Victorian Trades Hall Council Bulletin – March 2010

Launch of the ASU Campaign to Abolish the Local Government Inspectorate

The Australian Services Union launched their “Recover Our Rights” campaign today to get rid of the secretive Local Government Investigations and Compliance Inspectorate – LGI.

A funeral procession was held to symbolise the State Government’s attempt to bury basic human rights via the actions of the LGI. The procession started from the Melbourne Town Hall and marched to the LGI Offices in Collins St. The LGI is staffed by about a dozen Inspectors who are granted sweeping powers under sections of the Local Government Act. It is led by former police detective David Wolfe. The LGI is not governed by specific legislation and answers only to the Minister. It is similar to secret Ministerial Police found in countries run by dictators.

Since the Inspectorate’s establishment, it has interrogated several people connected to local government from road maintenance workers to councillors and suburban newspaper journalists. Not complying with its investigations means up to 2 years prison and /or $28,000 fines.

For more information and to support the ASU Campaign go to:

SLAM RALLY – Dont Kill Live Music
24 February 2010
live music

The Victorian Trades Hall Council supported the “Save Live Australian Music’ (SLAM) Rally held on Tuesday, 23 February 2010. Thousands of musicians and fans gathered in Melbourne CBD to protest against the State Government’s liquor licensing laws. The Rally recreated AC/DC’s It’s a Long Way to the Top (if you Wanna Rock’n’Roll) film clip shot in Swanston Street 34 years ago today, travelled from the State Library to Parliament House, filling the streets with musicians and their supporters.

ASU Campaign to Abolish the Local Government Inspectorate
Launch of the Campaign, 10am Wednesday March 3, Melbourne Town Hall, Swanston Street.
Workplace Bullying – VWA’s ‘Respect at Work’ campaign needs to make up lost ground
By Brian Boyd, VTHC Secretary
17 February 2010

The Victorian Trades Hall Council has welcomed the recent successful prosecution for bullying and said the establishment of WorkSafe’s “Respect at Work” campaign needs to hit the ground running.

For many years in many WorkSafe forums unions have been raising concerns about the inadequacy of WorkSafe’s response to workplace bullying. The VTHC is pleased that this campaign is up and running but workers in Victoria deserve a stronger response from WorkSafe on this issue. For some workers bullying is a life and death issue for others bullying is an all too common occurrence.

The move to prosecute bullies, and the employers who allow it to happen, is welcome. Sadly, there are many more workers who continue to suffer bullying in the workplace and their stories also need to be told.

The VTHC also says that federal moves to uniform health and safety laws around Australia, if allowed to happen based on current drafts, will result in reduced Victorian OHS standards.

Tony Abbott, “The Mad Monk” and the union movement
By Brian Boyd, VTHC Secretary
18 January 2010
It is right for the union movement to warn workers about the return of the right – wing rump now in charge of the federal Liberal / NP opposition.

The turmoil inside the Liberal Party at the end of 2009 over a proposed Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) has only exposed to the wider Australian public the existence of the ultra conservative, born to rule group of politicians in Canberra, that the union movement has been well aware of for years.

We should be wary of their antics, their prograndising, pro- employer, wage cutting, work place destabilisation rhetoric. There is no way ordinary working people want these politicians running the country again.

Their arrogance knows no bounds. When their latest leader Tony Abbott said he’s going to resurrect the insulting concept of “Howard’s Battlers” and rename them “Abbott’s Army”, it was pathetic.

They can try to reinvent themselves as much as they like, but unions know that the contempt they hold for ordinary people will never go away.

There is no way Mr Abbott is going to turn back time and play similar games. Yet he fancies himself.

VTHC Climate Change Working Group
The VTHC Climate change working group was recently established to organise around issues of climate change and resources depletion. Unions recognise the need for action now to minimize the potentially catastrophic affects of global warming that will occur if we do not act. However we are committed to ensuring that working people and those less well off in our society are not disadvantaged by adaptation measures.
Higher fees, student debts and fewer courses – thats what the Brumby Government’s plans for technical and further education will mean from July 1.
UFUA Dispute – MFESB in Crisis
The UFU has implemented a campaign website – to enable members of the public to support their firefighters by contacting their local member of parliament by email and requesting that they rectify the current problems with their fire service.
It’s your call: Improving Australian call centres for workers
The ASU has launched a new campaign to improve Australia’s call centres for those working in the industry, for more info: The call centre industry is a major employer in Australia and an integral part of our nation’s economy. The ASU wants to make sure all call centre workers enjoy the same, high level working conditions and that all workers are being valued and paid fairly.
‘Don’t Privatise our TAFEs’
The Victorian Government planned overhaul of our public TAFE system has serious consequences for workers in the education sector and every industry affected by vocational education. Click onto combined NTEU and AEU Campaign link – ‘Don’t Privatise Our TAFEs’ – to voice your disapproval.
23 February 2010
Garrett’s home insultation controversy was easily avoidable.
By Brian Boyd, VTHC Secretary
March for Harmony
On March 5th, show your solidarity with international students. Join the March for Harmony as we celebrate life in Victoria. Assemble at 11.30 am in front of the State Library, Swanston Street.

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