Thursday, September 20, 2018

The Rebels' Song (1936) Then as Now

The Rebels' Song (1936)

Dispossessions threaten; mark the ungloved hand.
Politicians waltzing to the financial band.
Justice overridden ; scorned the trusty plough ;
South-West farmers muster ; prove your metal now.

Gather round your, leaders ; let right, not might, control,
For liberty and justice, come, every man enrol,
Vain has been our pleading, deaf the ear of power ;
Promises misleading served up by the hour.

Gather, round your leaders ! Be fed no more on lies,
Suffer not in serfdom; South-West farmers rise !
Air our, noble effort—all we have at stake;
Repossessions threaten; South-West farmers wake !


This song from the height of the Great Depression illustrates the use of poetry and song in the face of corrupt government and financial institutions in Australia. Today's exposures by the Banking Royal Commission provides the existence of a similar culture, affecting farmers and bank customers alike.   

ACTU helping people share their stories for sexual harassment inquiry

20 September 2018

Australian unions will be making a submission to the Human Rights Commission sexual harassment inquiry and will be assisting people to share their own experiences of sexual harassment and sexual violence, anonymously if they wish.

Today, the ACTU is launching a survey which will allow working people – both members and non-members – to share their experiences. Personal information provided by respondents will be kept strictly confidential. However, workers who wish to share their story with the inquiry (anonymously if preferred) will be assisted to do so.

As with the Banking Royal Commission the ACTU believes that telling the stories of working people is a powerful tool to make those in power understand the scope of the problem and take action.

The Human Rights Commission inquiry into sexual harassment in Australian workplaces will shine much needed light on a broken system which is failing workers.

Everyone should be able to go to work in a safe environment, free of harassment. To get there, we need to keep exposing what’s happening in workplaces.

Quotes attributable to ACTU President Michele O’Neil:

  • “Many of us have experienced being sexually harassed at work. It’s shocking and hard to deal with.
  • “Everyone should be able to go to work in a safe environment, free of harassment. To achieve this we need to keep exposing what’s happening in workplaces so our lawmakers get the full picture.
  • “If you have personally experienced or witnessed sexual harassment at work, we want to hear from you.
  • “We encourage everyone to submit their story and contribute to the inquiry, which has the potential to initiate real change for all Australians.
  • “Please take the survey and share the link below on social media."

Survey available here:

Faith Bandler and May 1967 Referendum for Aboriginal Rights

On 27 May, 1967, after years of campaigning, a referendum was held to change the Australian constitution. Symbolic of the ongoing struggle for justice, this campaign drew attention to the legislative and social limitations placed on the lives of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians.

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

ACTU – Working people welcome super changes, call for immediate implementation

19 September 2018

The peak body for working people has welcomed the announcement that a Shorten Labor Government will pay super on every dollar women earn, including on paid parental leave, as a move to close the 47 percent gender superannuation gap.

The announcement by the Federal ALP will see the super guarantee paid on government-funded paid parental leave – a measure recommended by the ACTU’s Change the Rules for Working Women report last week and the ASU/Per Capita report Not So Super for Women last year.

The plan stands in stark contrast to the Abbott/Turnbull/Morrison Government’s near-total inaction on the gender superannuation gap, which sees many women face retirement into poverty.

The ACTU called however for an immediate abolition, rather than the incremental phase-out, of the $450-a-month threshold for superannuation payments. Currently people who earn less than $450 a month don’t receive super on those earnings. This disproportionately affects women.

The fact that under the Labor Plan this won’t be fully phased in until 2024 means employers may cut the hours of people in already precarious circumstances to avoid paying superannuation for the next five years.

 Quotes attributable to ACTU President Michele O’Neil:

  • “Everyone working in Australia should have a dignified retirement.”  
  • “Under our current rules, women face retiring into poverty.
  • “Today’s announcement is an important first step to closing the 47 percent superannuation gap for women.  
  • “It’s vital that super be paid on parental leave, and we welcome the ALP’s announcement. 
  • “However, to ensure working women don’t retire in poverty, the $450-per-month threshold needs to be abolished immediately.  Every year this reform is phased in, means another year where women are not paid superannuation on every dollar they are working hard for.
  • “We will continue to campaign for additional measures that will close the super gap and delivery justice and equity for working women in Australia. “

Monday, September 17, 2018

J. K. McDOUGALL. My Songs (1935) Then as now

My Songs (1935)

My songs are for the masses, for the poor and trodden down,
For the sweated slaves on land and sea and toilers of the town ;
For the drudges who are plundered for the drones and Christless rich.
The mothers in the hovel and the children of the ditch.

My songs are for the driven mobs that profiteers control.
The men who delve and quarry and the drifters on the dole :
For the artisans that, fettered, toil in soulless industries.
The millions who by Famine's whip, are beaten to their knees.

My songs are for the fathers who have struggled long and hard,
On the battlefields of Poverty, for little real reward ;
For the martyrs of the people, who on Mammon's altars bleed,
For the heroes of the working-class—the dauntless rebel breed.

My songs are for the soldiers who have fought in endless wars,
To win for Greed his royalties and bloat the despot, Mars ;
For the patriots, unpitied, who have given up their lives,
For their sons enslaved and murdered, and their daughters and their wives.

My songs are for the future and a day that is to be,
When Justice shall with triumph crown the dreams of Liberty;
When the earth and all its beauty to the people shall belong.
And Right shall reign, where ranted once, the wicked priests of Wrong.

My songs are for the rebels that in other years will come.
With the crimson flag of brotherhood and freedom-calling drum ;
For I hate the mad dictators who like bloody beasts of prey.
Have filled the world with broken hearts, with ruin and decay.


A song from the Great Depression