In a move to the Left after vacating the Presidency of the Australian Council of Trade Unions from 2000 till 2010, Sharan Burrows went with an ABC film crew and journalist Eric Campbell to QATAR to expose terrible conditions for over 1 million migrant construction workers. Not the worst working conditions in the region but pretty bad nonetheless.
Qatar is the home of al Jazeera and of US airforce and military bases used to strike Iraqi and Syrian people. Qatar is a feudal autocracy that refuses foreign workers permission to enter the capital city of Doha during its national day of celebration, even though it was foreign workers that built the city.
Under Sharan Burrow’s leadership, the ACTU supported the election of the Rudd Labor government in 2007 that sent workers to their deaths in the botched implementation of the Pink Bat Installation scheme. Sharan Burrow blamed dodgy contractors but the ALP government failed to regulate the scheme and to insist on proper health and safety conditions:
“You’ve got hundreds of operators who suddenly decided they would become pink bat installers overnight, and they’re dodgy.” Ms Burrow said.
It would be interesting to hear ALP member Burrow’s take on the failure of a Labor government to prevent deaths in Australian industry. One worker dies in the Australian workplaces every week … in the recent build of Brisbane tunnels OH&S was nearly non-existent. If it weren’t for the unions nothing would be done.
Successive Australian governments have exploited foreign workers using the 457 visa and the current federal government has effectively created two classes of citizenship with its immigration laws.
Former ALP government minister Simon Crean another ACTU president supported the war in Iraq and the US alliance despite the devastation and lives lost from that conflict.
The Mālama Honua Worldwide Voyage
Hōkūle‘a and Hikianalia, our Polynesian voyaging canoes, are sailing across Earth’s oceans to join and grow the global movement toward a more sustainable world. The Mālama Honua Worldwide Voyage began in 2013 with a Mālama Hawaiʻi sail around our archipelago, and will continue through 2017 when our new generation of navigators take the helm and guide Hōkūle‘a and Hikianalia back to Polynesia after circumnavigating the globe.
Today the crew got to tour Stradbroke Island with some of the native elders as our guides. We started by visiting Brown Lake or Burimma, which is very sacred to Quadamooka people. The elder Evelyn spoke to the crew about the struggle and survival of her people, which was a very familiar tale. Later we had lunch at the North point of the island, commonly know as The Point [Point Lookout], which had very beautiful beaches and wild kangaroo roaming around. After that, we went to Dunwich State School where the crew gave a short presentation to the students and teachers followed by a question and answer session with Captain Bruce Blankenfeld. The school was then invited to visit and explore Hōkūleʻa. A small collective of crew also went to the Yulu-Burri-Ba Health Center, which is dedicated to native health. The day ended with a gorgeous sunset, which in turn gave birth to a chilly evening, currently around 52° Fahrenheit. The crew is happy and excited for this Australian adventure.
Worldwide Voyage Tracking Map
Track Hōkūle`a and Hikianalia as they voyage around the world. The green line is the reference course designed by the navigators for reaching the destination from the departure point, given the capabilities of the vessel and the winds, currents, and weather conditions anticipated along the way. The yellow line tracks the progress of Hokulea while the red line follows Hikianalia. For more information on the PVS voyaging fleet, click here.