The Official Organ of LaborNET
click here to view the latest edition of Workers Online
The Official Organ of LaborNET
Free home delivery
June 2006   

Interview: Rock Solid
Bill Shorten gives the inside story on the Australian Workers Union's involvement in the Beaconsfield rescue.

Industrial: Eight Simple Rules for Employing My Teenage Daughter
Phil Oswald bought up his kids to believe in their rights; so when his 16-year old daughter was told to cop a pay cut she was never going to take it quietly.

Politics: The Johnnie Code
WorkChoices is encrypted deep in the PM's political DNA, writes Evan Jones

Energy: Fission Fantasies
Adam Ma�anit looks at the big business push behind the 'clean nuclear' debate that is sweeping the globe.

History: All The Way With Clarrie O'Shea
The WorkChoices Penal Powers are the latest in a long line of penal sanctions against trade unions, writes Neale Towart

International: Closer to Home
If Australia can forgive its debt to Iraq, why not to Indonesia and the Philippines, write Luke Fletcher and Karen Iles

Economics: Taking the Fizz
While the Treasurer has been popping the post-Budget champers, Frank Stilwell gives a more sober assessment.

Unions: Stronger Together
Amanada Tattersall looks at the possibilities of strengthening alliances between unions, environmental and community organisations

Review: Montezuma's Revenge
Tommy Lee Jones directs and stars in a film about racism and retribution, writes James Gallaway.

Poetry: Fair Go Gone
Employers in the land rejoice, for we are girt by greed.


The Soapbox
The Beaconsfield Declaration
As the Prime Minister feted Brant Webb and Todd Russell, their colleagues were outside with a message to the rest of Australia.

The Locker Room
Run Like You Stole Something
Phil Doyle observes that there are some tough bastards out there.

The Westie Wing
That fun-loving friend of the workers, Ian West, reports from the red leather of the Bear Pit.

Class Action
Phil Bradley draws the lines between education funding and the current skills crisis.


When the Truth Hurts
Some rare moments of candour this week have vindicated all we�ve been saying about WorkChoices and more.


 Howard's Advocate Fesses Up

 Cowra - Work Slaughter Legal

 You're Killing Us - BHP Charged Again

 Revealed: Beaconsfield Led AWA Charge

 Warehouse Pushes the Envelope

 Independent Schools Push Class Warfare

 Spotlight on Howard�s Porkies

 PM Backs Visa Buster

 Sutton Wants Middle Men Probed

 ATO Recruiting for WorkChoices

 Taxpayers to Fund Ad Orgy

 New Deal on Canberra Menu

 Appeal for East Timor

 Activist's What's On!

 Free Kick
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 Beaconsfield Declaration

As the Prime Minister feted Brant Webb and Todd Russell, their colleagues were outside with a message to the rest of Australia.


We, the members of the AWU from the Beaconsfield Mine, recognise that mining is a hard way of life. But it is also a way of life that builds deep bonds between men, their families, and their communities.

The people of Beaconsfield have always understood the power of the ties that bind us. We believe that after the great story of survival and rescue that put Beaconsfield on the map, all Australians have come to understand it too.

It was the power of mateship, community and teamwork that drove the tremendous effort behind the rescue and made sure we would stop at nothing until our mates were out of the ground.

And it was our ability to rely on each other, our families, our community and our union which contributed to the great result we celebrate today. We take pride in that achievement.

We want to thank the Australian public for their ongoing support and we welcome today's opportunity to come to Canberra, the home of our democracy and national parliament, to give thanks for the rescue of our two colleagues, and also to remember the life of Larry Knight.

We particularly welcome the involvement of all sides of politics in today's reception.

But we also come with a message to the Parliament of Australia and the Government of Australia.

Most of us are likely to lose our jobs within the next two weeks.

None of us is losing our employment because of anything we ourselves have done as miners.

We are losing our jobs because, using the current methods, the Beaconsfield mine is not safe. And we still await a satisfactory explanation for the Anzac Day rock-fall.

We see the events since Anzac Day against a background of the resources boom in Australia which continues to create wealth for our nation. But over the past eight years more than 110 workers have died in Australian mines and many, many more have died at work in other industries.

We believe every worker has the right to return home from work safely every day. And we believe that the right to occupational health and safety is a direct result of union involvement in the workplace.

Unions and union training improve workplace safety. We are concerned that the Federal Government's new industrial laws attack the role of unions in our workplace, and other workplaces around Australia, and in so doing will make workplaces less safe.

We believe that Occupational Health and Safety laws are too important to be politicised and should not become vehicles for attacking the role of unions in the workplace.

Today, therefore, we call on Prime Minister John Howard and his Workplace Minister Kevin Andrews to lift their ban on workplace agreements that give miners, and millions of other working Australians, access to union OH and S training and work-time meetings.

Our union, the AWU, is presently negotiating with our employer new union workplace oh and s training for our mine. We have paid union meetings about safety.

But under the Government's new IR laws we cannot have that agreement legally recognised. If we even ask for that agreement to be registered and legally enforceable, our union can be fined $33,000 and each of us as miners could face government fines of $6,600.

So we say to the federal government - repeal these laws that criminalise our efforts to ensure our union and our voices are heard in protecting safety at our workplace.

We thank you for all your support and we thank the Australian parliament for giving us this reception. But when the celebrations are over and we fly home to our uncertain future, we want to make sure that the Beaconsfield mine collapse leaves a lasting legacy - a legacy of safety for the people like us who work in this industry.

That is why we have made this statement today and why we hope all of you, including the federal government will not just listen but also act.


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: 07 Jun 2006

Powered by APT Solutions
Labor Council of NSW Workers Online