Takver's Soapbox News Summary
August 98



News Summary - Sunday 30 August

Protests grow over Jabiluka Uranium Mine

The Federal Environment Minister Robert Hill has recommended the company which plans to operate the mine should conduct an additional environmental assessment of its preferred option for processing Jabiluka's uranium at its nearby Ranger mine.

In the report to Resources Minister Warwick Parer, Senator Hill said Energy Resources of Australia (ERA) should submit a revised proposal to him so he can decide whether the mine will receive environmental clearance.

Federal Resources Minister Warwick Parer has announced approval for the development of milling operations at Jabiluka, as long as mining company Energy Resources Australia (ERA) complies with conditions set down by the Environment Minister.

Senator Hill recommended the mine go ahead, only if it is prepared to bury tailings deep underground. ERA wants to mix tailings with cement paste and to bury them in purpose-dug pits.

In Darwin on Friday about 30 protesters held a peaceful but colourful rally outside Parliament House. Spokesperson from the Total Environment Centre, Jayne Weepers, said the campaign will continue, despite Senator Parer's decision.

"Essentially what we have is an extraordinarily flawed, underhanded approvals process. Really, at the end of the day, at this stage, ERA [Energy Resources Australia] does not have a project option which is viable, which is scientific, or which can guarantee that they can contain the waste for 10,000 years, as required by the Environment Minister. So it's a bit of a debacle at this stage - they don't have a project and we've certainly got a very good campaign."

On Friday, high school students around the country walked out of school to speak out against racism, One Nation, and the Jabiluka Uranium Mine. The rally in Melbourne had over 500 students marching from the GPO to the State Library. More than 300 took part in marches in Adelaide and Sydney, while around 200 gathered in Canberra and Darwin. Several regional towns also had rallies including in Gympie (One Nation Heartland) in Queensland and in Ballarat in regional Victoria.

Students in Sydney also gathered outside the offices of ERA, the company behind the Jabiluka uranium mine, accusing the company of being racist by ignoring the wishes of the traditional owners of the mine site.

In a pre-election rush to write Jabiluka uranium contracts ERA has been attempting to push through its mining proposal and sign up customers for supply of uranium. More details from the ENVIRONMENTAL NEWS SERVICE, August 24, 1998 bulletin. Jabiluka is supported by the Federal Liberal Government, but the Opposition Labor Party has undertaken to stop it if it is not already an existing mine, and contracts have not been signed.

In Melbourne a blockade of North Limited, parent company to ERA, is due to start with an overnight vigil from 9pm Monday night, and blockading the offices of North all day on Tuesday.

Source: ABC 27-28Aug98

More Information:
24 hour blockade of North Limited

Reith attacks Industrial Relations Courts

Our esteemed Minister for Industrial Warfare continues to attack the parts of the industrial relations environment which he has an ideological disagreement on. On Thursday he announced further changes would be implemented covering union financial accounting. If a union failed to produce satisfactory figures within 30 days, proceedings could be taken to deregister the union. This is another attempt to tie unions up with further red tape, and smear them with the myth of financial irresponsibility. Reith has already announced plans to limit union officials' right to enter worksites and further strip back awards if the Government is re-elected on October 3.

On Friday Minister Peter Reith accused the Australian Industrial Relations Commission (AIRC) of unlawfully approving dozens of awards and agreements and revealed steps to have the decisions overturned. He accused the AIRC of braking the law by certifying at least 47 agreements containing clauses giving preference to union members, a type of clause specifically proscribed under the Workplace Relations Act. He also claimed the commission had accepted consent awards which his department believed did not comply with the Act's requirements for award simplification. He has instructed his department to seek Full Bench reviews of the awards, which had not been simplified in accordance with the Act.

Source: Australian 29Aug98, Sydney Morning Herald 27Aug98

Court orders reinstatement of sacked Davids workers

The courts on Wednesday ordered Davids to reinstate the 50 sacked workers and for workers to return to work whilst negotiations on the EBA continued.

The union and company are to report back to Justice North in two weeks (9.9.98). Despite the company's attempts to get a stay on the orders, they were not successful and the first shift of workers went back through the gates around 4.30pm on Friday.

Whilst this is a great moral victory considering the company had threatened to sack all workers, the original dispute over the EBA is far from over yet. The company goons ('security' in their terms!) are still on the premises on the grounds that the company is fearful of its safety - this excuse for their presence is a sham as these 'security guards' have over recent weeks attempted to intimidate the strikers and their families and are now following the workers around the warehouse and are attempting to provoke trouble.

The Davids workers would like to thank all their supporters for the help extended thus far.

Stay tuned for further developments!

Email: truehohl@acay.com.au
Phone: 61 2 9897 3558

Source: Leftlink 29Aug98

More Information
Takver's Soapbox - Monday 11 August

Telstra profits at the expense of its workers and community

On Wednesday Telstra released its annual results declaring an after tax profit of $3,004 million, an increase of 17% on the previous year. The profit is 7.1% better than forecast in its prospectus. In the past year labour expenses decreased by 7.8% and payroll costs were reduced by nearly 14% as a result of savage staff cuts over the last two years.

Telstra currently has about 56,000 staff, about 1,000 staff lower than the management target. Another 3,000 staff are planned to be got rid of in the next year.

Workers in Telstra are fed up with the staff cuts which engender job insecurity, and place extra pressure and workload on those staff remaining. Staff morale is low across the company. There has not been a payrise for 17 months, and working conditions are being attacked and eroded by Management.

Telstra Management are calling for the further privatisation of Telstra. The Labor Shadow Communications Minister, Chris Schacht, says the $3 billion profit will yield a dividend for the Commonwealth of about $1.2 billion, all of which goes into the budget for the provision of services. Senator Schacht says a Labor Government would direct a portion of its Telstra dividend to health, education, research and development, and assistance to regional Australia. This means that all Australians share in the dividend, whereas if more shares are sold the rewards would go only to those who can afford them, including foreign companies.

Source: Telstra Media release 26Aug98

20 Canadian waterfront workers arrested

Do Whatever It Takes To Help Our Canadian Brothers & Sisters Win This Fight!

(Vancouver, British Columbia) ILWU Local 518, Samplers and Testers is under attack. For the last 27 years sampling and testing work performed on sulfur ships was done by ILWU Local 518.

This all came to an end after Sultrans, a consortium of multi-national oil companies put the work out for bid. On Sunday , August 16 it was hello CertiSpec, a brand new non-union oufit, and good-bye ILWU. Last Tuesday (August 18), twelve, Local 518 members were arrested for "illegal" picketing. Yesterday (August 20) eight more went to jail. The union is demanding the work goes back to PKB Scania or SGS. Both are union companies that have traditionally done this work and have been in business for over 100 years.

Short of this the union demands CertiSpec signs a union contract. Neither looks likely in the near future.

Trials for the arrested unionists are scheduled for late October. All have been released on bail.

The union sees this as a "first strike" by the employer in an effort to oust the ILWU altogether. The sampling and testing work is essential to the sulfur trade. If it is not done, the cargo cannot be sold.

The Canadian longshore contract expires December 31, 1998. The employer is undoubtedly clearing the way to bring in non-union longshoremen at the end of the year. The Canadian Area ILWU has a number of future options planned (none of which they wish to reveal at this time) and the fight is on its way to going global.

The ITF is targeting all ship coming out of Canada involved in this dispute. The "Ever Gloria" is scheduled to leave Vancouver and call at the port of Longview (Oregon) to load potash. No actions are planned but it's a safe bet Longview longshoremen, along with the rest of the ILWU aren't going to take this lying down.

This is it brothers and sisters. The fight has gone from Liverpool and Australia to right next door! If you can't hear the war drums now YOUR DEAF! The employers don't give a damn about you, your family, how well you drive crane or anything else. They're out for blood in '99. It's the union that takes care of us. It always has and it aways will. AND WE ARE THE UNION! We need to realize this and prepare ourselves accordingly! Start saving some of your good union wages, attend your meetings and keep yourself informed about what is going on.


For Further Information From The Waterfront Worker Contact

Source: A-INFOS 26Aug98


News Summary - Tuesday 26 August

Working women protest against Jabiluka

Over 100 women in business suits protested outside the Melbourne headquarters of uranium mining company, North Limited (parent company to Energy Resources of Australia), against the proposed mine at Jabiluka in the Northern Territory.

Mobile phones were used in an attempt to call North's managing director to ask the company to stop the mine from proceeding.

Sally Browne, a managing director of a fashion house, said the protest is uncharacteristic of professional women, but it demonstrates the strength of concern in the community.

"We also want to make it very clear, we are not here to destroy North nor to destroy the Howard Government but we are here to stop them destroying our natural heritage."

In Canberra the Federal Resources Minister, Warwick Parer,is expecting the Environment Minister's recommendation on whether Energy Resources of Australia (ERA) can process uranium ore on-site at Jabiluka. The Mirrar people have vetoed ERA's preferred option to process ore at the nearby Ranger mine.


News Summary - Monday 24 August

Telstra fights dirty - Union Officials being Sued

Telstra's Corporate Management and their high priced lawyers are once again moving to sue CEPU officials: Len Cooper Vic T&S Secretary, Ian McLean Queensland T&S Secretary, and Col Cooper Divisional President.

This is the third action against the Victorian Secretary in 12 months. In the latest Notice of Intention to take Action in Tort the alleged crimes are listed as :

  1. "inducing some of the said employees not to perform their contracts of employment with the Notifier;
  2. directly and indirectly interfering with contracts between the Notifier and other persons including customers and clients and potential customers and clients;
  3. intimidation of the said employees;
  4. conspiracy by unlawful means and to injure the Notifier;
  5. interference with the business of the Notifier by unlawful means. The Notifier has and will continue to sustain loss and damage in connection with and as a consequence of the said conduct."

    Previous actions to sue officials by Telstra were over a Newsletter article which exposed the links between Employee Relations boss, Mr Rob Cartwright, and the Minister for Workplace Relations Mr Peter Reith and the public exposure by the union of Telstra Corporate Managements actions which have reduced service standards to customers in some areas.

    Comparisons to the waterfront dispute are inescapable. Telstra use the same law firm, 'Freehill Hollingdale & Page', that Patricks used in their corporate scam. Rob Cartwright was appointed to Telstra from anti-union mining company CRA, part of the Rio Tinto group, to impose an anti-union corporate culture within Telstra. The Financial Review has described Cartwright as 'one of Reith's rambos'. Peter Reith failed in his attempt to smash the Maritime Union. Telstra has become the next battlefield for the Government to take on the unions and reduce workers long held conditions.

    Currently the union and its officials are taking legal protected industrial action after 13 months of trying to negotiate a reasonable EBA with Telstra. Telstra Management resorting to legal action against union officials can only be seen as an attack on the rights of employees and members of a union to bargain collectively with their employer.

    This is yet another example of the politics of Howard and Reith and their supporters in Corporate Australia. Clearly this latest action by Telstra Corporate Management is designed to intimidate members and officials alike in the hope that the union will not pursue members rights and entitlements in the EBA.

    Current legal industrial action scheduled by the union includes:

    • A stop work of 48 hours from 12.01 a.m. Tuesday 25th August to 12 midnight on Wednesday 26th for all Network and Technology Business Unit members (excluding Network Design and Construction).
    • A stop work of 48 hours from 12.01 a.m. Thursday 27th August to 12.00 midnight on Friday 28th for all Commercial and Consumer and Business and International Business Unit members (excluding Operator Assisted Services). This may be reduced to 24 hours at the discretion of members meetings due to a 24 hour stoppage just prior to Christmas.
    • A stop work of 48 hours from 12.01 a.m. on Monday 31st August until 12 midnight Tuesday 1st September for all Operator Assisted Services and Network Design and Construction members.

    Emergency services will be maintained by the union during the stoppages.

    CEPU bulletins 21/8/98


    News Summary - Sunday 23 August

    Australians arrested in British nuclear submarine base

    4 activists were remanded today in custody for between 5-32 days after breaking into the British nuclear submarine bases at Faslane and Coulport. One French peace activist was fined 50.00 today for singing outside the gates of Coulport.

    Angie Zelter, Jens Light and Anja Light, were arrested yesterday morning after cutting through Faslane's high security fence. In order to remove them the Ministry of Defence (MOD) brought in heavy machinery to cut down their own fence. Angie and Jens are remanded until September 22. Anja has been released on bail. Jens and Anja are siblings and have come over from Australia to join the Trident Ploughshares campaign.

    At the Coulport site in the early hours this morning Sylvia Boyes and Rachel Wenham were arrested inside the base. Both women have been refused bail and are being remanded for five days.

    The activists are part of the Trident Ploughshares peace camp at Coulport. Before being arrested Sylvia said: "I am going to continue my disarmament actions in order to uphold international law because a crime is being committed against humanity. If the government won't disarm Trident it's up to responsible citizens to uphold the law."

    Angie Zelter is one of the Ploughshares women who disabled the Hawk jet in Warton, Lancashire which was bound for Indonesia two years ago, and was acquitted with three other women by a Liverpool court.

    Serge Levillayer, a retired schoolteacher from Cherbourg in France was today fined 50.00 for breaching the peace. He was singing at a morning vigil outside the gates of Coulport, continuing his tradition of holding a vigil every Friday outside a construction yard in Cherbourg where nuclear submarines are built.

    International Law
    In July 1996 the International Court of Justice gave its Advisory Opinion on the legality of nuclear weapons, stating that "methods and means of warfare which would preclude any distinction between civilians and military targets, or which would result in unnecessary suffering to combatants, are prohibited. In view of the unique characteristics of nuclear weapons, the use of such weapons is scarcely reconcilable with such requirements" (ICJ July 1996)

    Britain's Nuclear Weapons System
    The UK nuclear weapons system is based on Trident missiles bought from the USA and ready to be fired from three submarines (four from September) based at Faslane Naval Base on the Gareloch near Glasgow and stored and loaded onto the subs at Coulport on Loch Long a few miles further west. The Trident system, in which each warhead has eight times the destructive power of the bomb dropped on Hiroshima, is a massive escalation in Britain's nuclear capacity and has been outlawed under international law.

    Trident Ploughshares 2000(TP 2000) The Ploughshares movement is a confrontational but non-violent resistance to the arms race and nuclear weapons. Over the years its members have been involved in many disarmament actions, including the disabling of a Hawk aircraft bound for East Timor, for which four women were acquitted. TP2000 was launched in May this year and 97 activists have signed its pledge to prevent nuclear war crime in a non-violent manner. The organisation and individual activists see themselves as fully and openly accountable for their actions. The disarmers will continue their peaceful disarmament attempt until 1 January 2000 or until the government commits itself to the immediate disarmament of the Trident system.

    TP 2000 is an international movement and activists from more than a dozen countries are present at the Coulport disarmament camp for an intensive 15-day period of action.

    More Information:
    Trident Ploughshares 2000

    Media Release via A-Infos 21Aug98

    Mirrar people lose case in Federal Court against Uranium Mine

    On Friday 21 August 3 judges of the Federal Court rejected the Mirrar case against the power of the Northern Territory to grant the mining lease to Energy Resources of Australia in 1982.

    Lawyers for the Mirrar people are considering an appeal to the High Court.

    In England Yvonne Margarula and a delegation from the Mirrar tribe appeared at a press conference in London. Well known British comedian, Ben Elton, appeared at the press conference and spoke out in support of the Mirrar tribe against the Jabiluke Uranium Mine, which is surrounded by Kakadu National Park. Ben Elton said that Jabiluka poses a significant environmental threat, and is unwanted by the traditional owners.

    ABC 22Aug98

    Friday rally against Jabiluka draws 200

    A Melbourne rally against Jabiluka Uranium Mine during Friday brought together 200 activists, many of them students, and people who have already attended the blockade at Jabiluka. After several speeches the crowd marched to the Uranium Information Center in Queen Street, then onto the Environment Protection Authority in Collins Street.

    The chairman of North Limited, the parent company to Energy Resources of Australia, also happens to be chairperson of the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA). A person performing both these roles must produce a conflict of interest that should be deplored.

    A crowd of 70 people entered the offices of the EPA before police were able to move in to block the building entrance.

    A 24 hour blockade will occur outside the offices of North Limited at 476 St Kilda Road on the night of Monday 31st August and Tuesday 1st September. A Vigil will occur from 9pm over night, with an all day blockade on Tuesday 1st September. The action is being supported by environmental groups, community groups, and various unions.

    More Information
    24 hour blockade of North Limited

    Takver 23Aug98

    High School walkout and protest against One Nation August 28

    The walkout has four national demands:

    Students will walkout of class and rally around the country.

    In MELBOURNE: Assemble 1pm,GPO, cnr Bourke and Swanston Streets, City.

    More information phone 03 9329 1277
    RESISTANCE homepage

    Leftlink 20Aug98


    News Summary - Thursday 20 August

    Unions pressure Telstra with Rolling stoppages

    Members of the Communications Electrical and Plumbing union (CEPU) in Telstra's Network and Technology Group, excepting members in Network Design and Construction, will launch the first of a series of rolling strikes over a new Enterprise Agreement. CEPU members in NTG will stop work from 12.01am on Tuesday 25th August for 48 hours. Stoppages by other sections are also being planned.

    Meanwhile, two other unions in Telstra are also embarking on an industrial campaign. The Community and Public Sector Union (CPSU) are holding stopwork meetings from 10.30am on Friday, and APESMA is also launching action.

    The industrial action is being taken after more than twelve months of intransigence in negotiations with Telstra Management. Since Rob Cartwight waltzed in from anti-union mining company, CRA, and took over Employee Relations, Telstra management have adopted a highly legalistic and confrontational approach to their employees and their unions.

    Due to legal threats by Telstra Management, the CEPU has had to wait for the expiry of sectional industrial agreements before embarking on an industrial campaign. Under the Workplace Relations Act the only time that union members can take industrial action that is legal is when they are attempting to get their employer to reach an agreement with them about their wages and conditions, i.e. an EBA. The CEPU is taking great care to ensure that every individual stoppage is defined as "protected action" under the Workplace Relations Act.

    Telstra preparing to sue CEPU and officials

    The latest news is that Telstra appears to be mounting legal action to try and stop the strikes from occurring:
    Although Telstra has not directly challenged the status of the CEPU's protected industrial action, commencing next week, Telstra has nevertheless, started proceedings to sue the CEPU and three of its officials over that action.

    The CEPU views Telstra's action as inconsistent with the Workplace Relations Act and will be fighting Telstra's attempts to stop the CEPU's planned industrial action.

    Telstra has, once again, resorted to holding over the union the threat of legal action against individual officials, as well as the union as a whole, when members are simply exercising their legal rights in pursuit of an EBA.

    Preserving union conditions in Telstra

    The CEPU is claiming on behalf of its members:

    Twelve months ago Telstra offered a 2% pay rise for a 12 month contract with substantial changes in conditions. With the threat of industrial action Telstra has increased its offer to 4% pay increase now with 2% in 12 months plus another 2% increase conditional on a Customer Field Workforce Agreement being negotiated. For this pay rise Telstra is demanding of their employees to:

    The union, in this instance, is arguing for the preservation of job conditions won over many decades by union members. Telstra wishes to attack and reduce these conditions to enhance its value for privatisation.

    The industrial relations culture within Telstra changed markedly in 1996 with the election of the Howard Liberal and National Party Government. Up until two years ago Telstra enjoyed a relatively stable consensual relationship with its unions. Ian McPhee, a former Liberal Government Minister, led Telstra Employee Relations through a largely peaceful period with unions being consulted at the earliest stages of organisational or technological change.

    Rob Cartwright, was appointed by Peter Reith, to lead the anti-union campaign within Telstra. The Financial Review branded him as one of 'Reith's Rambos'. Rob Cartwright emphasises the importance of the management perogative above the rights of employees to have a say in processes that affect them.

    In particular, Rob Cartwright seeks to lock out any role for the unions within Telstra. This is done by a proactive information campaign to staff through meetings, bulletins, and E-mail bulletins. Many of the company policies have been rewritten - with any reference to a role for unions within Telstra eliminated, and emphasising a stronger role for management. Is it any wonder that Telstra employees are sceptical over conditions being enshrined in Company policies - policies that can be changed at a stroke of a pen by management.

    The last large disputes within Telstra occurred in the early 1980's over pay, technological and organisational change. The Unions won these disputes through the unity and solidarity of members. The present dispute shows every sign of being as bitter and protracted.

    Unions support school anti-racist walkout on August 28

    Support continues to grow for the August 28 national high school walkout against racism.

    Trades and Labour Councils in Western Australia, South Australia, NSW South Coast and the Australian Capital Territory have adopted resolutions of support for the August 28 walkout against racism . The United Trades and Labour Council of South Australia has gone further and called all unionists in that state to strike for two-hours in support of the anti-racist protest.

    Stephen Spence, President of the UTLC said: "Racism is not in the interests of workers. Racism is used to divide workers. We think it is important to get behind this action initiated by high school students."

    Media Release via Leftlink 20Aug98


    News Summary - Sunday 16 August

    Communications Union fights for pay & conditions in Telstra

    On Thursday the Communications Electrical Plumbing Union (CEPU) held 5 hour stopwork meetings around Australia in protest against a lack of progress in the last 11 months over a new enterprise agreement. Telstra workers demanded industrial action on a number of matters. Salary was but one issue. Job security, GNOC (Global Network Operations Center), loss of conditions and Saturday work attracted much attention.

    In Sydney, some of those attending marched to Telstra HQ in Sydney and staged a peaceful sit-in in the foyer. A rally continued outside with the chant "Saturday is a family day, stick your EBA" and "CEPU, here to stay".

    The industrial campaign will involve rolling strikes within Telstra business units, and other actions as members in each section decide.

    The same law firm which set up the corporate scam for Patricks Stevedoring, Freehill Hollingdale & Page, also happens to be Telstra's law firm. In an article in the Financial Review on Friday 14 August the changeover to a new law firm was described:

    Telstra, for example, dumped Corrs Chambers Westgarth and hired Freehills when its present IR manager, Mr Rob Cartwright, took over and began pushing individual employment contracts and a tougher approach to unions. Mr Tony Wood, a Freehills partner, is on full-time secondment to the telecommunications giant, replacing Corrs' partner and former Liberal IR minister Mr Ian Macphee.

    Mr Rob Cartwright formerly worked for the reknowned anti-union mining conglomerate Rio Tinto, and has been described in Financial Review articles as "one of Reith's Rambos".

    The fight for a new enterprise agreement within Telstra shows every sign of being long and protracted.

    Waterfront dispute lingers with the ACCC

    Despite a signed agreement between the Maritime Union, Patricks, Peter Reith and the Federal Government, Professor Allan Fels from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission is refusing to give ground by dropping its secondary boycotts case against the Maritime Union.

    Greg Combet for the ACTU believes it is in the Governments power to resolve the standoff by the authorisation of funds from the Governments stevedoring levy for limited compensation to affected businesses. If legal action is not withdrawn by the ACCC, then the peace agreement will lapse and the union will continue with its conspiracy case against Peter Reith and the other parties. Almost certainly the Patrick Group of companies will be placed in receivership and on the market, while 2,000 workers will be out of a job. More waterfront economic chaos will result.

    As the union movement rejects responsibility for causing the lockout and dispute, responsibility for payment of any damages is rejected. The MUA also rejects an insistence from the ACCC about future conduct when there has been no finding to date that the union acted illegally.

    Financial Review - 15Aug98

    GST package redistributes wealth to the rich

    Well, Treasurer Peter Costello and Prime Minister John Howard think they've pulled another rabbit out of the hat with their Goods and Sevices Tax Package. While an attempt has been made to make a 10% consumption tax palatable by revamping welfare payments and the promise of income tax cuts, the inequality of the tax is inescapable. The tax package is even now being marketed to us with a multi-million dollar budget by the Government in a blatant misuse of government monies for political campaigning.

    As Tim Colebatch writing in the Age on Friday 14 August said:

    By and large, Australians on low and middle incomes will be worse off under these tax rates than they were in 1993. Those on high incomes - particularly in the range from $50,000 to $100,000 - will be better off. The greatest benefits will go to those who do not need them.

    Most Australians will be checking the charts published in the newspapers to try and guage if they will be better off and by how much. Off course the charts are all based upon Government predictions, many of which are likely to prove inaccurate. The Asian financial crisis and the Year 2000 millenium Bug are both factors hard to accurately judge their effect on the Australian economy. Similarly, the prediction of cross the board price rise of 1.9% could prove an underestimate.

    A more valuable way of judging the tax package by these charts is to see who will benefit most. Howard is throwing peanuts to the poor while the rich get to eat more of the commonwealth cake. The redistribution of wealth in Australia from the poor to the rich continues...

    Takver - 16Aug98

    Further student anti-racism rallies for August 28

    The national high school walkout against racism organised for July 24 (July 28 in Queensland) proved an immense success. Resistance, who organised the walkouts, estimated more than 14,000 secondary students participated in a clear and direct repudiation of the politics of racism and Pauline Hanson's One Nation. This made it the single largest political action taken by secondary students in this country's history.

    The walkout provoked enormous debate in the mainstream media: about whether young people have the right to engage in such protests, about whether they should be walking out of school, about whether this marks the definitive end of the "apathetic" generation.

    Further action is planned for August 28 by high school students around Australia. Already the South Australian United Trades and Labour Council has called a two hour stop work on August 28 for workers to attend a rally in solidarity with high school students.

    Green Left Weekly via Leftlink 13Aug98


    React! against Nuclear Power Brokers

    Logo: Stop Jabiluka Logo: Stop Jabiluka Melbourne
    React! against nuclear power brokers
    Friday 21 August 1PM
    State Library Lawns

      ...against the "exploring and mining uranium 98" conference to be held in Darwin, August 20-21. Speakers at this conference include Ken Lonie, the General Manager of Energy Resources Australia. ERA are building the Jabiluka mine despite the strong opposition of the Mirrar people, who are recognised in both Aboriginal and Commonwealth law as the owners of the mine site. The conference is designed to let uranium companies pool their expertise in bulldozing over the wishes of Aboriginal people and the wider community. Sessions include: "The Jabiluka Project: Environmental issues - enhancing public perceptions", "Increasing Aboriginal participation in the mining industry in the NT" and "Ranger mine - a history of excellence."

    ...march to a radioactive site!

    Organised by the Jabiluka Action Group
    JAG 03 9417 6660


    News Summary - Thursday 13 August

    10,000 people rally in Melbourne in opposition to Racism, One Nation, and Uranium Mining at Jabiluka

    Photo: Rally against Racism outside State Library

    On Sunday August 9 10,000 people rallied and marched in Melbourne in opposition to racism, the rise of the One Nation as a right wing party, opposition to the Jabiluka Uranium Mine, and to support land rights and overturn Prime Minister Howard's 10 point plan.

    Media gets it wrong

    Photo: March against Racism 9 AugustThe Age on Monday reported only 3,000 people attended the rally. This may have been the case during the late afternoon for the final rally outside Trades Hall, however the march was more than several city blocks long which would indicate substantially higher numbers than reported in the Age.

    Commercial television news covered the event while the ABC failed to report the rally at all.

    While there is an effective downplaying and media cone of silence on peaceful reactions to One Nation and racism, confrontation situations, like outside the One Nation rally in Hawthorn, are blown all out of proportion. It is the constant media hype which pushes Pauline Hanson and One Nation forward.

    On Monday night Four Corners went to air with their "Inside One Nation Report". The investigative journalism may have produced some interesting facts about One Nation, but the reporter negated much of the message by his elitist and snearing attitude. His contemptuous attitude upstaged the information on One Nation he was endeavouring to communicate. A great pity, for at the heart of One Nation are deeply racist policies and attitudes. The radical right - from neo-nazis to anti-immigrationists to the gun lobby are all supporting One Nation.

    Jabiluka Blockade

    Sticker: Stop JabilukaThe Mirrar people in Kakadu have been fighting against the imposition of Uranium Mines for over 20 years. They have been granted Land Rights over their land, yet are still at the mercy of the powerful mining companies, business interests and 'whitefella' politicians. They were forced to accept the establishment of the Ranger Mine in 1979. They are even more determined to stop further desecration of their land by the Jabiluka Uranium Mine.

    The Mirrar began the Stop Jabiluka Campaign in 1996, and a support network of social justice and environmental groups has joined them in their campaign.

    "A new mine will make our future worthless and destroy more of our country. We oppose any further mining development in our country."
    Yvonne Margarula, Mirrar Senior Traditional Owner

    The Mirrar people have invited people to join them in a blockade of the new mine. From 23 March 1998 a permanent blockade camp has been setup.

    Photo: Jabiluka Blockade 14 July 1998 (Courtesy www.jabiluka.net)
    Jabiluka Blockade 14 July 1998 (Courtesy www.jabiluka.net)


    News Summary - Thursday 13 August

    Dubai passports confirm conspiracy

    New evidence suggests the Federal Government knew of plans to train former soldiers as dock workers in Dubai last year. Hand-witten annotation on passport applications for the Dubai mercenaries would seem to implicate senior officers in Foreign Affairs acting under Government direction.

    The Age newspaper has obtained two passport applications by Dubai trainees. The one referring to ``Urgent go ... travel'' includes the line, ``OK with Roy Morgan''. The second has the annotation: ``Bob Brown (sic) in Canberra knows of this group and reasons''. Mr Morgan and Mr Browne were passport officials within the Department of Foreign Affairs when the applications were processed. The one qualification is in the form of missing letters from a hand-written annotation on a passport application of one of the so-called Dubai industrial mercenaries.

    Labor's transport spokesman, Mr Lindsay Tanner, said "This is another piece of evidence suggesting direct government involvement in the Dubai industrial mercenaries scheme and we will be pursuing the document in Senate estimates committee hearings when Parliament resumes."

    The Age - 12 Aug98

    Cowardly Politicians

    Well, the M.U.A called that thug, Reith's bluff and his nerve has finally cracked.

    My union said that they would forego all legal actions if the others did likewise, Reith however in his usually slimy way, set his running dogs the ACCC onto us and then sat back with a smug grin on his arrogant face and said that the `Don Quixote' of the ACCC had nothing to do with him.

    Well, the smile has started to slip from his ugly countenance, he's started to realize that although the M.U.A. is a principled organization and will keep it's word, that, if his hounds are not put back on their leash they will flush out far more than just their quarry, but will as their case unfolds drag Patrick's, the NFF, The unLib's and all the rest of their dirty little conspiracy back into court, thus bringing them all unstuck.

    Ever the coward, he enjoys misusing the authority granted to him at the last Federal election, he enjoys nothing more than kicking people whilst they're on the ground, but by god, you should see him run, like the cur he is when he's under threat, and so seeing the possibility that all his conniving and lies will be paraded before the Australian people, he's suddenly decided that he can recall his `little doer' after all. The scab lover hasn't even got the strength of his own convictions and that's why the workers will win in the end !!!

    M.U.A. HERE TO STAY !!!

    Leftlink - 12 Aug98

    Patrick Corporate scam spreads to Meat Industry

    The Federal Court has frozen the assets of a South Australian meat-processing group, Mt Schank abattoir, which sacked its entire workforce and moved to wind up its labour hire subsidiaries during a bitter industrial dispute.

    The court also ordered the group, not to hire any new employees to replace the 100 or so union members sacked in June in a dispute over underpayment of wages. Justice Shane Marshall used the precedent set in the Patrick Stevedores case by issuing an interim injunction against the meat-processing group. Justice Marshall also ordered companies in the Mt Schank group not to acquire labour services from anyone other than the sacked employees, until the case was heard and decided. He also ordered the companies and their directors not to dispose of any assets and ordered the liquidator not to go ahead with moves to wind up one of the labour-hire subsidiaries.

    The Australasian Meat Industry Employees Union took legal action against the group after a long-running dispute over underpayment of wages came to a head in June. Two years ago workers at the Mt Schank abattoir had their employment transferred to two labour-hire subsidiary companies, which had no significant assets apart from contracts to supply labour to other companies in the group.

    After the AMIEU began legal proceedings for underpayment of wages, the Mt Schank group's principals, Mr Rashad Aziz and Mr Nahed Aziz, placed the two labour-hire subsidiaries into voluntary administration, a move that led to the dismissal of the entire workforce in June.

    The AMIEU alleged that this breached the Workplace Relations Act's prohibitions on discrimination against union members and sought an interim injunction preserving the status quo until the case could be fully tried. The union has sought damages against the Mt Schank group and its owners, the Aziz family, for breaching the workers' employment contracts and for conspiracy.

    The company is threatening to go to the South Australian Supreme Court seeking millions of dollars in damages against the AMIEU and about 40 of the sacked workers.

    Financial Review 11Aug98


    News Summary - Monday 11 August

    Davids Dispute continues solidarity

    Now in sixth week. Short Summary

    From Leftlink 9 August:

    From Leftlink 5 August:

    From Leftlink 15 July:

    Agreement signed with Patrick

    Speaking after the creditors meeting last week John Coombs said that the MUA would press its conspiracy case against the Federal Government and Patrick if the ACCC did not settle its legal action.

    A spokesperson for Citibank, one of the banks owed $270 million by Patrick, also urged the ACCC to drop its action.

    Industrial Relations Minister Peter Reith told ABC Radio on Thursday that it was clearly in the interests of all sides for the waterfront deal to stick and has told the national competition watchdog to drop its legal action against the Maritime Union of Australia.

    Financial Review 6Aug98, 7Aug98

    Coombs replies to Financial Review Editorial

    from the Financial Review Letters, August 7 1998
    Docks jibe takes wrong tack

    Your leader writer describes the waterfront dispute as a punch-up between "two drunks", the MUA and Patrick, in the front bar ("Fels stands up to Coombs", AFR editorial, August 5). Everyone else, you claim, was an innocent bystander.

    Well, there were more than two in the ring a bit punch-drunk during the great docks fight. The fight broke all the rules of fair play, with "promoter" Reith forever claiming the MUA was down when we were still well and truly on our feet.

    Ten out of 11 judges agreed the union had a case and that evidence suggested Patrick and others had conspired to have the workforce illegally sacked for being members of the union. The referee, in this case the High Court, ended the contest with the MUA winning on points.

    Isn't it, then, a bit below the belt for your leader writer to now egg on the pugnacious Professor Fels, challenging the union to pay out $10 million in damages when we have not been found guilty of anything?

    Now the brawl is over, the ACCC wants to pick a fight with the union, while turning a blind eye to those realoly responsible for any bruising that business suffered.

    The hypocrisy of the ACCC tenaciously pursuing the union, while ignoring other complaints, is well documented. Not so long ago the ACCC failed to take on foreign ship-owners over alleged pricing collusion.

    The ACCC declined to assist importers in 1995-96, despite requests from Australian importers and despite legal advice that the price increases on freight could have been in breach of the TRade Practices Act.

    The price hikes are estimated to have cost the Australian community between $45 million and $90 million over the past three years - costs which have been passed on to Australian consumers in the prices of the imported goods they buy and which far exceed the $10 million in damages allegedly caused by the waterfront dispute.

    Well, if Professor Fels wants to take on the MUA, so be it. But if he continues with the ACCC legal action, the matter could well end up back in the courts as early as next week. The implementation of the Deed of Settlement depends on the condition precedent that ACCC litigation "be discontinued, settled or dealt with to the reasonable satisfaction of the MUA".

    It is worth noting that Mr Reith, if not Professor Fels, is a signatory to the deed.

    John Coombs
    National Secretary
    Maritime Union of Australia
    Sydney, NSW.

    Financial Review 7Aug98

    Reith sets sites on builders

    The Howard Government has commissioned a detailed study on work practices in the building industry to form part of its blueprint for taking on the powerful Construction Forestry Mining and Energy Union. Workplace Relations Minister Peter Reith warned the CFMEU on 30th July that it would have to change its behaviour. At a meeting of industry bosses he said "A significant change is needed in the workplace relations performance of the construction industry... Industry-wide or sector-wide agreements, which provide wage increases in excess of those gained in other sectors and offer little in return in terms of productivity improvements, remain a dominant feature. ...They increase the industry's cost ... the Government will not tolerate this."

    The proposed study comes hard on the heels of a Productivity Commission report, commissioned two months ago, and the Government's code of practice, released earlier this year.

    The code demands that contractors on government sites comply with freedom of association and other provisions of the Workplace Relations Act.

    Mr Reith said the Government would use its links to $3 billion of construction work to force the pace of change.

    But CFMEU construction division national secretary John Sutton has warned the Government that they will face the same militant defiance as organised by the Maritime Union of Australia in its battle with Patrick stevedores and the other parties in the conspiracy.

    Mr Sutton said "Our members will not be slow to walk off sites, and we will have one hell of a stoush."

    The union has received independent polling that found 67 per cent of the membership was happy with the union and only 9 per cent believed it was too militant.


    Union declares Job Network a failure

    The Community and Public Sector Union (CPSU) says the Federal Government's new Job Network has failed after just three months, with both the unemployed and businesses worse off.

    CPSU national secretary Wendy Caird says, until it was abolished in May, the CES provided an accessible free service for all job seekers.

    Ms Caird says the new job seeker network is not willing to provide a service for all, with many unemployed people feeling confused about where to go for help, and employers paying fees for services they used to enjoy for free.

    She says the Federal Government has to rethink its Job Network. "I think the Government has to acknowledge that you can't just provide services on the basis of profit when you're talking about unemployment. There's actually a need to provide a universal, free, available employment service."

    ABC 1Aug98

    [ Top of Page ] [ Takver's Soapbox ] [ Site Map ]
    Contact Takver with questions or comments about this web page.
    Last Modified : August 30, 1998