In every bully beats the heart of a coward.
The man who green lighted employers using dogs and thugs against their own employees found the kitchen a little too warm this week.
He had an appointment with some fellow Australians curious to know why he could cruise through university getting subsidised boxing lessons to deal with his inferiority complex, while the current generation of students are denied anything that could be misconstrued as developing them as social beings.
This presented Tony with a conundrum. Should he defend his own hypocrisy before a body of students? Or should he cower, shivering, in a foetal position under the desk?
Happily Brother Abbott chose the latter.
Then came the problem of justifying a policy position which is surely the bravest Sydney has seen since Governor Bligh hid under the bed from Captain Johnston of the NSW Corps in 1808.
Luckily, Tony "The Warringah Warrior" Abbott found someone to blame. That was the NSW Police. He got them to write a note saying Tony couldn't attend as he had a bone in his leg, and this was dutifully delivered up to the sceptical teacher.
Unfortunately for Tony "Guts Or Glory" Abbott it emerged that he had written the note himself, with a little help from some kind people in the NSW Police Force, who were lent on by Tony "Basher" Abbott to say it was unsafe for him to come out from under his desk.
Tony spoke the truth when he claimed that it was a sad day for democracy, but not as sad as the day he was born, but that's another ugly story.
None of this pathetic display should be surprising for a man who claims that people in detention centres are better off because they are safe from violence. No doubt from the being attacked by Tony "The Toecutter" Abbott.
As for the students who missed out on the entertainment of watching Tony "Pile Driver" Abbott display his debating skills, well, life isn't about enjoying yourself. If it was then Tony would have had more than one illegitimate child.
Of course, given that father Tony alternated between sending himself blind and prostrating himself before the altar, this psychotic behaviour should come as no surprise.
Lets just hope Tony's policy of do as I say, not as I do, is replicated across the entire Howard Government.
With brave pillows of society like Tony leading from the rear is it any wonder that General Howard and Lord Downer of Baghdad have bequeathed their successful foreign affairs policy, or that the minister for workers refuses to meet workers, or that our lawyer of a treasurer can't count.
Meanwhile, in the blue trunks, weighing in at 42 kilos, is ideologically based policy, while in the red trunks, weighing 198 kilos, is reality.
While the highest CEOs’ wages have blown out by 229 per cent since 1998, the average increase for non-managerial adult income between 1998 and 2004 was just 3.6 per cent, according to an analysis of ABS data carried out by ACIRRT for Unions NSW.
The analysis drawing together published and unpublished ABS data found,
- workers in the lowest two percentiles, received an average increase of just 1.2 per cent over the six year period.
- workers in the highest percentile were the only ones to enjoy a double digit increase in real wages (13.4 per cent)
- and that middle income earners experiences the lowest increases of all.
ACIRRT research fellow Steve Jackson says the different figures all come down to looking at median wages rather than the average.
"The high figure the Prime Minister quotes on average wages is distorted by the huge increases those at the top of the labour market have experienced over the last eight years," Jackson says.
"Take managers and the high-fliers out off the equation and the picture is of modest growth in real wages, driven by increases to the minimum wage awarded by the Australian Industrial Relations Commission."
Meanwhile, a parallel analysis of executive pay by Sydney University's John Shields says CEO packages have grown exponentially in both wages and options.
"What is clear is that the higher up the hierarchy, the higher the growth in wages."
Unions NSW secretary John Robertson says the analysis shows the Howard government's claims of 14 per cent increase in real wages are 'nothing more than spin'.
"The Prime Minister has been using this figure to paint himself as a friend of the workers while he goes about ripping away their working rights and conditions."
"What he can claim credit for is driving up the wages of high-fliers while leaving more and more workers struggling to make ends meet.
"these figures prove what most ]of us have suspected for some time - our economic success is not being shared evenly.
"Under the changes to industrial relations, this will only get worse."
Macfarlane came clean at the end of a 2GB interview with Alan Jones, last week, confirming claims made by critics of his government's radical workplace agenda.
"We've got to ensure that industrial relations reform continues so we have the labour prices of New Zealand," Macfarlane said. "We're already a decade behind the New Zealanders. There is no resting."
The admission flies in the face of claims by the Prime Minister and Workplace Relations Minister that legitimising unfair dismissal, slashing entitlements, and sidelining collective agreements in favour of individual contracts would lead to "higher wages".
New Zealand introduced similar legislation, the Employment Contracts Act, in 1991, and by 1997 its real wages were lower than they had been in 1977.
A study of supermarket wages, published in that country's Labour Market Review, revealed real wage falls of between 11 and 44 percent in the decade to 1997.
The steady decline in Kiwi earnings led to a flood of New Zealanders setting up home in Australia.
Annual immigration from the Shaky Isles rocketed from 8080 persons in 1991 to 34,339 in 2001.
Around 15 percent of working-age Kiwis now live in Australia and the New Zealand Government says its economy is being held back by a serious labour shortage.
Burwood-based bus driver, Yvonne Carson, told Workers Online last week that her wage packet increased by "around 50 percent", depending of shifts, as soon as she crossed the Tasman.
She said, with overtime, her bus driver husband earned up to double his New Zealand pay.
The AMWU released the following earnings comparisons for production workers, on either side of the Tasman, employed by the same company.
McCains: NZ Tradesperson $18.14 per hour, Australian $25.51; Advanced Tradesperson $19.18 - $27.75; Cleaner $10.75 - $16.29; Forklift Operator $11.89 - $16.33.
Visy: Forklift Driver $14.69 - $22.74. Operator $15.53 - $26.02.
Carter Holt Harvey Packaging: Corrugated Stacker Operator $11.99 - $23.09.
AMCOR: Single Face Operator $12.69 - $22.84.
The base weekly wage for a semi-skilled production worker is $503.00 while his/her Australian counterpart earns $912.50.
Meanwhile, figures from the two nation's statistics departments reveal that Australian workers' hourly productivity is 22.5 percent higher than their low-wage counterparts.
Mr Macfarlane made his on-air comments after attending cabinet meetings at which the effects of workplace changes were discussed.
Australian Financial Review journalist Marcus Priest has been questioned by the Australian Federal Police over the source of a briefing from within the department of Workplace Relations, critical of the Minister's use of the building and construction code.
With two Herald Sun journalists, Gerard McManus and Michael Harvey, facing jail for refusing to name the source of information from the Department of Veteran Affairs, the Media Alliance has warned the use of AFP officers to chase down leaks from the public service had the potential to stifle public debate,
"This type of harassment of journalists is an improper application of the criminal law - it means that journalists are exposing themselves to police investigations for fulfilling their professional obligation to seek out and report on the truth," Alliance national secretary Chris Warren says.
Workers Online understands Priest, the AFR's legal affairs editor and former industrial reporter, was visited at his work and questioned by an AFP officer over the publication of a front page story citing internal advice to Workplace Relations Minister, Kevin Andrews, not to use his government's building code as a political tool.
Priest refused to comment on the matter.
The briefing, compiled by officers from the Department of Workplace and Employment Relations, cautioned the Minister against withholding government funds to building companies that refused to push AWAs on their workers.
It embarrassed the Minister because he has been aggressively using the code in exactly this way, in an attempt to push building companies to pick a fight with their workers.
The Priest investigation comes as the International Federation of Journalists weights into the intimidation of Australian journalists, saying it was becoming a global issue.
'With US reporter Judith Miller currently in jail for refusing to reveal her sources, this latest case shows that the fight for protection of sources is a global issue," said Aidan White, IFJ General Secretary.
"Journalists have an ethical obligation to protect their sources. Without this protection potential whistleblowers would not leak vital information in the public interest," said White.
"Some might argue that in special circumstances this right can be waived. But this isn't one of them. There is no threat to national security here, this is just a case of the Government trying to minimise its embarrassment."
A Perth receptionist claimed to have her boss on tape telling her she was gone because of her pregnancy but Supreme Court Justice, Rene le Miere, found that broadcasting her tape would not have been in the public interest.
He dismissed a Channel Seven request to show the footage, ruling that while there was a strong case her employer had acted unlawfully, if he had, it had not "been motivated by some malicious or base intent".
Channel Seven Perth had argued that interest in the effects of John Howard's planned workplace changes justified its plan to broadcast the receptionist's tape.
The employer, whose identity was suppressed, had told the court the woman's termination had been motivated by concerns for her wellbeing.
Unions WA secretary, Dave Robinson, said the dismissal was graphic evidence of how employers treated vulnerable workers.
"This is what we can expect to see more of if Howard's legislation gets through," he warned. "It will create a climate that strengthens the hand of bad employers.
"This is the face of the workplace to come."
The woman said she told her boss, last month, she was four weeks pregnant. She said the employer told her that climbing stairs, to and from his office, would make her a health and safety liability, and sacked her.
Justice la Miere said people had an expectation that, generally, private conversations would not be made public. He conceded there was an argument that "wrongful activities could be made public".
Sydney-based construction firm Timwin had scaffolders working unprotected amongst loose asbestos at Latec House, the site of a new housing development.
The CFMEU's Russel Cunningham sprung the illegal work after seeing pigeons flying from the building.
"Alarm bells rang when I saw the pigeons had been disturbed," he said.
Cunningham immediately met with shocked workers who said they had not been told of the notice prohibiting work, or of dangers at the site.
WorkCover slapped a ban on the site earlier this year after discovering deadly friable asbestos loose within the long-abandoned building.
"As far as asbestos goes its the worst type you can come across," Cunningham said.
The workers will undergo testing but because of the nature of asbestos-related disease may not know their fate for years.
"There was an extremely high level of risk involved. The asbestos was at dangerous levels," Cunningham said.
WorkCover fined Timwin $1500 and issued a cease work notice until the asbestos is cleared.
The founder of America's Christian Coalition used his television program, last week, to urge the Bush Administration to eliminate Chavez.
"We have the ability to take him out, and I think the time has come that we exercise that ability," Robertson told his million-strong audience on the Christian Television Network.
He labelled Chavez, whose independent policies have annoyed the Bush regime, a "terrific danger" to the United States.
"We don't need another $200 billion war to get rid of one, you know, strong-arm dictator," Robertson said. "It's a whole lot easier to have some of the covert operatives do the job and then get it over with."
Chavez has repeatedly charged the US with trying to topple him, including involvement in a failed coup attempt that saw several Venezuelans killed.
That coup-attempt led to a referendum on whether Chavez's term in office should be revoked and resulted in him gathering a 59 percent endorsement - one million more votes than he was originally elected with.
Venezuela is the world's fifth-largest oil producer and a major US supplier.
Robertson is a key Bush supporter on the US Christian Right.
He has previously claimed that feminism "encourages women to kill their children, practice witchcraft, destroy capitalism and become lesbians".
Robertson urged the assassination of Chavez as US, British and Australian politicians considered legal action against Muslim clerics who incited violence.
Patricia Blay told her story to people gathered at the Goulburn Workers Club during Unions NSW's Your Rights at Work bus tour.
Blay, who worked as a casual at the restaurant for 18 years, was told she was sacked in a letter from her employer.
The employer who sacked her took over the restaurant less than 12 months ago, cutting Blay off from unfair dismissal rights. He is also refusing to pay out the long-service leave she is entitled to.
Blay said the letter came as a complete surprise.
"You think 'what have I done wrong' - but of course I haven't done anything wrong," she said.
Not only had Blay worked at the restaurant for over a decade, her three children and their spouses had also worked there.
"It's been degrading to me and my family," Blay said.
The Shop Assistants Union's Athol Williams said the union would win Blay her entitlements but her treatment through the process was "shocking".
The Your Rights at Work Bus toured the South Coast and the Southern Tablelands last week hearing from workers about their concerns about the way workplace relations is headed.
It was also able to bring together people in smaller communities who are concerned about the Federal Government's upcoming changes.
Unions NSW Secretary John Robertson said it was important for people in rural and regional areas to talk about the reforms and their implications for communities.
"Word of mouth is something the government can't buy with its $20 million advertising campaign," Robertson said.
"So talk to your friends and neighbours and everyone you mix with."
The bus tours western NSW next week and northern NSW in late September.
Subcontractors on the Mill luxury apartment site are picketing in an effort to get project financier, Macquarie Bank, to pay for completed work.
Some of the subcontractors have been thrown into serious financial difficulty as a result of developer JLB Group's liquidation, echoing the situation at the failed Walter Group earlier this year.
"The Macquarie Bank is known as the Millionaire Factory,' says CFMEU state secretary Andrew Ferguson. "Those millionaires made the decision to finance this project, and these subcontractors, workers and family members will be picketing this site and preventing work from restarting until they pay for work already done.
"For the price of one of the executives that make this decision they could save many of these small family owned businesses from ruin."
The CFMEU fears there will be a domino effect in the industry, with workers losing their jobs if the Macquarie Bank does not pay subbies what they are owed.
Many of the subcontractors have told the CFMEU that they needed the money to pay wages and to continue operating.
The AMWU has announced a campaign to win collective bargaining rights for more than 1000 people at the Olympic Dam site, in the South Australian wilderness, north of Woomera.
It followed last month's death of a 30-year-old worker in an underground explosion.
Last month's fatality at the BHP Billiton operation added to concerns over the impact of secret, individual contracts on workplace safety.
Seventeen deaths were recorded at BHP sites, last year, and a Western Australian government inquiry into three Pilbara fatalities was critical of the role played by AWAs.
National president, Julius Roe, says the AMWU wants to contact employees at Olympic Dam, 560 km north of Adelaide, especially newly-recruited foreign workers.
"We have little idea of what these people earn or their conditions because unions are aggressively kept out of Olympic Dam," Roe said.
"What we do know is the Filipinos are brought here on four year visas under which they are tied to their employers. Without oversight, it is a recipe for exploitation."
Roe said Olympic Dam was run "like an army camp", surrounded by wire and patrolled by guards, and management had made it clear unions were unwelcome.
"Then they complain that they can't get skilled workers. One of the reasons for that is it is an especially unattractive place to work when people don't have the protections of a collective agreement," Roe said.
"Everyone would benefit from a collective agreement that properly addressed safety and skills training."
AMWU South Australian representative, John Gresty, confirmed another foray into Roxby Downs was being planned.
Uranium is a touchy issue for the AMWU whose predecessor organisations were at the forefront of 1970s-80s opposition to exploitation of a resource that is a cornerstone of the nuclear industry.
The union accepts the reality of Australia's three mines policy but is strongly opposed to Howard Government moves for the wholesale mining and export of uranium.
"Given that the three mines are established, we have a responsibility to represent those workers," Roe said.
The two companies operate Australia's major rail freight company Pacific National as a joint venture, and rail workers have called on whoever comes out on top to respect workers rights.
The Rail Tram and Bus Union (RTBU) is calling on all companies bidding for Patrick Corp to commit to maintaining collective agreements with 2,200 workers.
The RTBU has been locked in negotiations for the past five months to settle a new enterprise agreement.
RTBU national secretary Robert Hayden said negotiations are now at a sensitive point, with a 24-hour national strike earlier this month and the possibility of further action.
"At this point in time, a takeover has the potential to be extremely destabilising," says Hayden. "Because of this, workers will be looking for a very firm commitment from whoever emerges from this battle to honour collective agreements and respect the progress that has been made to date in negotiations."
Blue Mountains-based Kevans built a reputation as "the people's poet" through his close identification with Aboriginals, Irish political prisoners, workers, environmental causes, republicanism and the anti-war movement.
With an Irish Catholic background, where the male side of the family volunteered in both World War One and Two, Kevans excelled scholastically and in sport. He was in the St Joseph's College First XV Rugby team then, two years later, as a junior public servant in the old External Affairs Department in Canberra, was chosen by Sir Robert Menzies for the Prime Minister's Eleven cricket team against the visiting English in the early 1960s.
He wrote many poems on sport, war and politics with a poem on Gallipoli winning the Mary Gilmore Award for poetry in 1959. Legendary folk singer Gary Shearston recording "The Roar of the Crowd" on his seminal vinyl LP "Broadside" as 1960s drew to a close.
Kevans was prominent in both the "Ban The Bomb" anti-nuclear campaign, where his satirical poem "Teen Problems" drew the wrath of The Bulletin magazine, and the anti-war movement, where his "Slouch of Vietnam" poem became the battle hymn of the Vietnam Moritorium Movement.
Kevans mimiced Canberra's Vietnam folly in the Lawson-Paterson tradition of 'I had written him a letter' found in "Clancy of the Overflow". As each American leader arrived on our shores during the war they were greeted with his latest edict : "Welcome Spiro Agnew" was closely followed by "Tell Me Henry (Kissinger) Why I Still Can't Get To Sleep?". The poems were written with laconic wit, irony and Australian vernacular that owed much to the earlier bards. As did his tribute to the suffering of Australian veterans in poems like "Agent Orange, Agent Blue".
Kevans, with his older brother Jacko, who also recently died, were part of the Bush Music and folk song revival period in Australia which began in the mid-1950s with the play "Reedy River" at New Theatre in Sydney. While his brother Jacko stayed with the music tradition his whole life as a performer, Denis excelled at poetry. His involvement with the Realist Writers Group and, influenced by Frank Hardy's "Power Without Glory" and Russell Ward's "The Australian Legend", invigorated him to pursue the Henry Lawson tradition for much of his writing career much to the chagrin of the academic and literary establishment.
Kevans built a strong following amongst Australian workers with endless poems written for and recited on picket lines like "Clowns and other Clowns", "Cockatoo Island", "The Dogman", "Ten Minutes Washing Time", and "The Green Ban Fusiliers".
He wrote "Across The Western Suburbs We Must Wander", a parody of the traditional "Across The Western Plains", to highlight the plight of the evicted tenants of Victoria Street, Kings Cross. Many of the older residents of Victoria Street were on war-time tenancies and were illegally moved with their possessions to the outer Western Suburbs of Sydney in the middle of the night by stand-over men. At the Blue Mountains Folk Festival in the late 1990s Jack Mundey launched an album of Denis Kevan's poems set to music entitled "City of Green -Green Ban Songs and Beyond".
The Kevans legacy will be an enduring one. His verse has been recorded by over 100 local musicians, including Jeannie Lewis and Michael Atherton (from Sirocco), and translated into more than half a dozen languages in anthologies published from Vietnam and Russia to South America. His self-published anthologies were partially funded by royalties from Midnight Oil who used an unauthorised version of the Kevans' poem "Harrisburg Oh Harrisburg" (on the Three Mile Island nuclear incident in 1979) as the lead in track on their "Red Sails in the Sunset". Kevans collaborated with many musicians. His most recent efforts were in conjunction with his long time partner Sonia Bennett on her Wollemi Pine CD of environmental songs.
The Kevans contribution to the peace movement in Australia and globally was also significant. He was a tireless campaigner and performer at benefit concerts over many decades. In the last five years he has twice graced the stage of the Sydney Town Hall to recite at East Timor benefit nights - in November 2000 for the 'Anin Murak' Choir tour from Timor and in April 2004 for the Kirsty Sword-Gusmao Alola Foundation benefit. On both occasions he performed "Your Friends Will Never Forget You", a poem that refers to the Australian Army leaflet dropped over East Timor during World War Two and the betrayal of the the Timorese people by successive Australian Governments. Like many others I can sincerely say in remembering Denis Kevans now "Your Friends will Never Forget You."
Delegates to the NSW Workplace Safety Summit in the state's central west finalised action plans to improve health and safety in NSW workplaces.
Union delegates spoke of the need to protect the right of entry for union officials from federal changes to workplace laws.
The co-operative approach between unions, employers, government and occupational health and safety experts to develop new plans for nine industry sectors brought praise from the state minister responsible for workplace safety..
"I congratulate all involved for dedicating themselves to this task and for making the Summit productive and effective," said Minister for Commerce, John Della Bosca "I am sure the action plans that will be produced will save lives, prevent injuries and improve productivity and profitability."
The conference saw vigorous debate between delegates on how best to tackle workplace safety.
"We know that workplace death and injury draws passionate responses - and delegates have demonstrated that in the working groups and the plenary sessions," said Della Bosca. "Debate has been vigorous and constructive."
Premier Morris Iemma opened the Summit at the Orange Ex-Services Club, announcing a new $2.6 million rural safety package. The initiative includes a new rebate scheme to help farmers fit life-saving power take-off guards on tractors.
Leaked advice from the Solicitor-General's office says the government must make a reasonable attempt to describe the spending's purpose for it to be legally valid.
The advice was given in 1998, and said that general descriptions such as "good government" were "insufficient".
The government is justifying picking up the tab for IR advertising under provisions expressed as promoting "Higher productivity, higher pay workplaces" under the Appropriations Act.
The leak follows a submission by the Clerk of the Senate, Harry Evans, to a Senate inquiry on the legality of the government's IR advertising.
"Parliament is making appropriations, is giving government a blank cheque to spend money for any purpose,' says Evans. "If government can use public funds to advertise its legislative proposals before those proposals are even introduced into the parliament, much less passed, the difference between government advertising for public information and party-political advertising for partisan advantage has virtually disappeared."
Labor and the ACTU will put their case to a High Court full bench in Canberra this week, arguing that the Government's advertising expenditure is unconstitutional because proper budget approval was not sought from parliament.
The Princess, acting Regent for the South Pacific Monarchy in the absence of the King and her brother, is taking the strikers demands directly to the Tongan Privy Council as Workers Online goes to press.
The move that could see pay increases of up to 80%.
"She was asked to please assist with our plea for a increase in salary," said a statement issued by the Tongan Public Service Association (TPSA). "She replied with words of encouragement urging us not to give up hope as she will do her best to meet our needs.
"It was an emotional moment for the us as we responded in kind by singing the national anthem."
Reports from Tonga on Friday indicated overwhelming public support for the strikers, who have been out for more than six weeks over a raft of industrial and political issues.
The strike has seen tensions over democratic reform inflamed in the island monarchy, where executive government authority is held by the royal family.
Civil servants are asking for pay rises of 60, 70 and 80 percent to bring incomes up to a living wage, with lowest paid workers set to receive the highest increases.
"There is very broad public support for the striking workers," says New Zealand Council of Trade Unions secretary, Ross Wilson, in Tonga as part of a delegation of New Zealand government officials and unions accompanying retired employment court judge Tom Goddard, who are assisting the parties set up processes to mediate the dispute.
Meanwhile, pro-democracy MP, Akilisi Pohiva, says the strike shows a need for political and, possibly, constitutional changes.
There have also been protests outside the home of King Taufa'ahau Tupou IV in Auckland, where he is receiving medical treatment.
The Tongan government has sought assistance from Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat to deal with the strike.
While a New Zealand mediator flew to Nuku'alofa yesterday, Australia and Tonga have yet to agree on what help Canberra can provide.
"We are watching the law and order situation closely," a spokeswoman for Alexander Downer said.
A community forum on the Federal Government's proposed changes to industrial relation laws, has been organised for Saturday 27th August between 2pm and 4pm at Springwood Civic Centre.
The forum will hear from church and community representatives. It has been organised by Blue Mountains for a Fairer Australia, a community group concerned that the proposal to reduce the number of award conditions from 16 to just 5 will profoundly affect the way we live and work. Dr Nerida Burton, one of the meeting organisers, said, 'I am very concerned about what is going to happen to families as a result of this legislation'.
The group has invited the Federal member for Macquarie, Kerry Bartlett, to attend the meeting to address his constituents' concerns and explain the implications of the Government's proposals. He has thus far declined the invitation.
Dr Burton says 'This is not a party-political forum, yet we can't get any member of the Government to attend. Mr Bartlett's electoral office is just 20 metres away from the venue, but he prefers to address his constituents via a $20 million taxpayer-funded advertising campaign.'
Addressing the meeting will be Rev Dr. Anne Wansbrough, Social Policy Director at Uniting Care, Dr John Falzon National Researcher/Advocate Saint Vincent de Paul Society , Amber Jacobus President of the UWS Student Union, and John Robertson, the Secretary of Unions NSW. John Robertson said, 'These proposals should be of concern to all workers and their families. They strike at the Australian way of life. Annual leave, penalty rates and control of working hours will all be up for grabs under these changes. It's important people understand what these changes are about and join the campaign against them.'
All are welcome, including children, and afternoon tea will be available. For information contact Kathie Herbert for Blue Mountains For A Fairer Australia on 4782 3384.
A NEW SYDNEY
4th Sydney Social Forum
27-29 August 2005
Petersham West TAFE
Petersham Town Hall
The Sydney Mint
The weekend two days of the SSF are to discuss
"where we're at" and "we're we want to be" in terms of community and workplace activism - to educate ourselves, share experiences, and try to arrive as possible outcomes, solutions, and strategies to make it happen.
The SSF organising team is encouraging participants to think about the type of workshop you wish to hold, and how you might maximise the time-slot.
For instance, you are encouraged to work out if you're going to hold an educational style workshop, or an activist style workshop.
An "educational" workshop may be held lecture style, and is designed to allow those who may be new to an issue or new to activism to get a broader understanding.
An "activist" workshop should be more dynamic, aimed at a particular constituency who may be more or less up to date with the area of concern. The aim should be maximum participation from those present. You might consider
having a 5-10 minute intro followed by 20 minutes of discussion, 5 minutes from the front and further discussion etc. Try to think of how you can make the workshop "dynamic" and give yourself and participants the best chance of arriving at "outcomes".
You are also encouraged to think beyond your particular issue or campaign area and consider how you could share the platform with other groups or speakers who may be able to contribute more broadly to a common area of interest.
Remember, the SSF is not simply a "talk-fest", but an opportunity to network and broaden links among our social movements.
1) GET REGISTERED
You will need to be registered as an individual or an organisation to be able to hold a workshop.
2) WORK OUT YOUR TOPIC
Think about the style of session you might hold in light of the suggestions above.
Get in touch with other groups and maybe arrange a working group to identify the main issues in a particular area.
For example, a number of environmental activists from different areas and organisations have formed a working group to discuss the most important issues regarding the environment and the best way to present and discuss them.
3) GET IN TOUCH WITH THE SSF ORGANISING TEAM
We will take your workshop details and publicise them at the SSF website.
Details required are:
* workshop title
* brief description about the aim of the workshop
* who's speaking
* proposed day/time
* your contact details.
We may also be able to put you in touch with others who may be considering a similar workshop, as well at let you know about any broad issue-based working groups which may be up and running.
If there are particular time constraints (such as speaker availability), please indicate a possible time for your workshop.
4) PUBLICISE YOUR SESSION
The SSF Organising Team does general publicity for the overall forum, but it's up to you to make sure that people know about your session. It's not safe to assume a "readymade audience"
Get your friends and contacts to register for the weekend.
Call and email all your contacts and anyone else who you want to attend your workshop and the SSF in general. Give them a leaflet or direct them to check out this website.
Following the final workshop deadline, a full publicity kit with PDF leaflets, posters, and rego forms will be available from the website. Just download, photocopy and start dishing them out!
If you have any questions or if you want to get hold of leaflets and posters etc, please contact the organising team.
Email: [email protected]
Phone: Melanie 0403 051 606 or Vince 0438 800 244
AUSIRAQ union solidarity Jazz night.
Money raised to go through Union Aid Abroad (APHEDA) to unions in Iraq.
Entry donation: $39 dinner & live jazz. $19 jazz only
CFMEU auditorium, 12 Railway St, Lidcombe
Tuesday 6 September
From 6:30pm to 10pm.
Children & unwaged 1/2 price. Drinks available
AUSIRAQ union solidarity Jazz night fundraiser
Money raised to go through the ACTU's Union Aid Abroad (APHEDA) to unions in Iraq. Best to book ahead for the meal so AUSIRAQ knows how many to cater for.
Contact Lynn Smith: 0439640118
Doin' it for the Kids
Young people and politics: Engagement and participation
Tuesday September 6
5.30 for 6pm
Sydney Mechanics' School of Arts, 280 Pitt Street, Sydney
Cost $25, (Evatt members and concession card $15)
Entry cost includes wine and cheese refreshments
RSVP is essential:
Phone: 9385 7137
Email: [email protected]
Tribute to HT Lee
Photojournalist - Independent film maker
Activist for East Timor
07.08.1946 - 27.07.2005
Saturday 8th October
64 Devonshire Street, Surry Hills (upstairs)
• Andrew Refshauge (former Deputy Premier)
• Andrew Ferguson, State Secretary, CFMEU
• Katherine Thomson (Playwright)
• Kim Gago (East Timor Community)
• Neil McLean
• Peter Chandran
• Carmela Baranowski
Other speakers to be confirmed
Performances by Enda Kenny and a choir
Entry by donation
Money raised will go to the HT Lee Memorial Political Film-makers Fund to assist people going to East Timor to work on film documentaries
Jointly organised by Construction Forestry Mining Energy Union
(Construction & General Division) and
the Australia-East Timor Association (NSW)
This morning on ABC Radio our PM was telling us how will be better off when Telstra is sold and that 70% of Australians are all wrong.
But when he was told that Mike Rann and his government are very popular and how well we are doing in S.A. our worthy PM said the only reason South Australians are doing well is due entirely to the Federal Governments running this country.
There is no limit to this man's arrogance.
Regarding Workers Online Issue No. 277 - 19 August http://workers.labor.net.au/277/news5_child.html
Until now not much has happened to spread the application of the Equal Remuneration Principle in NSW. Many promises were made at the time about spreading equal pay to child care workers, school assistants and university library and archives employees. As someone who was involved over six years of campaigning through the PSA I now feel a bit less vulnerable about us being stuck out on a limb as the first recipients of equal pay in the 2002 Library & Archives Award. Several states now have or are currently working on Equal Pay Principles. So the Principle is reading even if the application is patchy. All power to the LHMU in their quest. I hope they have success before John Howard tries to make such campaigns next to impossible with his proposed abolition of the state IR systems and imposition of individual contracts.
Wouldn't it be great if elected governments were held against performance standards that citizens could all generally agree on? This would cause no end of debate, however, it could prove very useful.
Imagine the following as a broad job description:
Government Responsibility To All Citizens
Government does what the country (or state) requires and what the private sector cannot do - or is not doing - effectively, ethically, or at all. It is the job of government to promote and, where possible, provide sufficient protection, greater democracy, more freedom, a better environment, broader prosperity, better health, greater fulfilment in life for all citizens, less violence, and the building and maintaining of public infrastructure.
All of this will mean little if the government decides to allow the 'free market to rule' unregulated. Sounds unbearably fuzzy, however, that doesn't make it any less important come election time.
The fact that Howard has promised to introduce tough new penalties for employers who exploit and bully workers under his proposed new industrial laws speaks volumes about their capacity to do just that.
I note that John Howard has promised to establish protections for workers against exploitation and bullying. Why note save yourself the trouble John, we already have them. They're called awards and OSH legislation.
Oh, and here's another weasel word: 'third party'. It used to be used in respect only of unions, but now it also embraces the industrial tribunals, the churches, the socialist do-gooders and anybody else who dares to attempt to intervene in the affairs of workers and employees.
Gerard McManus and Michael Harvey's 'crime' is to protect the sources of a story that embarrassed a government minister; but their prosecutions speaks of an erosion in accepted freedoms that is occurring before our eyes.
In the name of fighting terrorism, we have accepted - through the political consensus - a whittling down of our civil rights in the name of giving our governments the power to keep us safe.
There is an argument that some of these changes , such as giving government agencies power to monitor, interrogate and detain suspected terrorists, may be justified; but they open the door for abuses.
The Herald Sun journos' story related to national security in only the most tenuous way - changes to the payments of veterans.
But as Workers Online reveals this week, the targeting of journalists is not confined to Defence; Australian Financial Review journalist Marcus Priest has also been questioned by Australian Federal Police attempting to track the source of the leak of a story critical of Workplace Relations minister Kevin Andrews.
This sort of interrogation crosses a new line in intimidating both journalists and their sources within government departments. Silent supplication can be the only objective.
And, as building legislation currently before the Senate proves, this is an approach wholly consistent with the Howard Government's new unshackled administration. The Building and Construction Industry Improvement Act takes decisive steps towards criminalising industrial activities.
Based on the expensive and discredited Cole Royal Commission, the government has drawn up laws giving it the power to fine workers and unions who take action outside narrowly defined legal parameters.
In order to find such action illegal, government officials are given powers to interrogate workers and jail them if they refuse to answer questions that incriminate either themselves or fellow workers.
The Australian Building and Construction Commission will have unprecedented powers for a government authority and has already shown its preparedness to secretly tape workers and send letters to their home addresses before industrial action. The building blocks are in place to develop a system of personal files on workers' industrial history, that would warm the cockles of J Edgar Hoover's heart.
And Howard Government ministers have already suggested this model will be applied across the entire Australian workforce once it is bedded down.
The alarming thing is not just that the government is pushing these laws through the Senate, but that there has been so little debate and outrage about them. Maybe this is what happens when we are lulled into thinking the government is dealing with a crisis of national security.
Add in a federal government prepared to spend hundreds of millions of dollars in advertising to spin their truth; an open-ended war and the continual marginalisation of other cultures - ramped up so deftly by Brendan Nelson this week - and we start to have the sort of society George Orwell warned us about.
Notions such as freedom of the press, the right to silence and the right to strike may sound twee concepts hardly worth the fight. Until they are taken away.