Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Turnbull's tipping point


Write today's date down for history. After three years and a double dissolution election the Turnbull Government has struck deals to get the ABCC through the Senate.

All unions have faced laws like the ABCC before. Last century there were prison sentences for unionism and this century there was Workchoices. We saw off all these laws. In fact, some of our biggest achievements were won despite repressive laws.  When we stuck together and fought for our rights conservative governments came off second best.

This is the week where the blind ideology of the Coalition government meant they put all their efforts into taking away rights from workers whilst ignoring the reality of life for working Australians.

They could have focused on creating jobs; but instead the ABCC stops unions demanding jobs for apprentices.

They could have fixed the laws that allow widespread exploitation and underpayments like with 7-Eleven and Caltex; but instead they gave speeches bashing unions.

They could have fixed the laws that let billion dollar companies outsource their responsibilities to their workers and replace good jobs with low paid ones like at the Carlton & United Brewery; but instead they took civil rights away from 1 million workers.

They are out of touch and represent only the very rich.

Australian Unions will mark today by committing ourselves to campaign for jobs we can count on and for stronger rights at work for all workers. And we will defeat the ABCC. This is just a matter of time.

In unity
Australian Unions Team

http://www.australianunions.org.au/


AEU – TIMSS highlights inequities in Australia's school results

30 November 2016

The 2016 TIMSS results show the need for greater investment in disadvantaged schools and more specialist maths and science teachers, the AEU said today.

AEU Federal President Correna Haythorpe said Australia’s flat results were a concern, as was the fact that we were falling behind countries which were investing more in their school systems.

“This data shows yet again the gaps between advantaged and disadvantaged students, and Indigenous and non-Indigenous students,” Ms Haythorpe said.

“Less than half of Indigenous students are at or below the proficient level, with little or no change in the gaps between Indigenous and non-Indigenous students over the 20 years of TIMSS.

“There are also strong links between social disadvantage and low scores in both Year 4 and Year 8 testing.

“This is another demonstration of the need to target funding more directly to the schools which teach disadvantaged students, as Gonski funding is beginning to do.

“The TIMSS testing was done in 2015, when less than 10 per cent of Gonski funding had been delivered to schools.

“We need to ensure that the full six years of Gonski are delivered to give disadvantaged schools the resources they need to close these gaps.

“Public schools in every state are still below the Schooling Resource Standard the Gonski Review recommended.

TIMSS focuses solely on maths and science, and Ms Haythorpe said Australia’s performance was linked to chronic shortages of maths and science teachers.

“We have long-term shortages of trained maths and science teachers in Australia, yet the Federal Government has no plans to fix this, or take action to stop the decline in entry standards for teaching courses.

“Around 40 per cent of our Year 7 to 10 mathematics classes are taught without a qualified mathematics teacher. The most recent PISA report highlighted unequal access to a rigorous maths curriculum as a reason for Australia’s poor performance in that area.

“Shortages of qualified teachers have a direct impact on student performance – yet we have a flawed teacher training system which is producing too many graduates, but too few with maths and science skills.

“The Federal Government has talked about innovation and agility, but won’t give our schools the resources or trained teachers to ensure they can excel at maths and science.

“Malcolm Turnbull’s plan to end Gonski funding after 2017 will deny schools $3.8 billion in resources, and hit the most disadvantaged schools the hardest.”

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Unions NSW – Baird's Job Cuts Revealed

The NSW Government-owned electricity distributor Essential Energy announced last week that they intend to cut 600 jobs in the next few weeks with 1000 more employees to be sacked by 2018Click here now to lend your name in support of these workers!

Hundreds of families – the large majority of whom live in Western NSW – face an uncertain future just weeks before the Christmas holiday period. 

This is a job crisis for Western NSW - If the government won't do the right thing, Labor will stand up for jobs in regional NSW, but we need your help, click here to sign our petition right now!
Your signature will contribute to a wave of pressure we will put on Mike Baird and John Barilaro to do what's right and take regional jobs seriously.
As always, thanks for your support - it really does make the difference.

PS If you can become even more involved, please consider chipping in a couple of dollars to support our campaign to fight for regional jobs. Click here to chip in.

NSWTF – Join the marriage equality rally on November 26



Submitted by nswtf on 18 November 2016

When: 1pm on Saturday November 26
Where: Sydney Town Hall, George Street, Sydney

A rally for marriage equality at Sydney Town Hall on Saturday November 26 will demand that parliament debate the private members bill to change marriage laws to include same-sex partners.

The message of the rally is that we elect and pay politicians to represent us and make laws, and the overwhelming public support for marriage equality should be reflected in the country’s laws without delay

Previous rallies have sought to pressure the government for a cross-party, free conscience vote.

Polls show 72 per cent of Australians support marriage equality (Crosby Textor 2014) and it is known that a large number of politicians in both major parties also support marriage equality.

The Coalition does not, however, allow a free vote on marriage equality and has not allowed the private members bill on the matter to be debated. Therefore, should the private members bill be debated, front-bench members of the Coalition must vote against marriage equality, even though this is against the wishes of the majority of Australians, and, for many politicians, against their own conscience.

Federation’s policy stance on this issue is that LGBTIQ people should not face discrimination over their sex, sexuality or gender identity and therefore that marriage equality should be supported.

Federation will have a contingent of members attending the rally, and encourages others to join the demonstration.

Monday, November 28, 2016

457 visa system is broken: ACTU calls for major reform of occupation list

28 November 2016
CONTACT DETAILS

The Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) welcomes the introduction of Labor leader Bill Shorten’s private member’s bill to review the 457 visa system.

The Migration Amendment (Putting Local Workers First) Bill 2016 calls for stronger labour market testing, stricter licensing criteria for 457 workers and more restrictions for employers.

The ACTU believes the 457 visa system is broken; the occupation list for temporary workers continues to be rorted and needs a complete review.

The list currently includes 651 occupations and the ACTU believes it bears little resemblance to areas of genuine skills shortage.

Young Australians are finding it increasingly difficult to find an apprenticeship, yet employers continue to sponsor temporary foreign workers rather than train our kids.

The ACTU also has serious concerns about systemic exploitation of temporary workers, as highlighted in the 7 Eleven scandal and outlined in the Senate report A National Disgrace: The Exploitation of Temporary Work Visa Holders. The exploitation of temporary visa workers has been happening far too often and for far too long for it to be dismissed as a few isolated cases in an otherwise well-functioning program.

Quotes attributable to ACTU President Ged Kearney:

  • “The ACTU believes it is time for a complete revision of the skilled migration program. The current skilled migrant visa program is fundamentally flawed; it allows employers to force people to work for sub-par wages and conditions, which undermine local wages, conditions and employment.
  • “Temporary visa arrangements, whether 457, backpacker or student visas, open the door to exploitation, with the fear of deportation or being exposed to visa violation charges being a constant threat.”
  • “The current temporary occupation list has numerous occupations which are being rorted and used for low skilled professions. 457 visas are meant to fill genuine skills gap with specialised workers. Instead, workers are coming in and doing entry level jobs like retail shop assistants and kitchenhands. And the current list includes nurses, engineers, electricians, motor mechanics and joiners.”
  • “Australia also has double digit youth unemployment and more than one million underemployed people who need more work. Employers who employ skilled migrants must be obliged to train and hire locally before employing temporary visa holders.”
  • “The ACTU is calling for a complete review of the list — from the bottom up. We do not want to see tinkering of the list with useless caveats. The program must have a full proper tripartite review mechanism and substantial rigorous labour market testing should be broadened out to cover all occupations under the 457 temporary worker list.”



UNION STEPS UP CAMPAIGN FOR BANKING ROYAL COMMISSION



The CFMEU has renewed its call for a Royal Commission into Banks, vowing to step up its campaign to push for the inquiry, calling on the Senate to stand up and be counted.
Speaking after the CFMEU National Conference on the Gold Coast, which was also attended by the MUA and the TCFUA, National Secretary Michael O’Connor said:
“From failure to pass on interest rate cuts, to rampant credit card profits, to scandals in financial planning, barely a day goes by without another story of banks ripping off ordinary Australians.
“Our members and ordinary working Australians are unwillingly bankrolling the relentless profits of bank shareholders, and criminal CEO salaries.
“People have had enough of it.”
The CFMEU has been campaigning for a number of months for a Royal Commission into the Banks and will increase activity in the coming months.
“We have had a very strong reaction to our campaign, and we know that people are watching this space.
“Our Senators need to put their money where their mouth is.
“It’s time for Nick Xenophon, One Nation, Derryn Hinch and the rest of the cross bench to do something.
“Let’s be very clear about it. These banks are Malcolm Turnbull’s mates and he’s about to give them a $7 billion company tax cut.
“On behalf of our members, we intend to hold both the Government and the Senate cross-bench accountable for the absolute stench that surrounds the banks.”

Save Our Weekend

Save Our Weekend
DID YOU SEE THE NEWS?
A recent poll of over 3,000 Australians found 76% support weekend rates - even among those that don’t even earn them!

The poll also found that if the Fair Work Commission decides to cut weekend rates, 64% of people would think very negatively or negatively of a business that decided to pass on the cut.

That is phenomenal support!

You can read more about it here.
Pouring_drinks_Square.png
WE CAN’T REST THERE
These are great figures – but weekend rates are still under threat, despite the overwhelming community support.

55% of the poll respondents also said they would support hospitality workers taking strike action to protect their weekend rates.

What we need to know is what hospitality workers would be prepared to do to save weekend rates.
Slashing weekend rates is a pay cut hospitality workers can’t afford and don’t deserve.

Don’t wait till it’s too late – get your hospitality mates to fill out the Hospitality Census now so we know what it’s like working in hospo – and what actions we should plan alongside hospo workers all over Australia.

Together we can Save our Weekend.
Save Our Weekend
http://www.saveourweekend.org.au/

ABC staff move no confidence motion against management over radio cuts

ABC employees have fired a warning shot at their superiors, telling them that staff have lost confidence in their ability to manage the organisation.

More than 60 Radio National staff met at the broadcaster's Ultimo office on Thursday.

They unanimously passed a motion of no confidence, citing "systemic failure" in senior radio management and "the erosion of the editorial and managerial responsibilities of executive producers".

In a copy of the motion obtained by Fairfax Media, staff called on Community and Public Sector Union organiser Sinddy Ealy to "immediately convey" their concerns to ABC managing director Michelle Guthrie and ABC staff elected director Matthew Peacock.

The industrial dispute marks another blow in an already rocky start to Guthrie's tenure, which began only six months ago.

In the motion, staff expressed concern over four separate areas, including:

  • "The continuing erosion of specialist programming in music, features and religion is a serious breach of the ABC Charter and a disservice to the Australian audiences that the ABC is funded to serve."
  • "A systemic failure on the part of the senior radio management to genuinely engage or listen to the professional advice of Radio National staff about major change including the recently announced cuts to ABC jobs and programs."
  • "The unnecessary introduction of inefficient and additional layers of senior radio management in program areas - we need staff who actually make programs not more managers."
  • "The erosion of the editorial and managerial responsibilities of executive producers and content directors."

Last week, it was revealed up to seven staff would lose their jobs at Radio National with the axing of almost all of its music programming.

In an email from Radio National manager Deborah Leavitt, staff were told to "look beyond those we currently engage".

"I want new audiences who are not currently experiencing RN content to discover it, and for us to build a stronger platform for the network in an environment of greater media choice and fragmentation," she wrote.

"Changes to production models and ways of working means there will be potential redundancies. This is a particularly difficult decision on many levels, especially when it impacts talented and cherished colleagues."

In September staff moved towards striking for the first time since 2006 when Australia's workplace tribunal approved a bid by the Community and Public Sector Union to run a ballot that would enable staff to walk off the job.

Westconnex – Unauthorised Drilling at Pioneer Park in Leichhardt

Friday, November 25, 2016

CFMEU: Workpac contractor employees reject proposed new agreement

Thu 24/11/2016

Workpac contractor employees reject proposed new agreement – setback for casualisation

Today the CFMEU Mining and Energy Division said the failure of labour hire company Workpac’s proposed new enterprise agreement is good news for workers and a setback for the casualisation of the mining workforce.

CFMEU M&E Queensland District Senior Vice-President Mitch Hughes said he hoped the predominantly rejection vote by the company’s employees would be enough to send a signal to labour hire companies that workers are ready to stand up for their workplace conditions, and fight for secure jobs.

“It’s no secret that mining and labour hire companies are promoting the casualisation of the workforce at the expense of job security of workers,” said Mr Hughes.

“Workers are being treated as ‘permanent casuals’ with no certainty over their future, and inferior benefits or entitlements, putting their livelihoods in question.

“Today over 87 percent of eligible workers voted in Workpac’s proposed new agreement ballot and the majority rejected further casualization, preferring instead security of employment protections for workers

“The CFMEU put forward a claim that proposed a clause to allow an employee to choose – after a certain period of time – whether they wanted to remain as a casual employee or convert to permanent employment.

“We also asked that Workpac provide at least six hours’ notice to casual employees before they were removed. At the moment, a casual employee can be asked to leave with only one hour’s notice.

“Our claims seek to protect workers from an increasingly insecure workplace environment in the hope workers can plan and provide for their futures and their families. The claims requested by Workpac seek to further undermine conditions and increase the uncertainty workers face. For example, Workpac wants to be able to decrease an employee’s wage when needed.

“In another blow to labour hire companies’ plans to casualise the workforce, today’s decision Skene v Workpac Pty Ltd also found that under the Fair Work Act its former employee, Paul Skene, cannot be classified as a casual employee, and will likely be eligible to significant back-pay.

“This recent decision and the rejection of the new Workpac proposed agreement show that workers will not be pushed around by companies that are not prepared to treat them justly. Workers are entitled to secure and steady jobs, and they will fight for them.

“The CFMEU will continue to work with Workpac employees to make them aware of their rights and to get the best possible outcomes for them and their families,” said Mr Hughes.

Memoirs of Tom and Audrey McDonald – 10 December


Date: Saturday 10th December 2016 3pm - 5pm
Venue: Dining Room, Family Hotel 15 Parke Street, Katoomba

BLUE MOUNTAINS LAUNCH

You and your friends are invited to attend the launch of Tom and Audrey McDonald’s Memoirs, Dare to Dream.

Guest speakers:

Senator Doug Cameron
Ian Milliss – Artist, writer, cultural and environment activist

RSVP: Reserve your spot by contacting Luke at: lukewhitington@gmail.com
or phone: 0422 265 775

Dare to Dream is a story of struggle and hope – a story about and for the countless numbers of people whose determination, courage and sacri ce helped create a better world.Audrey and Tom’s belief in a cause took them from the factory  oor to Moscow’s Red Square, from ASIO surveillance to Australia’s highest honours.Their story is a unique account of epic social and political change.

Tom and Audrey’s memoirs are an intergenerational gift to a troubled world.
SHARAN BURROW, General Secretary, International Trade Union Confederation, Brussels

Thursday, November 24, 2016

TPP Failures Must Not Be Repeated in Other Agreements

By Patricia Ranald – SMH 24 November 2016

Donald Trump didn't kill the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade pact. His opposition was only the final blow which came at the end of more than six years of criticism of the TPP in the United States, Australia and other TPP countries by public health, environment, church, union and other community groups. 

Their criticism was based on human rights and environmental values which were the opposite of those expressed by Trump during his campaign. These critics were not against trade itself but against unfair trade deals. The TPP's death should teach us some key lessons about future trade policy.

Firstly, the TPP was not mainly about traditional trade issues such as tariffs. Australia already has free trade agreements and low tariffs with all but three of the 12 TPP countries. Nor was it going to deliver on promises of jobs and growth. Economic studies showed hardly any economic benefit to Australia. Rather, most of the TPP's 30 chapters laid out rules which increased rights for global corporations and restricted future governments from regulating them in the public interest.

The TPP gave global companies the right to bypass national courts and sue governments for millions of dollars in unfair international tribunals over health and environmental regulation. It extended monopolies on biologic medicines for an additional three years, delaying cheaper version of those medicines, which would have cost taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars per year. It also entrenched copyright monopolies. Chapters on services reduced the ability of future governments to regulate essential services. The TPP increased the numbers of temporary migrant workers who are vulnerable to exploitation, without testing if local workers were available.

The Productivity Commission criticised the TPP's inclusion of corporate rights to sue governments and the entrenchment of monopolies as the opposite of free trade. In an era of global financial crises, corporate tax evasion and global warming, future trade agreements must not prevent governments from regulating banks and monopolies on medicines, or from acting to prevent climate change and tax evasion. Governments must be able to act in the public interest without facing the risk of being sued for millions of dollars in unfair international tribunals.

These public policy issues should be debated and decided through a democratic parliamentary process, not secretly decided through trade deals. Like many trade agreements, the TPP text did not become public until after it was agreed and could not be changed. The decision to sign it was made by Cabinet, not Parliament. Parliament can only vote on the legislation needed to implement the agreement, not the agreement itself. The TPP debate exposed this process, which was criticised by both the PC and by a Senate inquiry report aptly titled "Blind Agreement".

There are precedents for ending secrecy in trade negotiations. The EU has determined that the full text of trade agreements should be made public before the decision to sign them. The Parliamentary process should include independent evaluations of the economic, health and environmental impacts of the agreement. Parliament should vote on the whole agreement, not just the implementing legislation.

The 12 TPP leaders met at the APEC summit in Peru at the weekend to discuss other trade deals. One deal is the 16-member Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership between the 10 ASEAN countries, China, India, Japan, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand (RCEP) which is being negotiated at present. It does not include the US, but there is some overlap with other TPP members.

There is another, more ambitious long-term proposal for a future Free Trade Area of the Asia Pacific. This could involve both China and the US, and many of the countries involved in TPP, RCEP, and APEC, over 20 countries.

The failed TPP should not be used as a model for these agreements. Unfortunately, leaked RCEP documents show that TPP-like provisions on stronger medicine monopolies and corporate rights to sue governments are being pushed by some TPP governments in the RCEP negotiations. These proposals are generating the same opposition from public health and other community groups as they did in the TPP.

In short, the failure of the TPP should show the necessity for more open and democratic trade processes, and fair trade policies which do not entrench corporate rights and monopolies and do not prevent governments from regulating in the public interest.

Dr Patricia Ranald is a research associate at the University of Sydney and the convener of the Australian Fair Trade and Investment Network.

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ACTU – Registered Organisations Bill a Blow to Workers

22 November 2016

DOWNLOAD SUPPORTING DOCUMENTS

After over two years of failing to force it through the Senate the Turnbull government late last night secured passage of the Registered Organisations Bill, the little-known piece of legislation attacking workers and their unions that was used as a trigger for this year’s double dissolution election.

At a time when we face stagnating wages, increasing job insecurity, and uncertainty about where the jobs of the future will come from the Turnbull government has dedicated the time and resources of the government to attacking working people and their representatives.

It is disappointing that instead of supporting working people’s attempts to increase wages and improve working conditions the Turnbull government has instead decided to burden them with a disproportionate and manifestly inappropriate regulatory regime.

The union movement is predominately governed by volunteers. Everyday people who give of their time to help their fellow workers run our movement and the Turnbull government has now chosen to subject them to the same penalties that apply to highly paid corporate boards.

These people are the backbone of the union movement and have done nothing to deserve the demonisation that has been heaped upon them by this government. 

Quotes from Dave Oliver, Secretary, ACTU:

  • “The Registered Organisations Bill is nothing more than an attempt by this government to hobble the union movement with red tape and discourage people from volunteering as delegates and representatives to help their colleagues.”
  • "We have seen similar attempts made in the past that have also failed, just as this will, to diminish the passion and commitment of our hard working delegates and volunteers"
  • “This law does nothing to address declining wages. It does nothing to create new jobs. It does nothing to secure the employment of the more than 1 million underemployed Australian workers in this country. It does nothing to prepare young people for the rapidly changing nature of work. It just continues an ideological attack on unions driven by Prime Minister Turnbull’s rank politics.”
  • “This is yet another demonstration of the Turnbull Government’s contempt for working people and the issues that are of concern to them; fair pay, good conditions, workplace safety and proper treatment of all people in the workplace. The people of the union movement work every day on these issues and deserve the support, not the condemnation, of their government.”


PSA – Latham pushed out of ICAC to curb investigations of Government

Nov 23, 2016
PSA media release:

The resignation of Megan Latham is the ultimate prize for the Baird Government in its quest to keep its dealings out of the public eye said the Public Service Association (PSA).

“The resignation of Megan Latham is the scalp the Baird Government have been seeking as part of its push to curb the capacity of the ICAC to investigate the Government, its dealings and business associations,” said PSA General Secretary, Stewart Little.

The State Budget slashed ICAC’s funding, cutting staff numbers by 15% or approximately 20 positions and greatly reduced investigative capacity meaning less scrutiny of the actions of the increasingly secretive Baird Government.

The Baird Government are currently privatising disability services, Out of Home Care for vulnerable children, the land titling and registry of the Land and Property Information Service, TAFE – handing additional millions in public funds to cheap private providers with no accountability – prisons, public housing, Sport and Recreation and National Parks. All without proper scrutiny.

“The last thing that NSW needs is less scrutiny of process involving these critical services but that is exactly what the NSW Government wants,” said Stewart Little.

“This Government is attempting to issue a get out of gaol free card for itself and all its business mates,” said Stewart.

Australian Marine Conservation Society

Adani's QLD solar project welcome news: Now it's time for them to walk away from coal mine and port


Mon 21 November 2016

Adani is seeing the light by investing in a major Queensland solar plant, but the benefits from this solar power will be quickly overshadowed by the impact on the Great Barrier Reef from its controversial Carmichael coal mine, according to the Australian Marine Conservation Society.

According to news reports, Adani plans to invest in a major project in Moranbah southwest of Mackay which is expected to create between 600 - 1000 jobs in central Queensland.

Great Barrier Reef Campaign Director, Imogen Zethoven, said Adani’s support for solar is a logical step, considering the free sunshine that exists across the state, the rapidly dropping cost of solar technology and job creation possibilities.

“Adani should now drop all plans for a polluting, outdated coal mine in the Galilee Basin and concentrate on a renewable energy future that is rich in jobs and that will not threaten the Great Barrier Reef and the 70,000 jobs that depend on a healthy Reef.

“Adani’s Carmichael coal mine risks irreversible damage to the natural beauty of the Great Barrier Reef and the $6 billion tourism that relies on it.

“The burning of coal due to be produced from Adani’s Carmichael mine will result in 60 million tonnes of CO2 a year for up to 60 years, which will supercharge global warming and make the Reef’s waters hotter and more acidic.

“It will also face greater threats as the coal mine drives mounting pressure for the expansion of Abbot Point coal port and hundreds more coal ships every year plough through the Reef’s waters.

“Adani’s Carmichael mine, which represents a polluting industry of the past, will continue to be fought tooth and nail. There is already a renewable energy revolution underway, which will see more jobs than Adani will ever create through its controversial Carmichael mine.

“The Great Barrier Reef lost nearly a quarter of its corals last summer. Adani’s shift to solar is welcome, but cannot hide the massive risks to the Reef if it continues to pursue the Carmichael mine,” she said.

Imogen Zethoven is available for interview

Media contact: Monique Vandaleur  0419 588 430

NSWTF – Schools Funding Campaign Action Needed



Today, November 23, is a national day of action as part of the Gonski campaign.

We are asking all members to take a moment out of their day on Wednesday to either call or tweet the NSW Premier, Mike Baird, and tell him to keep up the fight to secure needs-based Gonski funding in our schools.

It is unlikely that the Federal Government will be able to repeal the Australian Education Act that enshrines Gonski funding in law. Instead, the Federal Government is now planning to dismantle the National Educational Reform Agreements that deliver Gonski funding in each state.

The NSW Government needs to know that the people of NSW expect it to continue its commitment and efforts to secure the needs-based Gonski funding model for all Australian schools.

You can call Premier Baird’s office on (02) 8574 5000. A sample script is provided below.

Alternatively, please join our Twitter action. Visit the Federation’s Twitter page at https://twitter.com/teachersfed and retweet the Gonski campaign message pinned at the top of the feed.

Thank you for your ongoing support of the Gonski campaign. For further information, visit www.igiveagonski.com.au



Sample Script:

Hello, my name is........................ . I’m a teacher/principal/parent in........................ .

Gonski funding is already doing great things in NSW schools. It is making a positive difference for our students, especially those who need extra support.

I want the Premier to know that I support the NSW Government’s fight to secure the fully funded Gonski model and encourage him and fellow MPs to continue their efforts until all schools and students in Australia are receiving equitable, needs-based funding.


Wednesday, November 23, 2016

MUA Celebrates Best Deal on the Docks Since 1998 Dispute with Patrick Stevedores

Posted by Mich-Elle Myers on November 23, 2016

After a long and complex two-year campaign, stevedores at Fremantle yesterday joined their colleagues around the nation, voting more than 95 per cent in favour of the new workplace agreement across all four terminals.

It finished four days of votes across the four Patrick Terminals at Port Botany in Sydney, East Swanson in Melbourne, and Fisherman Island in Brisbane.

MUA Deputy National Secretary Will Tracey said the new deal was a huge win for all parties, delivering stability to the waterfront.

 “Under the new agreement, our workers have not only secured 100 per cent permanency across the four terminals, but also won critical job protection provisions and certainty around their rosters and hours of work – the best result since the 1998 Patrick dispute,” Mr Tracey said.

“This is the best stevedoring agreement we have seen in many years in Australia, after we sought from the outset to address the key concerns of job security for MUA members.”

The historic handshake was hard fought but both sides have come away with a win.

“The new agreement represents a watershed in employment on the waterfront and hopefully a new beginning in the relationship between Patrick and their workforce,” Mr Tracey said.

“The MUA commends the patience and discipline of its rank and file membership, especially over two years of intense and often very hostile negotiations.

“Thankfully the worst aspects of the previous management departed the company earlier this year with the takeover by Qube and Brookfield, allowing negotiations to get back on track and finalise a tremendous outcome.”

The new workplace agreement also secures for stevedores working for Patrick:
  • Legal protections for jobs and job security for all work currently performed;
  • Job protection provisions and full consultation on the introduction of new technology or automation including extra redundancy payments, redeployment, reduced hours, retraining and the protection of jobs through such change;
  • Fully functional dispute settlement and consultation procedures;
  • Protection for members injured outside of work, providing whole of life support;
  • Superannuation moved to 12 per cent;
  • Wage increases of 2.5 per cent per year in addition to sign-on bonuses and back pay effective to the expiry of previous agreement in July 2015; and
  • Expiry in June 30, 2020 to deliver certainly for the workforce and the company.

MEAA – 7 years on - Ampatuan Massacre Victims Denied Justice

MEAA Online
Image: Nonoy Espina
The massacre of 58 people including 32 journalists is the single biggest atrocity against media workers. The slaughter in Mindanao in the southern Philippines took place seven years ago today. It was an "unprecedented act of political violence". Journalist Nonoy Espina described the massacre site as a "cake of death"; bodies and vehicles piled and squashed into crude mass graves.

For the families of the victims of the Ampatuan Massacre, seven years have passed and there is still no justice. While the authorities identified 197 suspects, only 112 were arrested. Some 81, many of them members of the Philippines National Police, are still at large. And as the trial has dragged on, at least four prosecution witnesses have been killed, most likely silenced.

The horrifying massacre shocked and sickened the world. How could this supposedly strong Asian democracy with such a vibrant and robust press play host to an audacious and brutal bloodbath of this scale? How could the killers think that no-one would notice; that life could continue on, business as usual? How could so little effort be expended to bring the killers to justice and ensure a prompt and speedy trial?

We now know that the Philippines is a tragic centre of excellence for extrajudicial murder and that successive governments have either turned a blind eye or, in more recent days, urged on the killers. Indeed, journalists have been singled out as a category that can be gunned down with impunity with more than 143 media workers murdered since 1990 and convictions recorded in only a tiny handful of cases.

Read the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines statement on the seventh anniversary of the massacre.


ACTU: Asbestos Awareness Week: 307,000 Contaminated Crayons

23 November 2016
ACTU Assistant Secretary Michael Borowick

307,000 crayons contaminated with asbestos were thankfully stopped on Australia’s border in the last year – but we have no way of knowing how many made it through a customs and into the hands of Australian children in childcare centres and schools.

The ACTU marks this year’s Asbestos Awareness Week as a timely reminder of the ongoing dangers presented by asbestos, which claims the lives of more than 500 Australians each year.

Despite awareness of the risk, there have been a number of serious incidents just this year where asbestos contaminated material has been found at worksites.  More needs to be done to ensure workers are protected, and companies that illegally import the material are prosecuted.

The Senate Committee Inquiry into asbestos importation which is being undertaken by the Senate Economics Committee as a result of union lobbying is due to report in 2017 and will be essential to uncovering ongoing failings in both the regulation and enforcement of the import ban.

Quotes attributable to ACTU Assistant Secretary Michael Borowick:

  • “While stopping nearly a third of a million crayons at the border might be viewed as a success, the crayons were all of the same colour, suggesting that there may have been hundreds of thousands more that were not detected. This uncertainty is indicative of the issues with the current system.”
  • “The policy adopted at the Victorian State Labor Conference, which would require importers to be responsible for removing contaminated material, is a good step in the right direction, and other states as well as the Federal Government need to follow.”
  • “The fact that asbestos was found in construction materials at a children’s hospital in Perth earlier this year clearly demonstrates that the ban is not being enforced, and greater effort by the government is desperately needed.”
  • “The Federal Government needs to do much more to ensure no else is exposed to asbestos in Australia.  The Australian Border Force lacks the resources to adequately monitor imports and too many companies are getting away with importing this dangerous material.”
  • “It’s simply not good enough for federal and state governments to sit on their hands around this issue. More needs to be done to ensure that there is an effective mechanism in place to enforce the ban.” 


Tuesday, November 22, 2016

ACTU – Something very wrong happened in Australia this morning

Something very wrong happened in Australia this morning. All union supporters need to know about it.

A little after 2am the Turnbull government passed the Registered Organisations Bill which is designed to hamper the work of unions.

The bill sets up a whole new commission headed by whoever the Liberals appoint that can impose huge fines on volunteers and their unions.

Right now corporate power is out of control in Australia and across the world. Working people can’t get decent pay rises, there is mass exploitation of workers at places like 7-Eleven and inequality is rapidly on the rise.

Rather than tackle these issues, the Turnbull government is hell-bent on attacking union members – the very people who can help get wages growing and end exploitation.

The Turnbull government rammed through a registered organisations commission that will not create a single new job.  This new, expensive, body also won’t improve the pay of a single worker.

In fact, it will make it much harder for working people to stand up to corporations and win a fair share for the time and effort we give to our bosses every day.

Australians expect our government to be writing the laws that make our country more equal, not tying the hands of the organisations that do the heavy lifting to get there.

The Liberals’ new commission is all about draining the resources union members would rather spend fighting worker exploitation, organising and campaigning for Medicare, schools and a better life for all.

Instead, they want our unions to be subjected to a restrictive regime of regulations and fines that could bankrupt ordinary union volunteers just for downing tools if their workplace is unsafe.

This law, and its bunkmate the ABCC is all about the Turnbull government’s drive to attack the living standards of working people on behalf of the big businesses that back them.

They want to silence voices for fairness on the job and in the community.

We can’t let the Turnbull Government notch up another attack on working people and pass that toxic ABCC law which will take away the rights of all workers whose jobs touch the construction industry.

A second anti-union commission would do nothing to fight corruption, but it will ban EBAs that require minimum numbers of apprentices on site, and any caps on temporary migrant workers in construction. It will open the floodgates to a limitless number of casual labour-hire positions.

Now more than ever is the time to stand up and fight back. Here are 3 things you can do right now:

1. Join your union and ask your friends to
2. Like the Facebook page so you can help spread the word
3. Contribute however you can to the campaigns for fairness

In his great rush to diminish the rights of working people, Malcolm Turnbull seems to have forgotten something very important: We are the Australian union movement, we are not going away, and we will never stop being united in fighting for what is right.

Dave Oliver

Speech by ACTU Secretary Dave Oliver – Industry Super Australia

I want to reiterate the sentiment Peter Collins has introduced: we have a world’s best superannuation system, but the opportunity is now here for us to build upon this framework.

We see this opportunity essentially through two lenses:

  • Firstly our system, good as it is, can be improved. We can genuinely aim to reach an objective of maintaining living standards for working Australians as they move into retirement. 
  • Secondly our system can be nation-building. It can play a role in bridging an economy of the past into one of the future where jobs are sound, secure and can restore some of the concern which exists as many workers move from what was a stable past to an uncertain future. 

Politically these messages should resonate – I believe one of the factors which led to surprise electoral outcomes in recent months in Britain and the US has been this uncertainty many workers are feeling as their industries shut down or change or their jobs become more insecure.

This is especially heightened as people near the end of their working lives with increasing worries as to how they will support themselves once the fortnightly pay cheques end.

We should also never underestimate the social damage which can be done by those who seek to take advantage when the population feels uncertainty about their ability to maintain their living standards.

History has taught us this lesson well. But it has also taught us that superannuation can be a key part of the solution to these challenges.

We have a unique chance to be different in this country.

Let’s reflect on the post-GFC period – a time when the rest of the world shrank and a key driver which Australia had which was that we had stable, sustained superannuation contributions going into our financial system and our business world. 

Just as super played a strong role in insulating us from recession, it can play a role in building a new, stronger economy into the future. And we are doing that while literally helping to build the country. 

At a time when government infrastructure funding is withering, industry super is helping keep the cranes in the air across the country.

Industry super invested $2.8 billion in infrastructure projects in 2015 alone, and has been the key driver behind projects of national significance – like airports, motorways and hospitals – with billions more set to come over the next five years.

As I’ve thought on these issues, I’ve also thought of the critical foundational issues which make such a situation possible. And to this extent, I want to emphasise a couple of those foundational issues: strong guardianship and powerful partnerships. 

What I mean by strong guardianship is that we have held a broad mission statement for thirty-odd years now – to build a system to provide universal superannuation for all.  And to build it in a way in which the member has been the key and only beneficiary, built on low cost and high performance. 

We’ve been immensely successful in being guardians who have been true to this label.

A powerful partnership between labour and business saw us develop Infrastructure as a key asset class – something which is now emerging as being truly nation-building.

But let’s also be clear that there are agendas out there which are suspicious of this partnership and who continue to push an agenda inconsistent with our history.

I don’t want to dwell on governance or other issues other than to repeat the sentiment of the ASIC Chairman, Greg Medcraft, who a few weeks ago when asked about the need for Independent directors reflected on studies which showed Independent Directors didn’t lead to outperformance and repeated many of his recent statements on how good culture drives good organisations, not just arbitrary formulas as to how you construct a Board. 

It’s those good cultures we have built in boardrooms over many years that count and which have driven performance and success, not arbitrary formulas and some academic exercise telling us that we need a different structure to perform.

Integral to super being able to drive a national agenda are the common sense measures we need to have in place which have been pivotal to what has got us here today:

It’s fair to say we’re at a crossroad with many of these issues.

As much as we want to look to the future to unleash potential, we also need to protect much of our system from those who would want the system to be different. What is challenging about this is that most who want to change our system are not motivated by improving the system but by giving access to a system to others, many of which have track records which say their motivations for involvement are self-interest first and members thereafter. 

But this should not undermine us looking forward to try to release further potential in super. And that’s why we’re here today – to challenge ourselves in new ways and to look to what might be.

We welcome that opportunity and we look forward to the input of others. Importantly we also want a bi-partisan view of understanding what industry super has to offer and we believe, when that is understood, we can work much more collaboratively towards a long term consensus on what super can give to the country.

As I said at the outset, we have a world’s best superannuation system – but we didn’t get to this point by accident. 

Our superannuation system has been carefully planned, built and protected over decades by the Australian Union movement, on behalf of the working people of this country with this goal in mind. 

We are very proud of what we have achieved and we are going to do everything we can to maintain its success. 

We must never lose sight of the fact that all super contributions are deferred salary. Every week, people are trusting us with a significant portion of their income. 

And at a time when wage growth is stagnant and cost of living increasing for many, it’s never been more important to safeguard people’s money.

This is why we are sounding the alarm on the big banks, who continue to eye the trillions dollars of retirement savings of Australians like a greedy shark, circling a school of fish. 

With a recent history of bad investment returns, skyrocketing executive pay checks, serial scandals and transparent profit motivation, it’s no wonder the big banks are suffering a massive loss of public support. 

It also seems that most of the new senate cross-bench was elected on an anti-bank platform.

While a lot of this resentment is rightly or wrongly written off as “bank bashing”, one unavoidable fact is during the 2015/16 financial year, the average industry fund returned 3.45%, compared to 1.61% for the average retail fund. 

The ball is now firmly in the Federal Government’s court. They must put aside their ideological prejudice, summon the courage to ignore the bank lobby, and act to protect worker’s retirement by maintaining the integrity of the industry super system.

Unions will certainly not be letting up until we know people’s money is safe from corporate profit hunting and mismanagement. 

So on behalf of the ACTU as joint sponsor, I welcome you today and we look forward to a constructive agenda for further developing superannuation as both a wealth accumulator and a nation builder.  

The Dalfram Dispute and C.J. Dennis


This poem by C.J. Dennis (“Den”) was published in the Queensland weekly newspaper The Queenslander of 8 March 1938. China was in the news because of the brutal Japanese invasion hence the lines

Stormed by an Eastern upstart whose queer pride
Seeks to subdue and bend me to his will

The Dalfram Dispute

Australian workers were outraged by the Japanese invasion and the refusal of the right wing Federal Government to support China and instead pander to Japanese militarism.

Unions in Port Kembla organised to stop the export of pig iron to Japan, much to the ire of Attorney General Robert Menzies who wired the Waterside Workers’ Federation on 29 November 1938 advising the union to take notice that the Transport Workers’ Act would be applied to Port Kembla from 6 December if the pig-iron was not loaded.

The Federal Government accused the WWF of dictating foreign policy, arguing that, as the elected government, it had the sole right to decide what relationships were to be established with foreign powers.

Menzies made an attempt to settle the dispute by calling a meeting with the Combined Union Committee at Wollongong for 11 January, 1939. On his arrival to Wollongong, he was met by an angry demonstration of over 1000 people. He visited the Wollongong Hotel, where he was to have lunch with the Mayor and other local dignitaries.

Demonstrators held banners outside the hotel which read ‘No Pig-iron for Japan’ and ‘No Dog Collar’. It was here that Menzies acquired the name ‘Pig-Iron Bob’.

In 1964 the Melbourne songwriter Clem Parkinson wrote about the dispute

The Pig-Iron Song


A song by Clem Parkinson©1964 Clem Parkinson

Did you ever stop to wonder why the fellows on the job
Refer to Robert Menzies by the nickname Pig-Iron Bob?
It's a fascinating tale though it happened long ago
It's a part of our tradition every worker ought to know

Chorus
We wouldn't load pig-iron for the fascists of Japan
Despite intimidation we refused to lift the ban
With democracy at stake the struggle must be won
We had to beat the menace of the fascist Rising Sun

It was 1937 and aggressive Japanese
Attacked the Chinese people tried to bring them to their knees
Poorly armed and ill equipped the peasants bravely fought
While Australian water siders rallied round to lend support

Attorney General Menzies said the ship would have to sail
"If the men refuse to load it we will throw them into jail"
But our unity was strong - we were solid to a man
And we wouldn't load pig-iron for the fascists of Japan

For the Judas politicians we would pay a heavy price
The jungles of New Guinea saw a costly sacrifice
There's a lesson to be learned that we've got to understand
Peace can only be secured when the people lend a hand

In December 2006 the Illawarra Branch of the Society for the Study of Labour History erected a Plaque to commemorate that dispute, located near the Number 4 Jetty at Port Kembla, where that historic action occurred. Her Excellency Madam Fu Yng, the Chinese Ambassador, came from Canberra to unveil the Plaque.

CPSU – AGRICULTURE STAFF VOTE 54% NO

AGRICULTURE STAFF VOTE 54% NO TO REJECT FOURTH DUD DEAL
NOV 21, 2016

Staff in the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources (DAWR) have rejected the Turnbull Government’s dodgy public sector bargaining policy for an unprecedented fourth time, voting 54% No to a proposed enterprise agreement framed under the policy.

Management’s offer was rejected by a greater margin than the most recent ballots in the agency – 51% No in March and 52% No in December 2015. Participation was exceptionally high with 87% of staff having their say on management’s proposal.

The result was released as two other agreements were also rejected, with 55% No votes in the Administrative Appeals Tribunal and the National Museum of Australia.

CPSU National Secretary Nadine Flood said: “These latest ballot results again underline how ridiculous the Turnbull Government’s approach to public sector bargaining is and how difficult this is for workers. People face the unpalatable choice of a third Christmas without a pay rise or giving up rights that matter to them and their families. Many workers have told union representatives how difficult these decisions are.”

“DAWR staff doing critical work in biosecurity and supporting Australia’s important agricultural industries deserve better, as do the hardworking staff at the Administrative Appeals Tribunal and the National Museum.”

“Workers in Agriculture and Water Resources have now been forced to vote No four times, while the Government’s bargaining policy means management’s hands remain tied so they can’t make the simple and reasonable changes that would result in an acceptable offer.”

“Just in the past few weeks we’ve seen Agriculture and Water Resources staff vote No for an unprecedented fourth time and similar rejections for the Administrative Appeals Tribunal and National Museum, while workers in two of the Commonwealth’s largest agencies, Human Services and Immigration and Border Force, have voted down agreements by large margins for a third time each. It’s just nuts.”

“Today marks three years this dispute has been running, yet we’ve still got 100,000 Commonwealth workers without new agreements and a Government pretending it’s all going swimmingly. It’s not good enough. The CPSU remains absolutely committed to getting a fair deal for these people, and we remain ready and willing to sit down with the Turnbull Government to make that happen.”

“We’ve put detailed recommendations to the Senate Inquiry into Commonwealth bargaining on how the Government could fix this mess, given that Minister Cash hasn’t spoken to us in over a year. Starting with changes to the incredibly harsh bargaining policy that requires workers to give up existing conditions, bans them from any improvements and offers not one dollar for the last three years.” 

Monday, November 21, 2016

Unions NSW – Where's My Bus ?



Did you see the article in the Sydney Morning Herald a couple of weeks ago? It warns that the NSW Liberal government is actively considering allowing private companies to purchase Sydney public bus services. Stop the sell out by signing the petition. 


We've launched the Where’s My Bus campaign to put community pressure on the NSW Government to make a commitment to keep these services public. There's no way that services will improve if a private corporation is chasing profit. Privatisation will lead to less frequent services, fewer bus stops and increased journey times. Say no to privatisation!

Union activists have been speaking to bus commuters at key bus stops at peak periods around Sydney and there's been a huge response to keep public buses public!
Mark Morey
Secretary
Unions NSW

ACOSS backs call to reign in tax breaks for wealthy seniors

21 November 2016

ACOSS backs call to reign in tax breaks for wealthy seniors as unaffordable and unfair
Australian Council of Social Service CEO Cassandra Goldie has welcomed a new report which backs ACOSS’s long standing call to tackle special tax breaks for wealthier older people as a ‘budgetary time-bomb’.

The Grattan Institute today released the report, ‘Age of entitlement: age-based tax breaks’, which calls for the most overly-generous tax breaks for higher income people over 64 to be wound back. The findings of the report echo the view of ACOSS that the Seniors and Pensioners Tax Offset (SAPTO) is unaffordable and unsustainable.

The report confirms that just one in six (16%) of people aged over 64 pay any income tax, despite many of them being wealthy enough to pay at rates more in line with the rest of the population.

Under the SAPTO, the tax-free threshold for people over 64 kicks in at $58,000 for couples, compared to $41,000 for couples of working age, a 41% difference. For singles, the gap rises to 60%, with retirees reaching the threshold at $32,000, rather than $21,000 for those still in the workforce.  This tax break for higher income retirees was introduced in 2000 and increased during the boom era, and has been costing the budget billions ever since. ACOSS opposed it at the time as unaffordable and has been proven right.

Even if the Government’s proposed cap of $1.6 million on super fund balances attracting tax breaks is passed, a retired couple with those assets in super could still receive a tax-free annual income of an extraordinary $138,000 under the present system.  This is another example of a poorly designed tax break that is no longer ‘fit for purpose’.

The previous Government argued the SAPTO would encourage paid workforce participation and saving for retirement, but the Grattan Report finds no evidence for this. All this tax break does is increase inequality.

 “There is no valid reason to give people a higher tax threshold based on age alone,” ACOSS CEO Cassandra Goldie said.

“We call on the Government to restrict the SAPTO rebate to people who those qualify for government benefits, and to remove the higher Medicare Levy threshold for Seniors. These changes would save $850 million that could be well spent on health and aged care services.

ACOSS response to the Government’s superannuation reform proposals

  • “We support the Government’s efforts to rein in wasteful tax breaks for the very wealthy, especially lower contribution caps and the $1.6 million limit on super balances that attract tax breaks after retirement and welcome the proposal to keep the rebate for contributions for low income earners.
  • “We also support changes proposed by Labor which would further improve the sustainability of super by lowering  the ‘non-concessional contributions cap’ from $100,000 to $75,000, and reducing the income level at which the higher contributions tax rate of 30% cuts in (from $250,000 to $200,000).
  • “But we oppose proposals such as new deductions for contributions and the so called ‘catch up contributions’ that will cost $12 billion over the next decade and mainly benefit people in the highest tax brackets, mainly high income-earning males.”
  • “Super tax breaks come with a $30 billion per year price tag, more than the Government spends on the Age Pension.  “Until we bring this figure down to a more sustainable level, we are sitting on a budget time bomb. It will be very hard to continue to offer decent health and services to an ageing population.”
  • “The Government’s modest super reforms show that there is a better way to restore the Budget than cutting the incomes of individuals and families in poverty.
  • “Room should be made in the Budget through tackling tax concessions no longer fit for purpose. We strongly reject the Government’s continued attempts to find savings by cutting the incomes of people of all ages who have the least, especially when the Government stubbornly refuses to consider reforming housing tax breaks that are costing the budget billions and fuelling housing prices.

“ACOSS has proposed a number of reforms that would deliver a fair, sustainable superannuation system, including recommendations to:

  • Simplify concessions for superannuation contributions
  • Tax superannuation fund earnings more consistently to pay for health and aged care services
  • Restrict SAPTO to social security pensioners
  • Increase the preservation age so that it corresponds to the age pension access age by 2017.


Friday, November 18, 2016

TAFE Enterprise Agreement Update

Submitted by NSW Teachers Federation on 16 November 2016

On Thursday October 20, 2016, TAFE NSW and the NSW Teachers Federation finally agreed on the terms of settlement for a new Enterprise Agreement to cover TAFE teachers and related employees.

The terms of settlement on which the new Enterprise Agreement will be based were communicated to all relevant employees on Monday October 24. The terms of settlement are:

  • a 2.5 per cent salary increase each year
  • a duration of three years
  • all existing working conditions of employees to be maintained
  • no change to teaching hours
  • no change to related duties for part time casual teachers
  • continuation of existing administrative arrangements for TAFE teachers to work the five hours off-site
  • the implementation of the three trial roles (Head Teacher Band 3, Assessor and Educational Support Officer) as classifications in the Enterprise Agreement
  • the establishment of a joint working party to develop a comprehensive future workforce capability framework.

As required by the Fair Work Commission, the employer must provide all relevant employees access to the proposed Enterprise Agreement for a period of seven days. This access period begins on Thursday November 17, 2016.

After the seven-day access period, all affected employees will be able to vote on the proposed Enterprise Agreement. The period for the actual ballot will be from 12.01am on Friday November 25 until 11.59pm on Thursday December 1.

The NSW Teachers Federation encourages all TAFE and related employees covered by the Agreement to read the documents that have been made available by TAFE during the access period.

Federation urges all employees to vote YES to this Agreement once the ballot opens as this proposed Agreement ensures an annual increase of 2.5 per cent per annum for three years while preserving all existing working conditions.

Federation will be providing material to all members prior to the actual ballot.

For more information, please contact your local Organiser or the NSW Teachers Federation.

ACTU commits to gender equality in its leadership

17 November 2016

The Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) this week has passed an historic resolution that will see equality in all leadership roles and representation at the peak trade union body.
ACTU Secretary Dave Oliver will draft rule changes that ensure equal representation of women within leadership and on all decision making bodies of the ACTU including:

  • ACTU Congress;
  • ACTU Executive;
  • All other Committees recognised under the ACTU Rules; 
  • Within the Officers and Vice-Presidents of the ACTU.

The motion passed unanimously at the ACTU’s final executive meeting for 2016 and the rule change will be put forward at the ACTU Congress in 2018.

Currently, 50% of union members, delegates and union employees are women and the ACTU has an affirmative action rule that requires 50% of executive positions to be held by women.

Quotes attributable to ACTU Secretary Dave Oliver:

  • “As the leader of Australia’s trade union movement I am particularly proud to be championing this change.”
  • “By ensuring the executive positions are gender balanced, including the Secretary, Assistant Secretaries, President and Vice Presidents; we are guaranteeing female representation within leadership of Australia’s union movement.”
  • “The ACTU Executive has officers from unions as diverse as the Maritime Union of Australia, the Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation and the Electrical Trades Union. The fact that this resolution passed unanimously is a tribute to the progressive leadership of unions in Australia.”

Quotes attributable to ACTU President Ged Kearney:

  • “This is not a symbolic rule change; this is an acknowledgment that the ACTU is a gender diverse workplace with a concrete commitment to equality.”
  • “The ACTU has done extensive research on gender equality in our workplace and within the union movement and this resolution was borne of the fact that we need to be encouraging women into representative and leadership roles across our movement.”


Wilcox – World In Upsy Downtown


In Upsy–Down town
The media's elite
The millionaires who pay no tax
Are heroes who don't cheat


Human rights are bad
Discrimination's great !
Bigots need protection from
Barbarians at the gate


Scientists are mad
Environment's a joke
Let's hear it from 3%
Facts don't count


Past actions we forget
Truth is just a lie that gets
Repeated on the net


Down in Upsy–Down town

Illawarra Doctors Defy Baird Gag

Dozens of Illawarra doctors have defied a gag order to highlight their grave concerns about the Baird Government’s plans to part-privatise Shellharbour Hospital. 

Despite expectations they will not contradict hospital administrators or comment on policy the 27 doctors wrote to the Mercury, signing off on a letter criticising the government for “abrogating one of its fundamental duties”.

Hailing from different fields of medicine across the Illawarra Shoalhaven Local Health District (ISLHD), the doctors said their willingness to speak out showed the “depth of concern that those on the front line of specialist medical care in the region feel about the lack of any transparency or consultation in this matter”.

Mount Warrigal resident Erwin Langthaller, 83, is a patient of one of the signatories, who is worried elderly, poor and chronically ill patients will be worst off under the government’s plan.

The doctor said patients like Mr Langthaller, who requires complex and labour intensive care to treat his prostate cancer and is able to receive treatment close to home, would not be attractive to private operators focused on making a profit.

Additionally, he is worried frail patients may end up being shuffled around to hospitals further away from home if private operators are less able to work within the ISLHD network.

“The hospitals in the district, particularly the Wollongong and Shellharbour Hospitals, work in tandem, using the strengths of each hospital to deliver complex hospital based care to the local community,” the doctors said in a letter to the editor.

“The replacement of a public hospital with a privately run institution carries the risk of further complicating health care delivery to our community.”

“It is clear that the Shellharbour Hospital is in need of urgent capital redevelopment, but this should not be seen as an opportunity for government to shirk its responsibilities.”

Health Minister Jilian Skinner has previously made it clear the government will push ahead with its public-private partnership, after expressions of interest from non-government operators to build and run a redeveloped Shellharbour Hospital closed in October.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

GetUp ! ICAC gutted: Don't let them get away with it


A Premier deciding who can get away with corruption and who can't? Australians won't stand for it. 

Add your name to the petition now.

The NSW Liberals just savaged the country's only corruption watchdog. It's an extraordinary move that could have a dangerous chilling effect on a growing push for more accountability and transparency at a federal level. 

That's why we need to make a powerful example of the Premier's crooked move.

We'll do this with a massive petition, signed by tens of thousands of people from right across the country. The petition will be writ large in Premier Baird's electorate with a giant billboard.
What's GetUp's plan to clean up our politics?

Here is GetUp's five point reform plan:
  • Stop the money game: Cap the amount any individual or corporation can donate at $1000 per financial year, and introduce expenditure caps on election campaigns to remove incentives to amass huge political fighting funds.
  • End the shroud of secrecy: Require all donations above $500 to be publicly disclosed on the internet in real-time, including donations to and from affiliated entities.
  • Stop offshore entities buying political influence: Prohibit any corporation or entity not registered in Australia, or any individual who doesn't have citizenship or residency, from making donations.
  • A corruption watchdog with teeth: Create an independent federal corruption watchdog with broad investigative powers.
  • Close the revolving door: Prevent Members of Parliament from engaging in lobbying work for a period of three years after they leave office.