Thursday, February 28, 2008

Tasmania: Bizarre pulp mill deal

Cut Gunns' credit line

The Tasmanian Greens say the timing of a new wood supply contract for the Bell Bay pulp mill is bizarre.

Forestry Tasmania has agreed to supply the mill's developer, Gunns, with 1.5 million cubic metres of timber each year, for 20 years.

Last week the Premier Paul Lennon asked the Commonwealth's main climate change advisor, Ross Garnaut, to examine how forestry affects global warming.

The Wilderness Society says that makes locking in a long-term wood supply deal irresponsible.

The Greens' Tim Morris is aghast.

"It's quite bizarre in that the same week that Paul Lennon goes to Ross Garnaut, Forestry Tasmania signs away the first 20 years."


Fair pay: it's $10 for you, $38,000 for me!

Jeff Lawrence, ACTU Secretary said:

"Professor Harper gave award workers a measly $10 a week pay rise last year. Many workers only got $5 a week from Professor Harper.

"This pay rise was not enough to cover the increase in the cost of living for award workers who continue to be faced with big increases in the cost of petrol, food and housing.

“Earlier this week Professor Harper said that low paid workers should bear the burden of inflation and be prepared for another real pay cut this year.

"We now find out that he personally got $38,000 a year extra, a 47% increase that was 16 times the rate of inflation.

"This is pure hypocrisy.

"The more than 1.5 million low paid Australians who rely on Professor Harper for the only pay rise they get each year will be shocked to find out he got so much more than they did.

"These are people working hard in cafes, shops, restaurants, bars, in property services as well as in health and community services.

“A majority of the award workers that got just $10 a week from Professor Harper are women.

"It is wrong for high flyers like Professor Harper and other executives to pocket big bonuses while ordinary working families struggle to keep their heads above water.

"Executives have doubled their pay in the last three years while company profits are also at record highs. Professor Harper and other executives should lead by example.

“They should fix up their own backyard and exercise restraint instead of expecting working families to bear the brunt of the fight against inflation,” said Mr Lawrence

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

NSW: 64% oppose Power Sell-Off

As thousands of community and union demonstrators protested outside NSW State Parliament against the electricity sell-off the latest AC Nielsen poll out today shows that two-thirds of the state are opposed Premier Iemma's plans to privatise the power industry.

"Arrogant out of touch Government"

Unions NSW Secretary John Robertson slammed Premier Morris Iemma for "ignoring working families'' and said the campaign against the sell-off had only just begun.

Referring to the Your Rights At Work campaign last year, he said it was "disturbing that we are here once again protesting against a government that refuses to listen to the people''.

He said the union movement would attack the Iemma Government with the same ferocity as that directed towards John Howard's Government last year.

"This government has lost touch and become arrogant,'' he said.

He called on Labor MPs in the caucus meeting taking place at the same time as the protest to stand up to their leaders and oppose the sale.

"It's not too late. It's not too late to stand up and say `We got it wrong'''.

"There are many Labor MPs aside from those who stood up here today who are very nervous about what this government is doing and so they should be.''

The protesters were joined by a number of State Labor MPs, including union stalwart and Blacktown MP Paul Gibson.

Ninety ALP branches have passed motions in opposition to the sell-off.

Bad time to sell warns economist

Melbourne economist Dr. Nicholas Gruen says he is not against the idea of privatisation but he does not agree with some of the arguments being proffered in support.

"What we're hearing is that we should sell these assets because we need to keep our debt low to maintain a triple-A rating," he said.

"Our view would be - and people, for instance the former auditor-general of NSW, have the view that you do not need to sell the assets to keep the triple-A rating."

He says it is a bad time to be selling the Government's electricity assets.

"That's for at least two reasons," he said.

"One of them is the state of the capital markets at the moment. They've got no appetite for risk, so that will drive down the price.

"The second is the very high level of uncertainty since the release of the Garnaut report. That's not going to settle down any time soon."

Iemma losing support

According to today's Nielson Poll Mr Iemma's approval rating has plummeted 18 per cent down to 34 per cent since the March election.

Mr Iemma recorded a disapproval rating of 44 per cent in the poll, up 11 per cent since the state election.

The poll was taken before claims were aired at the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) inquiry into the behaviour of Wollongong Council staff and developers, some of whom have been linked to State Government ministers.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Community Rally: Stop Sell-Off

Community Rally To Stop The Sell-Off
Tuesday February 26 at 11am. NSW Parliament House, Macquarie St, Sydney.

Follow the banner for the PeoplePower Blue Mountains group. We will be travelling down on the following train in the last carriage:

Train departs main stations:
  • Lithgow 7:36
  • Mt Vic 8:07
  • Blackheath 8:13
  • Katoomba 8:26
  • Leura 8:30
  • Wentworth Falls 8:36
  • Lawson 8:45
  • Hazelbrook 8:48
  • Springwood 9:07
  • Blaxland 9:18
If you a travelling separately you can meet up with the PeoplePower Blue Mountains group the northern corner of Martin Place and Macquarie Street, or call 0402 167 136

Children and families welcome. Come along and let the state government know that you don't support the power sell-off.

YouTube: Stop the Sell-off!

Unions, Government and climate change

Dr Carla Lipsig-Mummi

Governments and unions must work together to meet the global warming challenge.

In the European Union, 11 countries are studying the impact of climate change on future employment and training needs. Their strategies for new climate policy focus on "employment transitions", government investment and social partnership — with the unions as essential partners.

They believe that jobs growth will take place principally in the clean energy industries, but will only occur if there is significant government investment in training and employment transition programs for displaced workers.

Unions in Argentina, Belgium, Britain and Spain are incorporating environmental responsibility into collective bargaining and legislation to train workers as environment representatives, revising employment protection laws to recognise these responsibilities.

As Tony Maher of the Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union said in his address to the United Nations Climate Change Convention in Bali last year: "We are here to help. You need our help."

In Canada, two very different unions are embarking on changing the energy culture in their sectors. The railway workers of the United Transportation Union obtained government funding to train environmental stewards to spread environmental know-how throughout their membership, but the funding was put on hold when the Conservatives came to power. And in 2007 the Canadian Union of Public Employees endorsed a national policy of workplace energy auditing by its members: a bottom-up engagement.

In contrast to the EU, Canadian unions do not make social partnership a centrepiece of their strategy. But like the European and Latin American unions, Canadian re-examination of the workplace energy culture involves ordinary workers in large numbers.

And it makes sense to turn to the trade unions. As the largest membership-based, public interest organisations, they are already examining the impact of warming on work, both in terms of the jobs of their members and in the public interest.

If we begin now to ask these questions as a society, and involve the public actively in finding answers, we have a fighting chance of constructing a fairer work world in the near future.


Sunday, February 24, 2008

AWAs: demand equity!

In the dying days of WorkChoices AWAs in Australia, 170 workers face the prospect this week of either signing an individual contract that leaves them up to $300 a week poorer - or losing their job.

Two weeks ago Julia Gillard stood up at the dispatch box to introduce Labor's bill to abolish AWAs.

At the same time, a company called Equity Valet Parking was rushing through a plan to rip off 170 loyal Qantas Valet Parking workers. Their new contract comes into effect on Saturday March 1.

We have just five days to save the latest victims of unfair WorkChoices AWAs.

Email Equity Valet Parking Director John Demetre from our website now!

There is a gap between Labor's legislation banning AWAs being introduced and being passed. Mr Demetre and his company are trying to take advantage of this gap, and put all staff on a five year AWAs that cuts their pay between $150 and $300 per week. That's up to $15,000 per year. The individual contract takes away shift penalties, overtime payments, paid meal breaks and job classifications.

The staff, some of whom have worked in valet parking for twenty years, have been told if they don't sign the AWA they will not be employed by the new company.

These workers need all the support they can get. Please forward this email to your friends, family and colleagues and get them to email the company director too.

This is the link they need to follow to quickly and easily make their voices heard:

Yours urgently,
Sharan Burrow, Jeff Lawrence,
and the Rights at Work campaign team

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Katoomba: East Timor Sisters Concert


Penelope Wells offers her talent to the East Timor Sisters for this fundraiser on Friday evening 29th February @ 7pm. Penelope’s performance explores regions of the heart, dark and otherwise - from soul to torch, to Tom Waits and beyond. After 30 years promoting, producing and directing others in the entertainment industry, Penelope stepped up onto the stage in the last few years with shows at Bar Me and other Sydney venues to sell-out audiences.

Penelope will be accompanied by on piano, guitar and ukulele by Peter Bailey. Peter recently musically produced Fingerprints featuring Avigail Herman, Under My Skin for Lucy Cornell & Mark Bizeray and Singing over the Bones and the The Other Woman for Lisa Schouw, the producer of this show. Lisa Schouw is formerly of Girl Overboard band, performs her own one woman shows, including at the Opera House and the Performance Space and in her own The Journey School where people who wish to sing are coached to at least perform one song in public. Lisa channels Nina Simone among other great singers.

Get your ticket before they run out!

All funds go to educational scholarships for young women in East Timor. The evening includes a light supper at the end of the performance. Tickets are $40 and available from Megalong Books 4784 1302; Women's Health Centre 4782 5133 or from Julie Bargenquast at BMCC 4780 5509 – either cash, cheque or funds transfer. You can also pay on the night but please ring Julie and book your ticket in advance.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Battle for Bennelong

A Song by Kevin McCarthy©Kevin McCarthy 2007

play mp3 or

It was on a bleak November day
John Howard came undone
the day he took for granted
the people of Bennelong
consumed with pride and vanity
convinced he had it won
dismissed the polls and he backed himself
in the Battle for Bennelong

When Maxine McKew raised her hand
to run in Bennelong
Howard scoffed: is this a joke?
the nerve of this woman
but she campaigned long and she campaigned hard
she set her sights on John
Maxine had come to give her all
in the Battle for Bennelong

To Australia’s ultra neo-cons
John Howard was their man
his economic miracle
put wealth into their hand
but eleven years of fear and hate
had roused the Aussie mob
and the battlers rose and had their say
that day in Bennelong
yeh the battlers rose and they had their say
in the battle for Bennelong

Now on polling day it soon emerged
the contest would be tight
Labor prayed whileLiberals choked
those numbers can’t be right
neck and neck, too close to call
but when the count was done
by a short half head, Maxine had won
the Battle for Bennelong

Now Maxine McKew has won a place
in Australian history
the reporter from the ABC
brought Howard to his knees
with Buckleys chance, and against the odds
she took the bastard on
and Maxine McKew claimed victory
in the Battle for Bennelong
yes Maxine McKew made history
that day in Bennelong

Visit Kevin "Blarney" McCarthy editor of the Blarney Bulletin at

ACTU: WorkChoices still not dead

ACTU President Sharan Burrow today said:

"Work Choices is far from dead and AWAs are far from gone.

"The Liberals’ decision today to cave in and allow a shorter Senate Inquiry into the Labor Govt’s proposed ban on new AWAs is politically motivated.

"It is crystal clear that the Liberal and National Parties are not genuine in agreeing to ban AWAs and scrapping Work Choices.

"The Liberal Party is the Party of individual contracts. It is the party of big business and it is the Party that invented Work Choices.

"Whatever political trick that Brendan Nelson, Julie Bishop or Malcolm Turnbull are trying to pull today, everyone knows that the Liberal Party is committed to using individual contracts in the workplace and to giving employers more power at the expense of workers.

"The history of Work Choices shows that the Liberal and National Parties cannot be trusted on industrial relations.

"They went to the 2004 election without telling the Australian public they would introduce the most radical IR changes in 100 years and when they won the election they went ahead with Work Choices and hurt hundreds of thousands of working Australians along the way.

"New Government figures released yesterday by the Minister for Workplace Relations Julia Gillard, show just how badly workers were hurt by Work Choices AWAs.

"Of the sample of AWAs examined by the Workplace Authority, 70% of workers lost their shift work loading, 68% lost annual leave loading and 65% lost their penalty rates. Almost nine out of ten workers (89%) on a WorkChoices AWA lost at least one protected award condition, while 56% lost six or more award conditions.

"The Liberals should apologise to all the workers that were hurt by Work Choices AWAs and guarantee they will support the second stage of Labor’s plan to scrap Work Choices, due later this year," said Ms Burrow.


Wednesday, February 20, 2008

A History Lesson: Art from the Howard Era

Ray Hughes Gallery
270 Devonshire St, Surrey Hills, NSW
16 February, 2008 - 15 March, 2008

Bill Hay   Down The Wire
Down The Wire - Bill Hay - Ray Hughes Gallery

Ray Hughes Gallery is proud to present A History Lesson, a group show
featuring works by Bill Hay, Glenn Morgan, Spook aka Gary James, Bill
Leak, Bruce Petty and Alan Moir, opening on Saturday, 16th February
2008. Looking back on works of art and commentary created during the
former Prime Minister's 11-and-a-half years in parliament, the
paintings, sculptures and cartoons allow us to reflect on the
socio-political issues of this period.

Tackling subject matter including the war in Iraq, immigration
detention centres and industrial relations reform with hard-hitting
directness and humour, A History Lesson: Art from the Howard Era
presents the audience with lessons that ultimately highlight attitudes
to human values.


Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Libs drop opposition to AWA demise

The Opposition's leadership team of Julie Bishop and Brendan Nelson have been rolled from within and have agreed to drop their demand that Labor retain individual Australian Workplace Agreements.

In its final denunciation of Work Choices, the Coalition's shadow ministry decided last night to let Labor abolish AWAs. The party room agreed this morning.

It comes as Newspoll shows support for Dr Nelson as preferred prime minister is at a record low 9 per cent compared with 70 per cent support for Kevin Rudd.

It is a significant defeat for Ms Bishop as she, with Dr Nelson's support, has argued the Coalition should use its Senate majority to block Labor's plan.

But with AWAs inextricably linked to Work Choices, others argued the Coalition was on a hiding to nothing by trying to differentiate between the two.


Power sell-off: We will pay, don't doubt it

letter to Sydney Morning Herald 19 Feb 2008

In supporting electricity privatisation, your editorial ("More heat than light", February 18) ignores the terms of reference of the Owen inquiry. It had no alternative but to opt for privatisation because the last term was: "Determine the conditions needed to ensure investment in any emerging generation, consistent with maintaining the NSW AAA Credit Rating."

We know the ratings agencies don't like governments borrowing money, even though it is cheaper than private companies doing so.

Your leader writer believes that privatisation will transfer risk from consumers to the shareholders of private companies. However, if the Government has to bale out a failing electricity company, it is the consumers who will have to pay, through reduced services and/or higher taxes.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Iemma dilemma

Monday, February 18, 2008.

WorkChoices: Libs still lying

Claims by the former Minister responsible for ‘Work Choices’, Joe Hockey, that his Liberal Cabinet colleagues did not understand that workers would be worse off by the Liberals’ Work Choices laws are simply not believable, say unions.

ACTU President Sharan Burrow said:

“This is a case of the Liberals trying to rewrite history and cover up their real intentions. Mr Hockey’s claim, to be aired on ABC TV’s 4 Corners program tonight, is another attempt to mislead the Australian people.

“John Howard spent years refusing to guarantee that workers would not be worse off because he knew and the Coalition Cabinet knew that the clear intention of the laws was that big business would benefit at the expense of employees.

“Work Choices was a favour for the Liberals’ friends in big business and the Liberals were not listening to community concerns over cuts to workers’ job conditions and take home pay.

“The Liberals still are not listening to the community — otherwise they would not be blocking the Rudd Government’s ban to dismantle Work Choices and ban new Australian Workplace Agreements’ (AWAs),” said Ms Burrow.

Friday, February 15, 2008

NSW Firefighters: Strike for decent pay

The State Committee has today resolved to call a statewide strike of permanent members across NSW commencing in response to the Government’s refusal to move beyond its current 2.5% per annum wage offer.

All on duty permanent members are instructed to cease duty and leave their stations and workplaces at 1700 hrs today (Friday).

The strike will cease at 1800 hours today, when C platoon commences duty.

All retained members attached to mixed staff stations other than those exempted are instructed to join permanent members in this strike.

(the Iemma government pathetic 'pay offer' included a cut back of one week from their leave! Maybe we should demand a cut back of Iemma's and Costa's leave by 52 weeks - unpaid leave that is)


New Employment Standards

All Australians will be able to look forward to a more secure working future under the 10 new employment standards proposed by the Rudd Government, says ACTU President Sharan Burrow.

“These 10 minimum standards combined with a modernised award system will restore rights stripped away by the previous government and create a stronger, more humane safety net in all workplaces,” says Ms Burrow.

The ACTU president says extended parental leave and the right for parents to request more flexible work arrangements recognise the needs of working families in the 21st century.

“These new standards reflect the modern pressures of life and the real need of people to be able to balance work, life and family commitments.”

The 10 standards also call for consistent long service leave entitlements across all states and territories as well as basic termination and redundancy payments for employees.

“This means the most vulnerable in our workforce can expect a basic level of security and certainty, particularly in an uncertain economic climate.”

The ACTU welcomes the consultative approach. This should ensure the new regulations can be readily implemented by employers and provide an effective and enforceable set of standards for all workers.

The 10 standards include:

  • Hours of work
  • Parental leave
  • Flexible work for parents
  • Annual leave
  • Personal, carers and compassionate leave
  • Community service leave
  • Long service leave
  • Public holidays
  • Termination of employment and redundancy
  • Fair Work information statement

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

The Apology

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd's apology tabled in Parliament:

Today we honour the Indigenous peoples of this land, the oldest continuing cultures in human history.

We reflect on their past mistreatment.

We reflect in particular on the mistreatment of those who were Stolen Generations – this blemished chapter in our nation’s history.

The time has now come for the nation to turn a new page in Australia’s history by righting the wrongs of the past and so moving forward with confidence to the future.

We apologise for the laws and policies of successive Parliaments and governments that have inflicted profound grief, suffering and loss on these our fellow Australians.

We apologise especially for the removal of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children from their families, their communities and their country.

For the pain, suffering and hurt of these Stolen Generations, their descendants and for their families left behind, we say sorry.

To the mothers and the fathers, the brothers and the sisters, for the breaking up of families and communities, we say sorry.

And for the indignity and degradation thus inflicted on a proud people and a proud culture, we say sorry.


Gillard ends public service AWAs

Julia Gillard: No more AWAs in public service Deputy Prime Minister Julia Gillard today announced that no new AWAs would be offered in the Australian Public Service (APS), as the new Government took its first steps in dismantling WorkChoices.

The first pieces of the Government’s new workplace relations system introduce transitional arrangements that will:

  • enable the phasing out of AWAs
  • introduce an interim no-disadvantage test
  • start the award modernisation process.

While the transition arrangements allow for interim AWAs to be signed up until 2009, Ms Gillard announced that the APS would lead the way by ensuring no new AWAs are issued across the Service.

"Today, I announce that on and from this date there will be no new AWAs in the Australian Public Service," she said.

CPSU National Secretary Stephen Jones welcomed the announcement.

"This is an important development for workplace relations in the public service and will go some way to making the APS a fairer and more inclusive place to work. Obviously there’s plenty of detail to examine and we'll need to consider the impact of this change for APS employees in a wide range of circumstances.

"We will be working hard to ensure the rights of public servants are respected regardless of the way they are employed and we'll continue to provide practical advice to members,” he said.


WorkChoices: dismantling begins

The Federal Government will begin the task of dismantling the previous government's WorkChoices legislation when Parliament resumes today.

The Workplace Relations Amendment Bill will be the first piece of legislation to be introduced into Australia's 42nd Parliament.

Deputy Prime Minister Julia Gillard says the proposed bill will scrap Australian Workplace Agreements (AWAs) and is the first step in the Government's plan to reform the country's industrial relations system.

"There is a better way to run industrial relations, a fairer and more balanced way,'' she said.

Ms Gillard wants the Bill passed by Easter.

"Every day they unnecessarily delay this bill they are forcing WorkChoices on the Australian people,"

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Stolen Generations: Appology

The CFMEU Construction & General Division welcomes the Australian Government's decision to open the new Parliament on February 13th with an apology to Aboriginal and Torres Straits Islander Australians who were stolen from their families and communities as children and placed in institutions or foster care with non-Indigenous families.

The CFMEU Construction & General Division recognises that the practice - which continued until 1970 - has caused huge pain and injustice to Indigenous families, the burden of which is still borne by many today.

The Construction Division hopes that the Labor Government's gesture with this apology will mark the beginning of a period of deeper understanding and respect for the rights of Australia's first people.

We hope it will be followed by practical actions by the Australian Government to give all Indigenous families the same standards of health, education and employment opportunities as are enjoyed by the majority of Australians.

Dave Noonan
National Secretary
CFMEU Construction & General Division.

To learn more about the Stolen Generations and for FAQs on the apology, Reconciliation Australia has compiled a helpful summary on their website .
Or download GetUp's Mythbuster's fact sheet.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Letter to Premier Iemma

Nature Conservation Council of NSW

Dear Premier

The Rudd Government is expected to introduce laws this year requiring Australia to drastically cut emissions. Your government would be undermining all attempts at reducing Australia’s greenhouse emissions by seeking more fossil fuel-powered electricity. We cannot afford to use more polluting energy, at a time when we need to be reducing our emissions if we are to avert runaway climate change.

Privatising the electricity industry could further fuel climate change. Instead of reducing greenhouse gas emissions, private electricity companies will have one objective – to sell more of their product.

Take actionKeeping electricity in public hands means the government has control of the industry and is more able to cut energy use and greenhouse emissions. Experience in Victoria shows private companies will lobby heavily against regulation of the industry.

The rationale behind privatisation is flawed because, given climate change, we should not be investing in baseload power. Instead there should be massive investment in energy efficiency and renewable energy projects.

To privatise electricity could lock us into years of rising greenhouse emissions, when reducing electricity demand and cutting greenhouse emissions, should be your highest priority.

Bishops oppose power sell-off

The Hunter Valley's Catholic and Anglican Bishops have added their voices to the fight against the New South Wales Government's plan to privatise the state's electricity industry.

Scores of workers at the Hunter's power stations have walked off the job in recent weeks, while hundreds of people rallied against the plan at a forum in Newcastle last month.

Anglican Bishop Brian Farran and his Catholic counterpart Bishop Michael Malone are concerned about price rises.

Bishop Farran says it is the church's role to protect vulnerable people.

"The church has a responsibility to speak out on behalf of those whose voice is often muted in the community," he said.

"It also has a responsibility to raise moral issues in the corporate sector and this is one of those."

Friday, February 08, 2008

Stop the sell-off meetings

Stop the sell-off meetings


Wednesday 13
PeoplePower Blue Mountains , Wednesday, February 13 at 8pm, upstairs, Blackburn's Family Hotel, 15 Parke Street, Katoomba.
This meeting will be planning the community meeting scheduled for Thursday, February 21 - including distributing promotional flyers - and for the rally outside parliament on Tuesday, February 26.

Thursday 14
Katoomba Chamber of Commerce and Community Meeting, Power Privatisation to be discussed.

Saturday 16
ALP members' forum scheduled for Trades Hall, 4 Goulburn St Sydney.

Thursday 21
Public Meeting at Katoomba Civic Centre; 8pm, Speakers and Q&A.

Tuesday 26
Community Rally at NSW Parliament, 11am, Macquarie St Sydney.


Sunday 9
Politics in the Pub on Privatisation
2pm, Blackburn's Family Hotel, 15 Parke Street Katoomba
Speakers include local industry workers, community activists and a representative of the Victorian communities that bore the brunt of privatisation in the 1990s.

The Man From Snowjob River

A Poem by Don Morrison©Don Morrison 2008

There are surges at the station
For word has got around
That someone thinks power's fit to privatise
Pyremmia Eyemmia and his mate 'Too Mucha' Costa
They're in this plot up to their scheming eyes

Pyremmia Eyemmia? Yes - the man from Snowjob River
Torrents of it flow each time he speaks
With Treasury boffins greedier
Time to confuse the media
Hoodwink the public with selective leaks

At Wang, Liddell and Piper
They must outwit the viper
Essential service! - Keep in public hands!
Organise - don't falter
This program must be altered
Don't govern just for corporate demands!

But 'Fancy Pants the Overpaid' is here to lend a hand
He's been at public-private gigs before
When our Premier hankers
After deals with ... merchant bankers
The public purse is set to end up poor

And now the lights are dimming
With all this budget trimming
The Man from Snowjob's blackout-prone this hour
He's kept the 'Flintstones' shelfbound
Along with all my other Dee-vee-dees
Can't watch a thing when there's no power!

Eyemmia and Costa
They'll both be on a roster
To meet the Pope in Sydney before long
Spare diesel generation
Could have an application
When the Pope turns on his 'mike' to wow the throng

But Murphy's Law's disruption
A big power interruption!
when the pontiff lands a Mascot - wait and see
He'll drop and smooch the ashphalt
Then say some words quite heartfelt:
"Oh Sydney's full of candles - just for me!"

But the pollies are still wheeling
They're ducking - and they're dealing
However it turns out - there'll be no pride
In Pyremmia Eyemmia
And his private power dylemmia
As the shock-jocks note the thickness of his hide!

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Universities: an end to AWAs

The Community and Public Sector Union, representing General Staff in the University sector, welcomed Federal Education Minister Julia Gillard's announcement that the Higher Education Workplace Relations Requirements (HEWRRs), which forced universities to put staff onto AWAs, would be abolished.

CPSU Federal Secretary David Carey said, "The CPSU met with Julie Gillard on 22 January to forcefully put the view of staff that an incoming Labor Government stop tying badly needed funding to AWAs that neither employers or staff wanted."

The Howard Government, through their HEWRRs, forced every university in the country to offer AWAs to all staff, and remove conditions like limits on the use of casuals, for 7.5% of Government funding.

Staff, and even universities in private, told us that this was unnecessary, unfair, and unwanted blackmail from the Howard Government," said Mr Carey.

"The CPSU welcomes Julia Gillard taking seriously the concerns of university staff, and their union representatives, and putting them into action so soon after the election.

The CPSU also welcomes the other announcements made by Julia Gillard yesterday, and looks forward to building on these changes for the betterment of staff and the university sector."

ACTU: Apology to Indigenous Australians

Saying sorry is long overdue.
It is an essential bridge to a better future for Indigenous Australians. This is a formal acknowledgement of the real pain and suffering experienced by the ‘stolen generations’, their families and their communities. It is a basis for both healing and progress.
Next Wednesday will be a significant day in the nation’s history and one of great emotion. We can be proud of the leadership of a Prime Minister humble enough to offer an apology for great wrongs and grateful to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders forgiving enough to accept.
An apology must be accompanied by renewed action to bridge the gap – on life expectancy, health, employment, education and living conditions - and mark the start of a more respectful relationship between Indigenous and non-indigenous Australians.
Sharan Burrow
ACTU President

For further information please visit the following websites:
To make a donation:

MUA Triton Victory on You Tube

Triton11 Victory: MUA thanks the world

Maritime Union of Australia National Secretary and ITF executive board member Paddy Crumlin has personally thanked the International Transport Workers' Federation for their contribution to securing the jobs of our members under their existing agreement aboard the Triton with Gardline.

"Through the combination of the determination of the crew and MUA officials and members generally, the support of the community picketline, Australian Trade Union movement and Federal Government, and the hardwork of the ITF and Nautilus in particular we have delivered aremarkable achievment," he said.

"The crew refused to leave the vessel in the face of massive individual penalties under the existing Workchoices anti worker legislation. This in itself we believe will help accelerate the process of legislative change in Australia in industrial relations as well as bringing into acute further focus the shortcomings of existing legislation in protecting shipping standards and the national flag.

"Our officials with broad national and international support were in the front line of a dispute that has delivered back to all maritime union in Australia the right to collectively bargain.

"We look forward to an ongoing constructive relationship with Gardline, and again gratefully acknowledge the tremendous support by the ITF and Nautilus."

And on YouTube Assistant National Secretary Mick Doleman extends his thanks to the crew, the Darwin community, the Australian labour movement, the Rudd Government and Macquarie member Bob Debus.

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Power sell-off: Lights out on apprentices

Lights out on apprentices
ANDREW McLEOD: Newcastle Star 30 January 2008

A fortnight before the State Election last March, Premier Morris Iemma promised ‘the privatisation of the State Government owned energy companies is not on our agenda.’

Now, less than a year later, privatisation of the electricity industry looks all but assured – even dissenting Labor Party members cannot stand in its way because the matter does not require parliamentary debate nor changes to legislation.

University of Newcastle PhD student Harry Williams specialises in labour hire and other workforce issues.

He says young people looking for a trade will be among the big losers in a privatised electricity industry because the number of apprenticeships will drop.

“It’s happened in every other (privatised) industry and I don’t see why it won’t happen in this one.

“Private industry just doesn’t take on apprentices.”

Mr Williams says privatisation will have a flow-on effect on the nationwide skill shortage.

“The current catch cry is ‘skill shortage’ – well, how did we end up with a shortage?

“There’s all this guff about kids not wanting apprenticeships because they don’t want to get their hands dirty but the truth is they just can’t get an apprenticeship.”


Triton MUA on YouTube