|Issue No 81||08 December 2000|
Howard Sinks Merchant Navy
By Zoe Reynolds
The Howard Government's $40 billion dollar defence package has left any future Australia war effort without any funding for logistics and supply vessels, according to seafarers.
No funding has been allocated to the merchant marine and the Maritime Union has warned that this could lead to the ridiculous scenario where Australian soldiers equipped like Terminator II are starved to death before the enemy gets a shot at them.
"Who is the Government going to call on to supply the Australian soldiers and navy?" asked MUA Acting National Secretary Paddy Crumlin.
"Shonky foreign vessels like the Bunga Teratai Satu, that was stuck on our Great Barrier Reef for 12 days? The XL that set fire off Port Hedland in November? We need Australian ships with Australian crew to serve our future war efforts and help defend our country."
The government has ignored the merchant marine at its own peril. A comprehensive report Dunkirk to Dili: Maritime Union of Australia Submission to Defence Review 2000 - Our Future Defence Force highlights the strategic role the Australian Merchant Marine plays in wartime.
One in eight Australian seafarers died during World War II. As Major General PJ Cosgrove, commander INTERFET confirmed when he wrote to personally thank Maritime Union employees for their support during the INTERFET deployment in East Timor. "Many civilian ships have carried valuable people, equipment and supplies to the deployed forces, without which our logistic build up would have been severely hampered," (October 15, 1999)
The US Government via the Jones Act recognises the strategic importance of their merchant marine allocating $10 billion to ship building and operating program over the next 10 years.
Interview: Back to Work
After a stretch of unemployment following the 1996 election, former Keating Minister Robert Tickner is now helping others find work.
Media: Reality Check
Aiden White, head of the international journalists' union, argues that online journalism presents a new set of challenges for organising.
Economics: In the Same Boat
In an unprecedented move, a coalition of industry, community and trade union groups have joined forces to address long-trerm unemployment.
International: Nepalese Hotel Workers Ask for Support
Hotel workers in the small Himalayan nation of Nepal have finally decided to vent their anger and call a general strike for Monday - over a 21 year old dispute.
Unions: Speaking in Tongues
Labor Council's Mark Morey outlines the successful campaign by local government workers for a community language allowance.
History: Fighting Words
The anti-conscription campaign of 1914-18 tore the ALP apart; but this was not the first time the labour movement took a militantly anti-war stance.
Politics: A New Socialism
In an extract from his new book, political economist Frank Stilwell argues the need for a new radicalism to counter the Third Way
Satire: Roy Slaven on the Rampage
John Doyle's history of the ABC stretches back to a 1958 evening in Lithgow on which he was "scared shitless" by Blackboard on Mr Squiggle.
Review: Mauled in the Bear Pit
Vengeance may be sweet but it is always made better when you are able to write a book about yourself that also provides the opportunity to dump a bucket load on those who undertook your removal.
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Last Modified: 15 Nov 2005