The PT Barnum of the loony Right gave us the benefit of his wisdom this week, which didn't take long but nonetheless was a fine illustration of what is possible when you engage the mouth while the brain is in neutral.
Graeme Haycroft's intellectual background stems from the fact that he runs a labour hire firm. He is a modest man, humbly declaring himself the "most published expert on the labour market issues" in the country.
He gave a stunning example of how wide the meaning of the word expert can be in an op-ed piece for Brisbane's Courier Mail last week under the headline "Fair Go For All".
Those expecting to read how there would be a fair go for all were strangely disappointed, as former insurance salesman turned huxter for paying staff in salt, Graeme Haycroft, explained how the new industrial relations laws are fantastic, and that it's all about choice.
Hey! Who needs to worry about AWAs, because so few people are using them, says Graeme - an OEA "partner" who uses an unusual selling technique.
And even if people are on an AWA, well, according to old Greybags the changes are merely "cosmetic" anyway.
Has anyone ever associated being able to go to work without fear as being "cosmetic"?
I suppose the Vogue website pointed to the example of a fitness trainer sacked from a gym for not wearing make-up, so maybe he is on to something.
Haycroft is perplexed that workers get "holiday pay, sick pay, long service leave, bereavement leave and redundancy thrown in whether you wanted them or not".
Heaven forbid! Why don't workers just volunteer their time as well! Obviously that's what they all want, hey Graeme? That's why they're flocking to support these changes.
Naturally the man who encourages continued use of the word 'crackpot' has identified that workers are frustrated that they don't have the choice to work for six packs of bourbon under the name of flexibility.
"Employees and employers actually want the same things," says the man who has a disturbing resemblance to John Pertwee of Doctor Who fame. Employees are also apparently "happy to drop guarantees" in return for more money according to the Einstein of industry.
"This gives workers security," says Haycroft, as the men in white coats move in.
Apparently the opposite of the fair go is the entitlement, so the only way to guarantee a fair go is to remove entitlements. It's a stunning argument presented handsomely without a shred of logic.
Apparently opposition to the changes is coming from industrial relations professionals, not good 'ole boys who happen to run a company that does, well, industrial relations. Graeme is very keen to show us the workings of his unprofessional industrial relations company, the remarkably utilitarian Labour Hire Australia Group, on their website.
They proudly declare that "We take over all your problems and risks associated with employment", like, for instance, having to pay people for example.
Haycroft is an interesting character. He believes in unions, just not for everybody.
He believes in unions so much he formed one himself, what he calls the Small Business Union. Which is none of the three.
Another thing he believes in strongly is nepotism.
He believes in nepotism so much he made his son head of Occupational Health and Safety for his work in the construction industry. The idea being that your workers' occupational health will be safer if they don't join a union.
Ben Haycroft is good at lifting things.
Graeme's website proudly tells us how number one son Ben "controls" a workforce of over 200.
Let's just hope he controls them with the famous Haycroft Mindmeld, and not the more traditional form of control favoured by his sunshine coast property developing mates, Sumo wrestlers and swarthy chaps who repossess jewellery.
You have to take your hat off to a man who can make Russ Hinze look like an intellectual, and that's after he's been dead for about ten or more years.
A man who counts amongst his mates sunshine coast property developers who find it difficult to close their mouths properly is obviously just the sort of, err, human with their finger on the pulse of Australian society.
If Graeme's contribution to helping us understand the inner workings, or lack thereof, in the mind of the industrial zealot has impressed you then why not email himand let him know what you think is a fair go for all.
When Howard mounted his New Zealand defence of AWAs, last week, he told Australians that a survey done in the Shaky Isles showed overwhelming employee satisfaction with workplace reform based on individual contracts.
"We find that while 85 percent of people originally opposed labour market reform, 18 months after the changes, 73 percent of employees were either 'very safisfied' or 'satisfied' with their working conditions and terms of employment," the Prime Minister said in a detailed "intellectual and economic case" for his workplace agenda.
What Howard neglected to mention, however, was that his 73 percent figure came from a 1992 survey conducted by Teesdale Meuli.
The firm was a "management consultancy" that made big money by delivering thousands of workers onto individual contracts.
Tony Teesdale, a one time rally driver, and his partner, Paul Meuli, joined forces in 1990 to take advantage of opportunities opened up by radical industrial changes in the 1991 Employment Contracts Act.
Ten years later, the operation was sold to US giant, TMP Worldwide, for an undisclosed sum.
NZ Council of Trade Unions education officer, Don Farr, said Teesdale used "confusion and obfuscation" to get Kiwis onto individual contracts.
"I had a number of dealings with him and his whole operation was geared to moving people out of unions and onto individual contracts," Farr said.
"He would go through a long, drawn out process. In one instance, I clearly recall him telling workers of a leading bank, at one centre, that colleagues in other centres weren't interested in retaining penalty rates. Of course, they were never allowed to meet face to face.
"In the end, the individual agreements his process said were wanted by bank workers turned out to be almost identical to the ones he had prepared for McDonalds.
"Almost every individual agreement done with Teesdale in the finance sector was done on the back of a union agreement. In other words, individuals got the same wages and conditions as the union negotiated as long as they didn't join the union.
"The trouble was, over the years, as Teesdale got people out of the unions everyone lost bargaining strength. In most industries it took about six years for allowances and penalty payments to disappear and wage rates to be screwed right down."
Farr says timing is the second major flaw in Howard's argument. By October, 1992, barely 15 months after the Act was passed, few, if any, effects had been felt.
Unlike Australia, where employers can force workers onto AWAs, New Zealand employers couldn't move until existing collective agreements had run their courses and expired.
If Howard had chosen to be more honest about individual contracts he could have chosen a number of surveys conducted after their affects had bitten.
His difficulty was that, almost uniformly, they showed high levels of dissatisfaction with employment conditions.
For example, a 1998 National Business Review survey returned only a 39 percent satisfaction rating.
In 1999, New Zealand's Labour Market Bulletin published a detailed study of wage movements as they affected supermarket checkout operators over the decade to 1997. They showed real wages had fallen 11.2 percent for adults, working Monday to Friday; 30.1 percent for part time adults; and 44.4 percent for part time students.
By 1997, real wages in New Zealand were lower than they had been in 1977.
Through it all, New Zealand plunged, on OECD figures, to record the fourth lowest growth rate of the organisation's 23 member countries in 1998.
Despite low wages, New Zealand's labour productivity rose only an average 0.5 percent for the years 1993-1998. Australia, for the same period, averaged annual growth of 3.2 percent.
By the turn of the century, dissatisfaction in New Zealand reached such high levels that hundreds of thousands of working people emigrated.
This led Howard to slam the door on years of reciprocal citizenship in a bid to ground the flight of Kiwis to Australia.
According to the New Zealand Government, that country's economy is still held back by serious labour and skills shortages.
Exhaustive study of New Zealand labour market surveys published around the time quoted by Howard, last week, turns up the Heylen Research/ Teesdale Meuli paper as the one that most closely fits his 18 month timeframe.
That survey is recorded as a glowing endorsement by Right Wing ideologue, and former New Zealand Minister of Labour, Maurice McTigue, in his paper, Alternatives to Regulation.
McTigue is now described as a "distinguished visiting scholar" at the Mercatus Centre at Virginia's George Mason University.
"While 85 percent of the populace originally opposed the new labour law, 73 percent of employees are either 'very satisfied' or 'satisfied' with their working conditions and terms of employment," McTigue wrote in a passage that bore an uncanny resemblance to the words Howard would use, years later, in a keynote speech in Sydney.
Bytecraft, which has the contract to maintain TAB betting machines, has staff on AWAs that include a 48 hour week with no penalty rates or leave loading. They force workers to take parental leave out of sick leave – all for a base salary of $27,000 a year.
Under a 2000 Certified Agreement between Bytecraft and the ETU provided technicians earned $54,000 a year.
In October, 2003, the Office of the Employment Advocate okayed the AWAs, arguing they complied with the Business Equipment Technical Service Award, although no TAB betting machine maintenance technician had ever been employed under this award.
A competitor was paying technicians $44,000 prior to Bytecraft taking over the contract.
The individual contracts provide an hourly rate a little under a dollar above the minimum wage and allow for summary dismissal, 12-hour shifts and make no mention of occupational health and safety, or personal protective equipment.
An anti-discrimination clause covers every legislated ground for discrimination except union membership.
In 2001, Bytecraft CEO John Rowland made two ETU members redundant a day after his manager told staff that there was an "excess" of work.
The ETU took the matter to the industrial umpire as a case of anti-union discrimination. Commissioner Lewin of the Industrial Relations Commission was scathing of the evidence of Rowland in determining a payout of over $60,000 to the two sacked workers, on top of their existing entitlements.
Virgin "Robs" $4,000
Meanwhile, the Office of the Employment Advocate has ticked off on AWAs that allow Virgin Mobile to "rob" call centre staff by up to $4,000 a year, according to United Services Union secretary Michael Want.
Want says the move totally contradicts Prime Minister John Howard's 1996 claim that no worker would be worse off under his laws.
"This proves that Howard's commitment is a joke and that without collective protection workers are being ripped off right across Australia."
CFMEU national secretary, John Sutton, threw down the gauntlet after Andrews claimed the industry was the scene of ongoing "thuggery and intimidation", last week.
Andrews levelled the accusations in defence of a government blacklist of employers who don't agree with its hardline industrial relations stance.
"This government's legislation, and its code, have nothing to do with thuggery," Sutton said. "They are attempts to hold down the living standards of building workers and their families.
"Efforts to wrap that agenda in a law and order cloak are blatantly dishonest and they insult tens of thousands of building workers.
"It's time for Kevin Andrews to put up or shut up."
Last week, Andrews again urged industry employers not to sign collective agreements with building workers. In case they are tempted, he confirmed, they would be barred from access to tens of millions of dollars worth of work.
Sutton said the Minister's emotive language fitted a pattern the government had used since coming to power in 1996.
In that period, he said, it had ...
- spent $65 million on a Royal Commission into the Building Industry that utilised more than 120 investigators to dig dirt on CFMEU members
- written special legislation for the industry that bars almost all forms of industrial action, including meetings, on pain of imprisonment
- established a special Building Industry Taskforce and given dozens of its officers, mostly lawyers and former police officers, sweeping coercive powers
- written a Code for the industry which used a blacklist to try and dissuade employers from negotiating with the union
Sutton said for all the "colour and dirt" of the Royal Commission, where sensational evidence dragged on in state capitals for more than a year, it resulted in only one prosecution, nationwide, and that was of a Western Australian building company.
He said the federal government campaign appeared to be built on the theory that if you repeat a lie often enough it becomes the truth.
The actions of the Taskforce, he said, had unmasked its true agenda.
"The Taskforce spends millions of dollars chasing union members and trying to hold down wages and conditions but turns a blind eye to any illegality when our members are on the receiving end," Sutton said.
He said Taskforce boss, Nigel Hadgkiss, had admitted as much when he conceded issues of importance to workers were "outside his remit".
Brian Healey had his application for retirement on ill health rejected by Delta Electricity, his employer for 25 years, even though the company believes he is unable to work.
The 52-year-old was forced to use up his accrued sick leave, annual leave and long service leave over a year to survive while Delta put him in the Catch 22 situation.
"It's just bizarre," he said.
"Which ever way I've gone they've put me in a corner."
Healey took sick leave for two weeks in March last year after his doctor had certified him unfit for work due to depression.
When he was reassessed fit for work, Delta made him book an appointment with another doctor and forced him to take sick leave until then.
The doctor assessed him as fit, but Delta rejected Healey's request for the sick leave to be reimbursed.
He then applied to retire on ill health for his depression, which was rejected by Delta, who forced him to take sick leave.
Healey alleges Delta told him if he dropped his demands for reimbursement of sick leave and signed away his right to further independent medical assessment, then his application to retire may be considered.
He said he had followed the processes for retiring on ill health to the letter, but Delta kept moving the goalposts.
"They're making it up as they go along."
Healey has since won a workers compensation claim against Delta for contributing towards his depression. Delta has appealed.
The Electrical Trades Union's Russell Wilson said Delta could be trying to make an example of Healey.
"They might say look what it cost him to retire on ill health," Wilson said.
Rugby League Professionals Association CEO Tony Butterfield copped a battering after commissioning an independent valuation of the NRL’s secret TV rights deal with the Nine Network and Fox Sports.
The analysis by global investment bank Lazard, found the deal was at the low end of the reasonable range but appeared to ignore emerging new technologies such as broadband 3G phones.
The report also called for a proportionate increase in funding for juniors and clubs.
The increase would see grants to juniors rise from $10 million to $20 million per annum and annual grants for clubs rise from $2.5 million to 5.2 million.
"The health of rugby league is the product of a team effort between the NRL, the clubs, the players and the junior leagues," Butterfield said.
"We believe the distribution of income from the TV rights should reflect that partnership, " Butterfield said, drawing on his own experience as coach of the Dudley Magpies under-12s.
These conciliatory words drew a vicious response from the NRL, which told players to butt out of matters that did not concern them.
"Today is typical of Tony Butterfield's approach to dealing with the NRL, it is nothing more than inaccurate and mischievous public grand standing," NRL chief executive David Gallop said.
Accusing Butterfield of making a 'thinly veiled grab' at the salary cap, Gallop went on to reject the Lazard analysis as being based on the wrong figures - while refusing to make details of the deal public.
Gallop concluded his spray by asserting the RLPA had no interest in the broader debates around the game's future. "Tony is purporting to speak on behalf of the wider game from the grass roots to the clubs when of course he does not. He represents the NRL players union."
Unions NSW secretary John Robertson described the attack on a union leader as 'immature'. "Tony has legitimate right as the leader of a registered trade union to talk about the future of the game - and the NRL criticisms just show that they are an industrially immature organisation," Robertson said.
On the figures, Lazard managing director Paul Binstead noted, the biggest issue was that News Ltd was both a stakeholder and the owner and the seller of rights, with interests in both the NRL and Fox.
Without any transparency, which exists in major sports including the NFL in North America, the public has no idea what the value of the code really was.
Click here for details of the Lazard analysis at http://www.myfooty.com.au
The union claims Hawker de Havilland, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Boeing, is illegally discriminating against more than 1000 members employed at Port Botany and Port Melbourne.
Workers on collective agreements were shocked when the company denied them $1300 bonuses, last year. The company quarantined payouts to workers on individual contracts and senior staff, and financial analysts believe this year's payouts could hit $3000 a head.
Payments under Boeing's Share Values Trust arrangement are triggered by the company's share price.
The AMWU and APESMA won the right to pursue discrimination action, last month, when Federal Court Justice Donnell Ryan granted them leave to file an amended claim, and to discover documents.
The documents controlling the Share Values Trust are held at Boeing's Seattle headquarters and its subsidiary has stone-walled efforts to see them.
"Hawker de Havilland hides behind the terms of the trust but has made it extremely difficult for anyone in Australia to see them," AMWU spokesman, Maurice Addison, said.
"We have been asking to see them for the last nine months, without success."
Essentially, Addison says, the company says it cannot be held accountable for arrangements entered into by its parent.
"Our claim is that it is unlawful, under Australian law, to discriminate against workers under the freedom of association provisions of the Workplace Relations Act," Addison says.
"They are using the corporate veil to try to dodge their obligations under Australian law."
Australian workers, union and non-union, had expected to be paid under terms set out by Boeing in 1996.
Addison said when it became apparent the distribution point would be triggered, last year, delegates asked managers about allocations and had been assured everyone would qualify.
The company now claims that the US deed precludes payouts to anyone on a collective agreement.
Justice Ryan rejected Hawker's bid to have the discrimination action thrown out. It has been set down for a directions hearing on September 9.
Blue Goes Global
Meanwhile, locked out workers at Boeing Williamtown RAAF base are taking their campaign for a collective agreement global.
The International Metalworkers' Union has offered assistance to the locked out workers.
An email campaign is featured on the IMF's website .
Those supporting the Boeing workers are writing letters of protest to the following people:
John Howard, Prime Minister of Australia
Senator Robert Hill, Federal Minister for Defence [email protected]
Kevin Andrews, Federal Minister for Workplace Relations [email protected]
David Gray, Managing Director, Boeing Australia Limited [email protected]
W. James Mc Nerney, Chairman, President and CEO, Boeing World Headquarters [email protected]
Andrews claims AWA employees are 13 percent better off than counterparts on collective agreements or awards, and that pitch was a central feature of newspaper ads that ran across Australia, last weekend.
Just three days later, the Australian Bureau of Statistics revealed that for adults in fulltime work, people on certified collective agreements did best.
Its annual publication, Australian Social Trends, showed Aussies on collective agreements, the vast majority of which are union negotiated, averaged 80 cents per hour more than employees on government-sponsored secret individual contracts (AWAs).
But Unions NSW secretary, John Robertson, said the real difference in earnings for "working people" was "significantly bigger" than the figures showed.
Robertson accused the Minister, and his advertising, of "trying to mislead by not telling the whole truth".
The weekly earnings figures, favoured by the federal government, are flawed because they deliberately ignore the earnings of more than a million employees on state certified agreements.
But, on top of that, government AWA earnings are boosted by the inclusion of more than 800,000 people the ABS identifies as managers. Many of them are on six-figure salaries, especially in Canberra, where federal policy forces departmental bosses onto AWAs.
The ABS figures also reveal that AWA employees work, on average, six hours a week longer than counterparts on collective agreements, and a whopping 27 percent more time than those on awards, many of whom are part-time, again artificially boosting Canberra's weekly comparison.
On hourly rates, the ABS reveals, part-times on AWAs earn 25 percent less than those on collective agreements; while casuals on AWAs are 15 percent worse off.
Robertson said the ABS figures showed the federal government had a "real cheek" to criticise the ACTU's advertising campaign.
About 30 workers met near the 1600 metre mark prior to the start of the J G Heywood Handicap, delaying the event for 14 minutes.
The workers are employed at Sandown and Caulfield, their jobs include preparation between each race to ensure the track is safe and acceptable to the stewards.
The workers have been left in limbo for four months as the MRC refused to budge during discussions over a new three-year collective agreement.
The MRC dropped its plan to allow forced redundancies and lifted its pay offer from 10% to 13.5%, bringing them into line with increases offered to staff at the Victorian Racing Club and the Moonee Valley Racing Club, following the action.
Workers have agreed to a two-week amnesty on industrial action while negotiations on their overtime entitlements continue
Following the action the club's CEO Warren Brown agreed to take part in negotiations for the first time.
Brown had earlier said that he hoped "nothing illegal or silly would go on".
It was the first time in fourteen years that industrial action has disrupted a meeting at the Melbourne track.
More than 80 per cent of businesses questioned in the Dun and Bradstreet survey said they had no intention to employ new staff, despite the government's plan to make it harder for employees to claim unfair dismissal.
The survey blows out of the water the government's claim more jobs will be created because of their changes.
Businesses' sales and profit expectations were found to be at their lowest in 14 years, which flies in the face of the government's claims workplace reform is a cure-all for the economy.
Dun and Bradstreet Australasia chief executive officer Christine Christian said businesses were adopting a wait and see approach during the increased economic uncertainty.
"There is a lot of uncertainty at the moment which has led to many businesses deciding to hold off on any major decisions about employment or capital investment," Christian said.
The uncertainty goes beyond business with consumers also worried about workplace reform.
A separate Westpac-Melbourne Institute survey found consumer confidence was 10 per cent lower than the same time last year.
Westpac's chief economist Bill Evans told a Sydney newspaper this week though the London bombings had dented confidence, the survey revealed uncertainty among consumers about industrial relations.
"Consumer unease with the industrial relations legislation is likely to persist for some time," Evans said.
The day has been designated a 'Special Event' by the NSW Government and extra public transport will be put on all lines, from Scone in the north to Bomaderry (Nowra) in the south and west to Lithgow.
Extra bus services will also be provided to ferry people from across Sydney to the landmark event, featuring entertainment from The Hooley Dooleys, Tim Freedman, Kid Confucius, free rides, face painting for the kids and more, running from 11am - 2:30pm at The Overflow at Sydney Olympic Park.
The venue has been chosen because of its symbolic association with the success of the Olympics that saw co-operative industrial relations help deliver what has been labelled the "best games ever".
"All people have to do to access the free public transport is to say they are going to the Last Weekend event,' says Unions NSW secretary John Robertson.
Writing On The Wall
Meanwhile councils are getting behind the promotion of both the last weekend and the campaign to fight for the community's rights at work.
Leichhardt Council has erected a large banner on Sydney's busy Victoria Road and Parramatta Council is also lending its support with banners promoting the campaign displayed in prominent locations.
Other councils are expected to follow suit.
The issue was highlighted by whistleblower nurse Toni Hoffman, who raised concerns about the controversial former Bundaberg Base Hospital director of surgery Doctor Jayant Patel.
Patel, dubbed "Dr Death" by sections of the media, is now the subject of a major government inquiry.
Hoffman was given a standing ovation when she addressed the Queensland Nurses Union (QNU) conference last week.
Hoffman said she had been labelled a troublemaker seeking her fifteen minutes of fame after reporting concerns about the surgeon.
"I kept hitting brick walls, as you saw, and at the time, no one else was complaining," Hoffman told the conference. "So it was easy to label me as a troublemaker and to say it was a personality conflict."
"This shows the danger of the Howard government's agenda," says Gay Hawksworth, secretary of the Queensland Nurses' Union. "The ability of our members to speak out on professional issues without fear for their jobs is vital in maintaining standards in public health.
"Of special concern would be the vulnerable position of those in the private sector, especially the aged care sector, where the ability to access unfair dismissal protection and the impact of individual contracts undermines nurses sense of job security."
Mid North Coast Fund Raiser
The Mid North Coast (Forster-Tuncurry) area had a rousing turn out to the July 1 Union Rally.
Some of us decided to organise a Theatre Party Fund Raiser for C.A.N on Monday 18th July @ 6.15 pm. $12 with drinks & nibbles.
However, its School Holidays, time is short, and we need to contact more Members. Please email [email protected] or phone us on 6557.6357 for tickets and info.
Sneak Previews of Naomi Klein and Avi Lewis‚ political thriller
June 28, 2005: Union Aid Abroad ˆ APHEDA and the Sydney Social Forum (SFF) proudly present advance screenings of the compelling new documentary The Take, a film by Avi Lewis and best-selling author Naomi Klein (No Logo), at the Chauvel Cinema on Thursday 14 July and Friday 15 July. Canadian director, Avi Lewis will present a Q&A after each screening.
Life Without Unions - The New Reality?
The NSW Fabio Society is conducting this forum with:
Greg Combet, Secretary ACTU
Heather Ridout, CEO AIG
When: Wednesday 20 July from 6.00pm - 7.30pm
Where: LHMU Auditorium, 187 Thomas Street, Haymarket
Chair: Peter Lewis, Editor Workers Online and Director EMC
Member of the NSW Fabian Society
Forthcoming Fabian Society Forums
August: Israel & Palestine
With: Speakers to be advised
When: Wednesday 24 August from 6.00pm to 7.30pm
Where: Gleebooks, 49 Glebe Point Road, Glebe
September: Media Reform
With: Andy Nehl & Julianne Schultz
When: Wednesday 21 September from 6.00pm to 7.30pm
Where: Theatrette NSW Parliament House
October: One Year Down &. Two to Go - Can Labor Win in 2007?
With: John Singleton & others TBA
When: Wednesday 19 October from 6.00pm to 7.30pm
Where: NSW Parliament House
The Wages of Spin
From the company behind the smash hit stage production of the
"Children Overboard" Inquiry, CMI: version 1.0 presents
The Wages of Spin
Does it matter we went to war on a lie?
Canberra: July 20 - 30
> "You went abroad in our name on a just cause.... Thank you from Australia." - John Howard
> "Nobody knows, nobody has asked and nobody even tries to establish what the level of casualties might be. That is true, isn't it?" - Senator John Faulkner, Senate Estimates Committee
> There is no point in producing information that may be misleading or unhelpful." - Defence Minister, Senator Robert Hill, in response.
Last year Sydney's version 1.0 went overboard with its surreal and gut-wrenching CMI (A Certain Maritime Incident), taking the transcript of the Senate's "Children Overboard" Inquiry as a performance text. Now the company has turned its attention to the war on Iraq, and the fabricated (and shifting) justifications for it, with a new show, The Wages of Spin (Performance Space, May 20 - June 5).
The Wages of Spin is political theatre, version 1.0 style - playful, surreal, visceral and tragic, with no easy answers. There may be casualties. There certainly will be liberties taken with the found texts. So, in the words of a thousand arts journos and a thousand PR hacks, what can the audience expect to see? Expect to see kittens in gift-wrapped boxes, flag gags, fake blood, shock-and-awe slapstick and Benny Hill-esque puns about weapons of mass destruction. Expect to laugh... until you're confronted with the horrors of POW interrogations. Expect to see some serious grappling with the horrific possibility that the Right may have been right... the war may have been a good thing.
The Wages of Spin plays to Canberra's political elites at The Street Theatre (July 20 -30). Bookings: 02 6247 1223.
Artists Performer/Devisers: Stephen Klinder, Deborah Pollard & David Williams Dramaturgy: Paul Dwyer Outside Eye: Yana Taylor Lighting: Simon Wise Video: Sean Bacon Sound: Gail Priest Producer: Harley Stumm
Canberra The Street Theatre, Cnr Childers St & University Ave. July 20 - 30 (Tue - Sat 8pm + 2pm matinee, Sat 30th) Tix $29/24. Bookings: 02 6247 1223
Workers rights union rights your rights
2-5 PM Saturday 18 June 2005
Tom Mann Theatre
136 Chalmers St Surry Hills
Mark Lennon Unions NSW
Sally McManus ASU
Andrew Ferguson CFMEU
Doug Cameron AMWU
Kerry Nettle NSW Greens Senator
Garry Moore NCOSS
Robert Coombs MUA
Derrick Belan NUW
Lee Rhiannon NSW Greens MLC
When the Coalition takes control of the Senate in July Prime Minister John Howard will introduce industrial relations laws that will increase the burden on working people and the wider community.
The Greens are helping unions to mobilise support for decent working conditions and an industrial relations system that recognises the rights of working people to organise and to strike.
Lee Rhiannon MLC
The Past is Before Us
The Ninth National Labour History Conference will be held at the Holme Building, University of Sydney from Thursday 30th June until Saturday 2nd July. Over 100 presentations of papers, films, and an exhibition from Unions NSW and the Noel Butlin Archive. Meredith Burgmann, MLC, President of the NSW Legislative Council will officially open the conference. The Conference dinner at NSW Parliament. For more information go to the conference home page
The conference program is up on the website - http://asslh.econ.usyd.edu.au/program.htm
Union Aid Abroad - APHEDA Study Tour
Union Aid Abroad - APHEDA is inviting applications for of East Timor a study tour between July 17th and 24th. The ideal participant will be active in the Australian trade union movement, deeply committed to international solidarity, and keen to investigate the effectiveness of APHEDA projects in East Timor. An ability to have fun and enjoy warm weather is also a must!
The cost of the study tour is $2,050 which includes airfare ex-Darwin, accommodation, in-country transport, interpreter services, breakfasts and the study tour itself. For more information about contact Thomas Michel (02) 9264 9343, 0410 814 360
I worry that with the IR reforms that Howard is trying to bring in, is that any one on a contract employment will be classified as a contractor and then will be responsible for his own tax and workplace insurance. I am sure there are some employers that will try to use this to cut their expenses.
John Howard has mastered the Don Watsonesque technique of re-labelling the English language so that it means something completely different to what it is traditionally understood to mean. For example, an ordinary wage-earner is now an "enterprise worker", toiling away for the good of the country and for the long-term benefits of Australia and increased productivity. Forget about your take-home pay, it's the long-term sustainability of the Australian economy that really matters. Menzies would be proud!
Being sacked unlawfully is "unfair dismissal", but only if your employer has more than 100 employees. How capricious! And he tries to tell us that this will promote jobs when Dunn & Bradstreet's surveys clearly shows otherwise.
Meanwhile the Orwellian-named "Fair Pay Commission" is to replace the Industrial Relations Commission's minimum wage-fixing job. Sounds a lot like the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission which "promotes competition" by enforcing the Trade Practices Act, which means of course the removal of our human right to withdraw our labour. Certainly not fair competition and don't hold your breath waiting for a fair pay rise!
ABS confirm something that at first glance may not mean much to many, but it should mean a hell of a lot to our Federal Government. 'Over the next 20 years more and more Australians will go it alone and will opt not to have children.
Add to that a large chunk of our ageing population will be retiring from the workforce. As well as a major skills shortage looming.
On top of that we have a shortage of childcare placements anyway, and for those who are lucky enough to find a placement, usually end up paying through the nose for the privilege.
And what's the Howard Government PLAN?
Mr Costello urgently urges us to have an extra child as a gift to our economy, but wait ' remember, have your 'bub' and back to work ASAP', we don't like having to support bludging mothers.
And the old fogies should stay working a while longer - until 100 maybe? God forbid they should retire and become a burden to our health care and welfare systems.
Whilst Mr Howard pushes ahead with his ideological workplace reforms that in reality are not very family friendly at all.
So why take on the burden of having children? And as far as our ageing workers are concerned - they have done more than enough for the economy thank you very much.
Conclusion, could it be that Mr Howard and Mr Costello's leadership tussle will leave them both with their pants down and their privates exposed (private tussle I mean)? and when will we ask them both to PLEASE EXPLAIN? Because from where I'm sitting it appears that neither one of them have the foggiest.
In fact, it seems to me that they are both trying to outdo each other with their 'grand visions'.
The revelations of the complete incompetence and bloody-mindedness of the Immigration Department have been overshadowed by the London bombings.
However, one could reflect on the Minister responsible for the whole immigration culture in Australia.
He is now running the counter terrorist agenda for the government.
His failure to answer any questions in a forthright manner and to couch all his statements in legal weasel words reveal the truth behind this government.
Every action is political and the people of Australia come a bad second to vote catching.
Can the present Attorney General be trusted with defending this country when his whole career is a catalogue of deflecting honest questions and throwing the truth overboard?. The answer is obvious.
The Mid North Coast (Forster-Tuncurry) area had a rousing turn out to the July 1 Union Rally. Some of us decided to organise a Theatre Party Fund Raiser for C.A.N on Monday 18th July @ 6.15 pm. $12 with drinks & nibbles. USU AWU are really rolling on this, plus help from local ALP branch.
However, its School Holidays, time is short, and we need to contact more Members especially Nurses, Teachers & CHild Care Groups around here.
Please email [email protected] or phone us on 6557.6357 for tickets and info.
Is the desalination backlash faced by Carr government reflective of the increasing consciousness of the serial rape of our resources. This rapacious behaviour facilitated and favourably accommodated by those whom we with child like naivety put our trust through electing them as stewards to protect and enhance these legacies as were bequeathed to us, and as we did intend to leave to future generations.
Not to acquiesce them to multi-national corporations who act with a self interest which in many cases is the antithesis of our national and in most cases our personal interests, be they financial, moral or social.
There must also be questions asked and answered in relation to not only the licentious acceleration in which this dubious project is being proceeded with , particularly since it has been it has now been classified as critical infrastructure thereby bypassing examination at the local level.
There has been absolutely no accredited support for this project, this palpable deficiency of credible support offering a sharp contrast to the criticism not only of the project but the lack of due process and diligence in the decision making processes.
One need only examine other contracts which have been negotiated on the operation of these plants, and not only the start up costs, the operating costs, but the bottom line, e.g.: the cost of water per cubic metre:-
For this example I will use the contract awarded by the Singapore Government to SingSpring for the supply of desalinated water.
Under this Design-Build-Own-Operate (DBOO) contract, SingSpring, a wholly owned subsidiary of Hyflux Ltd, will supply 30 million gallons of desalinated water per day for 20 years from 2005 ˆ 2025.
What has not been clearly disseminated in relation to the Carr Government proposal is that the cost of supply does not remain static throughout the contract period. Starting at $0.78 per cu metre in 2005 as proposed by SingSpring in its bid, it would vary monthly with prevailing fuel price and annually with inflation based on a pre-defined formula. This may seem at a glance unproblematic, if taken in context with a regulated energy, prices, or industry.
But if the parallel endeavours as to ultimate goal of electricity privatisation is achieved, a desire expressed by both the government and the opposition, and this legacy is also sold of for a pittance to another division of the same multi-national, which has previously purchased the monopoly to franchise and or license to vend the very essence of life - water.
Will we be nothing more than marionettes mating our only purpose being - the consumption of product for profit?
These plans have created in me a Deja Vu comparable to:
The water system of Buenos Aires was sold off for a song to a company called Enron. A pipeline was sold off, that runs between Argentina and Chile, was sold off to a company called Enron. Then the globalists blow out Enron after transferring the assets to another dummy corporation. .
They come in, pay off politicians to transfer the water systems, the railways, the telephone companies, the nationalised oil companies, gas stations - the politicians then hand it over to the IMF for nothing. The Globalists pay them off individually, billions a piece in Swiss bank accounts. The plan is total slavery for the entire population. Enron is a dummy corporation for money laundering, drug money, etc.
All your readers should by now be well aware of the ERON Scandal, a company which News Max USA claims - Enron Scandal Linked to Terrorist Threat? Wes Vernon, NewsMax.com.
That such a message should be a revelation is a sad indication of where left of centre politics has gone in Australia - but it may also be reassuring that in this we are not alone.
Over more than three decades Fingerhut has been researching campaigns for unions and progressive parties in the USA, Canada, Britain and Germany - polling people on their perceptions of issues and the differences between major parties.
And what he has discovered is a sort of immutable truth - there are some issues that belong to the Right and others that belong to the Left and it's not about policy either. It's about language and the way you frame an issue.
As a general rule where the issue is about managing the economy or handling terrorism or keeping taxes low, Republicans and conservatives have a marked advantage, with more than two thirds of voters perceiving they are superior on the issue.
But bring people into the equation, particularly working people, and the numbers swing around. By merely adding the words 'for working people' to the question 'who is better at managing the economy?', Democrats pick up 30 percentage points.
Likewise change the proposition 'keeping taxes down' to 'fighting for fairer taxes for working people' and the issue goes from being a negative for the left to a positive.
It's early days, but the trends seem to translate into Australian politics as well. And if they do they add a new dimension to the 'accepted wisdom' that Labor needs to be stronger on the economy.
As Fingerhut observes, merely going out and engaging in an economic argument - even when you have better arguments than your conservative opponents - does nothing more than shift the debate onto their turf.
In other words, becoming a daily commentator on the current account deficit, employment figures and interest rates might get media, but if you do not draw the connection between economic indicators and people's lives you are not advancing your cause.
This is where the current campaign over industrial relations comes in - this is where the economy actually impacts on people's working lives.
Stripped of the fluff, the Prime Minister's pitch appears to be "if we are going to compete with China and India, then you will have to give up rights and drop your wages".
All of a sudden he is on our turf and, as the polls are showing, it is not a place he wants to be.
All of which means two things at this early stage of the campaign: Howard is taking a major political risk in pushing through these laws and, finally, Labor has an issue where they can play on their home ground.
|Search All Issues | Latest Issue | Previous Issues | Print Latest Issue|
© 1999-2002 Workers Online