Way back in the mists of time, around the late seventies, there was a character called Tony Packard who encapsulated the values held dear by the Liberal Party.
A loud, self-serving and brash individualist, Packard came to fame on the back of a series of really annoying TV ads for his Dodgy Brothers car yard and an Afro that defied belief.
Unfortunately for Tony, the other thing that defied belief was his explanation as to why he was snooping on his customers, and thus endeth the political career of the Wally of Windsor Road.
Yep, prying into other people's privacy is a value held dear by Liberals apparently, especially if there is a buck to be made. In Tony's case he was bugging customers attending his car emporium to give the old snake oil salesman a bit of inside running on clinching a deal on a fab new Torana.
I guess we can be thankful we didn't use the toilets up the Windsor Road from Baulkham Hills.
The reason why Tony springs to mind is that there have been some utterances from head office regarding the need to smarten up Australian values around the shop.
Frankly, since the AWB affair and with the new WorkChoices laws, the whole shop has been looking rather tawdry and Emperor Howard has tried in vain to distract people by grumbling about school syllabi and standing next to old soldiers.
This didn't work too well, especially when one of the old soldiers went missing, so Andrew Robb, The Minister For Having No Mates, was sent out into the land bearing a new proclamation declaring that all outlanders, especially those of florid dress and of a different skin hue than the one found around the boardroom tables around Bridge Street, should henceforth be steeped in the values of this nation.
Robb's dog whistle was our need to incalculate people with Orstrayun Vayoos maaaate.
It's a great idea, unfortunately the Howard Government, it's ministers, staff and functionaries, business lackeys, cheerleaders and all rabbits friends and relations wouldn't know what an Australian value was if it bit them in the arse.
Seven tenths of them probably think it's 75 cents US.
The bottom line is if they want to espouse Australian values they would do well by starting off by sticking their collective heads into a bucket of water twice and taking it out once.
For collectivism is the nub here. Collectivism is a major Australian value. What unites us but our shared, collective, values. You don't hold a country together by demonising different bits of it for being too black or too poor or, in Andrew Robbs case, too co-operative. Philip Koperburg would be pretty useless fighting a bush fire on his own. Geoff Dixon would be run ragged if he were trying to fly a plane and dish out the hot towels. All useful things in this country are done collectively.
Everyone who's ever felt like having a technicolour yawn every time someone of Andrew Robb's ilk uses the word mateship (while at the same time crapping on anyone in the population who works for a living) will understand the incongruity of having someone like our Tool Of The Week promoting Australian values.
Or perhaps he means the values shared by such luminaries as Alan Bond, Christopher Skase, Jodee Rich, Rodney Adler, Brad Cooper or even that other great patriot, Bob Menzies, who bravely ran away.
Then again it may be the Aussie values of short-term memory loss (and we all know what causes that!), rugged individualism, free enterprise, mom, apple pie, truth, justice and the American way.
Or better still, they could be the values that take us to war over disputes that have got nothing to do with us, or bullying smaller or poorer nations, giving money to people who are shooting at our troops, losing dead bodies or building an economic boom on credit cards.
Then again, they could be the values that see drinking water as a side issue to civilisation, salination as a growth opportunity and petrol as something that will just keep on going forever.
As well as sharing these values Robb will also be looking at foreigners attitudes to women. It must be to ensure they fit in with Australia's blokey corporate culture.
On top of all this our Tool Of The Week is setting out to ensure that anyone hopping off the plane with the deposit on a house in tow has good English skills. This shows remarkable foresight, as these immigrants will be useful in teaching members of the National party how to construct a sentence and that sort of thing. They can also find new ways for our esteemed foreign minister to say "I can't recall".
Our Tool Of The Week, Andrew Robb, as Aussie as Tony Packard.
Daniel Persky was one of 15 Brisbane trolley collectors stiffed by a company operating under the logo of Advanced National Services.
"Being run down by the workplace manager, after insisting on payment of wages and other basic workplace rights, is extreme," says Heather Persky, whose son worked at Coles at Toowong.
Workers Online put the allegations to Advanced National Services CEO, Edward Klimowicz, who said he had just been alerted to the claims.
Coles subcontracts trolley collection to Advanced National Services (ANS) who operate as a franchise. Franchisees then use contractors to provide trolley collection, collectors being employed on an agreement with ANS.
Daniel was told he would have to re-apply for his job to receive wages, including submitting a new tax declaration, but would not be allowed to claim the tax-free threshold, meaning he would be paying 49 cents in the dollar tax on an income of less than $6000.
"It is a strange situation when employees must sign an employment agreement to be honest, punctual, responsible for their actions, protect the good name of ANS, but ANS refuses to acknowledge any reciprocal responsibility," says Heather Persky. "Apparently ANS pass workplace responsibility on to nameless people who can't or refuse to be contacted."
Klimowicz claimed he had not heard of the issue until the day before he was contacted by Workers Online, but Heather Persky claims she written numerous times to different people within ANS, including the CEO.
Klimowicz said his business dealt with the "lowest level of the socio-economic spectrum".
"Some of them turn out to be not very savoury types," admitted Klimowicz. "There are people in this country who are not to be trusted. Some run businesses, small and large."
Klimowicz would not reveal the franchise holder for Coles Toowong, claiming that a contractor to the franchisee would provide the service. He denied that it was policy to not pay trolley collectors at the Toowong Coles.
It is unclear who the contractor was, but Kerry Vogler from Advanced National Services became very agitated when confronted by Heather Persky. In front of several trolley collectors, including Daniel Persky, Vogler abused Heather Persky before allegedly running her down when she took off in her car.
Police, who have charged Vogler over the incident, told Heather Persky that Vogler was unlicensed at the time.
Kerry Vogler's son, James, told Workers Online that he was now "sort of" the contractor, referring enquiries to his "boss" Nigel Hendy, who denied being the Franchisee before refusing any further comment.
"This is a warning to parents to check out their children's employment conditions," says Heather Persky. "Trolley collecting is hard and potentially dangerous work; much of it is done by schoolboys or uni students. When they are paid it is a pittance, usually around $7 per hour, but sadly they often need to fight just to get paid."
The advice, o by Australian Business Limited advises employers how to explain the changes to staff and endorses a 'Blame the Government' approach when explaining to workers why their rights were being taken away.
The article, published on the ABL website, Workplace Info, advises:
"'Blame the Government' will be a popular strategy. If an entitlement has been removed by law, tell employees that you had no option but to get rid of it, because that is what the law required you to do."
Ms Burrow said the blame shifting by employers was understandable but disingenuous.
"The Howard Government's industrial relations agenda has been wholly conceived and sponsored by the business lobby," Burrow says.
"Employers are not forced to take away rights from workers - they can choose to allow arrangements to remain as existed in the past - it is their 'Work Choice'.
"At the end of the day, workers should be blaming the Howard Government - but they should also be blaming big business for the decade-long campaign it has run to strip away their working rights."
After winning an AIRC hearing forcing a juice bar to repay the funds, SDA assistant state secretary Bernie Smith conceded it was only the 'ineptitude' of the employer's consultant that had opened the way for the legal challenge.
The Commissioner ruled that Amber Oswald and her colleagues would retain penalty rates and shift loadings offered under a collective agreement that had been stripped under an AWA, because she had never actually signed the document.
While celebrating Amber's victory, Smith warned that if the employer had received good advice on using WorkChoices, he would have got away with the pay cut.
"The truly sad thing is that under the new laws if they [Pulp] had carried out their plan properly this Commission would have no jurisdiction," he told the AIRC. "This is despite the obvious disadvantage Amber would have suffered."
In a fiery hearing, the employment consultant, Ei Legal's Ben Thompson, was monstered by Commissioner Peter Lawson after he claimed that Amber's fight for justice was just a 'media beat-up'.
During the case Thompson was threatened with contempt and the right to appear before the Commission; with Commissioner Lawson saying Thompson's behaviour was "probably the most objectionable" he'd seen before the AIRC in "many, many years".
Thompson had deliberately tried to "railroad" a proper application to the AIRC for assistance, he said, and warned him that his conduct hadn't assisted his client's case. Commissioner Lawson also criticised the employer's Andre Dowling, saying he had provided "misinformation" to the Commission.
Amber's father, Phil Oswald, told Workers Online that WorkChoices would force young workers and parents to be lawyers if they were to understand their workplace agreements.
"The new owner is now madly running around trying to get his employees onto new AWAs," says Oswald. "These new agreements refer to the legislation. Now, who is going to look them up? Have you seen how thick the laws are?
"How is that going to make it simpler for the average worker?"
In comments to the Australian newspaper, Andrews described NSW's occupational health and safety laws, which allow unions to run prosecutions against employers, as “outrageous”.
"In every other jurisdiction, only the relevant workers compensation authorities can prosecute for alleged breaches of occupational health and safety laws," the Workplace Relations Minister said.
But Financial Sector Union Secretary Geoff Derrick said the laws allowed the union to successfully prosecute ANZ and Westpac banks for inadequate security when WorkCover had not.
He said although WorkCover had the information it did not run the prosecution.
"It's not as if we took their place, they vacated the field," Derrick said.
"WorkCover had the opportunity to do it, they didn't. We did, we were proven correct."
Derrick said since the FSU's first prosecutions in 2002, the number of armed hold-ups in banks had fallen from 100 per year, to about 40.
Andrews also took aim at NSW's use of moiety - which allows the prosecutor to receive up to 50 per cent of a fine after a successful prosecution.
Andrews said this "creates a perverse incentive for unions to abuse such processes and to prosecute employers for personal gain".
Derrick said by Andrews' logic union members would be paying for the sins of the bosses.
"Union members have to subsidise every case we run, although it is the employer who has broken the law," Derrick said.
The union's first prosecutions against ANZ saw the union receive moiety of $15,000 - separate from work costs.
Derrick said the money was split three ways between the non-court cost elements of running the prosecution, improving OHS consultation and to members affected by the boss's breaches.
According NSW WorkCover figures, the number of workplace deaths and injuries in the state are at their lowest level since 1988.
Lawyers for the unions have told Workers Online they will argue that there is no grounds for using a power over corporations to impose rules on the internal workings of state-based unions, such as internal elections.
Unions NSW legal adviser Jeff Shaw said that while the unions were backing the NSW government's challenge of the Corporations power, the secondary argument would dictate the legal status of state branches.
"In the first place, we argue that the corporations power is inadequate to operate the industrial relation system generally," Shaw says.
"It was never the intent - Corporations Power aim was to regulate the core functions of trading corporations, not to obliterate state industrial relations powers, particularly where specific industrial relations powers exist elsewhere in the constitution.
"But alternatively, we argue that even if the Corporations P-ower does allow regulation of a corporation's workforce -, the power would not extend the power to regulate internal affairs of organisations which have industrial relations dealing with that corporation."
"If this is right, that section can not be severed by the broad scheme, because it is integral to broad scheme that the Commonwealth can regulate internal affairs of parties dealing with regulations.
"So even if the corporation power stands, it can not cover internal affairs of unions dealing with a corporation because this takes corporations to a universal coverage of every aspect of a nation's life.
Despite pundits claiming that the High Court challenge was doomed to failure, Shaw remains up beat.
"There is a respectable argument to be put - most constitutional cases are decided by narrow majorities and this will be no different.
"It would be foolish for anyone to predict that outcome of this case at a very early stage."
TV's longest-running cartoon series, The Simpsons, tackles outsourcing in one of the latest episodes to air in the United States.
In it, Homer's boss Monty Burns moves the power plant to India where the cost of labour is cheaper.
But Burns's plan goes awry when the only American employee to hold onto his job, Homer, introduces Indian workers to overtime and coffee breaks.
The episode features a guest appearance from MacGyver actor Richard Dean Anderson who joins jubilant workers in a Bollywood-style finale.
The voice of Homer, Dan Castellaneta, co-wrote the episode.
Castellaneta, along with his fellow-voice actors at the Simpsons, are no strangers to industrial action, striking for better pay in 1998 and 2004.
The State MP for Lane Cove was nowhere to be seen when a delegation of tunnelers, and a women from project management, arrived at his Gladesville electorate office to seek an explanation for his behaviour, last week.
Roberts told Sydney's Daily Telegraph it was "disgraceful" the tunnel project had been "left abandoned for four days straight" over the Anzac Weekend, then disappeared.
"When our people turned up at his office, on a work day, he was nowhere to be seen," CFMEU secretary, Andrew Ferguson, said.
"He was unavailable and no one could tell us if he was on a long weekend, sick leave or just bludging.
"Tunnel workers are still waiting for an apology."
Lane Cove construction worker, Mick Fisher, said he wanted nothing less than a public apology.
He said tunnel workers started at 7am daily, and did 10 hour shifts, six days a week.
"When we get one long weekend off to spend some time with our families we are attacked by a Liberal MP who is completely out of touch with community values," Fisher said.
Project office worker, Naciye Bottos, who is six months pregnant, said she was offended by Roberts' attack.
"The Anzac Weekend was also the Orthodox Church's Easter and I spent it with my husband's family. I don't think that is disgraceful, at all," Bottos said.
"I thought this country believed in the family."
Ferguson said building companies had requested that rostered days off be taken en masse, generally alongside public holidays, because employees taking different days off would cause delays.
He said Roberts' comments had been driven by a "Tory mindset" that regarded time off work as a disgrace.
"The real agenda of Roberts and his mates is to lower wage rates and conditions, including family-friendly entitlements," Ferguson said.
"He is the disgrace, not workers who bust their backs, six days a week, in one of the most dangerous industries in the country."
ArchBishop Jensen led those assembled in a prayer for the miners and their families asking that some hope might come out of this tragedy. As Workers Online went live there were still two miners unaccounted for in the Tasmanian mine while the body of one worker Larry Knight had been recovered.
The hundreds assembled in Reflection Park in Darling Harbour lit candles and held a minute's silence for the miners and for others killed or injured in the workplace.
Russ Collison, State Secretary of The Australian Workers' Union, said that one of the two miners missing, Brant Webb, was an AWU delegate.
Mr Collison said that self-regulation did not work and allowed employers to put miners safety at risk. He also criticized the Federal Government's moves to push workers into being independent contractors.
"When you're working one kilometer below the surface of the earth, as an independent contractor you can't be responsible for your own safety," he said.
Chris Christodoulou, Deputy Assistant Secretary Unions NSW said that the tragedy gave the International Day of Morning a particularly significant relevance adding that "the thoughts of all of us are with the miners and with their families."
Donations to the AWU Beaconsfield Miners' Support Fund can be made at any branch of the Commonwealth Bank (BSB: 067028, A/C No: 10175554).
Cheques made out to the fund can be forwarded to the AWU Tasmania Branch at 6 Lefroy Street, North Hobart 7002, or credit card payments can be made by calling the AWU's National Office on 1300 362 298.
The daughter of a man killed three weeks before the birth of his grandchildren has lashed out at penalties on bosses who kill.
Garry Talbot, trading as Jappa's Arboricultural Services, was fined $7000 after his assistant died when a branch struck his head.
A similar accident took the life of Geoffrey Jardine, whom was working as a casual for Wilson Tree Services when he wqas killed.
Jardine's daughter, Liz Raymond described the fine as "pathetic".
"What's concerning is not just the pitiful level of the fines, but that so many of them don't get paid," says Raymond. "Companies should be punished so that it doesn't happen again.
"Instead they just fold up and re-open next week as a different set up with the same work practices.
Raymond also said that more needed to be done for the safety of older workers.
"When they should mbe looking forward to retirement they shouldn't be in fear of losing their lives."
The news came as a Launceston man was fined $8000 for breaching the Tasmanian Workplace Safety Act after a contractor died while felling trees in the Styx Valley two-and-a-half years ago.
Robin George Simons was sentenced in the Launceston Magistrates Court last week. Glen Wilson, 27, was killed by a falling branch while felling trees for Simons' company Tand H Investments in October, 2003.
WorkChoices Minister, Kevin Andrews, furnished worried colleagues with the five-page "party line" in a week that saw another round of horror headlines about workplace deaths, wage cuts and unjustified dismissals.
Andrews is apparently concerned that Australians are learning about these incidents through the media.
In an interview with Melbourne's Herald Sun, he suggested they should be reported to his Office of Workplace Services, instead.
Unions NSW official, Alison Peters, has ridiculed Andrews' defence.
She described it as a "smokescreen" to try to deflect attention from legislation that has been revealed as a rorters-charter.
"Kevin Andrews has a big problem and that problem is the truth," she said.
"This government argued that all employers weren't bad and we agreed with that.
"Our problem is that some employers are bad, they do want to slash earnings, do away with family friendly entitlements, sack people unjustly and operate unsafely.
"His government has given those employers the green light.
"We are not judging the Office of Workplace Services, at all. What we, and other Australians, are judging is the unbalanced legislation it is required to work under.
"For example, it doesn't have the power to order reinstatement when workers are unfairly sacked, as the Industrial Relations Commission, used to be able to do.
"It is nonsense to pretend otherwise, especially when that pretence comes from the person who made the changes. "
Peters said the recent spate of workplace deaths came against a background of a sustained Andrews campaign to undermine state occupational health and safety authorities, and threats to deny moieties to unions that mounted successful prosecutions.
Peters said, to her knowledge, the Office of Workplace Services had no mandate to enforce health and safety laws.
Health Minister, Tony Abbott, put his credibility behind the sale of Medicare Private, last week, in the face of warnings from workers and health professionals that the public would be screwed, again.
CPSU rep, Lisa Newman, warned workers and consumers would lose on the deal.
She predicted it would hasten job losses, particularly in rural and regional Australia, and accelerate the pace of insurance premium increases.
"There will be more benefits for insurers than consumers," Newman said.
Opposition Health spokesperson Julia Gillard said premiums were likely to increase more rapidly because of the sale.
Australian Medical Association president, Dr MJkesh Haikerwal, predicted Medicare Private policyholders wouldn't be the only losers.
He said whoever bought the state-owned insurer, which returned a $130 million profit last year, would fund the purchase with higher premiums, and all privately-insured Australians would face higher fees because of lessened competition.
However, Abbott said the latest asset sell-off, expected to fetch around $1 billion, would benefit policyholders.
Abbott made his name as a health pundit with an "absolutely rock solid, ironclad commitment" that a re-elected Coalition government would not raise Medicare threshold levels.
Less than six months later, Prime Minister John Howard broke the promise, by announcing the Government was cutting back its Medicare safety net.
Third year apprentice electricians Robert Elkson and Greg Garrard were sacked without notice by Kadina electrical and plumbing firm Mildwaters Trade Centre on Monday March 27, the day the federal government's new work laws took effect.
SA Unions secretary Janet Giles also wants the apprentices to be able to complete their qualifications through another employer, and to be fully paid out their wages and other entitlements.
"This company has acted illegally. Mildwaters must know it is illegal to sack apprentices, as it was pinged for illegally sacking an apprentice some years ago, but obviously thought it could get away with it under the new federal laws" Ms Giles says.
"Thankfully, we have state laws which, unlike the draconian new federal legislation, offer protection to apprentices and trainees."
"We will urge the Grievance Dispute Mediation Committee to apply the full force of the state laws to this company, to send a strong message to employers that they cannot illegally sack apprentices and get away with it."
"Companies must realise that although the federal laws give enormous scope to exploit many workers, it remains illegal to sack apprentices and trainees."
"Furthermore, it is not good enough to claim ignorance or try to blame an illegal action on external advice. Any employer who sacks an apprentice is responsible for that action, regardless of the basis on which it made that decision."
"In the case of these two apprentices, the company is trying to suggest it received advice from Business SA stating it could sack its workers. However SA Unions has received a copy of the advice provided by Business SA which shows that was not that case. The fact remains that it is the company's responsibility to act legally."
Wagga Wagga nurse, Anne Woodward, asked her boss why a 000 ambulance was made to sign in at the front gates of an army base and escorted at 40 kph to pick up a soldier who had a heart attack and needed to be urgently transferred to hospital.
Woodward was given an hour to clean out her desk, with the Military Police to be called if she was not gone by that time, on the advice of the commanding officer of Kapooka Health Centre (KHC).
"Ms Woodward wanted to know if management knew about the incident and asked what was being done to prevent a reoccurrence," says NSWNA Acting Secretary, Judith Kiejda. "As the Nurse Manager she understandably wanted to ensure protocols were in place that prevented life threatening delays, which could result in the death of a recruit or Defence Force member.
"However, apparently it is not acceptable to ask these types of questions."
A list of reasons for her removal was not provided for 13 days after her dismissal on March 29, because Woodward was technically employed by a nursing agency, RED Alliance.
Senior Health Officer, Lieutenant Colonel Langworthy, told nurses at KHC that the ADF was not technically their employer. He reportedly said nurses have no right to appeal and the traditional concepts of natural justice and procedural fairness do not apply because Defence is technically not the employer.
"If this has nothing to do with Defence then why can a person be arbitrarily dismissed at the request of a Defence Force employee?"
"These dubious employment practices, which allow the real employer to avoid responsibility, have become common place under the Howard Government's industrial relations changes and here we have one of the Federal Government's own departments up to its neck in such practices," Ms Kiejda said.
The NSWNA has also filed an unfair dismissal case, on behalf of Ms Woodward, with the Australian Industrial Relations Commission, but it is still unclear of its status under the new federal industrial relations laws. Ms Woodward was removed from her position at KHC two days after those laws came into effect. RED Alliance advises the NSWNA it does not have 100 employees and, if that is true, it is now exempt from unfair dismissal laws.
The news comes as the Australian Army is currently casting performers for a training DVD on a non-union contract.
The job pays $350 for a ten-hour day and $225 for a half day. The usual Award minimum ensures a performer $626.75 for a full day, corporate video work, according to the Equity division of the Media Entertainment and Arts Alliance.
The Army also wants the right to adapt the performance for other uses without performer consent.
The game is part of a viral campaign, put together by the Britain's Trade Union Congress (TUC), to advertise May Day activities.
The player controls an organiser who marches around London, picking up other people to join in.
The game is a test of organising skills, according to the TUC, and it assigns a ranking to players - with the lowest rank being "you couldn't march your way out of a paper bag".
May Day - or International Workers' Day - commemorates the 1886 Haymarket Riot for the eight-hour day in Chicago and celebrates of the social and economic achievements of the labour movement.
You can play the game online now at http://www.tuc.org.uk/leftfoot
MAY DAY AROUND AUSTRALIA
Following is information on the May Day Event closest
May 1. Brisbane http://www.qcu.asn.au/6701.html
NEW SOUTH WALES
May 7 Sydney
May 1 Newcastle
May 6 Wollongong and Shoalhaven
May 7 Melbourne
May 1 Geelong 4pm Geelong Trades Hall
May 1 Hobart Petitioning Member for Bass
April 29 May Day March and Picnic
May 7 http://www.tlcwa.org.au/
May 1 5pm Darwin, Wood Street to Esplanade, Food and
Short Film Collection
Online now at http://spinach7.com/si/
Seventeen short films - some sad, some funny, some gentle, some illuminating - from the slick to the raw and edgy, ranging from fiction, faction, animation, claymation, subverts to adverts - they make up the exciting web-based SEDITIOUS INTENT short film collection site.
The collection is the result of a call to filmmakers across the country to "create a short film (from 30 secs - 5 mins) that responds in some way to the Australian Government's draconian new anti-terrorism laws".
When we initiated the project, we knew it wouldn't prevent the
anti-terror laws from being implemented. However, 'SEDITIOUS INTENT' is
aimed at keeping the discussion alive and enabling filmmakers to
participate in actions that provoke debate that leads to change.
We have partnered with EngageMedia(http://engagemedia.org), a group distributing video stories about social justice and environmental issues in Australia, Southeast Asia and the Pacific. We are proud to be their first collection.
It all started back in October 2005. The Australian Government wanted to set tough new Anti-Terror laws, which included laws that would affect the expressions of the creative community.
So, we decided to spark a response from the Australian filmmaking
community. The first message was sent out on the 31st October 2005.
Back then, sedition was going to be part of the laws and 'seditious intent' was defined as an intention to effect any of the following:
* to bring the Sovereign into hatred or contempt;
* to urge disaffection against the Constitution, the Government of the
Commonwealth or either House of the Parliament;
* to urge another person to attempt, otherwise than by lawful means, to procure a change to any matter established by law in the Commonwealth;
And it seems the lobbying by Australia's creative community has had some impact. The Government has made some amendments to its Anti-Terrorism Bill 2005. Though still highly problematic, sedition must now be linked to the urging of force of violence, in order for it to be a crime. See the web page about terror laws for more details.
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
Struggles, Scabs and 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).
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
As part of May Day week AMWU NSW is screening THE TAKE to raise funds for the ZANON FACTORY WORKERS so they can finish their documentary "Heart of the Factroy".
You can be part of international trade union solidarity by coming to our screening on:
Wednesday 3rd May 6 pm AMWU Granville 133 Parramatta Rd Granville
Friday 5th May 6pm Tom Mann Theatre 136 Chalmers St Surry Hills
Entry by donation $10
APHEDA will have DVDs, inlcuding THE TAKE for sale.
Plus East Timorese woven art.
Food and drink will be on sale.
Rock the Block music festival Saturday May 6
The 'Rock the Block' Festival, on Saturday May 6, 2006, boasts 5 hours of non-stop music, from rock and hip-hop to acoustic and electronic pop, as well as the Blackscreen Indigeneous film-series.
The festival is being put on to raise money to refurbish a community dance studio at the Tony Mundine gym, and will play host to well known acts such as Wire MC and Andorra, as well as nationally recognised acts like Combat Wombat and Ozi Batla, from the Herd.
Other acts include Indigenous acoustic musician James Henry, Tribal Ashes, the Urban Guerillas, Jesse Morris and the Project and Gisele Scales.
The festival also includes the Australian Film Commission's Blackscreen film series, including a wonderful documentary on Sydney's original Black theatre, from the 70's, and a number of moving and beautifully shot recent productions, such as 'Green Bush' featuring David Page.
Rock the Block will kick off in Lawson St Redfern at 1pm, although people are encouraged to come a bit early if they want to grab some lunch before the music starts.
The festival is a family day with kid's entertainment provided, along with the music and films. Entry is by donation, with a discount drink and sausage ticket for those who donate.
Please contact Lani at the Aboriginal Housing Company on 9698 9249 or Joel Beasant at [email protected]
Rock the Block is an alcohol-free event.
Melbourne Declares Peace on the World
National Peace Conference Invitation
Thursday, May 25, 7pm
Public Meeting, Storey Hall, RMIT, Swanston St, City
Saturday, May 27 Registration from 9am
Maritime Union of Australia, 46 Ireland St, West Melbourne
The conference seeks to foster better international connections and
develop a clearer coherent national strategy for peace. It will coincide
with tours by significant international players in the peace movement
Hassan J'umar: President of the Iraqi Oil Workers Union, Cindy Sheehan,
from Goldstar Families for Peace, USA. Sabah Jawad, Iraqi Democrats
Against Occupation. Dr Salam Islmail, From Doctors for Iraq, Muslim
Association of Britian and Stop the War Coalition.
$50 for one or two delegates,
$20 (waged observer) $10 (unwaged observer)
Conference Dinner Saturday $20 waged, $15 unwaged
Contact the conference roganising committee on:
Phone: 0418 316 310
Email: [email protected]
Mail GPO Box 1473, Melbourne VIC 3001
May Day March and Rally
Sunday 7th May at 11am at Hyde Park North
More info from Warren Smith on 02 9264 5024
I've worked for Australia Post for almost 8 years as a part time employee. Being nominated for a union rep back in March 2005 was a big job for me as all parcel centres around Sydney, NSW had all merged into one huge Parcel Facilty down in Chullora.
Having been a union member and being active I worked with a particular CEPU P&T official that we started a full time campaign last October 2005. During those times it was difficult to mention who was in the Campaign as Australia Post would try to monitor and make our lives very difficult at our workplace.
We made circulars for all staff at Sydney West Letter Facility (SWLF) and Sydney Parcel Facility (SPF) to fill out and return so an opinion can be found. We tallied the numbers, researched and contact Australia Post HR for numbers of vacant full time positions at both facilities.
Friday 3rd March 2006 was when Australia Post finally offered 23 Full-time postions at SPF.
Tuesday 18th April 2006 was when 13 Part-time staff including myself, was converted from part time to Full-Time after waiting 7yrs.
I still feel that an achievement had been done as this all happened under the "Workchoice" and yet Australia Post has a current EBA6 in place til it expires at the end of 2006.
It was a sad reminder that all part time employees were able to be offered full time jobs but it came at a cost for me and a win for the CEPU. I couldn't have done this Full-Time Jobs Campaign (FT JCC) without the help of two people, particularly my union official and another union rep from another work facility. We gave up a lot of time to get this campaign running and have Australia Post HR wake up and realize that a shake up was going on the floor. I won't mention names but if my staff and colleagues read this, I want to thank them for their help as it couldn't have been achieved without their help.
Thanks to Gil and Suzanne for being there.
She will be right mate! Will it? Workers sneering as printed copies of this page hit the lunchroom tables.
More union rubbish is the quote, from workers who get 40 per cent higher wages as a result of unions past actions.
Do not underestimate our battle, waiting for Kim to win for us is gutless!
And do not think for a second we are not fighting hard, some of us at least, but if we do not have a day of action like Victoria, we are indeed gutless.
Now who right now has the get up and go to run my scheme to fund marginal ALP seats?
It has to be someone like Trades Hall and every cent go to beat Howard. EVERY UNION battle and win from our past demands we fight till breathless.
Mid 2007 Howard will feed the birds, giving some relief from worst workchoices laws, its just a lie
After an election win? WorkChoices mark 2!
Oh members truly are coming but what unionist has not seen worms riding on union won conditions, how do they go now?
Get active or roll over and cop it sweet.
Headline in paper yesterday: HOW CAN WE STOP THESE STUPID WARS
Stop electing Liberal Parties would be a good start.
One hundred and fifty years later miners are still dying - an industry worth billions each year still failing to secure safe methods of extracting coal.
But beyond the Beaconsfield tragedy, morbidly coinciding with the international day of remembrance for workplace dead, is a growing push by the business lobby to wind back safety laws.
Exhibit One: we have a federal government gearing up for WorkChoice Mark II where the Commonwealth will take over the state occupational health and safety laws.
A benign proposal on paper, the real agenda is malignant - attacking the powers vested in state laws that grant accredited union officials rights of access to workplaces to police safety and, in some states, to close down unsafe sites.
These powers, life saving though they have proven to be, are hated by the ideologues in Canberra because they recognise the central role unions continue to play in the workplace.
Exhibit Two: the growing chorus from the business lobby to end the strict liability for employers to ensure a safe place of work.
This principle has been the real impetus for behavioural change by employers around safety because it determines that an accident is in and of itself evidence of a failure by the employer.
This means there is no wriggle room for a boss whose worker is killed - overturning this principle will create a market for lawyers to construct defences in abrogating responsibly.
Exhibit Three: The neo-conservative newspaper The Australian has commenced a campaign against NSW safety laws that allow unions to launch prosecutions for breaches of safety and receive a moiety where that case succeeds.
In a campaign choreographed from Canberra, the Oz wants unions out of the courts, arguing that these prosecutions are bad for business and bad for workers too. Try saying that to the victim of an armed hold-up whose employer has constantly refused to improve security.
Exhibit Four: Finally, strategies to bypass the penal regime that have been put in place are close to becoming a specialised field of law. From phoenix companies that fold when a worker dies (only to reconfigure and reopen for business once the prosecution is over and the fine has defaulted) to James Hardies breath-taking play to walk away from its asbestos responsibilities by moving to another jurisdiction, dodging what is due on safety has become smart business practise.
Which leaves us with a dangerous disconnect - between the reality of unsafe workplaces, exposed so forcefully in this week's Sydney Morning Herald and a business community using their new-found political power to shed itself of accountability on safety.
This is the pursuit of flexibility in the name of profit writ large - and it is the thinking that drives workplace rights back down the coalmines from where they surfaced so many years ago.
On this International Day of Mourning for Deaths in the Workplace we need to pay tribute to the lost miners - and all those needless victims of workplace accidents - by committing to fight these attacks on safety laws.
Because, right now, the budgie is belching ...