Workers Online
Workers Online
Workers Online
  Issue No 37 Official Organ of LaborNet 29 October 1999  

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Letters to the Editor

An X for President - Feedback


Rupert Murdoch [Australian Newspaper of 25/10/99] alleges that Michael Costa thinks Sharon Burrow is too old to become ACTU President and that the Union movement needs a Natasha Stott-Despoja. if this allewgation is true, does this mean we can expect Michael's resignation in the near future allowing a telegenic young turk to take his place?

Tony Mullen & Silvana Tarling

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Dear Editor

I have just read the article on youth for leadership by Michael Costa. I'm afraid that as I live overseas and have only just started to receive Workers Online I have missed the beginning of the debate and do not know the people that have been suggested for the position. I do though feel compelled to contribute my own thoughts.

The Presidency of the ACTU is a senior position and I think it is a shame if the only criteria for selection is the ability to be a young image maker. The Presidents position has to be more than that - it also has to reflect depth, experience and integrity.

I think we should take careful note of the respect and dignity Jennie George has bought to the position. Her ability and experience has given the ACTU an image that is not just about marketing. Jennie has made people sit up and say 'Hey the ACTU can bring depth and caring to the debate' Her success is due to her genuiness and the obvious commitment she gives to everythng, and the years of experience she has gained along the way. She has also demonstrated that it is a team approach. The Secretary and President must work together and share responsibilities otherwise it doesnt work.

I was recently at a woman's conference in Australia, of all ages; Jennie came to speak and after she had left, I took note of the comments. The younger women see Jennie as a role model, someone to respect - Jennie tells them that they too can move forward not just as President of the ACTU but as women in the trade union movement. They do not see her as irrelevant because of her age - they do not notice the age factor. Young people are not so shallow that the only role models they want are people of their own age.

Life skills and trade union experience play a big part in making a person able to deal objectively and thoughtfully with situations; experience in situations can prevent mistakes and alow for 'wise' decisions. I am an 'older' person and know that my decision making and analytical skills have improved with the years . I can be much more objective, tolerant and am less inclined to rush into things. I have a broader perspective of the world around me. Dare I say that I might be wiser than I was 20 years ago.

It would be sad if young women think that the only way they can make an impact is to be the President. A truer reality is that union structures are still not letting women through nor recognising their ability, this is the frustration making women leave the movement - not the fact that they cannot be the next President.

I think the trade union movement is making a big mistake if it discards the people who have developed experience over the years, especially women. When we discard experience we are throwing away something very precious and relevant to a decent future.

At 43 Mike - you still very young, would you really like the movement to discard you for a younger model. If so what a waste.

Jenny Luck, IFBWW Project Coordinator, Papua New Guinea.


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*   Issue 37 contents

In this issue
Features
*  Republic: Yes, It's Time
Opposition leader Kim Beazley invoked the spirit of '72 when he launched the ALP's Republic campaign.
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*  Interview: What Price a Just Republic?
Magistrate Pat O’Shane is far from happy with the republican model. But she still believes a Yes vote is her best chance for genuine constitutional reform.
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*  Economics: Who the EFIC are you?
If you have not heard of Export Credit Agencies, don't be surprised because it seems they're not too interested in letting the public know what they do.
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*  Unions: Old Habits Die Hard
With the release of its blue print [email protected] the ACTU seems to know where it wants to go. But again it has failed to face up to the underlying structural issues preventing it from getting there.
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*  Legal: Second Wave: Reith's Non-Right to Strike
Peter Reith has called his new laws the Workplace relations Amendment (More Jobs Better Pay) Bill 1999. If legislation is to carry these new, colloquial titles then the ‘More Control, Less Freedom’ Bill would be a better title.
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*  International: Wahid’s New Team
Indonesias new government is blemished by Suharto-era appointees but an advance for reform, says Indonesia’s trade unions.
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*  History: They Fought Them on the Airwaves
Radio broadcasts were an important weapon in the long-running struggle for equal pay.
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*  Satire: Revealed: SOCOG Reserving Gold Medals for Tattersalls
The scandal over the secret allotment of premium tickets for the 2000 Olympics escalated today with the news that members of Sydney’s elite Tattersall’s Club will receive Gold Medals without actually competing.
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*  Review: What The Age Wouldn’t Print
Some time before Monday 18 October, Age editor Michael Gawenda saw red and then got out his blue pencil. An article, heavily critical of Robert Manne, written by Overland editor Ian Syson, was pulled by Gawenda.
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»  POSITION VACANT: MEAA Inquiry Desk Officer
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Columns
»  Guest Report
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»  Sport
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»  Trades Hall
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»  Piers Watch
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Letters to the editor
»  An X for President - Feedback
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»  Republican Soapbox
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»  Education an Asset for All
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