05 June 2009

2009 ACTU Congress

Well this blogger just had the pleasure of visiting the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre for the 2009 ACTU Congress (and what an impressive venue it was, I might add). The three days were rather dry at times and it was good to finally put a face to some of the names I know so well - Joe de Bruyn looks gawkier than I thought he would.

There was nothing overly controversial about the Congress - that was until Julia Gillard gave her speech. In a clearly provocative move designed for the packed media she goaded the congress delegates with her comments as to why the ABCC needed to stay. It got the expected response from the crowd, which included Ark Tribe, the CFMEU member being prosectuted by the ABCC for refusing to attend an interview. He faces six months jail for his "heinous" crime.

I joined in the booing of the Deputy Prime Minister - her words were insulting to decent, fair minded Australians who believe in basic rights for all people. The right to silence is fundamental in western democracies. Ark Tribe has not been accused of murder, violence or intimidation. He attended a meeting with management over safety standards at the Flinders University site he was working at.The ABCC was interested because workers were standing up for themselves over appalling safety standards Why does the ABCC have powers to prosecute people for a criminal offence when they refuse to attend interviews dealing with prosecutions over civil matters? Why have they not prosecuted one employer for non-payment of wages?

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