Thursday, September 20, 2018

The Rebels' Song (1936) Then as Now

The Rebels' Song (1936)

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

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

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


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

ACTU helping people share their stories for sexual harassment inquiry

20 September 2018

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

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

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

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

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

Quotes attributable to ACTU President Michele O’Neil:

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

Survey available here:

Faith Bandler and May 1967 Referendum for Aboriginal Rights

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

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

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

19 September 2018

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

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

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

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

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

 Quotes attributable to ACTU President Michele O’Neil:

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

Monday, September 17, 2018

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

My Songs (1935)

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

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

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

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

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

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


A song from the Great Depression

AMWU Statement on Labor's position on the TPP

“It beggars belief that the Labor caucus would sign off on ratifying the TTP given it’s against the party’s own policy,” said AMWU National Secretary Paul Bastian.

 “The TPP-11 is a disaster for Australian workers.

“The labour mobility provisions would give open access to 6 signatory countries without labour market testing. This has the potential to see huge pressures on our labour market, further downward pressure on wages and conditions, and foreign workers exploited.

“In addition, the ISDS provisions are of great concern. The ability of a multinational corporation to sue a Government is a grave risk to sovereignty.

“It is clear that Labor knows these are issues – they admit as such, and note that any future trade deals would require labour market testing and a rejection of investor state dispute settlement provisions. 

“If these issues are crucial for any future trade deals – why not for the TPP?

“The TPP must be amended before it is ratified by Parliament.”

Sunday, September 16, 2018

Wentworth by-election: Kerryn Phelps confirmed as high-profile independent candidate

Professor Phelps, a prominent same-sex marriage campaigner and former AMA president, has confirmed she is running as an independent candidate in the Wentworth by-election.

She said the "revolving door of leadership" in Canberra over the past decade has weakened the standing of politicians and the major parties.

"I've had hundreds of people in Wentworth contact me in the past few weeks to express their anger and frustration over the sacking of Malcolm Turnbull," said Ms Phelps, who is looming as a wildcard in the October 20 vote.

"The new Prime Minister Scott Morrison either cannot or will not explain why Malcolm Turnbull has been replaced.

"What we need to see is some integrity and some stability returned to the Australian Federal Parliament."

Prof Phelps said she would push for action on climate change and energy policy, with "a fast-tracking to renewables".

She said she wanted to see a stronger economy "but we must have a heart", calling for more humane treatment of asylum seekers on Manus Island and Nauru.

Prof Phelps played a key role in the same-sex marriage campaign last year and said her track record as a doctor, health communicator and advocate made for an appropriate skill set for Federal Parliament.

She expected the major parties to "throw big money and serious resources" at the electorate, but will be relying on donations from the community.

Wentworth — a federation electorate — has never been won by Labor. The Liberals hold it on a 17.7 per cent margin.

However, Prof Phelps' high profile could woo the eastern suburbs set, some of whom are annoyed at the Government for rolling their local member as prime minister.

Labor candidate Tim Murray, the Tamarama Surf Life Saving Club president, has already been campaigning while the Greens pick is Waverly deputy mayor Dominic Wy Kanak.

ACTU – Victory after a 10-year battle against broken rules for pathology workers in Victoria

14 September 2018

Thousands of people working in Dorevitch Pathology collection centres across Victoria have won a decade-long battle for a fair pay rise.

The workers handling vital sample collections for life-saving diagnostics were awarded a pay rise of up to 20 percent with an increase of up to 30 percent on allowances, backpaid to July last year.

Prior to the decision many of the workers had not had a meaningful increase to their pay in more than a decade, effectively being forced to pay 2018 prices with 2007 pay packets.

After Dorevitch management locked out workers during a heavy flu season, delaying diagnostic testing, the Fair Work Commission terminated the action out of concern for community welfare.

Today the Commission decided in favour of the workers, delivering justice long after it was due.

 Quotes attributable to ACTU President Michele O’Neil:

  • “Today’s decision is a long-awaited victory for Health Workers Union members at Dorevitch who have been forced to wait far too long for a pay rise that keeps pace with the cost of living.
  • “The fact that a company can simply refuse to meaningfully raise wages for more than a decade under our broken rules is disgraceful.
  • “People who work at Dorevitch collection centres have been struggling to keep on top of the cost of living, trying to pay 2018 bills with 2007 pay packets.
  • “I congratulate every one of them on standing firm and fighting for justice.
  • “The Dorevitch workers’ struggle shows that we need to change the rules so that people can get fair pay rises that let them stay on top of the cost of living.”

Saturday, September 15, 2018

Community demands guarantee Bega TAFE is not for sale September 13, 2018

Community demands guarantee Bega TAFE is not for sale September 13, 2018

A community meeting has demanded a guarantee from the Berejiklian Government that the Bega TAFE College will not be sold.

The meeting on 23 August, held outside the TAFE College on Barrack St, Bega, called on the Premier, local MP Andrew Constance and Minister for TAFE Adam Marshall to guarantee the Bega TAFE College will not be sold after the construction of the Bega Connected Learning Centre (CLC).

CLCs are designed to provide students with access to online and digital TAFE courses in regional and rural towns.

The Bega CLC is under construction on the old Bega hospital site. A number of CLC buildings have been constructed in rural and regional NSW including Glen Innes, Quirindi, Coonabarabran, Tenterfield, Corowa, and Deniliquin. The Dapto CLC was renamed an Access Centre after public criticism of its lack of facilities, including a public toilet.

Mr Marshall was quoted in the Bega News in early August as saying: “When questioned if the existing campus would close down in stage two of the plans, he said it was ‘most likely’, although it was yet to be determined.”

Mr Constance was reported in the local paper on 23 August as saying: “There are no plans to close the existing buildings at the TAFE campus.”

The contradiction between the Minister and the Member for Bega and the inability to guarantee that the TAFE college will not be sold, has led to anxiety for students, teachers and support staff at Bega TAFE.

The plan to build a CLC at Bega appears to be rushed and ill planned. Members have reported to Federation that no local TAFE teachers have been consulted in the design and location of the Bega CLC.

Members in other CLC locations have reported that where the CLC is located in the existing TAFE college, students and teachers can access other support services such as libraries, student counselling and amenities.

TAFE members have experienced the disaster of the Berejiklian Government’s Smart and Skilled policy and funding cuts. Federation will support a campaign to ensure that Bega TAFE students continue to have access to high-quality vocational education.

Rob Long, TAFE Organiser

Australia is helping combat polio and other diseases in Papua New Guinea (PNG).

Australia is helping combat polio and other diseases in Papua New Guinea (PNG).

In the wake of low immunisation rates, PNG has had a surge in preventable diseases such as polio, measles and whooping cough. The Australian government is providing $10 million in support to PNG government’s major vaccination campaign in the hope of avoiding future outbreaks.

The PNG government has declared the recent polio virus outbreak a national public health emergency.

As of last week, Papua New Guinea confirmed a total of 10 polio cases: three in Morobe, two in Eastern Highlands, two in Enga, two in Madang and one in the National Capital District.

“This is very concerning- every new case of polio isn’t just a statistic. Each represents a child that will be permanently paralysed,” said Pasco Kase, PNG’s Secretary of the National Department of Health (NDOH). “In response to this recent case in Port Moresby, the NDOH and partners will start an emergency polio vaccination campaign in September in the National Capital District. A nationwide polio campaign will commence in October.”

Prior to the outbreak the country’s last case of polio occurred in 1996 and the country was declared polio free in 2000, along with the rest of the Pacific region.

The Australian High Commission in Port Moresby is working closely with the PNG government, the World Health Organization and UNICEF to monitor the current polio outbreak and provide response measures including contract tracing, testing as well as vaccination.

Friday, September 14, 2018

Acoss – Getting a job on Newstart is harder than you think

A majority of people on Newstart are being systematically excluded from paid employment, a new report has found.

Today ACOSS and Jobs Australia are releasing the first in a series of reports on unemployment to highlight the enormous challenges hundreds of thousands of people face in finding decent paid work or more hours in Australia. Faces of Unemployment brings together information and analysis on who is unemployed, people receiving Newstart Allowance, job vacancies, and changes in the labour market affecting unemployed people.

Launching the report, Dr Cassandra Goldie, CEO of ACOSS said: “There has been a disturbing growth in long-term unemployment, with almost two thirds (64%) of people on Newstart allowance receiving it for one year or more. This is the result of serious and long-standing policy failure.

“There is a growing mismatch between people’s skills and what employers need, discrimination, including against older workers, and a lack of investment by governments in quality employment services.

“A majority of people on Newstart are being systematically excluded from paid employment.”

“Faces of Unemployment profiles for the first time the people who have received Newstart and Youth Allowance for more than a year, finding that:

  • 44% of those unemployed long-term were on these payments for over 2 years and 15% for over 5 years
  • 49% of long-term recipients were over 45 years old
  • 29% had a disability
  • 11% were of Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander background
  • 16% were principal carers of children, including sole parents, and
  • 21% were of culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds.

“Many of these people have been diverted to Newstart Allowance from pension payments such as the Disability Support Pension (DSP) or Parenting Payment and they are not getting the help they need to secure paid employment,” said Dr Goldie.

Launching the report, Peter Defteros from Jobs Australia said: “This new report is an investment by Jobs Australia and ACOSS in raising awareness and understanding of unemployment in Australia.

“We know that the longer people are unemployed, the more paid prospects diminish. However, this report goes beyond just these headline statistics of Australia’s unemployment to truly understand Australia’s unemployed – who are they, why they are unemployed and what help is available to them.

“The real faces behind this report are everyday Australians who are motivated to find employment, but who are systematically disadvantaged and are not appropriately supported to get the help they really need.

“This report should be used by government to inform future development of programs and encourage appropriate investment in employment services to truly help unemployed Australians get and keep work,” said Mr Defteros.

Dr Goldie says “The government’s ongoing employment services review is welcome, especially its emphasis on solutions to long-term unemployment, but as long as Australia spends less than half the OECD average on employment assistance, those solutions will be hard to find.”

“Some people think a person who is unemployed can just walk into a job. Our evidence shows this perception is simply incorrect.

“There is only one job available for every 8 applicants who are unemployed or under-employed.[i] It is clear the labour market in Australia is very tough for a person looking for paid work or more hours.

“Things are even tougher for people who are unemployed, who are mainly searching for jobs at the lower-skilled end of the labour market.  Most (62%) of the jobs they obtained in 2016-17 were part-time and 38% were casual, which leaves many people cycling on and off income support.

“People relying on the unemployment benefit Newstart, at less than $40 per day, are choosing between meals and bills, transport and pills. It is near impossible to look for work if you’re homeless and hungry,” says Dr Goldie.

ACOSS and Jobs Australia urge political leaders to read Faces of Unemployment, to fix the serious shortage of employment options and lack of quality employment assistance for people who are unemployed long-term, and to ensure we have a safety net that supports, rather than punishes, people.

Australian Council of Social Service, 0419 626 155
Jobs Australia, 03 9349 3699

[i] The actual figure is likely much higher, once taking into account competition with people who are already employed, and also education leavers and new migrants (latest estimate was an average of 14 people for every job). It is even tougher if you are trying to get an entry-level job. For example, in 2015, the Department of Jobs estimated that there were 43 applicants for every entry-level job in retail, hospitality and construction.

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

ACTU – We must change the rules so work is fair for women

10 September 2018

The peak body for working people has called on politicians to institute deep structural reform of Australia’s workplace relations rules to make them fair for women, including overhauling paid parental leave and removing restrictions on bargaining.

A new report by research consultant Dr Nicole Bluett-Boyd, commissioned by the ACTU, lays out a comprehensive series of recommendations for reform that will address the structural bias against women in our current workplace laws.

They include:

  • The abolition of the concept of “primary” and “secondary” carers, to be replaced by 26 weeks’ parental leave that a family can decide to use however they want
  • The removal of restriction in the bargaining system that prevent women earning a fair wage. Women must be able to collectively bargain.
  • Removing restrictions on bargaining so women can negotiate with someone who has the capacity to say yes to a fair pay rise
  • The payment of superannuation on every dollar that women earn, including on paid parental leave
  • Stronger powers for the Fair Work Commission to proactively tackle gender inequality, including establishing a new expert Gender Equality Panel, giving the Commission the power to hear and determine sexual harassment and sex discrimination claims, and implementing stronger pay equity provisions
  • The right for employees with parenting and career responsibilities to receive – not merely request – family friendly working hours
  • The provision of ten days paid family and domestic violence leave
  • The restoration and protections of penalty rates
  • A proper definition of casual work

Women are more likely to be working casually than men, and are far more likely to be award-dependent, and therefore vulnerable to cuts to penalty rates.

Across society women are paid 14.6 percent less than men and they retire with 43 percent less superannuation.

Quotes attributable to ACTU President Michele O’Neil:

  • “Working women power this country, through both paid and unpaid labour.
  • “Our workplace rules and structures let women down. Women face an unfair, uphill battle at every turn. Women are paid 14.6 percent less than men, and are retiring with less, often in poverty.
  • “We are fighting to change the rules to make work fair for women. This research sets out a clear path we must take.  We must fix bargaining so that women are negotiating with real decision makers who have the capacity to say yes to fair pay rises.
  • “It’s up to our leaders to show the courage and strength required to make work fair for women.” 

Morrison and his Muppets Mob

Cathy Wilcox 

Monday, September 10, 2018

CFMMEU – Clark Cranes accident

A man has died, another is fighting for his life and a third has been injured in an industrial accident on the corner of Watts Street and Whitehorse Road in Box Hill.

The crane is owned by Clarke Cranes, the same company that was responsible for the incident in Richmond last month that required people be evacuated from their homes.

At around 12:20pm the concrete kibble (bucket) on the crane fell on the men after the lifting equipment failed. The kibble landed in a pit where the workers were standing.

Senior MICA Paramedic Gary Robertson confirmed one construction worker had died and another worker, who was pulled from the construction site, suffered multiple fractures and “extensive trauma. He is now fighting for his life in The Royal Melbourne Hospital.

This year seven construction workers have been killed at work in Victoria.

"Absolute tragic scenes on the construction site in Box Hill after a concrete kibble fell on several workers. Unconfirmed reports coming through of 1 fatality, another critical. Our thoughts are with all involved." - John Setka

Labor – NSW Liberals suffered a huge 30% swing

Yesterday in the Wagga Wagga by-election, the NSW Liberals suffered a huge 30% swing against them on primary votes.

Ms. Berejiklian and the Liberals have lost Wagga for the first time in 61 years.

This is the third biggest swing against a Government in NSW by-election history.

The by-election was held following revelations in ICAC relating to property developers, forcing Liberal Member for Wagga, Daryl Maguire to resign.

While counting continues in Wagga, it is very clear that the arrogant policies of the Liberals have been emphatically rejected.

❌ The Sydney stadium splurge,
❌ Cost blowouts and mismanagement on infrastructure projects,
❌ The gutting of TAFE and unemployment,
❌ The growing cost of living, including electricity and gas bills,
❌ The privatisation of hospitals and soaring hospital waiting lists,
❌ Forced council mergers,
❌ Overcrowding and underfunding our schools, and
❌ Falling academic standards.

Now, we need your help more than ever as we head into the 2019 NSW State Election and upcoming Federal Election.

Will you help by donating to our election fighting fund?

Under the Liberals and Nationals, the people of NSW continue to be taken for granted.

Help us send the Liberals and Nationals a message, that the people of NSW won't be taking for granted any longer.

Yours sincerely

Kaila Murnain

Saturday, September 08, 2018

ACTU – O’Dwyer joins business in attack on leave rights

O’Dwyer joins business in attack on leave rights

New Industrial Relations Minister Kelly O’Dwyer has continued her predecessor’s intervention in a major court case, supporting a multi-national employer trying to cut the number of the personal and carer’s leave days of people working shifts from 10 to eight.

 The decision in the case could affect millions of people working shifts throughout the country and funnel hundreds of millions of dollars of working people’s leave allowances into the pockets of big business owners.

 Minister O’Dwyer is siding with multinational food giant Mondelez in a Federal Court case that concerns the leave rights of people working at the Cadbury factor in Tasmania who work shifts longer than 9.6 hours. The case has the capacity to affect millions of people working shifts in Australia.

 The Fair Work Act specifies that people should receive 10 days personal and carers leave. But Mondelez and O’Dwyer will argue that that for those on 12-hour shifts should only get eight paid absences for personal or carers leave. The workers are being represented by their union, the AMWU.

 The Minister and the company will argue that an existing precedent from a Full Bench of the Fair Work Commission, supported by the Federal Court, is wrong.

 The case is expected to be heard by the full Federal Court.

 Quotes attributable to ACTU Secretary Sally McManus:

  • “One of Kelly O’Dwyer’s first acts as Industrial Relations Minister has been to support a multi-national company’s attack on workers’ rights that could see millions of people working shifts have their personal and carers’ leave entitlements drastically cut.”
  • “Whether it is cutting penalty rates, keeping wage growth at record lows or undermining basic rights like sick leave and carers’ leave this government knows only one way – back in the big end of town.
  • “When the Fair Work Act says 10 days personal leave, it means 10 days. But Kelly O’Dwyer is spending taxpayers’ money to back big business and undermine workers’ interests.”

Saturday, September 01, 2018

ACTU – Equal pay day a reminder of the persistent gender pay gap

31 August 2018

Statement from ACTU President Michele O’Neil:

Today is Equal Pay Day, the day which marks the end of the 62 additional days women workers need to work after the end of the financial year to earn as much as men in Australia.

It’s a stark reminder of the work which still needs to be done to close the gender pay gap.

Unions have always been at the forefront of fight for equal pay. Our current campaigns for 10 days paid Family and Domestic Violence Leave, flexible work arrangements for people with caring responsibilities, casual conversion, expanded parental leave, and changes to superannuation including paying super to people who are on parental leave are all targeted to close the gender pay gap.

The gender pay gap exists because we have workplace rules and a culture which values work traditionally done by women less than that done by men, and structures which make it hard for women to stay in work while dealing with the caring responsibilities that our society continues to expect them to shoulder.

We can and must do more to close the gender pay gap, and change the rules for working women.

Fix Bargaining For Better Pay: IMF

31 August 2018

Research by the International Monetary Fund has revealed that the erosion of people’s rights in the workplace has led to less pay for workers.

The International Monetary Fund research that shows that measures that have taken power away from working people in favour of big business have hurt take-home pay packets between 1970 and 2015.

It is the first time that the IMF has acknowledged the effect of policies that take rights from working people on pay and wages.

Research released last month by the Centre For Future Work revealed that the erosion of rights for working people and the resulting power imbalance with big business is costing working people in Australia more than $16,000 each.

The Centre For Future Work revealed that that the decline of the labour share of GDP since 1975 is costing every working Australian $16,800 per year on average.

Trend could be reversed by restoring the rights of working people and allowing multi-employer bargaining, where people can negotiate fair pay and more secure jobs across more than one employer.

Quotes attributable to ACTU Secretary Sally McManus:

  • “When big business undermines workers’ rights and governments give even more power to big business, to the system becomes unbalanced and workers’ pay goes down.
  • “The cost of that power imbalance to someone working full-time in Australia is about $16,000 a year.
  • “With electricity prices, housing, childcare, transport and health insurance premiums rising much faster than pay, working people need every cent of that $16,000 a year.
  • “We need to change the rules so that working people get our fair share of the wealth we produce. Right now big business has too much power and corporate bosses and wealthy shareholders are taking more for themselves and leaving us struggling.
  • “But there are clear solutions to restore the balance. We need to adopt the bargaining system that operates across most of the developed world.
  • “Working people need the ability to negotiate across sectors and industries and win the pay rises they need.”

Friday, August 31, 2018

MUA – Albo makes the case for coastal shipping

August 29, 2018

LABOR stalwart Anthony Albanese has used the Ports Australia Biennial Conference 2018 in Darwin to issue a rallying cry in support of Australian coastal shipping as well as the need for maritime jobs and an Australian-flagged fleet.

Mr Albanese, the architect of the 2012 laws, spoke with the electricity of a politician who knows an opponent is foundering in the Canberra muck.

“[Labor is] determined to not be a party in destroying a proud Australian industry,” he said during his address.

Coastal shipping reform, he said, was essential for bringing back the maritime jobs that would feed into the upper levels of the profession.

“You need a maritime sector and maritime skills, who’s going to run the ports if you don’t have a maritime sector? Who’s going to be the harbour masters? Vision!” he told Daily Cargo News on the sidelines of the conference.

“It’s a matter of understanding that there’s a national interest,” he said.

“You don’t allow a truck to take goods from Melbourne to Sydney on the Hume Highway, with a Filipino truck, with Filipino standards, with a Filipino driver; why should that be allowed on the blue highway?”

He said other countries around the world had recognised a maritime sector was in their national interest, pointing to the Jones Act in the US.

“In the US – the land of the free market – you can’t take a ship from San Francisco to LA unless it has a US flag on it and US crew,” he said.

While it is safe to say everyone at the Ports Australia Biennial Conference recognised the importance of reforming coastal shipping laws in the country, not all agreed that the answer was along the lines of the Jones Act.

Port Authority of New South Wales CEO and director Grant Gilfillan told DCN that everyone had an interest in seeing any form of shipping being successful.

“We understand the politics of coastal shipping, and the MUA and where the Labor Party sits. But, unfortunately the reality is that this is not going to save coastal shipping from an inevitable demise because it’s so expensive,” he said.

“It’s very hard not to label it as a form of protectionism when we’re in a global economy and every other industry has to compete on the international stage. It would be far better to look at ways to make coastal shipping more effective, because otherwise the investment goes into inland rail routes and roads to move cargo because it’s cheaper than putting it onto coastal ships. The debate still needs to go on.”

Thursday, August 30, 2018

Scumo's Coat of Arms

NSWTF – September 3-9 is the Fair Funding Now! National Week of Action.

Dear Colleague,

September 3-9 is the Fair Funding Now! National Week of Action.

Please visit the campaign website at to see the actions scheduled for each day of the week, and how you can contribute to the campaign to secure fair, needs-based funding for all our schools.

We particularly want to draw your attention to the doorknocking events in targeted parts of NSW which are taking place on Sunday, 9 September.

If you live in or near any of these areas, we invite you to join other teachers and activists in this crucial campaign action to take our message door-to-door.

Use the links below to sign up for an event near you.

Woy Woy:
Yours sincerely,

John Dixon
General Secretary

ACTU – O’Dwyer must resist big business pressure on casuals

30 August 2018

The peak body for working people has called on new Industrial Relations Minister Kelly O’Dwyer to resist big business pressure to intervene in an employer court challenge to a decision that grants so-called “permanent casuals” basic rights to paid leave.

 Yesterday Australian Industry Group head Innes Willox released a list of business demands ahead of a meeting with O’Dwyer.

They included the Minister intervening in an expected High Court challenge by Australia’s largest labour hire firm Workpac against a ruling by a full bench of the Federal Court that they had falsely classified a truck driver who worked a fixed and continuous pattern of work as casual. The court ordered that he be paid accrued annual leave.

AIG’s demands also included fast-tracking laws that would weaken the rights and negotiating position of working people, tipping the balance of IR laws even further in the favour of big business.

The pressure from the business lobby comes at a time when the power imbalance in our workplace laws has already caused record-low wages growth. In a recent ReachTel poll commissioned by the ACTU, four out of five people in paid employment said they hadn’t had a pay rise that keeps up with the cost of living, with nearly half receiving no pay rise at all.

 Quotes attributable to ACTU Secretary Sally McManus:

  • “Minister O’Dwyer has been in the job only a few days and big business is already issuing decrees for her to carry out.”
  • “It will be a test of the Minister’s commitment to fairness for working people whether she is able to resist the pressure and demands from the big business lobby and stand up for working people.
  • “Employers are abusing a loophole in our laws to call people who have regular and ongoing work casuals. This denies them rights, leave and pay.
  • “I call on Minister O’Dwyer to change the Fair Work Act so that casual work is properly and fairly defined, to stop the casualisation of the workforce by big business owners.
  • “Casual work is one part of our insecure work crisis – Australia has one of the highest rates of insecure work in the OECD.
  • “The Minister has an opportunity to re-shape the role of Industrial Relations Minister, coming to the position after Michaelia Cash abused state power to pursue working people’s representatives.
“I invite Kelly O’Dwyer to restore fairness to our workplaces so people can get pay rises that keep up with living costs, and the job security they need.”

Nurses – Why climate change is a major health threat

Dr David Pencheon
Health professionals including nurses must view climate change as a major health threat of today in order to improve patient outcomes of tomorrow, according to Dr David Pencheon, Director of the Sustainable Development Unit (SDU) for NHS England and Public Health England.

“The main thing is don’t treat climate change as an environmental threat in the future – think of it as a health issue now,” Dr Pencheon says.

“It’s very dangerous if doctors, nurses and other health professionals don’t speak up about it because it gives the public the impression that if it were very important, people like doctors and nurses would speak up about it.”

Dr Pencheon recently visited Australia to speak at a forum in the ACT held by the Australasian College of Health Service Management (ACHSM) and the Australian Healthcare & Hospitals Association (AHHA) on the practicalities and challenges of sustainable and resilient healthcare.

He runs the SDU in the UK, established in 2007 with the goal of ensuring the National Health Service operated in an environmentally sustainable way.

The unit began by targeting carbon emissions reductions and helped drive an 11% decrease between 2007 and 2015, which represents billions in savings.

Dr Pencheon lists complying with the UK’s Climate Change Act and internal concern from frontline staff as the chief reasons behind the unit’s evolution.

As the venture got off the ground, he said hospitals steadily improved their efficiencies and systems by learning from others with better practices.

“It started with simple things like much better heating and lighting and power systems, those are efficiency things. The second thing was reducing waste, especially pharmaceutical waste. The third and most important area is much better models of care where we try and treat people at home rather than bring them into hospital.”

Dr Pencheon believes health systems globally face multiple challenges and opportunities involving climate change, new forms of technology and inequity.

He says transitioning towards sustainable and resilient healthcare systems can help improve current health benefits and safeguard the future.

“We’ve concentrated on environmental sustainability, which is broadly making sure that you meet the needs of today and patients today without knowingly prejudicing the chances of people in future because of the side effects in terms of pollution, waste, carbon emissions or air quality reduction from how we do the job today.”

Dr Pencheon says many people fail to understand the impacts of climate change on health and suggests the health and care system holds an important opportunity and responsibility to highlight its risks to both patients and the public.

“Quite often you’ll hear people say ‘Well I knew climate change was an environmental issue but no one told me it was a health issue’.”

Dr Pencheon says nurses especially can play a big role in shaping change.

“They control things like pharmaceutical wastage. They control the heating, the lighting, and all sorts of things. They have a much keener eye [than doctors] do on things like patient comfort or energy use or wastage or sorting out clinical and non-clinical waste.”

Since the SDU’s establishment, Dr Pencheon says the biggest shift has seen sustainability considered a dimension of quality measured and reported on and central to a quality health service.

He acknowledged Australia has greater climate change and health scientists than the UK but said the country’s health system is less integrated, making it difficult to implement changes.

“Nowhere is doing it consistently across the whole of the health and care system and I think it would be dangerous to declare victory yet because there are still a lot of clinicians who say ‘Well we’re too busy saving patients to save the planet’, forgetting of course that those two things are completely interrelated.”

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

MUA – The Hungry Miles – Part 2

Deadly love song could be the answer to our cane toad woes

Wednesday, 22 August 2018

It’s the beat that could help beat the spread of cane toads.

James Cook University (JCU) researchers say they’ve found the perfect toad tune that could help sound the death knell for the pests.

JCU’s Ben Muller placed cane toad ‘audio traps’ with differing characteristics at various sites in the Townsville region.

The team was particularly interested in attracting reproductive female toads carrying eggs.

“A female cane toad can lay upwards of 20,000 eggs per clutch so removing a single female with eggs from the population is more effective for control than removing a single male,” said Mr Muller.

The lower and louder the frequency and the higher the pulse, the better. The scientists found that around nine in ten of the females trapped using a loud, low frequency tone with a high pulse rate were reproductive.

  • “We think that low frequency calls indicate to female toads that they are hearing a large-bodied male and the high pulse rate means the male making the call has high energy reserves,” said Mr Muller.
  • “These things combine to make them believe they have found a good breeding partner.”

Mr Muller said the finding may help suppress toad numbers, but it was not a silver bullet.

  • “Large-scale eradication of cane toads from mainland Australia using traps is probably not possible,” he said.
  • “However, eradication of island populations could be achievable if the trapping regime was correctly designed and implemented.”

The research will be used by Animal Control Technologies Australia to help create a commercial trap.

Monday, August 27, 2018

ACTU – QANTAS workers united in opposition to latest ‘bonus’ offer

27 August 2018

QANTAS workers united in opposition to latest ‘bonus’ offer

In the wake of its recently announced $1.6 billion record profit, Qantas’ attempt to link the payment of a $2000 ‘bonus’ to workers to the signing of new enterprise agreements has fallen flat across the Qantas workforce.

A meeting of Qantas unions convened by the ACTU in Sydney today has heard of widespread anger amongst workers who have slammed this latest offer that would see the payment made only after the first post-wage freeze agreement is signed off. Under these arrangements many workers could wait for years to receive the payment.

Thousands of Qantas workers endured a pay freeze that was imposed by the company across successive enterprise agreements dating back to 2014. Since then, the company’s profitability has soared to last week’s record levels. Senior executive salary packages have also grown; the 2017 annual report putting the value of senior executive packages at $53 million.   

In light of these latest developments the Qantas Unions will be consulting closely with their members about the next steps and ACTU will be writing to Qantas CEO Alan Joyce setting out workers’ concerns and urging a rethink this announcement.   

Quotes attributable to ACTU Secretary Sally McManus:

  • ‘It is only through the dedication and effort of the Qantas workforce that we have seen the airline lift its financial performance. Qantas had an opportunity to recognise these efforts and the sacrifices that their workers have made. Instead it chose to make the payment depend on workers signing up to workplace agreements years down the track.
  • ‘Workers are asking if this is a real bonus for past performance or just another tactic designed to influence future bargaining outcomes.’ 
  • ‘When companies perform well, workers deserve their fair share.’
  • ‘We need a fairer bargaining system that delivers for working people.’
  • ‘Australia needs a pay rise. Qantas workers need a pay rise.’ 

CPSU – Morrisons Finance Combination a Danger

AUG 27, 2018

The CPSU has warned of dire consequences if the Coalition Government’s new ministerial structure signals further cuts to the Australian Public Service.

The Public Service has been elevated to a Cabinet position in Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s new Ministry, but in a combined portfolio with Finance for Minister Mathias Cormann.

CPSU National Secretary Nadine Flood said: “Three Liberal Prime Ministers in less than three years is obviously unhelpful for the Australian Public Service and its critical role providing essential public services and frank and fearless policy advice, just as this level of instability is bad news for the entire community.”

  • “Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s new Ministry gives us little reassurance that he will abandon the disastrous policies that led to Malcolm Turnbull and Tony Abbott’s downfalls. The real problem is not the Coalition’s leadership but its destructive ideology, which has driven disastrous cuts to public sector jobs, capacity, public services, wages and working rights.”
  • “Elevating the Public Service to Cabinet is a good decision, given that a strong Public Service is at the heart of good government, but it’s deeply worrying to see the APS in a combined portfolio with Finance, the ministry charged with finding cuts and savings. Minister Mathias Cormann must focus on public services and policy capacity rather than further hamstringing the Government with yet more short-sighted cuts or further privatisation and outsourcing.”
  • “Minister Cormann’s predecessor in the role, Kelly O’Dwyer, has now taken on Jobs and Industrial Relations. Both ministers would do well to sit down and consider the disastrous impact the Abbott-Turnbull-Morrison Government has had on public service jobs and industrial relations through their own actions, setting a terrible example for the rest of the country and causing real harm to public sector workers and the agencies they work for.”
  • “It is positive to see Minister Peter Dutton relieved of some of his responsibilities as Home Affairs and Immigration are split back into two portfolios, given the deep problems in the Department of Home Affairs at the previous combination of enforcement, facilitation and policy under one mega-ministry.”
  • “We believe this is a strong opportunity to change not just perceptions but policy, starting with ditching the Government’s disastrous plan to sell off our visa processing system to corporations. Immigration should be a portfolio to promote the critical role of multiculturalism in Australia’s economic and cultural development, rather than being used as a dog whistle for prejudice as has often been the case under this Government.”

The Great Strike of 1917 – 7 pm 12 & 13 September 2018

Saturday, August 25, 2018

ACTU – Scott Morrison is Australia’s biggest fan of failed trickle-down economics.

Statement from ACTU Secretary Sally McManus:

Scott Morrison is Australia’s biggest fan of failed trickle-down economics.

As Treasurer he presided over record low wage growth, saw inequality go to 70-year highs and watched on as 40 percent of Australians were pushed into insecure work.

He was behind the failed corporate tax handout that sought to take billions from pensions, hospitals and schools to feed big business greed.

He voted eight times to cuts to penalty rates, he slashed funding to schools and hospitals, and he voted to establish the politicised ABCC and ROC to harass and pursue working people’s representatives.

Working people will defeat Prime Minister Morrison and his failed government at the next election.

Workers in the Abbott/Turnbull Government’s racially discriminatory Community Development Program (CDP) will mark the anniversary of the Wave Hill walk-off by continuing their struggle against the same denial of basic work rights and pay which Indigenous workers were protesting 52 years ago.

The historic walk off by the Gurindji led by Vincent Lingiari was a powerful stand for equal pay and equal rights.

The CDP will ensure that the legacy of this government will be denying pay and basic workplace and human rights to Indigenous workers in this country.

The First Nations Workers Alliance is campaigning for the same basic rights that the Gurindji fought for decades ago and does so with the support of the entire Australian union movement which has a proud record of standing with Indigenous people in their struggle for rights.

Quotes attributable to ACTU Indigenous Officer Lara Watson:
  • “It’s an appalling shame that CDP workers mark the 52nd anniversary of the Wave Hill Walk Off by continuing to fight for the most basic rights of Indigenous workers under this racially discriminatory program.
  • “The Turnbull government must act to ensure that Indigenous workers have the same rights as non-Indigenous workers, by abolishing this program.
  • “The union movement stood with the Gurindji in 1966, and is proud to stand with CDP workers now through the FNWA.”

Drag Posters to Download 

Saturday, August 18, 2018

ACTU – Vale Laurie Carmichael

18 August 2018

The Australian union movement is saddened by the passing today of former ACTU Assistant Secretary Laurie Carmichael.

Laurie dedicated his life to improving the living standards of working people and he shall be remembered as a giant of the Australian union movement.

After serving in World War II, in the fight to keep Australia free from fascism and Nazism, Laurie joined the Amalgamated Engineers Union (a forerunner to today’s Australian Manufacturing Workers Union, AMWU) while working on the Williamstown naval dockyards.

In 1958 Laurie became the state Secretary of the Amalgamated Engineers Union and in 1972 he became Assistant National Secretary of the Amalgamated Engineers Union.

In what would prove to be a boon for the working people of Australia Laurie was elected to the position of ACTU Assistant Secretary in 1987.

Working closely with ACTU Secretary Bill Kelty, Laurie was a pivotal part of the team that developed accord era improvements for working people.

Laurie shaped and advocated for universal superannuation, Medicare and the 38 hour working week.

His was a life of unrelenting advocacy which, coupled with his visionary and strategic mind, played a key role in some of the most pivotal economic and industrial reforms in Australian history.

The deepest sympathies and gratitude of the entire Australian union movement are extended to the Carmichael family, his son Laurie Carmichael Jnr and his step daughter Kerry.

Friday, August 17, 2018

MUA – Melbourne Port Operator ICTSI Must Be Investigated

Melbourne Port Operator ICTSI Must Be Investigated By State And Federal Authorities
Thursday August 16, 2018

The Construction Forestry Mining Maritime Energy Union is calling for the contract won by ICTSI in 2014 to operate the third container terminal at the Port of Melbourne to be investigated by both the Commonwealth and Victorian Governments.

Construction Forestry Mining Maritime Energy Union International President and MUA National Secretary Paddy Crumlin said there were serious questions that needed to be answered about the probity and governance of the awarding of the contract to ICTSI.

Crumlin was speaking at the launch of the report ICTSI Exposed, produced by the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) at Parliament House, Canberra.

  • “Today we are launching a report which examines the global practices of ICTSI who won a contract to operate the third terminal at the Port of Melbourne in 2014,” Crumlin said.
  • "It is a fact that at the time the contract was awarded ICTSI was in business with the Government of Sudan - while both the United Nations and United States had placed sanctions on doing business with the regime.
  • “The President of Sudan was then - and still is today - wanted by the International Criminal Court for crimes against humanity, war crimes and genocide.
  • “A few months before they won the Port of Melbourne deal in 2014 they entered into a contract with the Sudanese government for management of two container terminals.
  • “ICTSI then last month won a 20 year deal with the Sudanese Government for the South Port.
  • “At the time the then Liberal Victorian Government awarded the contract active international criminal charges had been laid against the President of Sudan.
  • “Just as troubling is the financial relationship between ICTSI and the Government of Sudan who are listed by the United States as a state sponsor of terrorism.
  • “Why would you hand over a sensitive and critical piece of infrastructure as a port terminal to a company with financial ties to a Government listed as a state sponsor of terrorism?”

This raises many important questions that must be investigated including:

Was the Sudan deal disclosed to the Victorian Government as part of the tender process?
Did the Victorian Government consult with relevant Commonwealth security agencies considering the financial relationship between ICTSI and the Government of Sudan?

Was a probity and governance advisor appointed for the transaction and if they were has their report been released publicly?

Construction Forestry Mining Maritime Energy Union National Secretary Michael O’Connor said it was time for both levels of Government to commence an immediate inquiry into the ICTSI contract at the Port of Melbourne.

“If you operate a sensitive and critical piece of economic infrastructure such as a port you must be held to the highest standards yet ICTSI has a long history of dealing with some of the worst and most dangerous governments in the world, including Sudan, Syria and Congo,” O’Connor said.

“The minimum a responsible government should do is investigate these matters to reassure the public the operation of the terminal at the Port of Melbourne does not compromise our international obligations and meets the strictest of security standards.”

You can find out more at ICTSI Exposed and sign our petition calling on Federal and State Government to investigate ICTSI. 


16 AUG 2018

The Full Federal Court has today upheld a decision that casual workers are entitled to paid leave if they work in on-going, regular arrangements.

This is a major victory over rampant misuse of casual labour hire workers in coal mining and the broader workforce.

The decision to uphold the court’s 2016 Skene v Federal Circuit Court judgment means that workers described as casuals by labour hire companies may not meet the definition of a casual worker under the Fair Work Act and may therefore be eligible for annual leave and other entitlements.

The 2016 case involved CFMEU member Paul Skene, a fly in fly out haul truck operator employed as a casual by labour hire company Workpac in two Central Queensland coal mines for two and a half years. The Federal Court found that Mr Skene could not properly be considered a casual under the Fair Work Act due to the regular and continuous nature of his work on a fixed roster. The court decided Mr Skene was therefore entitled to receive accrued annual pay on termination of his employment.

The labour hire industry has thrown substantial resources at overturning this decision because it employs many thousands of workers as casuals in the coal mining industry under similar circumstances to Mr Skene.

CFMEU National President Tony Maher said the case would cause alarm in the mining industry, where use of casual labour hire workers is out of control.

  • “Labour hire employees are now a significant proportion of the workforce at most coal mines, with the vast majority employed casually.
  • “In many cases they are casual in name only, working side by side with permanent employees on the same rosters over extended periods, but with no job security.
  • “This decision challenges a flawed business model based on driving down costs by casualising large portions of the workforce. It means the end of the so-called ‘permanent casual’, which was always a contradiction in terms and a rort.
  • “The labour hire industry will cry foul over this decision – the answer for them is to employ people on proper arrangements that reflect the real nature of their work.”

The CFMEU will continue to fight against the casualisation of our industries and for workers’ rights to secure employment.

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Premier Andrews – Energy privatisation "has not worked"

Energy privatisation has failed Victorians and the sector must be reset "back in favour of the consumer" not billion-dollar corporations, says Premier Daniel Andrews.

In a State of the State address drawing the election battlelines 100 days out from the November poll, Mr Andrews will argue "privatisation and deregulation has gone too far".

In a speech to the Committee for Economic Development of Australia in Melbourne on Wednesday, the incumbent leader will argue against austerity, for building a modern Victoria and push the case for renewable energy.

  • "We were promised that a privatised electricity market would lower prices," he says in the speech previewed by AAP.
  • "Wrong. Privatisation has not worked, it's only made things harder for families."
Victoria led the way in power privatisation under Jeff Kennett in the 1990s, but on Wednesday Mr Andrews will point to household energy bills rising by 20 per cent in the last year, while "AGL pocketed $1 billion" and Energy Australia's tripled profits.
  • "Something has to change and that will take some big ideas, too," he says.
  • "Because the scales need re-setting, privatisation and de-regulation has gone too far.
  • "We will tip things back in favour of the consumer, not the corporation."
Mr Andrews' comments come a day after Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull got his contentious National Energy Guarantee through the federal government party room - but Victoria says it will be going through it to see what concessions the prime minister made for climate change sceptics.

Voters will go to the polls on November 24 and Mr Andrews' "positive plan for Victoria" pitch comes amid a police fraud squad investigation into his party's election campaign efforts in 2014.

ACTU – Wages going backwards for Australian workers

Wages going backwards for Australian workers
15 August 2018

Wages are not growing for any Australian workers and are going backwards for those in the private sector according to figures released this morning by the ABS.

The figures show that wage growth is now 2.1%, completely erased by CPI which sits at 2.1%. Under the Turnbull Government wages are no longer growing for Australian workers.

Recent polling conducted by ReachTel for the ACTU showed that 80% of Australian workers either hadn’t had an increase in pay in the last 12 months or had received an increase so small it had not covered the increases in the cost of living.

The latest Household Income and Labour Dynamics (HILDA) survey showed Australia hadn’t had a pay rise since 2009. The median disposable income for an entire household adjusted for inflation was $79,160 in 2016 dollars. In 2016, it was $79,244.

Quotes attributable to ACTU President Michele O’Neil:

  • “Australian workers need a pay rise, and these figures prove we need to change the rules to make this happen.
  • “Wages are not growing. The Turnbull Government is failing working people.
  • “When the system is out of balance, this is what happens. Employers and the big end of town have too much power, and working people are going backwards.
  • “Working people need to be given the tools and the power to win pay rises. Enterprise level bargaining is failing and working people need to be able to band together in larger groups and negotiate across industries and sectors."

CFMEU – Wind Up Political Attack Dog, the ABCC

The CFMEU has called for Malcolm Turnbull’s industrial political attack dog, the ABCC, to be wound up after a judge criticised a case as “a completely unnecessarily waste of public money”.

  • “Last financial year the Turnbull government spent more than 10 million dollars in its attack on construction workers," said John Setka, Victorian Secretary of the CFMEU Construction Division. “Again and again the Liberal Party’s ABCC is caught out blowing their budget and overreaching in their ideological war against unions.”
  • "This latest attack saw four AFP officers called to a building site under the direction of the ABCC and two workers charged for simply having a cup of tea and talking about four wheel driving. The judge rightfully described the case as a ‘storm in a tea cup’."
  • "The ABCC does nothing about wage theft, sham contracting and safety short cuts that kill workers, that’s left to us, the CFMEU. Then they waste more money attacking us for doing our job.”
  • “Australian taxpayers are sick of paying for Malcolm Turnbull’s political agenda, it’s time to abolish the ABCC and for the Liberal Party to fund their own political campaigns."
  • "Union members, workers, the whole labour movement is united to ‘Change the Rules’ and stop this shameless waste."

Acoss – Senate must reject cashless debit card legislation

Thursday 16 August 2018
With no credible evidence available showing an improvement in people’s lives, ACOSS calls on the Senate to reject the expansion of the cashless debit card policy listed for debate today.

The cashless debit card restricts 80 percent of a person’s income so that it cannot be spent on alcohol, gambling and drugs. However, the card applies to anyone in the target regions on income support payments of a certain age, even if they don’t use alcohol, drugs or gamble.

Dr Cassandra Goldie, CEO of ACOSS says:

  • “The government must not expand a policy that humiliates people, and invades a person’s basic privacy, without any credible evidence that such restriction is justified. 
  • "The cashless debit card is paternalistic, intrusive and punitive, and is being expanded without any clear evidence it helps people.
  • “The cashless debit policy only serves to discriminate against people on low incomes.”
  • “The Australian National Audit Office (ANAO)’s recent review of the government’s evaluation of the current cashless debit trials in Ceduna SA and Kununurra WA found there is inadequate evidence to determine whether the program has reduced social harm.
  • “We call on the Senate to oppose the expansion of the cashless debit card.
  • “People are on unemployment and other payments because they are looking for paid work or caring for children. There is only one paid position available for every 8 applicants and restricting access to cash is not going to change this.
  • “The Parliament should instead focus on improving employment outcomes and opportunities for people across Australia, rather than punishing people for being on a low income.”

Monday, August 13, 2018

ACTU gathers stories of workers hit hardest by lack of pay rises

13 August 2018

Australian unions will be collecting stories from people whose wages are not keeping up with the cost of living, starting today, 13 August.

The latest polling conducted by ReachTel for the ACTU showed four out of five people either didn’t receive a pay rise in the past year, or any wage increase they did get failed to keep up with the rising cost of living.

The poll of 2,453 people found 82 percent believed low wage growth in this country is an important, or the most important issue when deciding their vote at the next election.

Recent research from the Centre for Future Work has shown that the share of wealth in Australia that goes to working people has rarely been lower.

All people contacting the ACTU to share their story will have the option of confidentiality.

From 13-18 August, people can share their stories by calling 1300 486 466, or visiting:

Quotes attributable to ACTU Secretary Sally McManus:

  • “Australia needs a pay rise. Too many people are struggling to keep their head above water.
  • “The cost of living is going up and people are struggling. The voices of many of the people who are struggling with the cost of living aren’t being heard.
  • “We are gathering the stories of people – both union members and non-members – who are being hurt by the broken rules that are preventing people winning fair pay rises.
  • “We need to change the rules so that all working people can secure pay rises that meet the rising cost of living.
  • “Our system is out of balance: big business has too much power and employers can just say no to fair pay rises.
  • “Our current rules are clearly failing the vast majority of working people who report either no increase or inadequate increases in their pay in the last year.
  • “Working people are worried about their wages, meanwhile the Turnbull Government is handing $17 billion to the big four banks. This polling shows how out of touch this government is with ordinary people and the issues that matter.”

Thursday, August 09, 2018

Sing It! Say It! Change the Rules! 

Prize money has been increased
thanks to our sponsors, to a total of 

Unions NSW prize: $500
Public Service Association NSW prize: $300
Blue Mountains Unions & Community prize: $200


Blue Mountains Unions & Community want to support your fight for fairness, so this competition is open to Blue Mountains residents aged 18 - 30 years old.


Perform your original spoken or sung work about what's wrong with the rules and how to change them. 


The audience also gets a say in who wins, so bring your friends!

Have any questions? Email



Backing music from the house band will be provided if needed.


Hosted by Blue Mountains Unions & Community

Open jam after the competition.

It's only possible for entrants in the competition to win a prize but everyone can jam, just for the fun!

There’s not many jobs available for young people. Youth unemployment is through the roof. And if you do find a job you could be ripped off by your boss, as many young workers have been.

For many big businesses wage theft is becoming a business model.
We’ve also seen people’s pay cut with the slashing of penalty rates in retail, pharmacy, hospitality and fast food. Now, the Government is replacing proper jobs with $4 an hour positions.

As the cost of everything is getting more expensive, people’s wages aren’t keeping up. 

The rules at work are broken for young people.

Only by being a member of your union can we change the rules, so all young people have better pay and their rights at work protected.

If you want to join a union but you're not sure which to join, you can leave your details with the Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) and they'll help you join the right union for you.

If you aren't working, you can join the Australian Unemployed Workers' Union for free but they appreciate donations too.

Competition entrants can also choose to join Blue Mountains Unions & Community for $1 (normally $5 unwaged and $20 waged).

You can also join the grassroots campaign, organised by Australian Unions and powered by people to 


Competition commences 15th September. Places are limited so act fast!