting they pay royalties at the same rates as competitors.
The rationale for giving BHP and Rio Tinto, now CRA, discounts was that, at the time, there was little demand for WA ore.
BHP was also encouraged by rent-free access to thousands of Pilbara hectares for 15 years.
In the past five years, however, demand and price for fine ore has rocketed.
BHP sales to China, alone, have gone from $US600 million to $3.25 billion in the space of three years.
BHP and CSR are demanding price increases of up to 100 percent from buyers.
"It's time these companies were forced to develop strategies that ensure investment in WA," Ferguson said. "We want local content strategies that ensure more fabrication and manufacturing is done in WA so the community receives some tangible benefits from our resources.
The newspaper, twice warned about bullying behaviour, has told new staff they can have only have a job if they sign an AWA, says the Media Entertainment and Arts Alliance.
MEAA WA branch secretary Michael Sinclair-Jones says management refers to the documents as "No-Strike AWAs".
They require journalists to work if colleagues go on strike and remove a number of existing benefits, including an entitlement to six weeks annual leave, independent dispute resolution, and the right to have overtime payments fairly calculated.
"The AWAs introduce a set rate to compensate for overtime but there is no measure of how much overtime is considered unreasonable," Sinclair-Jones says.
"This makes a mockery of the Federal Government's claims that AWA's offer flexibility of employment. In practice they force a take it or leave it situation.
"The concern we have is that instead of having pay rises on merit, journalists are now being asked to sign away their hard won rights to advance in their careers."
Sinclair-Jones says this is particularly unfair on cadet journalists, who are being assigned to AWAs as little as 12 months long.
"Signing 12 months AWAs is contrary to the established practice of providing long-term career opportunities to industry newcomers and training journalists. It assigns them no faith in their future."
The MEAA believes insistence on signing the AWAs is a deliberate attempt to undermine journalists' bargaining power when their collective agreement expires next year. But Sinclair-Jones says the tactic is likely to backfire.
"Using AWAs creates a workplace climate driven by insecurity and uncertainly because people don't know if they are going to have their jobs once they expire. This has an impact on morale and productivity.
"People are singing them because they have no choice," he says.
The MEAA is urging members to contact their union if they are offered AWAs so it can act as their bargaining agent.
Staff can't understand Workplace Relations Minister Kevin Andrews' promotion of "choice" in industrial relations reform, while removing choice in his own department.
The department is delaying the negotiation of a collective agreement for current staff, while new staff onto non-union AWAs.
"Mr Andrews was saying everyone has a choice between a collective agreement an individual agreement, well excuse me, but this is wrong," a public servant of over 25 years, told the crowd of DEWR workers at Sydney's Belmore Park.
She was identified only as "Wendy" because public servants are forced to sign agreements preventing them from speaking out.
"I feel my department has a totally political agenda. I feel the workers are suffering because of this," she said.
DEWR's collective agreement expired last December, but negotiations have been delayed by management conditions and a lack of consultation with the workforce.
Community and Public Sector Union spokesperson Lisa Newman warned DEWR was at the thin end of Andrews' industrial relations wedge.
"Our fear is what's happening in DEWR is going to be rolled across the entire public service," she said.
Mr Mark said the changes would see fewer people volunteering because of lost flexibility in working hours. This robbed communities of community-building activities like sport.
He said soccer was already losing volunteers because of parents' work commitments.
"We have junior kids who start training at four in the afternoon and its very hard to find parents to volunteer," Mr Mark said.
Finding volunteers was not just a problem for soccer.
"Volunteering is just generally dying - people want something for things that they do."
He said if the situation continues, soccer would have to start paying people, making the game more expensive to play.
"I don't think sport will die, it just wont grow."
"We'll have to start paying people and playing the game will become much more expensive."
Rail, Tram and Bus Union and Electrical Trades Union members are fighting a RailCorp decision to allow unqualified contractors to perform work on overhead electrical lines.
RailCorp's new rules put the public, contractors and RailCorp employees at risk of electrocution and being hit by falling objects, according to RTBU Infrastructure secretary Gary Talbot.
He said the failure of RailCorp to stick with qualification standards that they signed off on after a worker was hit from above in 1999 could see a similar incident occur.
"Railcorp is more concerned about lessening standard than maintaining it,'' Talbot said.
In its submission to the Australian Industrial Relations Commission last week, the RTBU said the lessons from the Granville and Waterfall train disasters had not been learnt, with RailCorp failing to properly consult with workers or the Occupational Health and Safety Committee about the decision to waiver qualifications for contractors.
The RTBU has also criticised RailCorp's failure to head-off a skill shortage by not training enough apprentice linesmen.
At the Australian Industrial Relations Commission hearing Commissioner Larkin recommended the parties continue to consult on the matter.
"These companies are giants on an international scale and they are riding a minerals boom for all it is worth."
Call 9264 1691 for details of the venue closest to you Live Sky-Channel Hook Up
Say NO to Howard's Attack on your rights at work
APHEDA Raffle Winner
The winners of the Union Aid Abroad - APHEDA 2005 Raffle are:
1st Prize Trip Around the World for two was won by Gail Gajewski the Office Administrator with the Australian Licenced Aircraft Engineers Association (ALAEA). 2nd Prize a Laptop Computer was won by Cookie Lloyd from Thirroul in NSW.
Prize of a TV for selling the winning ticket was won by Chris Ryan from ALAEA. A prize of a TV for selling the most tickets was won by Ms Kari Kristiansen from Wombarra, NSW.
Many thanks to all who sold tickets, to all unions who distributed the flyer to their delegates, and to our great sponsors, Members Equity, ACTU Member Connect, and Virtual Communities.
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?
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 Canberra's political elites at The Street Theatre (July 20 -30). Bookings: 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
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
Workers rights union rights your rights
2-5 PM Saturday 18 June 2005 Tom Mann Theatre 136 Chalmers St Surry Hills
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 wider community.
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.
Lee Rhiannon MLC
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
While I do agree with the figures bandied about as to four million workers losing their protection from unfair dismissal, the articulation of this legislation was enabled, through the betrayal of Union and ALP members by the career politicians who have purloined the captaincy of these previously vehicles of social justice.
These ongoing effects of this betrayal will eventually surpass those of the great schism of the 1954 -1955, leaving the ALP and the Unions in the Political and Industrial wilderness for years to come, if not decades.
While, I can also find no reason to dispute the argument that this journey will result a reduction in wages, it is not the ultimate goal, but an integral component of a long term plan, which has been on the liberal agenda for many years.
Sadly there are many who still assume that they will be immune from this legislation, including several of my comrades‚ still working under the umbrella of Living City Services ˆ who contract for Sydney City Council.
The consensus for these chappies is that Sydney City employs more than 100 employees, so they will be protected from this insidious legislation , regrettably for them, they are employed in legally separate business units , most of which are under the 100 employee mark.
This agreed to structure was also part of the bigger picture, which those negotiating with the previous administrations refused to acknowledge, through possible incompetence and ignorance both deliberate and not.
While a blame game may satisfy some , the reality is that if the ALP , and the Unions , do not form a united front , not through pandering to special interest groups , but though the very essence of democracy , which is „Populism‰ , they will be , as the biblical Children of Israel , lead into the wilderness for 40 years.
Which some may say is what they deserve.
Somewhere, in the USA, there is a greedy, arrogant factory owner, who thgt he did'nt have to bother w/safety standards.He owns a place called "Rathole Inc"
Somewhere,in the USA is an unemployment "Adjudication Specialist" who thgt 'Rathole Inc' was'nt such a bad place to work, despite numerous safety violations & a perchant on the owner's part for verbal abuse,lies & slander.
Somewhere,in the USA,is an unemployment appeals referee who thinks verbal abuse is aceptable on an employer's part because of the "stresses of managagtorial duties"
Somewhere,in the USA,is a state dept of labour,so corrupt that they feel free to ignore a working woman's holler for justice.
And somewhere,in the USA,is a woman, w/a permantly mangled finger, laid off from her currant job for lack of work, unable to collect unemployment insurance, because of the corruption & bias in the DOL-who will get maybe-$4000.00 as a workman's comp settlement-eventually.
Now guess who is worried about losing their home? Mr.Palmer is 100% right. Do not let them geld you like that! Fight this pernicious bill that wld deny private legal action against negligiant employers. They deserve to be sued for every penny they have & then some-these are peoples lives they are playing fast & loose with.
I was shocked to hear the defected Chinese diplomat, Mr Chen Honglin, speaking at the June 4 rally in Sydney last Saturday. However, I was not surprised to learn that there are some 1000 Chinese Communist spies in Australia who have been reporting on and harassing Falun Gong practitioners.
During the Chinese New Year holidays in January this year my wife and son went to visit our parents in China.. The day after my wife arrived in our hometown in southern China, two Chinese secret policemen came to my parents‚ home and tricked my wife to go with them to a local hotel, where she was questioned for several hours in the hope to persuade her to report on me because I am a Falun Gong practitioner and have been appealing in public to stop the persecution of Falun Gong in China. The secret police apparently know every minute detail of our family in Australia and our extended families in China.
If there are no Chinese spies in Australia, as Ambassador Fu claimed on ABC, who else could have reported on me? The Chinese Communist Party has been very skilled in telling lies which must be stopped.
Your readers might be interested in my recently published book :"Jack Lang and the Great Depression" and the lesson it provides when a NSW Labor government takes on a Federal anti-labor government over spending revenue for the good of the NSW people in a measure to which Canberra violently objects. Cover of book attached
Dr Frank Cain
Uni of New South Wales
"The war by the Commonwealth Liberal Party-led government on the NSW Labor government over how the State conducts its finances for the good of its citizens is not a new phenomenon. There was a precursor to it in 1931-2 when the Lang Labor government took on the Lyon's-led United Australia Party government, the forebear to the Liberal Party, to defend its right to pay sustenance to the 30 per cent unemployed in NSW against the Commonwealth's objections. This is described in considerable detail in a new book by Frank Cain "Jack Lang and the Great Depression" published recently by Australian Scholarly Press in Melbourne.
The book discusses how the roots of the Depression are to be found in the unhappy way in which the states surrendered their revenues to the new Commonwealth government when writing the Australian Constitution before 1901 on the understanding that the Feds would pay most of the money back to them. This did not happen and by the time the Great Depression arrived in the 1930s the States were practically broke and the Feds refused to help them financially. Lang diverted the monies, earmarked to repay loans raised through the Loan Council, to fund sustenance for the NSW unemployed. He was getting away with his plan until the NSW Governor, a British aristocratic figure, Sir Philip Game, illegally and unconstitutionally sacked him and appointed the leader of the Liberal Party as Premier pending general elections which Jack Lang's Labor Party lost.
There are echoes there today in the struggle between Bob Carr for NSW and the anti-Labor federal government. While it is unlikely that the federal anti-Laborites will be able to persuade the NSW Governor sack Bob Carr on this occasion, it is likely that they have something illegal up their sleeve to deal with a Labor government to which it has taken a deep dislike."
Evans Jones' article 'Infra Structure Blues'(Workers Online, May 2005)is a stark analysis of 'tax farming' at work. 'Tax farming' is only possible when there is monopoly control of essential goods or services. It has been the basis of imperialism in history. The British had the salt monopoly in India until Gandhi did the 'Salt March'. China's first Emperor Chin Shih Wang controlled his subjects on pain of death if anyone undermined the state's salt monopoly. James Watt in having to travel from Edinburgh to London to raise capital for his steam engine even commented on the inumerable private tolls he had to pay along the way. In colonial Malaya the British administration as a matter of policy have raised revenue by farming out monopolies on opium dens, prostitution dens and gambling dens. The succesful bidders were invariably the racketeers and 'scumbags' themselves. Fast forward Australia post-Hilmer, the British imperial legacy of 'tax farming' is alive and well. Only the faces have changed. Corporate greed will do very well for itself even without outside help. But when government lends a hand we have a new breed of welfare recipients the likes of whom we have not seen.
Y K Yau
While the idea of delivering union members' hard earned money to the media moguls may be difficult for some to take, it is an opportunity to put forward a clear message to the public, undiluted by the biases of the mainstream press.
Having been involved in the development and production of the advertisements I may be a little biased, but I think they represent a quantum leap in the way unions confront a political battle.
First, the scope of the campaign: $8 million is a significant advertising buy - more than half the buy for major party in a federal election, or the sort of spend a middling corporation would invest when launching a new product.
And it is only the first phase of a sustained campaign that will roll out over the next 12 months, as anger grows at this blatant attack on basic rights that we have taken for granted for far too long.
Second, the focus of the campaign which has one simple objective: to raise awareness about the changes - the threshold first step to building community opposition to the Howard Government.
And you won't see the word 'union' mentioned once. These advertisements focus on the lives of working people and the clear, quantifiable able rights that they will lose under the new laws.
Third, the use of advertising outside the traditional electoral cycle to raise political issues: most organisations wait until an election is called to bombard the electorate with their information.
Part of the thinking of this campaign is to use the time outside this cycle to raise awareness about an issue - rights at work - and elevate it into an issue that will shift votes come election time.
No one suggests that these advertisements will in and of themselves shift the Howard Government from its course. But they will be backed by industrial and community action that creates the momentum to give the paid media real firepower
Now there will be a number of union members who see this sort of campaigning as a soft option - that the only way to stand up to the changes is through strike action.
But think about this - an average worker forgoes $200 a day when they go on strike; an action that makes those involved feel good but invariably turns public opinion against their cause.
This major advertising campaign is being funded by a levy on unions of $3 per member. Get a sense of the impact of this and then times it by seventy - and dream about that sort grunt the movement can have if we channel our anger strategically.