For years the Leninist dream of infiltrating mainstream political movements has been building in Australia. Their dream of building a vanguardist cell to lead a spontaneous workers revolution has been harboured in the hearts of patient, dangerous men.
For decades this dream has struggled in the face of a reformist, egalitarianism that has lulled the working class into a false consciousness.
That is, until the work of arch-Trotskyite, Nick Minchin came to light this week.
For years Minchin passed himself off as an extreme right-winger as he worked his way into the heart of Liberal Party politics. He knew that only the Liberal Party could provide a platform for his policy of so oppressing the Australian Working Class that they would rise up in spontaneous revolution and embrace international socialism.
Comrade Minchin revealed himself to his fellow Trots at the HR Nicholls society this week, explaining that further reform of industrial relations would be necessary if working conditions were to be driven down to a point where popular revolutionary sentiment could be generated.
The Politburo at the HR Nicholls society, no doubt funded by Moscow gold, agreed with Minchin, condemning the Howard government's deviationism into the sort of Left Wing Communism so favoured by the AWB.
Not for a Bolshevik like Minchin the bleeding heart social democracy that underpins Australian society. Minchin is a man of change.
We can be thankful that Minchin has exposed just how much the Liberal party is in thrall to this revolutionary Trotskyite Tendency.
Their constant attempts, through Comrade Minchin and his cadre Comrade Costello, to expose the absurdities of Market Economics have fallen on deaf ears as most of the finance media take them seriously.
This has forced them to realign their policy to counter such naked Bonapartism. Ever more fanciful ideas, policies and explanations are offered by Minchin and his Leninist sect, passing themselves off as the Federal Liberal-National Coalition Government of Australia.
One strategy employed by Minchin and others is to make completely contradictory remarks by different members of the "government", and then embark on a policy that is, in fact, completely divorced from the stated objectives of this so called "conservative" party.
All along Minchin's guileful plan is to leave the Australian Working class so exasperated that revolution will be seen as the only viable political solution. Then Minchin and his cadres from the HR Nicholls society will reveal their true political agenda, worker control of the means of production and distribution.
Comrade Minchin sees his role as one of glorious, selfless dedication to liberating Australian workers.
By masquerading as a brain dead, heartless Tory who would steal milk from a baby, Minchin has shown just how dedicated he is to the Bolshevist cause. He was exposed, however, because no one could possibly hope to be a Minister of the Crown and also be so completely, unutterably stupid and out of touch with the real issues facing the broader Australian population.
Thanks to Comrade Minchin the Trotskyite takeover of the Liberal-National Coalition Government is now revealed, and their hostility to the Australian people and hare brained policy decisions explained.
Step forward, Comrade Nick Minchin, Leninist revolutionary, and Tool Of The Week.
Finance Minister, Nick Minchin, told an audience of Right Wing activists his government wanted to bulldoze another round of workplace change over the opposition of Australian voters.
But, according to Labor Council NSW secretary, John Robertson, it was the reaction from Prime Minister, John Howard, which confirmed the agenda.
Speaking from India, Howard, sought to hose down controversy over Minchin's speech to the HR Nicholls Society.
"We won't be taking any more proposals in that area to the next election," the Prime Minister said.
Robertson said every Howard-watcher in Australia would pick up the nuance, intended for consumption by the Prime Minister's big-business constituency.
"Well, he didn't take Work Choices to the last election," Robertson said. "He sprang it on people without warning and Minchin has told their supporters why.
"Plausible deniability has been Howard's hallmark. To you and I it means fibbing, but to him it means creating wriggle room, for later.
"This statement is a classic."
In a candid presentation, Minchin told backers at the HR Nicholls Society annual dinner, the Coalition wanted to embark on a new round of workplace change.
He conceded that most Australians "violently disagreed" with Work Choices.
"Poll after poll demonstrated that the Australian people don't agree at all with anything we're doing on this," he admitted. "We have minority support for what we are doing."
Minchin broke with the party line by conceding there was a real possibility the High Court would veto the core of the legislation - because his government had stacked the bench.
Minchin said his administration had been appointing conservative High Court judges for 10 years and they might well take a conservative view of the intended use of corporations powers in the Constitution to override states rights.
Minchin turned up at the HR Nicholls Society to present its Charles Copeman Medal to the operator of a Melbourne company that refused to negotiate with a union and then closed down after a 10-week dispute was resolved.
Richard Colebatch pitched dozens of Melbourne people out of work and moved his entire operation to South Australia where he has no union agreement and employees are treated as independent contractors to keep them away from award entitlements.
Minchin, who asked forgiveness from HR Nicholls Society members because Work Choices did not go far enough, is a close ally of the Prime Minister.
Aggressive Chamber of Commerce and Industry boss, Peter Hendy, previously a chief of staff to former Howard Workplace Relations Minister Peter Reith, immediately endorsed the call for another round of workplace change.
Robertson said it was a "victory for democracy" that Minchin had let the cat out of the bag, even if he hadn't meant to.
"The Liberal Party is captive to the Business Council and Chambers of Commerce," Robertson said. "This is their agenda and the public is entitled to know what they are up to."
The journalist who broke the story, David Vincent, told Workers Online the forum was even advertised on the Workplace Express website that he edits.
Vincent said he had been attending the HR Nichols Society since 2001 and was well know to the organisers, who were aware he was attending the conference and that he was present for Minchin's Friday evening after-dinner speech.
"There was nothing clandestine about my being there -my digital recorder was sitting on the table in front of me and was not concealed in any way," Vincent says.
While senior government ministers are no strangers to HR Nichols Society events, Minchin candour was out of the ordinary.
"Usually minister turn up with the message 'you guys are a bit out there, but we are glad you are out there pushing the envelope'," Vincent says.
What was different about Minchin's speech was that he had admitted what few Ministers would do in an open forum - sign up to the need for more extreme change.
Vincent immediately knew the speech was dynamite and had no qualms about publishing the story. "He's a big boy - he knows the rules - there was nothing said about it being off the record."
While the speech was a revelation, nearly as surprising was what happened after the story was posted. Nothing. Despite an extensive subscriber base of union, political and media, no one picked the story up for three days.
"I think this says a bit about the mainstream industrial relations round - as well as the fact that the ALP is not on its game," Vincent says
If it wasn't for a conversation with ABC's Stephen Long, a long-term colleague of Vincent's, the story could still be sitting there. But once he had the tape, Long ran the story on Wednesday's AM show and the bushfire gathered momentum - gaining national coverage and a mealy-mouthed, qualified over-ride from the PM, at the time in India.
While not all in the HR Nichols have welcomed the media attention, Vincent says credit should be given to them for making their sessions open to the media - although he conceded this may change following the Minchin Tapes.
"For a mob that are on about all sorts of freedoms, you'd hope they continue to respect the freedom of the press," he says.
Billy was the callow youth who nailed the Prime Minister's “choice” lie in the lead up to Work Choices.
Conceived as a star of the campaign to sell radical workplace change, Billy became a serious embarrassment, and was shunted into storage, where he remains today.
Canberra is sitting on nearly six million WorkChoices booklets, apparently embarrassed to put them into the public domain.
Part of a $55 million taxpayer-funded advertising blitz, the publications are gathering dust at private warehouses in Sydney and Brisbane.
Most look set to remain there for a long time yet, while taxpayers fork out $8000 a month to keep them on ice.
The situation was revealed by Department of Employment and Workplace Relations official, John Kovacic, at a Senate Estimates hearing.
Kovacic confirmed the 68-page booklets were supposed to have been distributed prior to the federal government passing Work Choices into law, last December.
But, the Senate Committee learned, only 217,000 of more than six million copies were ever released.
The publications have been a constant source of embarrassment to the government since it was revealed the first run had to be pulped after the Prime Minister's Office insisted the word "fairer" be used to describe legislation that removed unfair dismissal rights and choice of coverage from millions of employees, and severely curtailed their rights to collectively bargain.
Then there was Billy, who de-bunked the whole Coalition sales pitch.
"The AWA Billy is offered explicitly removes the award conditions for public holidays, rest breaks, bonuses, annual leave loadings, allowances, penalty rates and shift/overtime loadings," the booklet gloated.
"The job offered to Billy is contingent on him accepting an AWA."
The graphic example led to the use of the verb to billy, as in 'government comes clean on its plan to "billy" young people out of holidays, allowances and overtime'.
The Prime Minister went on national television to try and defend his treatment of Billy. He said it was reasonable to cut his entitlements because, in the example quoted, he had been unemployed and had had somebody bargain on his behalf.
When he was asked to confirm the same would apply to "many, many people", irrespective of personal circumstances, the Prime Minister refused to answer.
Disowned, Billy has been left in the "care" of Salmat Document Management Solutions. Kovacic was unable to say when he would be released.
Business Council heavyweight, Geoff Dixon, has pulled back from his threat to outsource the company's entire heavy maintenance operation to low-wage Asian workshops.
Dixon, who extracted $6.1 million from the company, last year, announced his decision after months of community campaigning, headed by the AMWU and AWU, around aviation safety, Australian jobs and the country's skills base.
Dixon's retreat, however, contained a sting in its tail, with an announcement that heavy maintenance at Mascot would cease. More than 100 of the lost Sydney jobs will be picked up at Qantas depots in Melbourne and Brisbane.
The city's Daily Telegraph revealed, last week, the job shedding had nothing to do with Qantas' international competitiveness and everything to do with Mac Bank's profit drive.
A Mac Bank subsidiary, Macquarie Airports, has been gouging Sydneysiders, and tourists, since paying the federal government $5 billion for the airport two years ago.
The precinct is becoming no-go zone for families and friends of travellers as prices for everything, from a cup of coffee to luggage trolleys and parking, has gone through the roof.
The Terror says it was the privatised airport's insistence on a gigantic shopping precinct, over the objections of local authorities and state government, which cost the city nearly 500 high-skilled jobs.
It blew the whistle on a master plan, released last November, that set aside insufficient room for ongoing maintenance operations.
Instead, the Millionaire Factory plans a massive retail and cinema complex, that planners warn will lead to traffic chaos and threaten the future of existing suburban shopping centres.
Qantas engineering general manager, David Cox, confirmed space had become an issue, under the new regime.
"There is not sufficient for us," he said.
Cox said shopping centres hadn't been part of airport planning five years ago.
Dixon confirmed Qantas' intention to use Work Choices to strip thousands of dollars out of family budgets when enterprise bargaining negotiations resume.
AMWU national secretary, Doug Cameron, said that agenda would be resisted.
"The AMWU gives this guarantee to workers and the flying public - we will ensure Qantas does not pursue cut-price safety or cut-price maintenance," he said.
Cameron said the AMWU would pursue Qantas to justify every single job it has targeted for destruction.
"We believe no jobs should be lost from a profitable company where the CEO has taken a 302 percent wage increase over the last five years," Cameron said.
Unions NSW secretary John Robertson said Debnam's support for moves to protect public servants from the legislation showed unions were winning the war against Howard's IR laws.
"Debnam is so rattled by the polls he wouldn't support stated Liberal party policy to shift IR laws to the Commonwealth," says Robertson. "If we can rattle state Liberal politicians we can rattle Federal politicians."
"We're on the right track."
Debnam's move is an about-face from the stance of his predecessor, John Brogden. But it leaves him in a tricky situation as he is still backing Work Choices to cover private sector workers in the state.
Last month, Debnam unveiled plans for the mass sackings of NSW public servants that will be more difficult and more expensive outside Work Choices.
Debnam has supported Iemma Government legislation that moves its employees from statutory corporations to the Crown.
Now employees of State Owned Corporations (SOCs) are calling on the Iemma government to extend protection to cover workers at businesses such as RailCorp, Delta electricity and Sydney Water.
Employees of SOCs are not considered public servants, but instead are deemed to be employees of individual corporations that happened to be owned by the state. It is a fine distinction, but it leaves SOCs workers without the protection granted to public servants under the NSW laws.
In Queensland the Beattie Government has directed management of SOCs in that state, such as Queensland Rail, not to use WorkChoices against workers.
The news came as the Queensland Council of Unions announced it would join Unions NSW in a high court challenge against the laws, which has been set down for May 4.
Robertson also revealed that ACTU TV ads promoting the Your Rights At Work campaign would return to TV screens at the end of this month.
Jackson was ordered to shut down by California authorities, when it was revealed he owed workers more than $US300,000 ($A400,000) in wages and had let his worker's compensation policy lapse.
Jackson joins a number of high profile Australian bosses who dudded workers of entitlements, including the Prime Minister brother Stan, the former chairman of National Textiles, which owed workers $11 million.
California's Department of Industrial Relations fined Jackson a total of $US169,000 ($A230,000).
Spokesman for the department, Dean Fryer, said Jackson could reopen Neverland if he obtained worker's compensation insurance but couldface legal action by the state if he failed to pay the back wages.
Jackson has failed to pay at least 30 employees since December of 2005. Analysts say he has the capacity to meet the debt but Neverland exists "on a different planet" to his other interests.
The Howard Government's WorkChoices package severely impinges on worker's rights and shuts down mechanisms for employees to address disputes with employers.
The Australian Services Union has warned consumers a range of industries will be affected by the week-long technicians' stoppage.
The action begins at 6.30am on Monday, March 13, and means computer problems will not be addressed at NCR clients across a range of industries.
The following operations are all handled by NCR:
- Sydney Airport ticketing and IT for major airlines including Qantas.
- Baggage handling technology at Sydney Airport.
- Regional ATMs across Australia
- ATMs operated by CBA, Westpac and ANZ and credit unions
- IT systems for Wollongong University
- KFC outlets
- Aldi supermarkets
- public schools across Australia
- private company with Dell Computers
ASU secretary Sally McManus said the strike is in response to repeated attempts to negotiate a pay rise to keep track with inflation.
"Workers at NCR have had to cope with an increase in motor vehicle costs of almost 18 per cent over the past five years, while petrol prices have risen by
65 per cent over the same period, but NCR has increased allowances by less
than six per cent," Ms McManus said.
"They are concerned that NCR is attempting to stonewall so they can use the Howard Government's WorkChoices laws to cut away at wages and conditions. These workers do not want inconvenience the public, but they have no option."
Other gongs went to the Unions NSW regional bus tour, a TV celebrity and successful campaigns against individual contracts.
The calendar shared the Best Communications Strategy Award with the Queensland Teachers' Union/QIEU for their DVD and media strategy around 15 November.
The Organiser of the Year Award went to Greg Harvey from the RTBU National Office in Sydney. Harvey led a long-running campaign for a new collective agreement staff at Pacific National - the interstate rail freight company owned by Patricks and TOLL. Pat Preston of the CFMEU (Vic) was Highly Commended as an Organiser for his contribution to workplace health and safety for construction workers.
The Best Workplace Campaign Award for 2005 went to the CPSU for its campaign against AWAs and a non-union agreement in the Department of Employment and Workplace Relations (DEWR). The ongoing workplace campaign against AWAs by the Ballarat University NTEU was Highly Commended.
Tim Brunero for his statement on Channel Ten's Big Brother program last July: "In a few years you will be reading the papers and it will suddenly occur to you that people are getting paid less. And you'll think back to this day and wish you'd fought the government harder. But by then it will be too late."
The Jennie George Award for promoting the role of women in unions was shared between the NSW Nurses Association for their aged care pay equity campaign and the LHMU for their childcare pay equity campaign.
John Robertson on behalf of Unions NSW collected the Your Rights At Work Award for the regional bus tour in September/October last year.
The annual ACTU Awards were presented at the conclusion of the ACTU Executive meeting in Melbourne at a function attended by around 80 union secretaries, officials and award winners last night.
The state Industrial Relations Commission, last week, rejected submissions from the Workplace Relations Minister and supporting business groups that would have seen wage movements put on ice for another 18 months.
The Commission will begin hearing an application for a four percent State Wage Case from June 5.
Unions NSW secretary, John Robertson, said the ruling was evidence that people in NSW would be protected from the "worst excesses of the Howard Government's big business agenda.
"The Howard Government and major employer groups tried to block the application because they want to apply a low-wage US-style model through their so-called Fair Pay Commission," he said.
The NSW Commission took direct aim at Canberra's rationale for its Fair Pay Commission which will no longer be required to consider "fairness" in determining wage rates.
It said "fairness" would still be a factor in NSW deliberations.
"The difference between the two schemes was stark and this Commission's award-making powers, under the Act, are considerably broader than those of the AIRC," it said.
The decision came as unions and labor states scored a procedural victory in preliminary skirmishes to their constitutional challenge to the validity of Work Choices.
Largely because Canberra hasn't produced the regulations underpinning its workplace changes, challengers have been granted extra time to file submissions and Chief Justice Murray Gleeson has extended hearing dates.
At a directions hearing in Canberra, counsel for the federal government argued the states, and unions, should have to file their submissions before seeing the regulations.
NSW is expected to lead the challenge, backed by all other states, to the commonwealth's Constitutional ability to use corporations powers to override state industrial laws.
NSW Industrial Minister, John Della Bosca, said the directions hearing ruling was significant.
"It's a political minefield because once they draft the regulations their real intentions to cut wages and living standards will be clear," he said.
"It is also obviously a legal minefield if they are abusing the corporations law."
Minister for Family, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs, Mal Brough criticised the decision, which boosts the pay of the largely female workforce by up to $160 a week, saying employers will struggle.
"I don't know of any small business in any part of the Australian economy that could substantiate paying between $80 and $160 a week more and is able to stay in business," Brough said.
Some full-time child-care workers are paid as little as $524 a week.
The secretary of the union that covers childcare workers said low wages were making the industry unsustainable.
"You can't keep this industry alive on the backs of poorly paid women - it's unjust," the LHMU's Annie Owens said.
Owens said the Government - particularly women MPs - should stand up for community access to quality childcare.
"We're hoping that [Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister] Jackie Kelly will lead by sitting down with her female political colleagues from across all the parties to find a good, positive, solution to the problems of this sector - a solution which the Government, the community, parents and the childcare workforce can support."
The NSW Industrial Relations Commission decided last week to hand childcare workers a 16 per cent pay boost on the basis of the historically unequal status of women.
"These [women], working with vulnerable children in their care, have, in the main, themselves been unable to negotiate appropriate rates of pay," the judgement said.
Ryan Braun was employed on $300 a week by group apprenticeship company, Westroc, which sent him to work for Randwick Council.
At the Council, Braun was made to perform jobs that had nothing to do with his apprenticeship such as installing and emptying garbage bins.
When Westroc rejected Braun's attempts to resign, the CFMEU went to the Vocational Training Tribunal where they secured his release.
CFMEU Apprentices Officer Rohan Tobler said Braun was just being exploited as cheap labour.
"Westroc never went out to check on him," he said.
Tobler said he feared there were hundreds of other apprentices employed by Westroc, who were in a similar situation.
Unions NSW will probe into the situation.
Workers Online understands WorkCover is close to announcing an inquiry after revelations, last week, that up to 250 workers may have contracted fatal illnesses while training at the barracks.
Unions representing workers exposed to the asbestos last week called on WorkCover to conduct an immediate investigation into the possibility of breaches to the Occupation Health and Safety Act.
"The risk to those exposed is a serious one and WorkCover must act quickly to ensure that any possible breaches of the act are exposed," Unions NSW secretary John Robertson said.
Robertson said that Unions NSW had developed an eight-point plan to deal with the crisis and called on the Government to act.
As well as an investigation, the plan calls for:
* a briefing, information booklets and counseling for all workers who may have been exposed and their families;
* a screening program be established through the Dust Diseases Board; and,
* a register and a surveillance program for all workers and families.
Maintenance contractor United Services Group stands accused of intimidating workers to force them onto individual non-union contracts as well as blacklisting other workers because of previous injuries and union activism.
"We are not going to let this company stand over us and force us to sign away our basic rights at work or face the sack," said John Madureir, one of the Opera House workers who has been blackballed by United Services Group for his union activism.
Madureir and his fellow workers plan to take their case directly to the monarch when she attends a major media event set down for Opera House on Monday.
"We are demanding justice and we will keep fighting until we get justice," says Madureir. "Companies should not have the right to sack injured workers or to say to other workers that they must sign away several hundred dollars a week or look elsewhere for work.
"We are protesting on Monday to let the Queen know that the Australia she last visited, where workers had proper rights and protections, is under attack and that working people in Australia want her support as they battle for fairness in the workplace."
"It's very disappointing that the state government's own Trust has breached procurement guidelines," says Andrew Ferguson from the CFMEU, who lashed out at the anti-union practices of united Services Group.
"This isn't just about 13 workers, this is about a multinational company with thousands of workers being looked after by their mates in Canberra."
A protest against United Services Group is scheduled top coincide with the Queens visit on Monday 13th March at 10:30am.
The workers are now camping outside the Department of Immigration over red-tape stopping them from taking up new jobs.
"Bureaucracy is now stopping many of these mistreated workers from taking up new jobs which the LHMU has now organised," says David Bibo, LHMU ACT Hospitality Union organiser. "Delays have stretched out to two to three weeks before the new sponsoring employers are cleared. Our people cannot work legally with these good bosses until the clearance is received.
"We've taken the hard yards to clean up the mess created by the irresponsible hospitality bosses and the Department. The Department of Immigration should cut the red tape - or we might lose these jobs too."
The Department of Employment and Workplace Relations found the workers had their wages effectively cut by half because of unauthorised expenses deducted, and non-payment of Award entitlements, by their employer, restaurant.
The workers were among 30 Filipino cooks and restaurant staff who arrived last September to work as short-term skilled labour.
"The employer has breached virtually all aspects of the Award," says Bibo said, adding that a wage case involving another two Canberra restaurants would be determined this week.
The website's been designed by Intrinsic Digital, a visual identity company which does motion graphics, film & video production and multimedia production including web design.
"I hope people find it handy and practical to use, and visit it regularly to get information and Parliamentary and Government news," Ian said.
"There's also a section on my website that takes the hassle out of contacting MPs. Unions sometimes ring me and ask for MP's information when they're running an issue. So if you want that - you only have to remember my website."
"There's handy links to sites that have legal, political, research and other information as well."
"I've kept my Westie-minster section, and devoted a page to Westie Wing, but I have 'strong, detailed plans' for a new section called 'Westie World' - including online forums, your chance to vote on an issue and a few others things I think people will warm to," Ian hinted sheepishly.
"I'm keen to make MPs and others even more aware of the important work Unions do. So if you've got an idea, event or an issue, let me know. I'll do my best to let people know about it."
"My website is taxpayer funded - you've paid for this - so tell me if you reckon you're not getting your money's worth."
When asked what else is planned for his website, Ian responded "I'm wanting to do things a bit differently - I've got a few ideas, but I'm keen to hear from anyone prepared to tell me what they need and want from an MP."
Tune in to Workers Radio Sydney 88.9FM Weekdays 5:30am - 9:00am
International Women's Day March & Rally
"Come so far - yet so far to go!"
10.30am, Saturday 11 March at Town Hall Square
finishing at Hyde Park North.
Greet the Queen
SUPPORT THE CAMPAIGN
FOR WORKERS RIGHTS
We are all proud of our Sydney Opera House - Australia's landmark building. However, the Sydney Opera House is now the focal point of a battle for workers rights.
When the Queen last visited the Sydney Opera House, there was respect for workers rights. However this visit comes as workers at the Opera House are being victimized and forced to work on individual contracts.
PROTEST FOR WORKERS RIGHTS
10:30am - Monday 13th March 2006
Assemble at the Opera House and rally for JUSTICE!
The 2006 Union Aid Abroad-APHEDA raffle
Is now open!!!
We invite you to take part in this year's Raffle by buying a ticket, selling
tickets or encouraging your family and friends to participate.
FIRST PRIZE Round the World Trip for Two. Imagine, you and a friend heading
off around the world on a trip of a lifetime!! Every ticket gives you the
chance to win the great prize of a ticket for two around the world with $720
spending money and one night's accommodation in London thrown in.
SECOND PRIZE Acer Travelmate Laptop Computer. You will be able to go
anywhere with this great laptop, valued at $1,300. Acer Travelmate Model
2304Lci, Celeron M-350 with new 1MB Cache, 15" Widescreen, 256MB RAM, 40GB
Hard drive and many more features.
Raffle tickets can be purchased from 1 March 2006:
· Ph: 1800 888 674 Fax: (02) 9261 1118
· Email: [email protected]
· Online at www.apheda.org.au
What would an Australian Bill of Rights do for you?
Presented by the Port Jackson ALP State Electorate Council
Saturday 11 March 2006
Leichhardt Town Hall 2- 4:30pm
Cnr Norton & Marion Sts, Leichhardt
The Hon. Rob Hulls MP Victorian Attorney General
Julian Burnside Queen's Counsel, Refugee Rights Advocate, Author
Tim Palmer Walkley Award Winning Journalist, ABC Jakarta
The Hon. Susan Ryan Chair of the New Matilda Human Rights Campaign
Cook Islander fundraiser
A fundraiser is being held for Samuel Kautai and the other Cook Islander workers next Saturday, the 11th March at Belmore Bowling Club, Leyland Pde, Belmore from 7pm. Cost is $20. Please see leaflet attached.
Please feel free to distribute amongst your networks.
PA to State Secretary, Andrew Ferguson
CFMEU NSW Branch
Construction & General Division
3rd Anniversary of war in Iraq
March and Rally for Peace and Justice for the Iraqi people
Saturday 18th March starting at 1pm at Belmore Park
Organised by the Sydney Peace and Justice Coalition and the Sydney Stop The War Coalition
More info at www.nswpeace.org
John Howard: 10 Years On
It is now 10 years since John Howard was first elected as Australia's Prime Minister.
This forum will consider the Howard Government's 10 years in power and the impact it has had on Australia.
Julia Gillard MP, Shadow Health Minister
Gerard Henderson, columnist with the Sydney Morning Herald
Judith Brett, Author
When: Wednesday 22 March from 6.00pm to 7.30pm
Where: Gleebooks, 49 Glebe Point Road, Glebe
Chair: Senator John Faulkner, President of the NSW Fabian Society
"GOOD NIGHT, AND GOOD LUCK"
The Katoomba Branch of the ALP presents the Oscar-nominated story of CBS journalist Edward R Murrow, who took on the malevolent power of muckrating Senator Joseph McCarty. In a climate of fear, Murrow and his dedicated staff defied corporate and sponsorship pressure to examine the lies and scaremongering tactics perpetrated by McCarthy during his communist 'witch-hunts'.
Newsweek has called it 'a passionate, serious, impeccably crafted move tackling a subject Clooney cares about deeply: the duty of journalism to speak the truth to power.'
Written and Directed by George Cloonet. Starring David Strathairn, Patricia Clarkson, george clooney, Jeff Daniles, Robert Downey Jr and Frank Lagella.
Introduced by Roger Milliss with champagne supper and discussion.
At MT VIC FLICKS
7.30 pm - Thursday 30 March
Bookings essential - Tickets $20/$15 concession
Available from Megalong Books & Mt Vic Flicks
Or phone 0401 369 935 or 4782 3429
Email: [email protected]
A fundraiser for Katoomba ALP
"We cannot defence freedom abroad by deserting it at home." Edward R Murrow
APHEDA VICTORIAN ACTIVISTS MEETING
Tue 4th April, 6.30 PM.
The first meeting of the Victorian Activist Group will be held 6.30 PM,
Tuesday 4th April 2006. Meeting Room 9, Community & Public Sector Union
(CPSU), 11th Floor, 575 Bourke Street, Melbourne. Light refreshments will be
provided. RSVP to [email protected] by Monday 3rd April.
The Activist network enables members and supporters to meet and share
recourses locally as they support Union Aid Abroad-APHEDA's overseas
projects and campaigns.
Ecumenical service March and Rally
Sunday 9th April, 1pm at Prince Albert Park Parramatta, finishing at Parramatta Town Square
Organised by the Sydney Peace and Justice Coalition
More info at www.nswpeace.org
APHEDA MELBOURNE MOVIE FUNDRAISER
Thu 20th April, 6.30 PM
Make it a date to remember!
Join Melbourne members and supporters at the Cinema Nova for a night of film
and fundraising. Raising much needed dollars for Union Aid Abroad-APEHDA's
overseas projects, tickets are just $20/$15 to see the Academy Award
nominated film Tsotsi in it's first week of release (see below for movie
blurb). Thursday 20th April 6.30 PM at the Cinema Nova, 380 Lygon Street
Contact Steve Mullins for bookings (payment MUST be made before the night)
Mobile: 0413021412 [email protected]
Tsotsi - (m) nominated for Academy Best Foreign Language Film
Set amidst the sprawling Johannesburg township of Soweto - where survival is
the primary objective - Tsotsi traces six days in the life of a ruthless
young gang leader who ends up caring for a baby accidentally kidnapped
during a car-jacking. Tsotsi is a gritty and moving portrait of an angry
young man living in a state of extreme urban deprivation. His world pumps
with the raw energy of Kwaito Music - the modern beat of the ghetto that
reflects his troubled state of mind.
The film is a psychological thriller in which the protagonist is compelled
to confront his own brutal nature and face the consequences of his actions.
It puts a human face on both the victims and the perpetrators of violent
crime and is ultimately a story of hope and a triumph of love over rage.
Winner, 2005 Toronto Film Festival, People's Choice Award
STRUGGLES, SCABS + SCHOONERS is BACK
29th April 2006 from 1:30pm.
This year it is all about the history - and ongoing battles - of working class women. Join us for stories, memories, hope, singing and beer.
Tickets are $30, which includes dinner.
If you wanna get on board the bus (walkers are welcome & free), please let us know ASAP - you'll have a confirmed seat if you get us the money before the day - please make cheques payable to the PROUD TO BE UNION COMMITTEE INC (send to Struggles, Scabs & Schooners - c/- FSU, PO Box A2442 Sydney South 1235).
With the country on the edge, what can one person do?
A new Australian play crashes through at the Old Fitzroy in April with a story of
intrigue and crisis in personal and public life. Political Fiction, by Geoffrey
Sykes, is a parable of Australia now, in which hope and despair are pitted
against each other... with surprising results.
A disgruntled member of the government, a young singer and a free thinking staffer in
Foreign Affairs. Their journey, through sex, power, intrigue, betrayal and - finally - clear
vision, is a graphic exploration of what faces us all in our fallible attempts to relate to the
Political Fiction plays and replays with the myths that control our public world ˆ when the
country is on the brink, what can one person do?
Playwright, documentary-maker and academic, Geoffrey Sykes has put words in the mouths
of some of Australia's finest actors and has written for some of our most provocative
exhibitions and theatre events including those at the National Gallery, Art Gallery of NSW,
MCA and the Powerhouse Museum.
Directed by Robina Beard (NAISDA, Ausdance, Belvoir, Adelaide Festival) and starring
Sarah Doyle, Alan Popely, Karen Cobban and Marc Kay, Political Fiction moves at pace
from Australia to South America and back as conspiracy brings people together, then blows
POLITICAL FICTION by Geoffrey Sykes
April 18 to May 6
THE OLD FITZROY THEATRE
Cnr Cathedral and Dowling Streets, Woolloomooloo
Tues-Sat 8pm, Sun 5pm
Tickets $27 ($19 concession)
Book (02) 9294 4296 or online at www.oldfitzroy.com.au
Beer Laksa and Show deal (from 7pm) $33
Cheap Tuesdays and Previews (April 18 and 19)
Presented by Southview Projects
May Day Toast
Monday, 1st May at 6pm at Souths Leagues Club
Tickets cost $30 each and are available from Jaime Midson on 02 9264 5024
May Day March and Rally
Sunday 7th May at 11am at Hyde Park North
More info from Warren Smith on 02 9264 5024
Lesbian Teacher Sacked
This headline is still possible in 2006!
Why is it still legal in NSW private schools to sack gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender teachers and expel students because of their sexuality?
Why does the Anti-Discrimination Act provide no protection?
What needs to be done to stop this ridiculous situation?
6-8pm,. Tuesday March 14, 2006
Mori Gallery, 168 Day Street, Sydney
Contact: Greens MP Lee Rhiannon 9230 3551, [email protected]
Greens campaign: www.lee.greens.org.au/campaigns/cleanup.html
Dave Peetz in conversation with Jennie George
Brave New Workplace: how Individual Contracts are Changing our Jobs
By David Peetz
The federal government's new industrial relations laws were passed just before Christmas: will the High Court challenge from the NSW state government overturn them? If they remain, how much is going to change anyway? Foremost IR expert David Peetz peels away the claims and counterclaims to examine the 'big picture' and explain who benefits and who loses under the new system.
Once employees knew they would be paid properly for working nights and overtime and that they couldn't be dismissed on a whim. Now employees are being asked to do their own bargaining, one on one. Employers and government claim this will lead to higher productivity, while unions and church groups cry foul. What's really going on?
The push for individual contracts for employees overturns a century of collective efforts to create basic rights and a 'fair go' in Australian workplaces. David Peetz closely examines the corporate and government doublespeak to uncover what's really happening in relations between employers and employees. Explaining who benefits from individual contracts and who doesn't, and how this is already changing the way we work, Peetz locates individual workplace contracts in a wider debate about whether we are moving away from collective ideals towards individualistic values.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
David Peetz is Professor of Industrial Relations at Griffith University. He worked for ten years in the former Commonwealth Department of Industrial Relations, and is author of Unions in a Contrary World.
Cost: $9/$6 conc. gleeclub welcome
Venue: Upstairs @ 49, gleebooks, 49 Glebe Point Rd, Glebe
To book: 9660 2333 or [email protected]
The Australian Liberal-National government is in a deep crisis over an enormous scandal about millions of dollars worth of bribes paid to the Saddam Hussein regime to secure sales of Australian wheat to Iraq.
The right-wing media have been trying to bury this government crisis behind a sickening celebration of Howard's 10 years in government.
This evening was the much ballyhooed ceremonial dinner for Howard, organised by the big end of Sydney at the Westin Hotel in Pitt Street, almost adjacent to Martin Place, the centre of Sydney.
An official Unions NSW trade union demonstration was called to replace the usual Thursday evening Unions NSW meeting.
The 1000 or so demonstrators gathered in Martin Place to hear a number of speakers. They then marched around to the main entrance to the Westin in Pitt St, where the they outnumbered the guests inside. They chanted slogans about the Howard Government's reactionary industrial relations laws for about an hour.
They gave a hot reception to the reactionary guests as they drove into the dinner.
Howard was whisked in the back door, giving rise to a chant of "back-door Johnny".
This event official trade union protest organised by Unions NSW had a very militant spirit.
Of the 1000 or so protesters, perhaps 100 or so were full-time union officials, another group nudging 100 were members of various socialist groups, and there were perhaps 50 Greens with their own placards, which means that the other 700-800 were fairly ordinary but militant trade union activists. The overwhelming majority of this group supports Labor.
There were several significant historical overtones to this demonstration. The major part of the Westin Hotel occupies the site of the old Sydney Mail Exchange, which in from the 1940s to the early 1960s was the highly industrialised and centralised hub of the postal service, with about 4000 staff.
It was the site of a number of industrial disputes. Eventually, a right-wing federal government closed it down and divided it into local mail centres, the ostensible aim of which was greater efficiency, but the real aim of which was to disperse the industrial militancy associated with the site.
As serendipity would have it, I worked there from 1957-63 as a young man, and I was active in the postal union and acquired quite a lot of industrial experience there.
A few years later, in 1965, the Vietnam Action Committee, of which I was the secretary, kicked off its effective public agitation by marching up Pitt Street from Martin Place towards Central Station, with about 1000 people (about the same number as demonstrated this evening). Just after the intersection of King Street, about 150 metres from tonight's protest, in a very calculated way we staged a sitdown, which threw the coppers into great confusion, because Pitt St was one-way and it took them quite a while to get in front of us.
Fifty of us were arrested, and the sitdown got massive nationwide newspaper and television publicity, which effectively kicked off the mass Vietnam antiwar campaign in Australia. This demonstration was described in an article by Helen Palmer.
Let's hope that tonight's protest outside Howard's dinner is the beginning of the beginning of the necessary popular agitation against Howard's industrial laws, including the legal case in the High Court, and the widest possible industrial and community agitation against the Howard's reactionary new laws.
Bob Gould, NSW
Nick Minchin's call for another wave of anti-worker laws; MacBank's retail plans taking precedence over aircraft maintenance at Sydney Airport, and the NSW Libs accepting how obnoxious the federal IR laws actually are.
Sadly though, the issue that dominated the labour movement this week was one where truth is such a relative construct that to even talk of it draws one into a debate that is counter-productive and, I fear, ultimately pointless.
That debate, of course, is the 'factions'; with some senior figures in the federal ALP who have managed to negotiate their way up the greasy pole now suddenly discovering them and the evil they can do.
Now we at Workers Online have no great love for the factional system - we are not of the factions, we have often been critical of them and we witness, on a regular basis, the downside of their operation.
But for individuals within the ALP to wake up one day and conclude, like Alice in Wonderland, that these 'evil factional warlords' exist is a bit like discovering the house has foundations and beginning a campaign against bricks.
The problem is that this public debate is so profoundly destructive on many levels; it takes attention away from the political battles we are paying our MPs to fight; it adds fuel to arguments that the ALP is not fit to govern and, in a week like this, it lets the Howard Government off the hook on IR.
Media love faction stories because the usual discipline of politics is let go - all sorts of revelations, assertions and downright lies are served up in the interests of personal ambition. But at a time when labour's heartland is crying out for effective political advocacy, the debate is at best, indulgent.
At its heart the debate about factions is the debate about the management of power. And the idea of a viable political movement that has no structures for power is simply a recipe for anarchy.
From this outsider's perspective the question should not be whether factions exist - but whether they are doing their job of providing a stable political base for the labour movement.
In this light it is worth comparing the way the factions operate within the party and the labour movement, particularly here in New South Wales.
Yes, unions still have factional alignments, but increasingly they are working together in the face of huge external challenges.
In recent years we have even witnessed the emergence of cross-factional blocs at party conferences when dealing with issues of significance to the working people the movement represents.
Perhaps because union control is seen as more a responsibility than a prize, we seldom see these sorts of bitter battles for power played out - and when they do there seems to be a discipline that prevents it being played out in the public domain.
That is because there is a general acceptance by those in leadership positions that reform within the parameters of the existing structures is the most constructive way to change.
This is the sort of leadership that ALP members are now expecting from their elected representatives, regardless of their factional allegiance.
At a time when the only thing standing between working Australians and even more attacks on their rights at work is a change of government, political unity must be the primary focus for every True Believer.