The following article deals with three major questions in our unions.
- Abolish Australian Building & Construction Commission
- Stop the NT Intervention
- WorkChoices – History of local action in Brisbane against WorkChoices
The articles also provide links to other posts relating to these issues.
17 June 2009
PLEASE PLACE ANY COMMENTS CORRECTIONS BY CLICKING REPLY BELOW.
The building unions in Australia are trying to get rid of the Australian Building & Construction Commission (ABCC). It was a recommendation of the Cole Royal Commission to attack building unions.
Union members support these attempts.
The ABCC is a commission that was set up under the Howard government and continued under the Rudd Labor government. It is used to harrass and intimidate unions and their members. Over 200 workers have been dragged up before the ABCC since it was set up. They are threatened with imprisonment.
WA CFMEU official Noel Washington was threatened with prison under the Labor government. Because of pressure from the unions an inquiry was set up, called the Wilcox Inquiry which has recommended that the ABCC legislation to be moved across to Fair Work Australia, the ALP government’s IR legislation. Labor has also retained the secondary boycott legislation that was used against the meatworkers union during the Hawke labor government.
Now this legislation, design for times when capitalism is is crisis, is to be used against workers during the current recession.
Be patient it may take a little while to load but it is well worth listening to (30 mins playing time). LIsten to it in the background while you read the rest of this peice.
The recording begins with a video (sound only) that was played to the ACTU congress on 2 June 2009 in Brisbane. Then Dave Noonan speaks followed by Ark, the rigger who has been threatened with jail by the ABCC for refusing to dob in his mates at work.
Just before the 1983 election Ralph Willis, the future minister for employment & industrial relations in the Hawke govt, told public sector workers at a mass meeting of the ACOA and other public sector unions at Festival hall that we could expect nothing if Labor won the election. He was true to his word.
They gave us the Accord and never repealed the laws against secondary boycotts. So the ALP distanced itself from the unions even before the election that time around. We suffer no illusions, this may be the last
throw of the dice for the unions and, ironically, for many of us older workers.
This time around the unions have distanced themselves from the Rudd ALP government quicker than they did last time in 1983. Then the ACTU stuck with the ALP throughout the term of the Hawke & Keating governments, only unions like the Builders Labourers Federation BLF broke free. The BLF in Qld stuck with the ALP government whereas down south they were deregistered & made illegal by the Hawke government.
Blacks Deaths in Custody and the NT Intervention have given rise protest action, ABC current affairs programs (Who Killed Mr Ward?) and court actions by the state (the Trial of lex Wotton). We don’t hear much of what goes on in Australia’s other parliament, the ACTU. Well this year the ACTU congress was held in Brisbane and the following is a recording of speakers who oppose the intervention.
ACTU delegates passed a motion opposing the Rudd labor government’s support of the NT intervention.
The first speaker is Kara, an aboriginal woman working in the ACTU and Qld unions on indigenous issues.
The second was the President of the Federal Police Officers union who spoke strongly against the federal intervention in the Northern Territory.
Sharan Burrows (ACTU president) summed up and put the motion to the congress. The audio file of these speeches is below. Just click on it.
Be patient the sound file will take a little time to load.
History of local action in Brisbane against WorkChoices
Rank and File Group Speaking Platform at WorkChoices Rally on Thursday 30th November 2006
Some unions (including ETU and LHMU) will march to and from the Union rally at South Bank on Thursday morning.
The West End Rank and File group has organised a speaking platform at South Bank on Thursday morning.
Contact Bernie Nevile on 3300 1405 or firstname.lastname@example.org
The QCU website states:
“Take action on November 30 – all around Queensland! Attend a venue from 8:30am onwards to watch the ACTU broadcast from the MCG”
So no march is planned and no speakers apart from the broadcast from the MCG.
In Brisbane, the Rank and File platform may be the only live platform on the day! I heard from a couple of rank and file people on the weekend that the Electrical Trades Union (ETU) and the Liquor, Hospitality and Miscellaneous Union (LHMU) are marching from Musgrave to South Bank for the broadcast and then marching back after.
The Qld Council of Unions (QCU) do not appear to be even pretending that they are doing anything anymore.
If the Left were properly organised it could (in alliance with the Communications Electrical & Plumbers Unions (including the ETU), Construction Forestry Mining & Engineering Union & Builders Labourers Federation (Qld), the Qld Teachers Union, the LHMU (Misos) and Australian Manufacturing Workers Union) probably take over the entire day.
It is clear that these unions will be the mainstay of the protest.
Come to the open platform organised by the Rank and File Group.