|Issue No 27||20 August 1999|
Civil Libertarian Support Sought Against "Big Brother"
By Bernadette Maloney
- CFMEU media office
The CFMEU has written to the Victorian and NSW Councils for Civil Liberties to draw their attention to the Employment Advocate's attack on the display of union posters on construction sites.
The OEA has given one company 24 hours notice to remove the posters or it will commence proceedings in the Federal Court. The signs in question include the following words: "ON THIS JOB WE AIM TO BE 100% UNION" and "For workers to refuse to be financial in the union is not to exercise a democratic freedom, it is to accept benefits that others have worked for without contributing to the costs."
Others contain trenchant criticism of the policies of Workplace Relations Minister Peter Reith.
"Clearly there is nothing unlawful about these signs," said John Sutton, National Secretary of the CFMEU Construction & General Division.
"They are, in fact, one of the hallmarks of a reasonably open society where people are able to engage in political debate in public without fear of recriminations."
"If a group of workers feel strongly enough about issues to erect signs at their workplace which express their views, surely, in the absence of a contravention of any law, no government agency should censor those views.
"That such heavy handedness is justified by Reith's Advocate as being in support of various 'freedoms' in the workplace, gives the whole episode a particularly Orwellian resonance," said Mr Sutton.
"Peter Reith not only wants to deny workers their proper entitlements; he'd gag them from expressing their views as well.
This episode comes at the same time as he is spending millions of taxpayers dollars on advertisements claiming he supports freedom of expression and association."
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Last Modified: 15 Nov 2005