It was the week that the labour movement was to ramp up its defence of working rights for the Australian people; a week when the media was poised to focus on the impact of undiluted power for the Howard Government; a week when the momentum created by the union movement could finally be harnessed by the ALP.
At least that was what it was supposed to be. Until Mark Latham let spray at the Party that had made him everything he was , before he imploded in a cloud of self-obsession, blaming everyone but himself for his failure to win the last election.
Press conferences called to highlight the attack on workers rights have been hijacked by the Latham story all week. When Kim Beazley meets childcare workers to talk about the attack on the minimum wage, the story is Latham. When Bob Carr vows to protect the award rights of NSW public servants, the story is Latham. He's been stealing oxygen our all week - the ultimate revenge for a leader who never much cared for the union movement.
Was the timing of this biography deliberate? In fairness, probably not; but the statements he shared were calculated to undermine the Beazley leadership a time when Blind Freddy could tell the movement would be needing all the unity it could muster
And this is the point that seems to have been missed this well: Mark Latham's failure to hold the Senate is the very reason working people and the union movement are in the firing line today. That his inability to accept this failure has undermined the union's Week of Action means that this sorry spectacle is not just his tragedy, it's ours as well. It was the act of a B-grade arsehole
Of course, this is just the first act of the Latham retrospective - his personal diaries are still to come and we're already taking bets about who will cop the vitriol.
Which reminds me of my own run-in with Mark, at a Labor Party Conference a few years ago. Long-term Workers Online readers may remember his last visit to the Shed, after releasing an 'idea's paper' speculating that the stairway to nirvana for workers was, well, speculation. It gave rise to this missive - http://workers.labor.net.au/135/d_pierswatch_latham.html - that I'm still rather proud of.
Only problem was Tony Abbott liked it too and next thing I knew he was reading it onto Hansard. This was not the idea and I had wanted to square up to Mark and apologise for letting thing get out of hand. Next thing I new I was in the middle of a verbal barrage, of an intensity I had never experienced before. I can't remember the exact words but the parting shot was along the lines of - "You are the biggest rat in the labour movement. Go on, fark off!" I can only repay the compliment with interest.
Its Department of Employment and Workplace Relations has sent letters to the homes of around 100 people from Visy Cartons�, Broadmeadows, warning each that they face "a maximum penalty of 60 penalty units ($6600)" for joining the campaign against James Hardie.
AMWU state secretary, Dave Oliver, called the government's position "disgraceful".
"The Howard Government wants to prosecute workers who had the gumption to stand up for dying Australians by trying to make James Hardie meet its responsibilities," Oliver said.
"I thought Australia was a democracy. This business of penalising people's families because they had the courage to attend a political rally is disgraceful."
The Visy workers joined a massive trade union campaign that forced James Hardie to punt its chief executive, issue apologies, and strike a deal delivering asbestos-disease sufferers more than $1.5 billion.
The company had tried to dodge its obligations by undertaking a complex restructure and moving its head office to Holland, away from the reach of Australian law.
A Commission of Inquiry found James Hardie had misled the Supreme Court, the NSW government, asbestos disease sufferers, and the general public.
Visy, a private company run by billionaire Richard Pratt, won Section 127 Orders preventing its employees from joining the outcry against James Hardie's behaviour, last September.
The orders were granted under Howard Government laws that make political stoppages, or even meetings, illegal.
Oliver said members felt so strong about James Hardie's behaviour they had attended the rally.
The AMWU supported them and, after negotiations, Visy agreed to shelve legal action.
However, Workplace Relations Minister Kevin Andrews' department had come in over the company and taken over the prosecutions.
Workers Online understands that Visy has asked the department to drop the actions but that it has declined.
Each worker has been accused of failing to "complete a full shift" on September 15, 2004.
James Hardie is a member of the Business Council of Australia, a key voice in the chorus promoting John Howard's workplace change program.
Mark McGrath, who was employed by the HIA on an AWA (Australian Workplace Agreement), was bought four cans of bourbon by a contractor on the way home from work to make up for unpaid overtime.
When McGrath, his father and co-workers went to HIA's Sydney headquarters to demand answers the doors were locked.
McGrath signed an Australian Workplace Agreement with HIA after his previous employer went belly up.
The contract with HIA, which has a policy of forcing apprentices onto AWAs, took away McGrath's rights to overtime and rostered days off.
"I didn't know what an AWA was or even know I was signing one," McGrath said.
His father said it left a sour taste in his mouth to find that his son's bosses were paying him in alcohol.
"How many other apprentices are out there in the same situation?" he asked.
Unions NSW secretary John Robertson said dodgy workplace practice would be something Australia saw more of with the Government encouraging AWAs.
"If John Howard pushes these laws through even more workers are going to find themselves exposed to this kind of exploitation, this sort of pressure, this sort of intimidation by employers to sign individual contracts," Robertson said.
The Housing Industry Association employs about 500 apprentices on individual contracts. It is a key backer of Howard's workplace relations campaign and was an active supporter of the discredited Cole Commission into the Building and Construction Industry.
The National Council of Churches, which includes the leaders of 15 religions, wants a meeting with Prime Minister.
"If this is about Australia remaining competitive as a nation, as Mr Howard has said, then it should not be achieved at the expense of Australian workers and their families," NCCA general secretary, Reverend John Henderson, said.
"The value of each worker is not as a commodity, but as a person, a human being loved by God. Our community has values that are more important than economics."
The council has called on the federal government to "slow down and step back from its apparent haste".
It sought a summit as Melbourne Anglican Bishop, Philip Huggins, labelled the Howard agenda "unfair".
Huggins told an ecumenical service, attended by Victorian church and union leaders, that Howard's rationale for radical change didn't wash.
The Bishop said the Prime Minister was on the record claiming unemployment at a 30-year low and industrial disputation at a 90- year low.
"It is plainly, by his own criteria, a system that is working well," Bishop Huggins said.
Catholic Auxillary Bishop of Canberra and Goulburn, Pat Power, last night took part in a union-organised forum on the changes.
Bishop Power said he feared the changes would cost some Australians their jobs.
The developments came a fortnight after a leading Uniting Church figure called elements of the Howard package "immoral".
"People are not commodoties in the service of greater profits and should not be exploited. The Government's decision to strip workers of their rights to challenge unfair dismissals is immoral" the Rev Elaine Poulas said.
Australia's largest christian faiths, the Catholic, Uniting and Anglican churches, are all members of the NCCA.
The message board, normally the exclusive domain of fashion and beauty tips, was full of comments from fashionistas aghast at the proposed changes.
"I don't like it. I don't want an AWA. I want unfair dismissal protection," was one comment written under the dot com de plume of 'hornbaghead'.
"I want unfair dismissal Protection Too. Who Doesn't?" says Faux Fuschia, while many other posters on the message boards were craving more detail of the changes and even talking about their own real-life workplace examples.
"From a person that worked in an organisation for four years that had a tyrant of a boss who sacked five people in six months for no reason (and faced five unfair dismissal cases against the organisation) I think its really quite frightening,' says Ms Chi Chi. "Our organisation had around 40 people working for it, well under the "100" that would face the new laws. New changes do not protect workers at all. I've seen some of my closest friends lose their jobs for stupid personality clashes!!!"
"I used to work at a gym which fired a fitness instructor for not wearing make up," says Boffin. "She was "warned" a couple of times that she was expected to wear make up because it "looked attractive and professional" and when she refused she was fired. And it was legal to dismiss her because she was a casual employee."
A comment receiving a lot of positive reaction came from EowynStar: "Should the rights of an employee depend on the goodwill/ personality/ ethics/ whims of each individual employer or should workers' rights be protected by law?
"I go for the second option."
The Vogue site wasn't alone on the net as a site addressing the workplace laws. 35754 people, or 70% of respondents, gave the thumbs down to Howard's workplace laws at an online NineMSN Poll. While over at the Sky News website, a poll asking if the ACTU should do "whatever it takes" to stop the changes received backing from 82% of respondents.
The Vogue message board is available online at http://www.vogue.com.au/forums/showthread.php?t=107900
Big employers, Australia Post, Holden and Glaxo Kline were amongst more than a dozen companies that sought 127 orders against their own employees in a bid to stop them joining last Thursday�s rally that shut central Melbourne.
Ironically, they ran their cases in the same IRC that would be stripped of its powers if Workplace Relations Minister, Kevin Andrews, gets his Bills through federal parliament.
Government-owned Australia Post gained an order on Tuesday preventing the CEPU from inciting, advising, persuading or encouraging anyone to join the protest.
It informed employees it would use in-house doctors to check the medical certificates of anyone who called in sick on the day.
Holden, on the other hand, failed in its bid to stop staff raising their voices against the government's workplace agenda.
AIRC's Commissioner Len Hingley, said he refused to stop Holden workers attending the rally because it was a one-off and issuing an order would have stymied workers' freedom of association and expression.
Business is expected to be the immediate beneficiary of Canberra's plan to hold down wages, strip more than four million Australians of the right to challenge unfair dismissals, and replace collective agreements with individual contracts.
Although their city had been declared a disaster zone, people battled to several venues to hear about the campaign on a Sky Channell broadcast that linked 220 venues.
Local organiser Michael Flinn said although people were subdued because of their circumstance, they were determined to play a role in the campaign.
The 200 who gathered at Lismore Workers Club made an impromptu march to the local Nationals member's office after the meeting, although the official rally had been abandoned because of the flood. Another rally is planned for July 19.
In Sydney, 20,000 people gathered at Town Hall to hear rank and file workers speak out in defence of rights to collective bargaining and access to unjustified dismissal. As well, people were dispersed in various locations around the inner the city. The Sydney of City RSL, South Sydney Leagues, and venues in Surry Hills, Coogee, Drummoyne and Stanmore linked into the main meeting.
The NSW action came hot on the heels of rallies around the country.
Melbourne had 120,000 marching through the city centre, last Thursday, while Brisbane had 20,000, Perth had 15,000, Adelaide had 5000, Hobart had 3000 and Darwin had 2000.
The Sydney rally wrapped up a week of action that started with almost 3000 mining and construction workers in the Pilbara in Western Australia striking against the Federal Government's proposed industrial relations changes.
Derek, I agree with you wholeheartedly, particualry your view that a strike is a tactic in any struggle. I guess that is the point. The overall strategy is, as you correctly pointed out, not a 'soft option', but one designed to raise education and awareness. This is even more important, given that it appears Howard and his cronies are preparing to spend $20 million dollars of taxpayers money to 'reassure' voters that the attacks on their rights at work 'won't hurt a bit'!
The issue about industrial action, including strikes, is however a tactical one. In my view, the issue always is, what purpose does any proposed strike serve? Is to raise awareness, to allow angry workers to 'vent' their understandable rage at this attack, or to achieve leverage over our oppponents, including employers? I think once we have answered the question as to the purpose of any proposed industrial action, its usefulness or otherwise becomes clearer. I agree with you that no action should be ruled out in this camapign (other than actions that endanger the life or limb of another human being)however, the issue of which actions are appropriate need to be answered in in relation to their goals and purpose.
I for one, would love nothing more than a general stoppage which would bring production in the country to a halt! However just writing this makes me realise how futile at the moment this desire is. It is futile, not because workers can't stop work, but because the only workers at the moment who would conceivably do it, are those already organised. I don't think that point needs labouring here. However, we could think a bit more about how we turn the community camapign to a number of 'actions' that involve workers doing something in solidarity with each other, starting with small things and developing into something bigger. One thing I think we should all keep in mind. In France and Italy with unionisation rates at or below those in Australia, broad social movements manage to bring those countries to a standstill from time to time over issues that mobilise large numbers of people. It is not that the trade union movements in those countries have big numbers as such. But they a!
re able to mobilise and lead large numbers of peole, far beyond the numbers of people who actually belong to them. Could we think about this kind of approach and try and work through how we might build to a similar position?
Yours in solidarity,
The workers say they'd be more than happy to go to arbitration, but under the laws introduced by Baldwin's government it remains up to Boeing rather than the workers or the industrial umpire.
The Boeing employees have already been to the Australian Industrial Relations Commission (AIRC) three times but under the Workplace Relations Act AIRC hands are tied until the employer applies to terminate the bargaining period.
Facing a 43-hour working week, no overtime and no leave loading on individual contracts, Boeing employees at Williamstown RAAF base remain outside the gates in pursuit of a collective agreement.
Gonzalo Sanjuan, a 23 year-old immigrant from Chile, walked out the gate to join the picketers after reaching his three-month probationary period with Boeing, saying the issue was a "matter of principle".
More disturbing for the forty-two workers has been the arrival of seventeen Boeing scabs from RAAF Amberley in Queensland.
"Boeing are slowly exposing the reality of individual contracts," says John Boyd from the picket line. "They are pitting mate against mate.
"This is one State of Origin we didn't want to see."
NSW Minister for Industrial Relations, John Della Bosca, said the Boeing dispute was a perfect example of the unproductive conflict ahead should the Howard Government proceed with its industrial relations takeover.
"It underlines the problem in the industrial relations debate, when even a member of Mr Howard's own Government doesn't understand how bad his policy really is."
"Ninety-one per cent of the employer lockouts in Australia now occur under the Federal system. It's characterised by conflict, lasting disputes and a complete absence of a fair go."
University workers are running targeted radio ads on local FM stations popular with teenagers spelling out what the impact of the job cuts will be.
"This will take us back 30 years," says Bert Groen of the National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU) of the job cuts. "People will have to leave Newcastle to get an education. I had to do that. I don't want my kids to have to do that.
"The federal government is trying to dumb down the Hunter."
Over 200 people rallied at Newcastle City Hall last week to express their concern.
The University of Newcastle has earmarked 450 jobs for the chop to deal with budget problems.
Speakers pointed out that this problem stemmed from a lack of federal funding, slamming the government's move to tie funding to controversial IR changes with Senator Kerry Nettle describing the move as "economic blackmail".
Newcastle students and staff maintain there are more sensible means of addressing the deficit caused by years of chronic under-funding by the Federal Government.
"The stalls staff and students organised over the weekend were a resounding success, with people queuing up to sign the petition".
"It is also fitting that this public meeting is being held in a week in which the union movement nationally is campaigning against the Howard Government's attacks on the workplace rights of all Australian workers and their families. It is an example of where another area of the Government's policy, that of higher education funding, has led to a very real and immediate threat to the job security of so many workers in Newcastle and the Central Coast," says Groen.
Groen will be part of a delegation to Local federal MP Bob Baldwin
Unsettled by the success of union resistance, including targeted advertising, Canberra has announced it will spend taxpayers' money on a direct mailout and a counter television campaign.
Government MPs will distribute a full colour, eight page brochure to households using their recently-increased mailing allowances but the real money will go on an advertising campaign that insiders predict will dwarf the ACTU's $8 million spend.
When the government was in political trouble over GST and Medicare it saturated the airwaves with "advertising", spending upwards of $20 million.
Advertising agency sources expect the federal government to spend even more on workplace relations in an effort to win back ground after the Minister's own department was sprung forcing new starters to sign individual contracts, and standing over existing staff.
A key element of Andrews' sales pitch has been "freedom of choice" but last week's revelations undermined that position.
The aggressive Chamber of Commerce and Industry has confirmed it will also launch a campaign backing the federal government agenda.
The decision came after a meeting of business heavyweights in Melbourne, last week.
The ACCI was a leading petitioner for a radical rewrite of workplace laws and Andrews has incorporated much of its wish-list in his legislative program.
The organisation is made up of peak bodies representing most Australian employers, including master builders, retailers, airline companies, insurance houses, caterers, hotels, oil companies and the National Farmers Federation.
Chief executive, Peter Hendy, was a staffer with former Workplace Relations Minister, Peter Reith, who played an active role in the 1998 campaign that used mercenaries and dogs against waterfront workers.
Hendy said the big-businesses contribution would be a "campaign of truth".
ALAEA industrial manager Chris Ryan says the laws will increase pressure on engineers to okay aircraft that do not meet safety standards.
"Most aircraft operators employ less than 100 staff, so under the new laws, it will be easy to fire an engineer that stands up over safety," Mr Ryan said.
Mr Ryan said engineers were already under pressure to comply with carriers, but removing unfair dismissal provisions would make it worse.
He was already aware of cases when engineers were stood down because they would not approve unsafe aircraft. Engineers that get a reputation in the industry for grounding aircraft became unemployable, adding to the pressure to comply.
"They end up on the outer," Mr Ryan said.
"The ALAEA calls on the Government to
The revamped system would still be able to cover most public servants as well as small business employees.
Carr described the campaign for workplace rights as a "titanic struggle" that was a "dramatic point of difference" between the ALP and the Liberal parties.
Opposition leader John Brogden said he supports Howard's laws and that he would move quickly, if Premier, to hand workplace regulation over to the Commonwealth.
The move was slammed by NSW workplace relations minister John Della-Bosca. "Due to the changes already introduced by Mr Howard, the only way to settle disputes in the Federal system is for the employer and the workers to grind each down, until one of them breaks.
"Ninety-one per cent of the employer lockouts in Australia now occur under the Federal system. It's characterised by conflict, lasting disputes and a complete absence of a fair go.
The Labor minister pointed out that "there is no safety net, no decent minimum," under Howard's laws.
"The Prime Minister hopes Australian workers will passively accept individual contracts which erode wages and conditions and the protections we've enjoyed for generations," says Della Bosca.
Haji Gul Hassan, president of the workers union at the Quetta Serena Hotel, went on his day off to assist a union member who had a broken arm.
Management of the luxury hotel, which is owned by the Aga Khan, reacted with anger to the union president being at the hotel on his day off, firing him a week later.
When Hassan tried to submit a complaint letter to the management he was assaulted by security goons at the front of the hotel, arrested by police on management orders and held in jail.
When 60 members of the union organised a stop-work protest at the front of the hotel, they too were arrested and hauled off to jail.
The global union federation representing hotel workers, the IUF, is calling for protest emails to the owners and management of the hotel. You can show your solidarity and send an email from the
IUF web page here
You don't know what you've got till it's gone
What you can do to protect your rights
2.00pm, Saturday July 9
Great Western Highway
Blue Mountains Unions Council Inc http://bmucinc.com/
Industrial Relations Reform: Fair Go or Anything Goes?
INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS REFORM 2005
A one day conference for all who are interested in the Federal Government's
industrial relations reform agenda
Held: 13 July 2005 at Sofitel Wentworth Sydney
Confirmed speakers include:
Professor Ron McCallum, Susan Zeitz, Professor Greg Craven, Professor Andrew Stewart, Paul Munro, Elizabeth Wynhausen, Professor George Williams, Margaret Lee, Paddy Gourlay, Kathryn Heiler, Bill Mitchell
and a representative from the Australian Council of Social Service
A States and Territories Government initiative
The conference will:
_discuss the Federal Government's industrial
relations reform agenda
_ examine constitutional implications and the
relevance to federalism
_ through panel sessions, explore the
arguments from all sides of the debate
_ engage prominent thinkers and speakers in
industrial relations, constitutional law,
economics, welfare and academia
ICE Australia - 183 Albion Street Surry Hills NSW 2010
Email: [email protected] Telephone: 02 9544 9134
Fax: 02 9522 4447
For more information and to register, go to
Life Without Unions - The New Reality?
The NSW Fabio Society is conducting this forum with:
Greg Combet, Secretary ACTU
Heather Ridout, CEO AIG
When: Wednesday 20 July from 6.00pm - 7.30pm
Where: LHMU Auditorium, 187 Thomas Street, Haymarket
Chair: Peter Lewis, Editor Workers Online and Director EMC
Member of the NSW Fabian Society
Forthcoming Fabian Society Forums
August: Israel & Palestine
With: Speakers to be advised
When: Wednesday 24 August from 6.00pm to 7.30pm
Where: Gleebooks, 49 Glebe Point Road, Glebe
September: Media Reform
With: Andy Nehl & Julianne Schultz
When: Wednesday 21 September from 6.00pm to 7.30pm
Where: Theatrette NSW Parliament House
October: One Year Down &. Two to Go - Can Labor Win in 2007?
With: John Singleton & others TBA
When: Wednesday 19 October from 6.00pm to 7.30pm
Where: NSW Parliament House
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
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 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
I am a union delegate for the LHMU in Townsville. I attended the QCU rally outside our local member Peter Lyndseys office today & am very proud to be part of the union movement in this town. I am pleased to say that the rollup was incredible for the size of our comunity.Looking at the rallies in other cities in our nation I am encouraged that the union movement in Australia is strong & probably on the way up again. The strangest thing is we probably have Prime minister Howard & his partners in crime to thank for this
We can call it what we like, whether an employee recieves racial taunts, is sexually harassed, verbally abused, 'unfairly dismissed' or squeezed out of their employment- it's all about power and the obvious imbalances that already exist in many workplaces, and the effects can be devastating - the attached example is just one good reason why Mr Howard should reconsider his position.
It should also give many employers cause to pause before thinking they will soon be able to do what they like when it comes to how they interact with their employees.
The cost of psychological injuries when brought before the Supreme Court far outweighs those awarded for lost wages in industrial,anti-discrimination , or the workers compensation commissions .
In fact, many cases will begin, I would expect, to be taken to the Supreme Courts where there is no hesitation in dishing out justice and appropriate compensation.
Justice Adams said "Moreover, I have concluded that so extreme was Mr Chaloner's behaviour that he well knew, or would have known had he reflected as any reasonable man would have, that prolonged misconduct of the kind he exhibited towards the plaintiff could reasonably be expected to expose him to the real risk of such psychological injury," he said.
Justice Adams also believed that Mr Chaloner's behaviour reduced Mr Naidu to a position of "powerlessness".
Greg Platt ("China throws in Mao�s towel", Letters) asserts that it is wrong to call the Beijing government of China "Communist" because it allows capitalism and because Howard is pals with it.
"From each according to their ability, to each according to their needs" is a definition of socialism, not communism. Communists pay lip-service to this idea but they have never put it into practice. The essence of Communism is its atheist beliefs and its determination to violently repress and kill anyone who prefers any other religion or philosophy. This is not some abberration of "true" communism, but has been its essence both in theory and practice since the writings of its founders, Marx and Lenin. Communism is the most intolerant religion the world has ever seen, even worse than Islamic fundamentalism.
The late unlamented Mao Zedong, whom Mr Platt calls a "utopian authoritarian", was the worst mass murderer in history, worse than Hitler and Stalin combined. He ordered the murders of tens of millions merely because they declined to believe in Communism, and deliberately caused tens of millions of his countrymen to starve while he exported megatonnes of food to the USSR in exchange for nuclear weapons technology.
Communism is not on the side of the workers - ask the Polish shipwrights and Russian coalminers who successfully helped to boot out their Communist rulers.
Even today, Communist China gaols, tortures, beats, bans and sends to "re-education camps", anyone who dares to believe in other religions. But communism and capitalism are quite compatible.
The irony is that Howard and Bush continue to boycott Cuba with its somewhat milder version of Communism, on the grounds of "human rights abuses", while vigorously promoting trade with the more extreme Communist governments of China and Vietnam where human rights abuses are far worse.
Why is that the ALP, who with ACTU participation, opened this door for the
Libs to walk through in 1993 via Paul Keating, cannot or will not give any
indication that they will , when they get back into Government, repeal this
It seems that the Australian ALP is about to do a Blair; that is, do sweet
Fanny Adams about it, when they get the opportunity.
I would be interested in your thoughts on this
Something must be done about the Unfair Dismissal laws. I mean it is UNFAIR DISMISSAL it's not like they want to take away Fair Dismissal. So they wont to treat us unfairly. They want to take our rights away from us. Are we going to let this happen? What gives them the right to fuck around with our rights? This is fucked up.
I propose we strike back. We should organise a march to the parlament house and stop the fucking bastard.
One for all and all for one.
Lucian G Boncalo
Bloggers Censored. I read the guts of this in the IT update of the Sydney Morning Herald for Tuesday 21 2005, based on a report of free speach advocates Reporters Sans Frontiers. Think and talk this way or be censored! Westerners look to history books for this sort of dictatorship thing. Yet it seems a Capitalist ICON "Microsoft" Is comfortable Censoring the Chinese bloggers who utilise it's on line tool MSN Spaces. The MSN portal is operated in partnership with Shangi Alliance Investments Ltd. I read in Workers how Fedral Liberal are legislating to corall workers on site with WPA and are actually getting away with same official lies that dictatorships use. When do we ceace being the chattering classes, and act to demand honest representation? Do WE wait till they come for me???
Black hawk down is one of the most realistic war movies made. It doesn't even sound like you watched the movie, you say marines were the ones in the mission but they had left at least 7 weeks before the event had even taken place. The 75th ranger regiment, the delta force, and the 160th soar were all elite and none of them are marines. It is not very hard to follow the story line as long as your paying attention to names and events. Furthermore I was very dissapointed in the two star rating.
We'll test this in the coming weeks through focus groups, but I'm prepared to wager that when we ask the next group of punters about what's happening to their rights at work, their won't be the sea of blank faces their were a few months ago.
The heartening thing about the first round of research was that while awareness was low, when the changes were spelt out, people were not just concerned they were angry. And whether they were union members or otherwise the question was - what can I do about it?
That is still the $64,000 question: Now that we have established the problem, what can be done when we have a Prime Minister with an ideological obsession and unlimited power and a confidence that no matter what he does he can trick the public into voting for him at election time.
It's a question that has been responsible for a number of sleepless nights across the movement in recent months. Like so much in politics, I don't think there is a silver bullet here.
More weeks of industrial action like the one just past are obviously essential, as the legislation is drafted and makes it way through the Parliament. But this sort of action has a law of diminishing returns - as those who participated in the war protests learned - if having established the benchmark, the movement is defined by how the numbers on the street are maintained. And there is always the danger of alienating the public if demonstration becomes obstruction
More constructive is community activity aimed at hitting coalition MPs a where they hurt - their local electorates. This is the phase the campaign is now moving into - mobilising communities to ask their representatives where they stand on this most basic of issues.
Look at the weasel words of the business lobby and second rate student politicians like Kevin Andrews - like the 15 page diatribe Jackie Kelly sent to constituents this week, full of "trust me's" and half truths. This won't be enough - labour market deregulation is real and people are already being squeezed.
When Unions NSW held meetings this week, the number of people who turned up to hear what was going on was a revelation - 140 in Blacktown, 70 in Penrith, 75 in Tumbi Umbi - out on a cold winter's night because they know something is happening to them.
Broadening the support base is another necessary step - and the statement of concern this week from the National Council of Churches shows that this is an issue that resonates. We need to take the debate deeper into the community - sports clubs, scouts and guides, anywhere that relies on the free time of working people to function.
There is also the challenge of supporting workers when they come under attack by employers empowered by these new laws. We need to create a movement that supports workers under attack and shames the companies that take them on.
And finally there will be the holding of account. When the time comes to pass judgment at the ballot box we can not allow this leader to pull another rabbit from the hat.
We need to wedge him between the family values he uses as a crutch and the cold hard free market ideology that he espouses.
We need to have the Australian workforce waiting for him with the proverbial baseball bat - the same one they used on Keating when he over-stepped the line and put the economy ahead of people.
And we can do it. Make no mistake, This campaign is on the rails - but it is a long and difficult track. For now we need to enjoy this week's success, take a deep breath and keeping on working.
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