The Official Organ of LaborNET
click here to view the latest edition of Workers Online
The Official Organ of LaborNET
Free home delivery
August 2005   

Interview: On Holiday
Historian Richard White looks back on the Aussie vacation - and finds a way of life is under threat.,

Unions: One Day Longer
Nathan Brown travels to the Boeing picket line and find a group of workers with a steely determination to stick together.

Industrial: Never Mind the Bollocks
Jim Marr plays the Howard Government's industrial relations spin job on its merits.

Politics: Spun Out
Canberra’s latest campaign underlines the need for controls over government advertising, according to Graeme Orr and Joo-Cheong Tham

Economics: If the Grog Don't Get You ....
Evan Jones explains how the way we purchase alcolohol reflects the type of economy we live in.

History: Taking a Stand
Neale Towart looks at two books that chronicle how to build community support against social injustice.

International: The Split
Amanda Tattersal outsider's account of an insider's shake-out at the AFL-CIO Convention 2005

Legal: Pushing the Friendship
George Williams argues that the federal government’s constitutional powers are not sufficient to enact a comprehensive national industrial relations scheme

Poetry: Simple Subtractions
The latest blitz of taxpayer-funded advertising has revealed a crisis of arithmetic in government ranks has moved resident bard David Peetz to prose.

Review: Sydney Trashed
Sydney band SC Trash are on a mission to give new life to folk and country music – and the politics of common sense. Nathan Brown had a beer with them


The Westie Wing
Our favourite MP, Ian West, goes away for a couple of weeks and look what happens…

The Soapbox
The Last Weekend
Unions NSW secretary John Robertson's speech to the Last Weekend - how the Howard government laws will undermine the Ausrtalian way of life.

The Locker Room
A Concept Is Born
In which Phil Doyle helps the proponents of the vision thing across the road.

Workers Blood For Oil
A new book by Abdullah Muhsin and Alan Johnson lifts the lid on the bloody reality of US backed democracy for Iraq's trade unions

London Post
During his recent stay in London IEU industrial officer John Shapiro was living only a few hundred metres from the site of one of the bomb blasts.


Iemma’s Dilemmas
The past fortnight has seen the sort of upheaval in NSW that reminds us all that politics is a very tenuous game with few certainties and even fewer rules.


 Carmen's Boss No Fun Guy

 Discriminating Centrelink on Charges

 Uproar Over Holiday Plans

 Do The Bus Stop

 Taxpayers to Fund Advertising Orgy

 Get Up Stands Up

 Andrews Provokes Showdown

 Thousands in Super Rort

 Constituents Don’t Trust Andrews

 Skill Shortage Fabricated

 Yanks Short Change Tradesmen

 Howard Steamroller Hits Building Sites

 CFMEU Bans Ferguson

 Activists Whats On!

 Back To The Past
 AFL-CIO Not The Only War
 Be Afraid
 Frame Up
 We Love Morris
 ANew Development
 A Readers Suggestion
About Workers Online
Latest Issue
Print Latest Issue
Previous Issues
Advanced Search

other LaborNET sites

Labor Council of NSW
Vic Trades Hall Council
IT Workers Alliance
Unions on LaborNET
Evatt Foundation

Labor for Refugees


The Soapbox

The Last Weekend

Unions NSW secretary John Robertson's speech to the Last Weekend - how the Howard government laws will undermine the Ausrtalian way of life.

Congratulations on everyone who has come along today.

This is the Last Weekend:

- it is the Last Weekend before the Prime Minister returns to take control of the Senate - giving him the power to pass any law he likes.

- it is the Last Weekend before the Prime Minister begins a process that will take away basic your basic rights at work.

- It is the Last Weekend that we can say that your weekend penalty rates, annual leave and control over your shifts are properly protected.

We have come here to protest these changes that will undermine the Australian way of life.

In doing so we also celebrate.

- a beautiful winter's day at this fabulous venue - built by union labour and where a unionised workforce delivered the best Olympics ever

- the company of our family and friends - and the great

- and the rights we have won over generations that allow us to work hard - but also spend time with the people we love

We have families here today who have travelled from all around the state to get here - and there are parallel events going on right across regional NSW.

Picnic days have been organised in:

- Albury

- Armidale

- Bathurst

- Glen Innes

- Merimbula

- Moruya

- Mudgee

- Nowra

- Parkes

- Scott's Head

- Tamworth

- Tweed Heads

- Wagga Wagga

- Evans Head

- Kyogle

Combined we estimate there are -

This is just a taste of the sort of opposition building against these changes.

And it is growing.

It is growing because people will not sit back and see the very rights that have made Australia a great place to live are under attack.

- weekend penalty rates

- four weeks annual leave

- long service leave

- holiday leave loading

All under attack

All up for grabs

Think about how you would cope:

- if you were forced to give up two weeks annual leave

- if you were forced to shift from permanent to casual work

- if you lost control of your shifts and were forced to make yourselves available whenever the employer wanted you.

These are all scenarios that the Minister for Workplace Relations has left open by removing the award safety net from individual' contracts.

While the Minister says it will be the workers' choice to negotiate these,

We all know that this is a joke.

We have seen it again and again -

You can 'choose' to sign the contract - or look elsewhere for work.

And it's not just the bad bosses who will take away your rights once these changes become law.

Very soon, even the good employers will fund they need to whittle away your rights in order to compete with the company down the road.

And before we know it, these rights will be history.


This is why opposition to these unfair changes is growing every day.

This is why it has not just been the union movement, but community groups, sporting groups, churches who have raised their concerns.

What have these community groups been saying?

- they are already struggling to find people with the time to commit to coaching and managing juniors sports ides. And they can see things getting worse.

- they are finding it hard to get volunteers to patrol the beaches as lifesavers - and the can see things getting worse


- and they are experiencing a drop of in attendance to churches as more and more workers are forced to work on their traditional day of rest. And they too can see things getting worse.

They see these changes as a recipe for fractures families and broken communities.

On behalf of all these groups who care about a cohesive Australia, our message to the federal government today is

- put families first

- respect the rights that workers have fought so hard to achieve

- and give up on this push to take fairness out of the workplace.


This week the federal government returns to Canberra.

The Prime Minister now has control of the Senate and has the power to pass any law he wants.

He needs to know that Australian working families are watching.

And if he pushes through withy these changes to their rights at work he will be held responsible for putting pressure on workers, their families and their communities.

We did not vote for this.

Our campaign is going well - we have community support behind us and your attendance here is a sign that this support is growing.

But we need to view this as a long term battle - not just to protect our rights at work but to reclaim the Australian way of life - a way of life built on the principles of;

- hard work

- time for rest and holiday

- and time for our families.

To succeed we need to keep the issue alive;

- get yourself informed

- talk to your family and friends

- and hold your elected leaders accountable for decisions they make now that will impact on this nation forever.

The question we must all ask ourselves is this:

Do we want to be the first generation to leave our children with a weaker set of working rights than we inherited from our parents?

I know I don't and that's why I am committed to fighting as long and as hard as it takes to see this attack off.


So enjoy your day

Join me in thanking all the performers, organisers and stall holders for a great show.

Keep involved in the campaign - it is going to be a long haul.

But never lose sight of what it is we are fighting for:

- our families

- our communities

- and the Australian way of life.


email workers to a friend printer-friendly version latest breaking news from labornet

Search All Issues | Latest Issue | Previous Issues | Print Latest Issue

© 1999-2002 Workers Online
Workers Online is a resource for the Labour movement
provided by the Labor Council of NSW
Last Modified: 15 Nov 2005

Powered by APT Solutions
Labor Council of NSW Workers Online