'I Called Him A Worship, Your Bastard!' Denis Kevans (Poet Lorrikeet)
The poet lorrikeet would have enjoyed court yesterday with obscene language featuring in the original 54 charges of criminal contempt against union man, Bob Carnegie.
Over 3000 people were arrested in Queensland in 1977-1979 defending the right to organise, to assemble and to march.
Bjelke-Petersen introduced laws which attempted to take away these rights.
He was unsuccessful. In 1992 the Goss labor Government introduced the Peaceful Assemblies Act to enshrine the right to assembly that Bjelke-Petersen had tried to take away. The Act reads:
Right of peaceful assembly A person has the right to assemble peacefully with others in a public place. (2) The right is subject only to such restrictions as are necessary and reasonable in a democratic society in the interests of— (a) public safety; or (b) public order; or (c) the protection of the rights and freedoms of other persons.
Look behind the facts of the case against Bob Carnegie and you can see hope in the power of workers united.
Community organiser, Bob Carnegie, had to sit through five hours hours of court time today (11 Feb 2013) listening to 18 charges against him that attempt to take away the right to assemble and the right to strike.
Officials of the CFMEU, BLF, ETU, and Plumbers’ Union received court orders banning them from going within 100 metres of ‘management gate’ in Graham Street, South Brisbane. These injunctions were unlawful. For example one read:
“Employees be restrained from organising, encouraging, assisting or participating in a picket line at the entry or exit points of the QCH project” [Abigroup Contractors Pty Ltd v CFMEU & Ors 
The workers continued their action in the form of a “community protest”. In doing so they were exercising their right under the Peaceful Assemblies Act 1992.
The court dropped the other 36 charges because it would take too much time and the magistrate was keen to have this case over as soon as possible. Federal Magistrate Burnett said that he’d make a quick ‘cost benefit’ analysis and added that it did not matter to the result if there were 9 0r 54 charges.
For the most part these charges related to Bob Carnegie being inside a 100 metre perimeter from what the court called ‘management gate’ at QCH (during the SEQEB dispute in 1985 workers weren’t allowed to be 50 metres away from the workplace). Bob Cagnegie turned up near management gate between the hours of 5.30am and 7 am with his mates — all they were trying to do to get an Enterprise bargaining Agreement (EBA) out of Abigroup (owned by Lend Lease). It is industrial law that workers are allowed to bargain the terms of their employment.
In September/October 2012 Abigroup employed contractors to take videos of workers exercising their right of assembly outside Qld Childrens Hospital (QCH) construction site. An ex-labourer turned private investigator, Paul Munt (for the applicant, AbiGroup) gave evidence of covert surveillance against Bob and his mates at the building site of the new Queensland Children’s hospital. All the videos shown in evidence depict Bob Carnegie defending the right to organise and the right to assemble. The workers were peaceful and the workplace was quiet behind them.
Over 400 construction workers turned up outside court to support Bob today (11 Feb 2013).
Inside court it was a different story with Paul Munt giving evidence against Bob. Another witness will give evidence tomorrow (12 Feb 2012) under duress. This witness told me AbiGroup will sack him if he does not give evidence against Bob Carnegie.
We saw Paul Munt give evidence that he could recognise Bob Carnegie in the dark breaking the injunction that the court ordered that he was not to go anywhere near the QCH.
Forget the right to assemble won back in the 1970s.
Bob Carnegie pointed this out in a speech recorded in the video shown by Paul Munt in court. On one occasion Paul Munt actually indicated Bob Carnegie as this shadowy figure wearing a coat and trousers. The date stamp on the video was 7 September 2012. The time stamp was 5.47am. Nine minutes later, as the light grew, people in court could see the real Bob Carnegie wearing a different set of clothes and the shadowy figure that Munt referred to had disappeared. The fastest costume change in union history! On another occasion, Paul Munt filmed Bob covertly with a hidden camera. Bob was unaware that his words and face were being recorded by Munt.
Contrast this with Bob Carnegie shown on the video saying to workers:
‘… hold the line, stay strong together we are peaceful … I am proud as a union man, a socialist and human being (to be with yous all here today
On 11 Sept 2o12 Paul Munt claims to be able to recognise Bob Carnegie in the video at at 5.07 am even though the video depicts a brown black scene in Graham Street where no one could be identified reliably.
Queensland police in attendance seemed unconcerned about the assembly in Graham Street, they know people have a right to peaceful assembly, they ought to, they tried to take this right away from workers often enough!
At 6.19am on the 11 Sept 2012 you could see a local musician with his guitar alongside Bob Carnegie and a friend who organises gigs. A community picket with some working class songs, what is wrong with that?
Abigroup and their corporate masters at Lend Lease are trying to take away our right to strike, they think they have taken away our right to assembly … this is not possible especially here in Queensland where workers fought so long and hard for the right to organise. So why focus on Bob? Central casting at AbiGroup don’t understand ‘touch one touch all’. Abigroup’s lawyers, Minter-Ellison (Mr James Murdoch S.C.), are living in dreamland if they think they can take these hard earned rights away from workers. Bob Carnegie was represented by Slater & Gordon (Peter J Morrissey S.C.). Abigroup’s senior project manager, Brian Gildea, will also be giving evidence in the case.
Hands off Bob! Defend the right to organise!
Show your support by turning up to federal magistrate’s court in the morning tuesday 12 feb 2013 at corner of Tank street and North Quay in Brisbane Court no 7 on the 6th floor.
0407 687 016
- Rally in defence of Bob Carnegie! (workersbushtelegraph.com.au)