Saturday, November 30, 2013

Qld: Government Puts Safety Last !

The ACTU calls on the Queensland Government to put the safety of workers first, not the money-making interests of their business mates.

The Work Health and Safety and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2013 (QLD) – which will be considered by Safe Work Australia on Friday – calls for national laws that require unions to give 24 hours’ notice before entering a site and to remove the right of health and safety reps to call a cease work due to safety concerns.

ACTU Assistant Secretary Michael Borowick said, “What the Queensland Government seeks to do by removing the rights of trained workplace representatives is put all the onus on workers to identify, negotiate and resolve safety issues on their own. Not only is this unfair for workers but it’s dismantling a system that protects millions of people.”

“The Queensland Government will certainly make life easier for any business who wants to cut corners at the expense of workplace safety.

“All this will do is put workers at risk.”

“Expecting workers to individually speak up about their safety concerns will ultimately mean that many will not speak up or could lose their job if they do. Some workers won’t be willing or able to put their hands up and complain, especially if they are in casual work.”

“Furthermore workers don’t always have the necessary training to identify any danger and even if they do, approaching employers about the issue requires negotiation and dispute resolution.”

Mr Borowick said forcing unions to give 24 hours’ notice before visiting a workplace where suspected safety breeches are occurring would take pressure off employers to ensure workplaces are always safe.

“It defies logic that anyone serious about health and safety could accept that the giving of notice is a good idea. The surprise element of safety inspections keep employers alert and motivated to do the right thing.”

He also said the bid by the Queensland Government to remove the right of safety officers to call for a “cease work” due to safety confirmed they were only interested in protecting the interests of business.

“These changes will not help workers, particularly those in dangerous industries like construction and manufacturing, because it dismantles safety structures and tells workers to look out for themselves.”

“If the Queensland Government really has a problem with the laws they should wait for the national OHS law review in 2016, not respond with knee-jerk laws to make their business mates happy.”

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Private School Cabinet -- Gonski Triple Backflip

Political uproar over Gonski backflip

By NSW Teachers Federation 27 November 2013

The announcement by federal Education Minister, Christopher Pyne, that the coalition was abandoning its commitment to implement the Gonski reforms, has produced a political backlash from principals, teachers, parents and state governments.

In the lead up to the election, Tony Abbott claimed to be on a “unity ticket” with Labor on school funding. Christopher Pyne pledged that every school would receive the same amount of funding under the Coalition as under Labor. He has repeatedly stated that he will retain the same “funding envelope” as Labor suggesting that the money in  the existing commitments may be retargeted to states that failed to sign up for Gonski or even to less disadvantaged private schools.

Australian Education Union President Angelo Gavrielatos stated 'It's critical that state and territory Education Ministers hold the Prime Minister to his Gonski promise...Tony Abbott's election promise means Gonski funding certainty over at least four year.

'Schools need certainty to plan for how Gonski funds can be invested in their schools to give extra support to the kids who need it most."

The Liberal/National NSW Government has been ferocious in its criticism of the announcement by Education Minister, Pyne saying, "This issue has been escalated because of the poor way in which it has been handled and that is not acceptable when we are talking about the education of future generations of Australians."  Other state leaders have also attacked the announcement.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Abbott's attacks on older workers

22 November, 2013 | ACTU Media Release

The ACTU rejected a recommendation by the Federal Government’s top policy agency to lift the retirement age to 70, as out of touch with the reality of life for Australian workers.

ACTU President Ged Kearney said the proposal by the Productivity Commission ignores the reality that while life expectancy may have risen, the ability of Australians to work in physically demanding jobs or maintain secure employment hasn’t risen with it.

“If the Government wants to reduce budget pressures as the population ages, it should strengthen the superannuation system rather than raise the pension age,” Ms Kearney said.

“A strong superannuation system lets ordinary workers retire with security and quality of life and takes pressure off the pension system.

“The Government should reduce the superannuation tax concessions that disproportionately benefit high income earners and move as quickly as possible to compulsory 12 per cent superannuation contributions to ensure that ordinary workers can afford a decent standard of living in retirement.

“We know many older workers struggle to get full-time secure work and making them wait until 70 to get their pension and superannuation could leave them in limbo for years.

“How can construction workers be expected to haul concrete around a work site or a childcare worker keep up with a room full of kids until they’re 70?

“Lifting the retirement age is a quick fix policy response to the complex issue of addressing the needs of our ageing population and ignores the reality for Australian workers.

“We want to see older workers supported to engage and contribute meaningfully with the community and workforce for as long as they chose but a more considered approach by Government is needed here.

“Ensuring workers get access to training throughout their working lives so they have the skills needed for the modern economy is an obvious place to start.”

Ms Kearney said that Australian workers are getting sick of bearing the brunt of every policy decision the Abbott Government makes.

“Mr Abbott said he’d govern for all Australians but so far we’ve only seen him look out for big business,” Ms Kearney said.

“So far the Abbott Government has cut superannuation for low-income earners and put off the increase to 12 per cent superannuation contributions.

“It is a major concern that the Productivity Commission thinks making life harder for older workers is the solution to budget pressures. This is the same organisation that will be reviewing the Fair Work Act and workers have every reason to be alarmed by their approach.”

Politics in the Pub: What's Left? - Sound files

Dr. John Kaye

Amanda Carr

Senator Doug Cameron

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Japan: U.S. Sailor’s Rape Victim Wins Case

NOV 21, 2013

A woman has won a landmark civil judgment against the American serviceman she accuses of raping her near the U.S. Navy base in Yokosuka, Kanagawa Prefecture, in 2002.

Catherine Fisher revealed Monday that the Milwaukee County Circuit Court has enforced a Japanese civil judgment for rape against Bloke T. Deans, a former U.S. sailor who now lives in Milwaukee. He was never charged with the crime.

Fisher, an Australian citizen and long-term Japan resident, said the verdict is the first in which a foreign judgment for rape has been enforced in a U.S. court.

“History has been made,” Fisher told The Japan Times. She said the result will make it more difficult for U.S. military personnel to evade justice after committing a crime in Japan. “But it does make me angry that Deans is still free. I think he should be in prison.”

Her lawyer, Chris Hanewicz, who fought the case pro bono, praised Fisher’s “incredible strength and determination.”

“We are very proud to have represented Ms. Fisher in her tireless efforts to finally recognize a judgment to which she has long been entitled.”

Fisher demanded a nominal sum of a single dollar as settlement.

“Anybody who knows me knows it is not about the money,” she explained. “I did this for all the women who have been raped in this country by the U.S. military over the last 70 years.”

The verdict is likely to deepen the controversy surrounding the case. Deans left Japan soon after the rape and never came back. Fisher has always maintained the U.S. military helped him evade justice and that the Japanese government did little to help pursue him.

That claim has apparently been strengthened by a statement submitted by Deans to the court, in which he says a U.S. Navy lawyer told him to leave the country.

“When they — my lawyer came and told me, ‘you are now leaving Japan’ I said, ‘okay,’ ” the statement reads. “I just followed orders. I don’t have no say-so. I’m thinking everything is done.”

Fisher, who in media appearances went under the pseudonym “Jane” for years to protect her privacy, said the revelation helped vindicate her 12-year legal fight, during which she repeatedly crossed swords with U.S. and Japanese officialdom and filed a total of seven court cases.

“When I saw that document, I finally had the truth,” she said. “That was the most important thing for me. Why was he disappearing; why wasn’t anyone questioning him? Officials told me they were helping me, but that was all lies.”

The U.S. military made no immediate comment on the statement.

Deans was given an honorable discharge after the incident and returned to Milwaukee, where he has had a series of tussles with the law. In November 2004, a Tokyo court ordered him to pay ¥3 million after Fisher filed and won a civil suit against him, but there was no jurisdictional authority to force payment.

Later, she received compensation from the Defense Ministry that came out of a fund for civilian victims of crimes by U.S. military personnel. She sued the Kanagawa Prefectural Police for what she described as their incompetent investigation into her rape but lost in December 2007. She appealed the decision.

Fisher tracked Deans down to his U.S. address and began a legal battle there. She said the fight had left her mentally, physically and financially “depleted.”

“My son was in elementary school when this started,” she said. “Now he is 18. I’ve not been able to pay for things for him, pay for Christmas presents, the normal things that kids have.”

At several stages, Fisher said, Japanese plainclothes officers followed her when she appeared in public.

Her treatment highlights profound problems with how the U.S. and Japanese authorities handle such cases, she said.

“A U.S. serviceman, here to serve and protect civilians, raped me. I was then denied criminal court action by the Japanese government. Nobody would help me.”


Katoomba: 23 Nov. Politics in the Pub: WHAT'S LEFT ?

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Doug Cameron on Free Trade Agreement

The free traders are at it again! Tony Abbott has declared that the Coalition want to conclude "free trade" talks with China within 12 months and that Australia would sign up for "whatever we can get".

History has shown that the benefits of so-called "free trade" agreements are massively exaggerated by governments and their economic advisers and the negative consequences are minimised and/or ignored.

Modelling will be rolled out claiming massive economic benefits as a result of "dynamic gains".

As Prof John Quiggin has said, these gains are based on unrealistic assumptions and have no real supporting evidence.

It has always concerned me that good, well-paid jobs can be sacrificed on the altar of "free trade" with Australian workers having to compete with workers who are exploited, have no access to core labour standards and little access to health and safety provisions at work.

In addition many overseas countries provide tax breaks and incentives to multinational companies while providing an unfair advantage due to poor environmental legislation and standards.

In the case of the US in the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement (TPP) they demand stronger patents on medicines which would delay cheaper generic medicines and mean higher prices for medicines, and less regulation of prices through the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS)

Negotiations by the Abbott government for bilateral or multilateral agreements should meet the following standards:
  • Text for proposed agreements should be publicly available so that informed public debate can take place on proposed agreements.
  • Investor/state dispute procedures should be rejected if they have the capacity to enforce outcomes that diminish Australia's capacity to legislate for health, education, and infrastructure investment in the national interest.
  • No extension of patents on medicines  and no changes to the PBS which would mean higher prices for medicines
  • Australia's capacity to protect its environment should be maintained
  • Independent social impact assessments should be made of any proposed free trade agreements.
  • Economic claims of benefits should be subject to independent scrutiny.
  • The issue of core labour standards and worker exploitation must be addressed in any agreement.
  • The "benefits" of trade agreements must be clear and unequivocal and, in the national interest.
  • Any proposed agreement must be subject to parliamentary inquiries and open debate in the House of Representatives and the Senate.

Qld: Newman Government Offshores Rail Jobs

The AMWU has condemned the Queensland Government for sending potential local jobs offshore after they ordered a new train fleet to be manufactured in Germany.

AMWU State Secretary Rohan Webb said the move to build 75 six-car trains offshore by German-based consortium for the Queensland Rail Network in 2015 is openly shunning Queensland manufacturing.

“Queensland has the Downer EDI, a functioning facility in Maryborough, capable of such a project. So why send potential local jobs offshore – when we have the capacity to complete them on home soil?

“Downer EDI at Maryborough has taken a beating in recent years after rail projects have gone overseas and was forced to withdraw from the tender process for this project because of the financial penalties throughout the contract.

“This could have been a chance to revitalise the local economy of Maryborough.

“If the government was prepared to offer some flexibility rather than the tough penalties in the contract, Downer EDI could have been a contender and keep jobs and economic stimulation in the local area,” Mr Webb said.

“It is a crying shame Downer was forced into this position and Mr Newman has openly acknowledged he is excluding local manufacturing - it is astounding.

“The rail manufacturing industry in Maryborough contributes to 30% of this regions’ economy and has provided employment and training opportunities for over three decades.

“By openly admitting Queensland doesn’t get a look in for this project is a kick in the teeth, especially when there is a need for projects such as these.

“There is no vision from the Government about the future of manufacturing, no policy or agenda for the industry in Queensland and it is extremely disappointing.

“This isn’t the first time the Queensland manufacturing industry has been shunned by its own government; it was also snubbed by the Newman’s four pillars.

“These include; tourism, agriculture, construction and resources but completely overlooked manufacturing.

“Manufacturing is the lifeblood of many local communities the Government needs to acknowledge this.”

ATO Faces Jobs Axe

The Australian Tax Office (ATO) is planning to shed up to 900 jobs before the end of the financial year, blaming a range of factors including the abolition of the carbon and mining taxes.

Community and Public Sector Union national secretary Nadine Flood blames the Federal Government for the cuts.

"This is a massive blow for tax staff who are already stretched after previous cuts, what it will mean is significant delays in customers and small businesses who rely heavily on the tax office for advice," she said.

"There's no way around that.

"The tax office has clearly said these cuts come as a result of Government policy, including efficiency dividends, the planned reduction of thousands of jobs and the recruitment freeze - what we're seeing is the impact of Coalition policies."

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Fukushima and UK Coverup Attempts

British government officials approached nuclear companies to draw up a co-ordinated public relations strategy to play down the Fukushima nuclear accident just two days after the earthquake and tsunami in Japan and before the extent of the radiation leak was known.

 Internal emails seen by the Guardian show how the business and energy departments worked closely behind the scenes with the multinational companies EDF Energy, Areva and Westinghouse to try to ensure the accident did not derail their plans for a new generation of nuclear stations in the UK.

"This has the potential to set the nuclear industry back globally," wrote one official at the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS), whose name has been redacted. "We need to ensure the anti-nuclear chaps and chapesses do not gain ground on this. We need to occupy the territory and hold it. We really need to show the safety of nuclear."

Officials stressed the importance of preventing the incident from undermining public support for nuclear power.

The Conservative MP Zac Goldsmith, who sits on the Commons environmental audit committee, condemned the extent of co-ordination between the government and nuclear companies that the emails appear to reveal. "The government has no business doing PR for the industry and it would be appalling if its departments have played down the impact of Fukushima," he said.

Louise Hutchins, a spokeswoman for Greenpeace, said the emails looked like "scandalous collusion". "This highlights the government's blind obsession with nuclear power and shows neither they, nor the industry, can be trusted when it comes to nuclear," she said.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Free Trade Secrets: Negotiating Away Independence

Secretive TPP Negotiations Move Further Underground in Salt Lake City

As negotiations tasked with pushing the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) to conclusion gets underway in Salt Lake City, Utah, the Australian Fair Trade and Investment Network condemned worsening opportunities for public participation in an already opaque process.

“What was supposedly the last major round of TPP negotiations took place in Brunei in late August.  That round, and the 18 rounds before it, all contained formal opportunities for civil society and the public to register as stakeholders and interact with negotiators.  The Salt Lake City Round contains no official stakeholder process,” said Dr Patricia Ranald, Convener of the Australian Fair Trade and Investment Network.

“While the TPP negotiations have long been marred by secrecy about the details of the text, this is the first major round of talks without any formal opportunity for civil society to present their views to negotiators,” said Dr Ranald.  

“We know from the TPP text leaked last week that the proposals being discussed in Salt Lake City could change Australian laws and prevent current and future governments from regulating in the public interest in areas like medicines and copyright.  We know that corporations are advising negotiators on these matters, but other civil society voices have now been excluded," said Dr Ranald.

Negotiations for ten separate chapters are expected to take place, including environment, intellectual property, investment, labour, legal issues, market access for goods, rules of origin, sanitary and phytosanitary standards, state-owned enterprises, technical barriers to trade and temporary entry of persons.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Sydney Climate Change Demo

Sonnet 7: Demo

Ten thousand had, today in Sydney,
enough sense to stand in the rain
and twirl umbrellas, not stay hid. We
rallied, one link in a chain
of rallies all around Australia
crying out against the failure
of governments who play the role
of sycophants to Old King Coal.
Ten thousand stood with rain god Hughie,
sixty thousand nationwide
who’ll vote, divest, protest, decide
to use renewables, get more cluey.
There’s climate change, heat’s on the rise.
It’s time to change, to organise.

[Courtesy Jonathon Shaw]

Fire Fighters at the Rallies

Organisers say about 60,000 people participated in Sunday's mass rallies, at which emergency workers played a significant role in warning about the dangers of unchecked global warming.

In Brisbane, where an estimated 4000 people came together, firefighter Dean McNulty spoke of the huge concern climate change posed to his colleagues, who battle natural disasters from the front line.

Mr McNulty said scientists were clear that global warming would make extreme weather events more frequent and severe.
"To firefighters, it is not just numbers and statistics, it is very real," the United Firefighters Union (UFU) representative told AAP.

Before 30,000 people in Melbourne, Greens deputy leader Adam Bandt evoked the memory of the 2009 Black Saturday bushfires, while firefighters spoke of their fears of increasingly hotter days.
"There is no sceptic at the end of a fire hose," UFU secretary Peter Marshall told the Melbourne rally.

AMWU: Australian Manufacturing ...

Wake-up call as skilled workers feel squeeze 

By TIM AYRES Nov. 17, 2013, 9:44 p.m.

LAST week's news of at least another 43 workers retrenched from UGL's rail yards in Broadmeadow should be the wake-up call for the O'Farrell government to get serious about local manufacturing jobs.

These cuts were hardly a surprise. The industry has seen hundreds of skilled jobs lost over the last few months and we have been warning of a looming jobs crisis for two years.

Across the country manufacturing has been through the wringer of a high Aussie dollar, increased competition from overseas, and an uneven playing field in global trade.

But for Hunter workers the squeeze could have been largely alleviated by Macquarie Street.

In the case of passenger trains, the O'Farrell government has put off replacing the ageing silver "S" train sets beyond their initial life expectancy and delayed the refurbishment of the Tangara carriages. Bringing forward work on these trains could have prevented further job losses.

The government showed the same complacency when it decided to send key bus building contracts interstate, forcing coach builder Volgren to slash jobs from its Tomago plant. Similar cuts have been felt in Western Sydney.

Importantly the huge boost for local jobs from major rail projects - such as the north-west and south-west rail links - has gone unrealised because of the government failing to engage local industry.

The North West Rail Link will use more steel than the Sydney Harbour Bridge, but there has been no commitment to using Australian fabricated metal. It will also need new rolling stock yet industry fears trains will be sourced from overseas.

Last week the government made much of plans to extend Sydney's light rail network but those plans include importing trams from Spain. While the project will be a boon for Sydney commuters, apprentices in Europe not Newcastle will benefit from the jobs created.

Every example of government inaction is costing manufacturing jobs, and with much of that industry in the Hunter, workers there are hurting the most.

Some will say we should accept the decline of manufacturing, happy with Australia putting all its eggs in the resources boom basket.

However, this ignores the cyclical element of the commodity boom.

And the fact that manufacturing drives innovation and technological change; key factors in our productivity performance allowing us to achieve competitive advantage in global markets and supply chains.

Manufacturing creates high-skill, high-wage jobs; within the manufacturing sector but also across the economy, particularly in services that add value to products and processes.

It may be cheaper for the government to import cheaper product from overseas but price alone on major contracts is a false economy for taxpayers, particularly when it puts skilled locals out of work.

Government spending should boost, not undermine, our own industry capability.

Tim Ayres is Australian Manufacturing Workers Union NSW secretary.

Friday, November 15, 2013

21st Century Federal Front Bench - Liberal Men's Club

Corporate Culture: For Maurice Newman "Only the Poor are Too Rich !"

People like Maurice Newman exert their power covertly, through networking and influence. They prefer to operate that way, to stay under the radar, and present an opaque, non-threatening personality to the general public.

But occasionally, just occasionally, they pop up into public view and give us a taste of what they really think.

Newman – a member of Australia’s business elite stratosphere who made his millions as a stockbroker and investment banker – did just that on Monday night this week, delivering a wide-ranging critique of the recently-departed Labor Government in a speech to the Committee for Economic Development of Australia.

Newman’s surprisingly frank contempt for the structures that make up our system of workplace rights and protections that has earned him the title of the inaugural member of the Working Life Hall of Shame.

“While any discussion in Australia about industrial relations evokes screams of outrage and spectres of WorkChoices, we cannot hide the fact that Australian wage rates are very high by international standards and that our system is dogged by rigidities,” Newman is reported to have said.

What is so concerning about Maurice Newman’s comments is that they must represent a widely-held view in the new government that minimum wages are too high and must be cut.

He went onto note that Australia’s minimum wage – which in July rose to $16.37 an hour or $622.20 a week – was far higher than that in the United Kingdom, United States and Canada.

“When we’re $US33,500 and the US itself is only $15,080 you can see there’s an enormous disparity,” he said.

He also questioned why business pays workers’ compensation and superannuation, and why employees get paid sick and holiday leave.

For good measure, he also called for a review of the funding commitments to the National Disability Insurance Scheme and to the better schools program (the ‘Gonski reforms’).

As we have noted many times before, a decent minimum wage is a sign of a civilised society. Australia was a world pacesetter in establishing a living wage at the beginning of last century, and it has always been one of the hallmarks of the fair and egalitarian society we have had since that we support a relatively high minimum wage. It is what distinguishes Australia from much of the rest of the world.

A decent minimum wage is one of the bulwarks that prevents Australia developing a large underclass of working poor, which now so dominates the United States. And it is credited as helping to sustain our economy during the slowdown caused by the Global Financial Crisis, when other nations with a lower minimum wage sunk into recession.

A surprising critic of Newman’s views emerged yesterday in Professor Ian Harper, former head of the WorkChoices-era Fair Pay Commission.

“When it comes to the competitiveness of the Australian economy, really the minimum wage is not a big deal. Very few Australians are paid the absolute minimum wage,” Harper told the ABC.

“And even if you think about the minimum classification wages, very few Australians are paid that as well. Most Australians who earn wages are paid wages that are negotiated as part of enterprise bargaining agreements, and they’re above the absolute minimum.”

What is so concerning about Maurice Newman’s comments is that they must represent a widely-held view in the new government that wages, especially the minimum wage, are too high and must be cut. Just as many Liberal MPs share the view of the business community that penalty rates must be cut or abolished.

Newman is also a known climate change sceptic, and his fingerprints can be seen all over that Coalition policy too. In his speech on Monday, he came out as an enthusiastic supporter of the so-called ‘direct action’ approach to climate change and said investing in renewable energy was effectively a waste of taxpayers’ money.

With a key review of public spending already outsourced to big business through the Commission of Audit chaired by Tony Shepherd, it looks like the new government will be doing a lot of listening to corporate Australia, and pay scant attention to the rest of us.

Newman’s comments can only be interpreted as an early salvo on a full-scale assault on wages and conditions.

For these reasons and more, Maurice Newman enters the Hall of Shame, a place where we will shine the spotlight on those in business, politics and public policy who by words and by deeds pose the greatest threat to the lives of working people.

Hockey's Tea Party Rant

Prime Minister Tony Abbott has offered to provide Opposition Leader Bill Shorten with a confidential briefing of the debt position.

The current ceiling of 300 billion will be breached in mid-December.

Joe Hockey said the issue threatens to create a US-style shutdown of federal government services and he was seeking advice on what breaching the current debt ceiling would mean for the government.

He has told parliament the government may have to stop welfare payments and close Medicare if the debt ceiling was breached.

Labor junior treasury spokesman Andrew Leigh was dismissive of the warnings, saying a $400 billion cap would be sufficient to get the government through to after the next election.

''If any party is playing political games here, it is the Liberal Party,'' he told reporters in Canberra.

Former Labor finance minister Penny Wong said the Treasurer's ''reckless and irresponsible'' ultimatum to parliament was a political stunt.
''It really demonstrates he puts politics first and responsible economic management second,'' she told reporters.

Mr Hockey could have a ''responsible increase today'', but Labor wanted him to show Australians what his numbers really were, Senator Wong said.

Greens leader Christine Milne insists her party supported responsible debt measures.
''We will not allow Australia to be put in the position that the Republicans, the Tea Party or Tony Abbott want to put Australia in,'' she told reporters.

The Greens were suspicious of the government's reasoning for a $500 billion cap.
''What we’re saying is, what is your agenda? What do you want to spend the money on?'' she said.

SMH Read more

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

17 November - Support Climate Action

Sydney Day of Climate Action

Alfred Park 11 am

Our government may have decided that in the face of our world's greatest challenge, now is not a good time to send a senior minister to UN climate negotiations for the fist time in 17 years. It might have determined that staying back to dismantle a price on pollution and investment in renewable energy is more important. It might have slashed or abolished the CSIRO, renewable energy targets and clean energy investment funds.

But it doesn't speak for us. It doesn't represent Australians. Just today GetUp released commissioned polling that clearly shows, again, that the clear majority of Australians support stronger climate action and want stronger emissions targets.

We know there's only one climate, our future. We won't sit back and let everything we've fought for be unravelled without a fight. 

This Sunday, let's demand real, strong action on climate. Let's create the most diverse, visible and heartfelt display of support for climate action this country has ever seen.

ACOSS and UNICEF - Tackle Child Poverty

The peak body of Australia’s community services sector, ACOSS, and the United Nations Children’s Fund, UNICEF, are today calling on the new Australian parliament to make tackling growing child poverty a national priority and commit to do more to reduce the problem globally.

As the 44th Parliament sits for the first time in Canberra, and with the Commission of Audit underway, ACOSS CEO Dr Cassandra Goldie said it’s time for all sides of politics, business and the community to come together to develop a comprehensive national poverty reduction plan.

“Reducing poverty must be a key plank of the nation's efforts to improve participation and productivity, and secure a sustainable revenue base to meet the future needs of our country,” Dr Goldie said.

“The sad reality is that despite two decades of strong economic growth and enormous success in reducing child poverty since the 1980’s, we’ve gone backwards in recent years. Our updated Poverty in Australia report, which we are releasing today, shows that nearly 600,000 or 17.3% of children in Australia are living in poverty.”

“The most recent Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia (HILDA) report found that child poverty has increased by 15% since 2001. Half of these children are in sole parent families, and Australia has the fifth highest poverty rate for sole parent families of OECD countries.

“The early signs of our new government seem to be taking us in the wrong direction. Foreign aid, the school kids bonus, the modest supplementary allowance for people unemployed and the low income super contribution rebate are all on the chopping block without clear plans to invest more in our poorest children, families and communities.  

“In contrast, many tax breaks for people on higher incomes seem set to be continued,” Dr Goldie said.

UNICEF Australia spokesperson, Tim O'Connor said, “The only way to reverse this disturbing trend is for the new parliament to unify behind a renewed commitment to reduce child poverty.”

“We must start by developing a national anti-poverty plan with children at the centre. This national plan needs to be ambitious but both attainable and measurable. We already have a model in the UN Millennium Development Goals, which have been enormously successful in reducing child poverty globally.

“It is ironic that while internationally the rate of child poverty is decreasing, a wealthy nation like Australia is slipping when we really should be a world leader in ensuring that all our children get the best possible start in life so they can reach their full potential.

“We also urge the new Government to keep children at the centre of our international development efforts in the wake of deep cuts to our foreign aid budget and a re-focus of aid priorities," Mr O'Connor said.

Hockey's Super Plan Hits Queensland Most

In Queensland about one in six workers will pay more tax under the Abbott Government's move to change superannuation to featherbed the rich.

"Rubbery Joe" Hockey pretending to be serious
The changes, which affect 800,000 low-paid workers in the state, disproportionately impact Queenslanders.

Opposition Leader Bill Shorten said of the 25 federal electorates hardest hit by the Government's hike, 12 electorates were in Queensland.

Most of the workers are check-out operators, cleaners and labourers.

The Government announced last week it would scrap Labor's Low Income Superannuation Guarantee, which was to give millions of workers, who earned $37,000 or less a year, a $500 tax cut on their super contributions.

The Government announced last week it would scrap Labor's Low Income Superannuation Guarantee. Picture: Stewart Allen

The cash, which will be paid this financial year for last year's earnings but not for next year's, will go straight into super.

Mr Shorten said it was cruel that the Government would scrap the help for battlers.

"On behalf of Queenslanders, I'll fight to make sure the Prime Minister's tax on workers doesn't get to see the light of day," he said.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Climate Change in Church and State ...

Racial Discrimination Act under threat

Racist abuse condoned at work if law is repealed

10 November, 2013 | ACTU Media Release

Workplaces will not be safe from racial discrimination if provision 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act is repealed by Prime Minister Tony Abbott and Attorney-General George Brandis this week.

ACTU President warned, "There is a big difference between free speech and discrimination and repeal of the law will allow people to use offensive racially-motivated language against others. Is Australia really willing to go back down that path?"

"Repeal of the laws should be seen as an extreme move by a government out of touch with our multicultural landscape. It's not okay to slur others in the workplace because of their skin colour or nationality. That's what the current laws protect against."

"The Fair Work Act provides no remedy for exposure to racial vilification in the workplace unless it creates a risk of injury or is coupled with a deprivation of employment or employment opportunity. The only avenue available in Commonwealth law, to remedy a workplace culture of racial vilification, is this provision."

"If the Government goes through with this repeal, as they seem intent on doing, it will be a green light to those who wish to be openly racist."

"Most Australians are not racist. They don't want to hear racist remarks and they don't speak that way. However, as we have seen from a number of ugly incidents over the past year, some are willing to inflict humiliation, often publicly, on others with unacceptable language.

"For the first law officer of the nation in an incoming Government to proudly declare that one of his first legislative acts will be to legalise racial abuse is a disgrace and a national embarrassment."

Ms Kearney said that, "Repeal of section 18C is the Federal Government effectively saying to employers that unless, or until, someone loses a job opportunity or suffers an injury - it's fine to be racially vilified at work."

"It's the ugly underside we prefer not to look at but our First People often bear the brunt of this type of discrimination," she said.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

UNICEF: Help Children affected by Typhoon Haiyan

UNICEF on hand to help children affected by Typhoon Haiyan

Category five typhoon Haiyan has struck the Philippines forcing more than one million people to seek shelter.

UNICEF is on hand to help children affected by Typhoon Haiyan, which hit the Philippines at 4.30am local time today with winds of 235 km per hour.

The super typhoon has ripped roofs off housing, uprooted trees and affected businesses, but the full extent of the damage will not be known until the storm has passed.

As in any natural or man-made disasters, children are among those who suffer the most. UNICEF has a team ready to access the needs of children affected, and we're standing by to help the government reach out to families affected by typhoon.

If funds raised exceed amount needed for this appeal, funds will be used to help chilldren in need across the world.

- See more

NSW: Hungarian workers – 457 scam

CFMEU says Hungarian workers on 457 visa told to go home after complaining about pay rates
Updated 5 hours 12 minutes ago

The Construction Forestry Mining and Energy Union (CFMEU) says a group of workers on 457 visas are being sent home after questioning their pay rates.

About 20 Hungarian riggers brought in on 457 visas to work on the construction of a warehouse at Eastern Creek in Sydney's west say they are being paid less than the award wage.

The steel riggers are employed by a Hungarian company and contracted to a major Australian construction firm.

The CMFEU says they are investigating claims the workers are being paid less than $15 an hour.

The men have been working at the Eastern Creek site for four months and say they have not seen a payslip.

CFMEU spokesman Rebel Hanlon says some of the workers have been sent packing after they raised concerns about their pay.

"Four workers that approached the union were given an aeroplane ticket to fly home no later than Sunday [today]," he said.

"They were told to get out of the country ... quite clearly this employer is in breach of the way these workers are being paid.

"We're very concerned about this and we do not believe that this is an isolated case."

Mr Hanlon says conditions are so poor - that after one of the workers was injured he was told he would have to pay for treatment himself.

"The worker has got a cut and needed stitches and he was told 'Go pay for the doctor yourself, look after it yourself,'" he said.

"We've got numerous breaches of the Migration Act, of the 457 act in ensuring that these workers are actually looked after."

Friday, November 08, 2013

Dismiss the Science - Sack the Scientists! : Mad Monk Planning

"There are currently more than 50,000 Acts and legislative instruments, many of which are a handbrake on Australia's ability to get things done," Mr Abbott said.

The bodies scrapped are: Australian Animals Welfare Advisory Committee; Commonwealth Firearms Advisory Committee; International Legal Services Advisory Committee; National Inter-country Adoption Advisory Council; National Steering Committee on Corporate Wrongdoing; Antarctic Animal Ethics Committee; Advisory Panel on the Marketing in Australia of Infant Formula; High Speed Rail Advisory Group; Maritime Workforce Development Forum; Advisory Panel on Positive Ageing; Insurance Reform Advisory Group; and the National Housing Supply Council.

At the CSIRO, staff leaders fronted their bosses on Thursday, demanding answers on the fate of the workers on contracts, which can often last up to 24 months.

CSIRO has an unusually high proportion of “non-ongoings” with 990 “term” workers and about 440 casual staff among its 6500 headcount.

"It's going to be a huge problem," said one staff member, who wanted to remain anonymous.
Staff were told last week of the decision, which will hit the organisation's 11 research divisions and 11 national research flagships, as well as critical support for frontline scientists.

Catriona Jackson, the chief executive of Science and Technology Australia, the peak lobby for the nation's scientists, said she was "concerned that cuts to the public service may fall disproportionately on scientists".

ACTU Secretary Dave Oliver said, “Cutting jobs at the CSIRO will be bad for productivity in the long run. Our national productivity growth depends on innovation and research, and the application of that research in the development of new products and new technologies.”

“Continued austerity measures, particularly in science and research, will cripple Australia’s ability to grow and expand. We will be left behind as our brightest and best leave our shores to go and work elsewhere.”

Mr Oliver said the CSIRO had been responsible for a number of exciting innovations including new software to more accurately predict the spread of bushfires, a new process enabling three-dimensional printing of customised shoes for racehorses and pioneering of Wi-Fi Our technology for our smartphones.

“Staff cuts put major hurdles in the way of future projects and that could cost Australia dearly in terms future productivity,” he said.

“This is a terrible outcome for CSIRO employees who must be feeling very low right now.”

“In this day and age, can Australia really afford to have a government who doesn’t value and see the vast potential of productivity and jobs growth in new industries such as climate change, scientific research and innovation? This is an important question people need to consider.”

Labor's spokesman for the environment, climate change and water, Mark Butler, said he wasn't surprised that scientists were being sacked by the government, say Mr Abbott does not respect scientists' work, particulary on climate change.

''And I don't think it's a coincidence that the experts being sacked by this government have previously pointed out the serious flaws in the Coalition's direct action con,'' Mr Butler said.
''If the government consulted independent scientists and researchers instead of Wikipedia, they would know their direct action policy will do nothing to tackle pollution and will end up costing households more.

''The government is sacking the experts and shutting out anyone who doesn't agree with them. It's a disgraceful act.''

Read More

Thursday, November 07, 2013

Coalition Stays Away From United Nations Climate Change Meeting

Australia will not be represented by a senior elected member of the Abbott government at next week's major round of international climate change negotiations starting Monday in Warsaw.

It is also unclear whether the delegation of diplomats representing Australia at the talks has been given a final negotiating mandate for the meeting.

The Abbott government on Wednesday cancelled meetings with business representatives and foreign diplomats to brief them on Australia's stance at the climate talks.

The Warsaw climate summit is the first major round of United Nations climate change negotiations since the Abbott government took office. Countries are normally represented by ministers in the second week of major climate meetings.

The negotiations through the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change are centred on hammering out a new international agreement to limit global greenhouse gas emissions. The new agreement is due to be finished at a meeting in Paris in 2015 and come into force from 2020.

Foreign Minister Julie Bishop has remit over the international climate change negotiations in the Abbott government. But her office confirmed the she would not be at the Warsaw climate talks, with Ms Bishop instead attending the  coming Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting and the Australia-United States Ministerial Consultations.

A spokesman for Environment Minister Greg Hunt also indicated he would not be attending the talks.

John Howard on Climate Change in the 2007 Election (He needed the votes! He still lost his seat!)

Banks: Profits Up - Jobs Down

Record profit - 27.7 Billion Dollars

casual work is more flexible - (for the bosses!)

Survey finds 60% of insecure workers in Australia have struggled to pay rent/mortgage ... casual work is more flexible - (for the bosses!) ... cartoonist Sam Salvage

Corporate Culture - Take From Poor and Featherbed Rich

06 November, 2013 | ACTU Media Release

The Abbott Government’s announcement that it will scrap the 15 per cent tax on superannuation income above $100,000 a year, while removing superannuation tax breaks for workers on less than $37,000 per year, shows the new Government is intent on rewarding the wealthy and holds workers’ needs in complete contempt.

ACTU President Ged Kearney said the Abbott Government had already shown its true agenda by scrapping a range of measures that supported workers and their families.

“These decisions will leave millions of workers on average incomes worse off in retirement, while ensuring that wealthy retirees can earn unlimited tax-free income from the superannuation.

“The Abbott Government is attacking ordinary workers ability to have a decent and secure retirement while bringing back tax breaks for the rich.”

“The 15 per cent tax on superannuation incomes over $100,000 per year would have affected less than one per cent of retirees, while raising $300 million for public services.”

“It is not unreasonable to expect that the wealthiest retirees pay some tax on their superannuation income, when they are earning far above the average wage.”

“What makes this decision even more offensive is combining it with scrapping superannuation tax concessions for workers on low incomes.

“The previous Labor Government introduced the Low Income Superannuation Contribution, which reduced tax on superannuation contributions from workers on less than $37,000 per year.

“This was a boost to the superannuation of 3.6 million workers, including 2.1 million women, many of whom are combining raising a family with part-time work.”

 Now, under Mr Abbott these workers will be paying more tax on their superannuation than on their take home pay and will have less money in retirement.”

“This is on top of cutting the School Kids Bonus, which has helped millions of families with education expenses.”

“These decisions are giving us a worrying insight into the Abbott Government’s attitude to ordinary workers, and their families.”

Global Warming Gases Reach Record High

The levels of gases in the atmosphere that drive global warming increased to a record high in 2012.

According to the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), atmospheric CO2 grew more rapidly last year than its average rise over the past decade.

Concentrations of methane and nitrous oxide also broke previous records

Thanks to carbon dioxide and these other gases, the WMO says the warming effect on our climate has increased by almost a third since 1990.

The WMO's annual greenhouse gas bulletin measures concentrations in the atmosphere, not emissions on the ground.

Carbon dioxide is the most important of the gases that they track, but only about half of the CO2 that's emitted by human activities remains in the atmosphere, with the rest being absorbed by the plants, trees, the land and the oceans.

Upsetting the balance
Since 1750, global average levels of CO2 in the atmosphere have increased to 141% of the pre-industrial concentration of 278 parts per million (ppm).

According to the WMO there were 393.1ppm of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere in 2012, an increase of 2.2ppm over 2011.

This was above the yearly average of 2.02ppm over the past decade.

"The observations highlight yet again how heat-trapping gases from human activities have upset the natural balance of our atmosphere and are a major contribution to climate change," said WMO Secretary-General Michel Jarraud.

"It is a worry. The more we delay action the bigger the risk we cannot stay under the 2 degree Celsius limit that countries have agreed," he said.

While the daily measurement of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere exceeded the symbolic 400ppm mark in May this year, according to the WMO the global annual average CO2 concentration will cross this point in 2015 or 2016.

Levels of methane also reached record highs in 2012 of 1,819 parts per billion. Concentrations have been increasing since 2007 after a period when they appeared to be levelling off.

Methane concentrations from landfill sites and many other sources including farming have risen again
The WMO report says that it is not yet possible to attribute the methane increase to either human activities like cattle breeding and landfills or natural sources such as wetlands.

They believe that the rising emissions come from the tropical and mid-latitude northern hemisphere and not from the Arctic, where methane from the melting of permafrost and hydrates has long been a concern.

Emissions of nitrous oxide have also grown, with the atmospheric concentration in 2012 at 325.1 parts per billion, 120% above pre-industrial levels.

Nitrous oxide gas, although its concentrations are tiny compared to CO2, is 298 times more warming and also plays a role in the destruction of the ozone layer.

More from BBC

Wednesday, November 06, 2013

ACOSS: Regressive Budget Signals

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

The Australian Council of Social Service says it is concerned that today's announcement on tax bills runs the risk of undermining the Government’s stated goal of bringing integrity to the Federal Budget.

“The Government has sent a concerning signal today that low income households could bear the brunt of fiscal restraint by retaining tax breaks that mainly benefit high income earners, such as the tax exemption for certain superannuation fund earnings and the cap on self-education expenses claims, while cutting programs which support low income households," said Dr Cassandra Goldie, ACOSS CEO.

“In recent weeks, the Government has confirmed its decision to cut the rebate for super contributions for low income earners, the allowance supplement ($4 a week for allowance recipients), and the School Kids Bonus - which ACOSS argues should be re-directed into higher Family Tax Benefits for low income families, not abolished altogether.

"The allowance supplement is the only real increase in Newstart Allowance for almost 20 years. ACOSS has called for a $50 increase to ease entrenched poverty among unemployed people and single parents, many of whom were affected by recent payment cuts. Against that backdrop, to take away a $4 increase is unconscionable.

"The removal of the super contributions rebate penalises compulsory  superannuation contributions,  increasing the tax rate for low income earners below $37,000 by 15 cents in every dollar contributed.

“This stands in contrast to the decision not to proceed with the $100,000 cap on tax exemptions on superannuation earnings supporting pensions and annuities which benefits the 'top end'.

“This measure would only have affected those with super assets worth more than $2 million, and would have delivered $350 million in savings over the next 4 years. While it was only a drop in the ocean in the context of Government superannuation tax concessions expected to be worth $44.8 billion by 2014-15, it was a step towards a fairer system.

“ACOSS is also concerned the measures to address profit-shifting and tax minimisation by companies investing overseas may be watered down. The ATO has indicated that these avoidance strategies pose a major threat to public revenue so firm action is needed.

“The Commission of Audit should comprehensively review Government spending and tax expenditures to help set the Budget on a path to sustainability. Much of the waste in the budget is on tax side and this disproportionately benefits high earners.

"Equally, the Government should not be ruling out or repealing tax measures without a considered tax reform process, such as was conducted through the Henry Tax Review. As the Assistant Treasurer noted upon taking up his Senate position, this Review is unfinished business. We have strongly backed the Prime Minister’s pre-election commitment to pursue tax reform through an open process, including a White Paper. Yet, today we have a surprise announcement by the Government about tax measures upon which only two weeks of consultation will occur, and only with industry.

“The community sector has an important and useful role to play in discussions about the future of government revenue and expenditure, including through the Commission of Audit, and we urge the Treasurer and Assistant Treasurer to engage directly with the sector going forward in these processes.

“With Australia to assume the Presidency of the G20 in December, the world will be looking to this Government to set an agenda for inclusive growth in which the benefits of growth are shared with a view to creating stronger economies and communities," Dr Goldie said.

Tuesday, November 05, 2013

Unions NSW: Political Donations High Court Challenge

Unions are concerned that conservative state governments are pushing to ''silence'' them nationally after Victoria, Queensland and Western Australia joined NSW in defending its political donations laws against a landmark High Court challenge.

A hearing is due to begin today in the case that has been launched by the peak body Unions NSW and five unions in a bid to have the NSW government's donations laws declared unconstitutional.

The laws ban corporations and associations from making political donations in state and local government elections in NSW.

They also restrict how much the Labor Party and its affiliated unions can spend on advertising during an election campaign by counting expenditure by unions against the total amount the party is allowed to spend.

The attorneys-general of Queensland, Victoria, Western Australia and the Commonwealth have ''intervened'' in the case to support the NSW defence.

Labor and the union movement have accused NSW Premier Barry O'Farrell of using the laws, which he has cast as an attempt to reduce the influence of donations in NSW politics, to attack their ability to contest elections.

The unions will argue in the High Court that the laws restrict the freedom of political communication implied in the NSW and federal constitutions.

The secretary of Unions NSW, Mark Lennon, said the decision to intervene ''shows there is a clear agenda to silence the political voice of working people, not just in NSW but across the country''.

''Working people have always pooled resources to express themselves politically,'' he said. ''The point of our case is to make sure that can continue and we have robust political representation in this country''.

Monday, November 04, 2013

Corporate Culture - Hunt Supports Mega Mine : Mega Polution

The federal government has approved a massive coalmining project in central Queensland that will be the largest in the country.

The environment minister and climate septic, Greg Hunt, approved the 37,380-hectare Kevin's Corner project on Friday.

The mine, to be operated by a joint India-Australia consortium, GVK-Hancock, is the first to be approved since the introduction of a water trigger rule by the previous federal government.

Greenpeace claims Kevin's Corner will use more than 9bn litres of water a year and the Lock the Gate Alliance says more information on its impact on Galilee basin groundwater is needed.

On Monday, 13 water science experts urged Hunt to reject any mining proposals that would adversely impact water supplies.

They said mining and coal seam gas extraction could damage aquifers, rivers and water catchments.

Stand up: We Built This Country

Gloating Banks: $26 Billion Loot

Westpac Australia's second-biggest bank recorded net earnings of $6.8 billion for the 12 months to the end of September.

Its cash profit, which excludes one-off costs and is the banking industry's preferred measure of earnings, increased by 8 per cent to $7.1 billion.

Cash earnings from Westpac's Australian banks climbed by 12 percent to $4.5 billion, while returns from its New Zealand operations surged by 16 per cent to $634 million.

Westpac's result takes the combined annual profit of Australia's big four banks to $26.1 billion.

Last week, National Australia Bank announced its profit lifted by 34 per cent to $5.5 billion, while ANZ's earnings increased by 11 per cent to 6.3 billion

In August, the Commonwealth Bank recorded an 8 per cent profit increase, to $7.7 billion.

The combined cash profit for the banks was $27.4 billion.

NUW: Woolworths warehouse workers pay victory.

Woolworths warehouse workers in Barnawartha North have claim victory.

Five hours of negotiations yesterday and a week of strike action ended in the supermarket giant increasing its offer from 74 cents per hour to $1.06 per hour over each year of the two-year agreement.

The offer was unanimously accepted at a mass meeting with union members yesterday afternoon who were “extremely happy they have been heard”.

National Union of Workers (NUW) industrial officer Dario Mujkic said it was a huge win.

“It means the gap between regional and city workers will not continue to grow,” he said.

“This is a great achievement considering that on Thursday the wage offer would have seen Barnawartha North workers go from $203 behind to $225 per week behind.”

The 350 workers will celebrate at the distribution centre from 11am today and return to work on Monday.

The union also won its other major claims.

Saturday penalties will increase from 125 per cent to 140 per cent.

Breaks will increase from 10 minutes to 15 minutes for shifts worked seven hours or less.

Mr Mujkic said forklift driving allowances were now also in the Barnawartha North agreement.

“It means workers will get additional penalties for the work they do because it takes skill,” he said.

“It was not only a fight for the workers, but also for those in industries where workers get paid less for doing the same work.”

National inquiry into pregnancy and return to work

Despite laws and policies in Australia protecting employees against discrimination while pregnant, seeking parental leave or returning to work after parental leave, many people are often demoted, forced to resign, made redundant or receive unfavourable treatment during this time.

Unions hear these stories all the time, but we need to let decision-makers in government know about them too.

Unions can and do help in all of these situations, but they shouldn’t happen in the first place!

The Australian Human Rights Commission is now conducting an inquiry into pregnancy at work and returning to work after parental leave.

The ACTU will be making a submission, and we want to hear from:

  • women about their experiences of being pregnant at work;
  • partners about their experiences at work in regard to supporting their pregnant partner; and
  • women and men who have taken parental leave and returned to work or tried to return to work after parental leave.

This inquiry is a real chance to make a difference in the way pregnancy and parental leave is understood and managed in the workplace.

The ACTU and affiliated unions are supporting this inquiry and are collecting real stories of employees’ experiences to include in our submission to the Australian Human Rights Commission.

All stories will be de-identified and we will not use your name or state your employer. We need your help.

Please tell us your story online or by calling the hotline on 1300 364 024. ALL identifying information will remain confidential.

Please tell us:

  • What difficulties you experienced at work
  • What the consequences were for you and your family, and your career
  • What action (if any) you took in response, and the outcomes of this action
  • What workplace measures would have helped you
  • Any good practices at your workplace that assisted you

If you have more than one child, how did your experiences differ between your first and subsequent children?

  • The type of company you work/worked for e.g. supermarket, construction industry, hospital, etc.
  • The type of job you did/are doing

Please tell us your story no later than 29 November 2013.

Sunday, November 03, 2013

Banker sings Abbott's tune - sledges climate scientists

Climate scientists have called on one of Australia’s highest profile business leaders to apologise for accusing their profession of lacking integrity.

The Australian Meteorological and Oceanographic Society (AMOS) described as a “serious slur” the remarks of David Murray, former head of the Commonwealth Bank and the inaugural chairman of Australia’s multi-billion dollar future fund.

Murray told the ABC’s Lateline he believed there had been a “breakdown in integrity” in the science of climate change.

Murray, who was in charge of $75bn of government assets during his final year as the future fund chairman, said “the climate problem is severely overstated”.

He said he had seen no evidence of “integrity” among climate scientists.

In an open letter, AMOS president Blair Trewin wrote: “The society regards the remarks of Mr Murray as being a serious slur on the integrity of the many Australian and international authors of the IPCC report, and views them as highly offensive to those authors and to the profession at large. The society calls upon Mr Murray to withdraw the remarks.”

During the interview, host Emma Alberici pointed out the work of scientists who had contributed to the latest United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report.

Murray was asked what it would take to “convince him” on the science of climate change.

Murray answered: “When I see some evidence of integrity amongst the scientists themselves. I often look at systems and behaviours as a way of judging something, and in this case, to watch the accusations that fly between these people suggests there’s been a breakdown in integrity in the science.”

The letter from AMOS added: “The IPCC reports are an outstanding example of international science co-operation, rigour and transparency. They are subjected to multiple levels of review by experts both inside and outside the climate community, with all review comments and the authors’ responses to them being made publicly available.”

In 2011, Murray was reported to have said there was “no correlation” between carbon dioxide emissions and global warming and that the world’s glaciers were not melting.

The IPCC said in September it was “extremely likely” that human emissions of greenhouse gases had been the dominant force behind the global warming observed since the 1950s.

The IPCC report also found that between 1993 and 2009 about 275bn tonnes of ice were melting from the world’s glaciers every year.

Friday, November 01, 2013

Unions NSW condemns anti-Semitic violence in Bondi

28 October 2013

Unions NSW has expressed shock and condemnation at the attack on a Jewish family walking home early on Saturday morning in Bondi.

 On behalf of working people across the State, Unions NSW Secretary, Mark Lennon said racially motivated violence was utterly repugnant.

 “As a movement we are shocked and appalled to see an incident such as this,” Mr Lennon said.

 “The trade union movement stands in solidarity with the Jewish community and other faiths, ethnicities and community groups associated with the Sydney Alliance in condemning this attack.

 “Australia is a diverse, open and peaceful society. These are values we intend to promote and defend.

 “This incident is deeply concerning for trade unionists across NSW. We condemn it and reaffirm our complete repudiation of any form of racism and anti-seimtism.’

Unions Warning re WTO IT Agreement

Several WTO members are currently negotiating the expansion of the Agreement to cover information technology (IT) goods created since the first Agreement, in force since 1997. The Agreement covers IT goods that comprise about ten per cent of the global merchandise.

A number or trade union and civil society organisations, including IndustriALL Global Union have drafted a joint letter to the WTO, pointing to the damage the proposals would do to the development of the IT industry in developing countries. The letter warns the participating countries that the Agreement could further harm workers and restrict the prospect of industrialisation for participating developing countries.

“The necessary diffusion of technology and the need to overcome the digital divide within and across countries require policy space for governments in order to implement industrial policies that enable them to develop their own industries or to increase the ownership of production of ICTs (information and communication technologies) in supply chains in which they operate,” it says.

Trade unions and civil society are calling for the negotiations to focus on expanding the potential for decent jobs. They also warn that an expanded ITA will likely benefit mainly multinational enterprises that control patent monopolies and impede technology transfer.

Jyrki Raina, General Secretary of IndustriALL Global Union, says:

“IndustriALL Global Union is calling for sustainable development in the ICT sector which has been facing driving down wages and the spread of precarious forms of employment as a result of severe global competition driven by the trade agreement.  ITA-II should focus on expanding the potential for decent jobs, especially in the developing countries.”