Daily Archives: June 15, 2015


No Tears for ‘Zinger’

William Zanzinger killed poor Hattie Carroll
Hattie Carroll was a maid in the kitchen
She was fifty-one years old 
And gave birth to ten children
Who carried the dishes and took out the garbage
And never sat once at the head of the table
And didn't even talk to the people at the table
Bury the rag deep in your face
Now is the time for your tears
            Adapted from Lonesome death of Hattie Carroll 
            Bob Dylan



William ‘Zinger’ Shorten

Federal opposition leader Bill Shorten is on the way out

Mr Shorten’s credentials as a union leader will be under question when he fronts the Royal Commission into Trade Union Governance and Corruption.

Mr Shorten will be asked if he brokered sweetheart deals between the Australian Workers Union and a cleaning contractor for the Sydney Olympics.

It is alleged that Mr Shorten, then State Secretary of the Victorian AWU, cut a deal with CleanEvent boss and mate, Craig Lovett, that cost workers two million dollars per year by cutting their hourly rate down to $18 per hour and depriving them of overtime.

The Royal commission is investigating whether CleanEvent paid the AWU to extend favourable Enterprise bargaining agreements that included low rates of pay and committed the union not to take industrial action against the company.

As part of the deal, it is alleged, Bill Shorten’s closest factional allies received payments from CleanEvent disguised as health and safety training fees. The money is supposed to have created “phantom” union memberships to boost the AWU’s standing at ALP state conferences. This is almost precisely the same scam that Julia Gillard’s old boyfriend Bruce Wilson used to run a reform ticket against the old guard of the AWU. It was Gillard’s legal advice on the scam that got Julia the sack from Slater & Gordon. Julia Gillard was from the Left faction.

Mr Shorten denies all allegations claiming: ” I always put the interests of workers first as their representative, just as I always put the interests of Australian families first as opposition leader.”*

The Royal Commission will resume today at 10am at Market Street in Sydney.

Ian Curr
18 June 2015

* Note: Bill Shorten’s nickname Zinger refers to the pithy grabs Bill Shorten gives the media.


What union member will vote for an organiser who signs an EBA for $18 per hour when the industry is paying more than twice that much?

Bill sold us out

If Bill Shorten was running for union elections now he would be out on his ear.

That is the good thing about a union elections, you make promises to members, and, if they trust you, they vote you in.

If you don’t deliver they chuck you out.

Ask the officials of the Qld Plumbers union who just got voted out.

This is the beauty of union elections.


Click to read ‘After the Waterfront’

But in parliamentary elections, both sides make promises and they never deliver for union members, they attack the union … so workers can’t win.

Meanwhile Shorten’s factional allies are ripping into the Labor Government in Queensland for phasing out sand mining on Stradbroke Island.

This is ironic given that both Annastasia Palaszczuk and Cameron Dick are from the AWU faction of the ALP. These two, with Jackie Trad (Left faction), form the Troika that are running  Queensland at the moment ;).

Apologies to our readers, I have to quote the Courier Mail below because that is where the AWU has made its stinging riposte to its factional mates … ah, the Courier Mail, a well known pamphlet for the LNP re-election in Queensland.

There remains the unanswered question from ministers, media and pundits:

What happens to the Quandamooka high court challenge now that the Queensland government has decided to phase out sand mining on Straddie? What about the aboriginal people who never ceded country on Straddie or anywhere else?

Ian Curr
June 2015


[Courier Mail – LNP electioneering pamphlet]

Scrapping Stradbroke Island mining will come at huge cost, warns resources council boss
Australian Workers’ Union branded the planned shutdown a kick in the guts to workers and a decision aimed at “soy sipping latte politics of West End and Paddington’’.

The comments were a powerful attack on the Government and Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk, who belongs to the AWU faction.

It follows a decision by Environment Minister Steven Miles to phase out mining on the island by 2019, rather than allow for the Newman Government plan for an end in 2035.

AWU state secretary Ben Swan labelled the Stradbroke decision “a kick in the guts”.

“This decision speaks more to the soy milk latte sipping politics of Paddington and West End in inner city Brisbane than it does to the Government’s stated objective of supporting jobs and sustainable resource development throughout Queensland, particularly at a time when unemployment remains high,” Mr Swan said.

“There has been absolutely no consultation with the workforce and their representatives by the Government on this issue.

Source: Courier Mail



Record low for Shorten approval

Bill Shorten’s approval rating has taken a dive, Newspoll figures show. Source: News Corp Australia

Bill Shorten’s approval rating has tumbled to a record low of 28 per cent, with nearly twice as many voters dissatisfied with the Opposition Leader’s performance, as Labor’s primary vote dropped to an eight-month low.

But rising support for the Greens continues to keep Labor ahead of the Coalition in two-party-preferred terms, according to the latest Newspoll, conducted exclusively for The Australian at the weekend.

Tony Abbott also suffered a hit to his satisfaction rating over the past fortnight but he remains more popular than Mr Shorten and is still ranked as voters’ preferred prime minister.

After a fortnight in which the government was on the backfoot over housing affordability, stepped up the debate over citizenship laws and faced allegations it paid people-smugglers to turn around an asylum-seeker boat, Labor’s primary vote fell three points to 34 per cent, the lowest since October as the ­Coalition dropped one point to 40 per cent. The Greens nudged up one point to an eight-month high of 14 per cent while others, including independents and minor parties, gained three points to 12 per cent.


NTEU presents ‘Ivory Tower’

A must-see movie for all who work or study in Higher Education.

IVORY TOWER examines the flaws and inequality in the US higher education system, where student debt now exceeds $1.2 trillion. It highlights the threats to quality and the value of university education when institutions adopt corporate models that treat education as a private rather than a public good.

Christopher Pyne has lauded the American higher education model and said “We have much to learn about universities competing for students and focusing on our students,” and “Not least, we have much to learn about this from our friends in the United States.”

“Is this a glimpse into the future of Australian Higher Education?” asks Jeannie Rea, NTEU National President.

Don’t miss this important opportunity to learn what a deregulated Higher Education system looks like!

For more information see: http://www.nteu.org.au/ivorytower

Bashir eludes International Criminal Court

[Publisher’s Note: And what of the war crimes of Bush, Blair, Howard, Cheney, Rumsfeld and so on … when will the ICC issue arrest warrants for these?]

Mr Bashir arrived at the airport in Kartoum (Sudan) on Monday evening after leaving Pretoria (South Africa) despite a warrant for his arrest issued by the International Criminal Court in the Hague.  Dressed in white robes and waving a cane Bashir was greeted by cheering supporters.

The Sudanese leader is accused of committing war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide during the Darfur conflict.

President’s plane leaves South Africa as court continues to hear case on whether he should be arrested on ICC warrant.


Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir came to South Africa for the AU Summit in Sandton, Johannesburg [AP]

More to this story

Sudan’s information minister has said that Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir flew out of South Africa on Monday, defying a high court order which banned him from leaving the country until an application calling for his arrest had been heard.

kicking_out_omar_al_bashir__tjeerd_royaards“Yes, he has left,” Information Minister Ahmed Bilal Osman confirmed to Al Jazeera, saying that South Africa had always agreed not to arrest the president while he was in the country for the African Union summit.

“President Bashir is not a prisoner inside Sudan,” he added, saying that the president was due to land back in Khartoum at about 6:30pm local time (15:30 GMT).

An interim order was made by the high court in Pretoria on Sunday, barring President Bashir from leaving South Africa, pending an application from civil society organisations calling for his arrest on an International Criminal Court warrant.

Earlier on Monday, Osman said the president would return to Sudan regardless of whether the high court ordered his arrest.

“The [South African] judiciary…does not have policemen… No one is going to arrest him.”

The South African state broadcaster, SABC, reported at about 10:15 GMT on Monday that the president’s plane had flown out of the Waterkloof air force base, on the outskirts of Pretoria.

A lawyer appearing on behalf of the South African government, however, later told the high court in Pretoria that President Bashir was not on the list of passengers in the plane that left Waterkloof base.

Read more: Background on African Union opposition to the ICC

Prior to the president leaving the country, the high court in Pretoria was expected to decide whether to send Bashir to the International Criminal Court.

Court orders Sudan’s Bashir to remain in South Africa

Al Jazeera’s Fahmida Miller, reporting from Johannesburg, said that the Sudanese president’s plane had been moved to a South African military base late on Sunday night.

She said that the defence force was not a party to the court case, meaning President Bashir would be able to fly from the base unobstructed.

If the plane has left as reported, the home affairs department could be held in contempt of court for failing to implement the conditions of the court order barring the president’s exit, our correspondent reported.

Bashir, who is accused of war crimes in repressing an armed uprising in the Sudanese region of Darfur, was appeared in Johannesburg on Sunday for the AU summit.

The Hague-based ICC issued an arrest warrant in 2009, but Bashir denies the charges.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon told reporters in Geneva on Monday that the authority of the ICC must be respected and its decision implemented.

Before Sunday’s court ruling was announced , the judge said the court would decide whether a South African government cabinet decision to host Bashir would trump the ICC arrest warrant.

Sources: Al Jazeera and BBC

Kartoons: http://www.cartoonmovement.com/cartoonist


BFU presents WTFU: A radical history of free universities.

Dear BFUers, Ever wondered ‘WTF is a Free University anyway’? Ever thought that BFU couldn’t get much more meta? Come along to our next session, when we’ll explore the political potentials of free universities across time and space! When: Thursday … Continue reading

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