25 December 2010

Thought I'd share this video I uploaded...brings back memories!

2010: A year in (a condensed) review

I must admit I haven't blogged as much as I would have liked. A combination of apathy and being kept amused by other projects (including work) seem to have dissuaded me from the semi-regular blogging I once did.

In terms of worker rights in Australia, 2010 hasn't seen much of a change. Sure, we did see Ark Tribe acquitted of the heinous crime of exercising his right to silence. This was a welcome relief but sadly the insidious institution that is the Australian Building and Construction Commission remains. We also saw the former IR Minister Julia Gillard become Prime Minister.

However, all in all, it appears that the Fair Work Act 2009 is settling in to become an all right piece of legislation, by and large. Sure, there is room for improvement and my comrades and I will continue to press for a more worker friendly agenda. But no one in the labour movement can deny, realistically, that we haven't got something a darn sight better than the piece of shit that was WorkChoices. Workers now have a democratic right to push for enterprise bargaining. A range of topics that were previously 'unlawful' are now legal in enterprise agreements. Bosses don't have all the power any more.

Sure, we have seen some bleating from the mining sector, despite the fact it continues to make billions of dollars. I am always amused at how the Australian Mines and Metals Association (AMMA) is still the biggest cry baby about the new laws. Most employers, arguably affected far more by the changes, have gotten on with it. Yet the AMMA continues harping on about how the laws are so bad, despite the continuing growth in the mining sector.

The reality is that some members of the AMMA now actually have to deal with workers representatives, the unions. They don't like this. That's fine - I don't expect anything less from their ilk. But it'd be a refreshing change if they stopped the bullshit and stopped playing the victim. It's pathetic (and sad that so many people buy into their shit e.g. the mining tax protests earlier this year).

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all.

30 November 2010

TULIP - front for the AWU?

In a pretty pathetic attempt to show that the ACTU is "pro-Israel" the AWU, through its front organisation TULIP has issued a statement about how the new ACTU Assistant Secretary is "pro-Israel".

What the heck is a "pro-Israel" activist? One who supports their actions no matter what? We're talking about a racist state here; the new-apartheid. One side lives in luxury, protected by the army, including stolen lands in the West Bank. The other lives in abject poverty, with high unemployment.

Let's hope that this new Assistant Secretary does not attack the work the of the union movement's charitable arm, Union Aid Abroad APHEDA and their work in Palestine. I wonder if the Zionist stooges in the AWU ever wonder why Palestinians need aid for basic medical supplies and their neighbours in Israel live in 1st world conditions? Probably not.

As an aside you have to love TULIP's statements on boycotts. Hilarious.

Read below (my comments in italics):


1. Because boycotts are counter-productive and strengthen rejectionists and extremists on both sides.

Counter productive, really? Stuff taking an ethical stance on international relations.And if they're so counter-productive then I presume they were a complete failure with dealing with South Africa...oh wait, they weren't.

2. Because boycotts are a blunt instrument and a form of collective punishment.

Yes, they are. That's the point. It'll hopefully get people to pull their finger out.

3. Because the analogy to South Africa is completely false - Israel is not an apartheid state.

If you're Jewish and living in Israel then it's no problem. If you're not Jewish then it can be and certainly is for Palestinians. Replace the words "Jewish" with "white" and "Israel" with "South Africa". Starting to follow yet? If not, then look up the 'Law of Return'.

4. Because what's needed is practical support for efforts to build bridges between Israeli and Palestinian workers and their unions.

I agree. I just don't think you really believe in that. This Crikey article does a very good job explaining why I believe this.

11 November 2010

Article about Paul Howes

I cannot stand Paul Howes and make no secret of this. This The Sydney Morning Herald article gave me a chuckle with this paragraph:
Mr Howes, who is just 29, appeared on TV on the night of the coup to say his union was backing Ms Gillard. That move, and his views on issues such as nuclear power (he's a strong advocate), have attracted critics from within the movement with claims he is a ''media tart'' and narcissistic.
So true.

20 September 2010

one month on

Well you'd think by the fact that it's taken me a month to write anything that the Federal Election was a disappointment. That's not entirely the case as the electoral success of the Greens around the country was a highlight, considering the appalling performance of the Australian Labor Party.

It also appears that despite a large swing against the ALP that Tony Abbott didn't get a huge swing to the Liberal/National coalition either. That's a relief. On a two-party basis the ALP got more votes (just).

The Greens have a good industrial relations policy. In particular, their promise to get rid of the ABCC is the reason why so many unions have gone cold on the ALP. The ETU in Victoria even donated money to the Greens campaign and helped to get Adam Bandt elected to the seat of Melbourne against another former trade union official in Cath Bowtell formerly of the ACTU.

19 August 2010

typical lies and bullshit from Miranda Devine

to quote her most recent post on SMH

"What the green movement has done to Tasmania's timber industry, it will do to the rest of the country. Those purported 13 per cent of people planning to vote for the Greens on Saturday had better understand exactly what they are voting for. It's not about saving trees. It's about ''moving backwards'' to the dark ages."

Tasmania's timber industry was from the Dark Ages. One of the most backwards industries you can have. I am still trying to find the Greens policy entitled 'Taking us to the Dark Ages' or anything of that nature. Funnily enough, it doesn't exist, except in Ms Devine's twisted head.

The Greens embrace technology like no other party ever has. And yet they somehow want to take us back to the Dark Ages. Bit of a contradiction there, don't you think?

17 August 2010

sad state of affairs...

Well this unionist is pretty pissed off. The last election saw the ALP re-elected after years of conservative rule and their attempt to destroy the trade union movement.

This time around the only thing I am interested in is seeing how well the Greens do and a secondlys hoping Tony Abbott doesn't become Prime Minister.

I tire of the ACTU being so blatantly pro-ALP despite the fact that there are other parties, including a 'major' minor party in the Greens, offering better policies for workers. Instead of educating workers on how the preferential voting system works (ie a vote for the Greens or socialists etc is not a wasted vote) they basically paint it as ALP v Libs.

Anyway, here's a good video explaining how preferential voting works for the House of Representatives.

30 July 2010

Federal Election 2010 - part 1

It's hard to get excited about this election. The ALP are boring and the Liberal Party are led by a repackaged turd.

If you need yet another reason to put the Libs last then I will share this video of what Tony Abbott had to say about Bernie Banton. Pretty much sums up Tony's complete lack of integity perfectly really.

03 May 2010

The SDA and McDonald's do a dodgy deal. Only problem is Fair Work Australia won't have a bar of it!

On 23 April 2010 Fair Work Australia rejected the McDonald's Australia Enterprise Agreement 2009 being approved. Rejection of enterprise agreements is not uncommon. However, it normally does not involve the biggest union in Australia, where that union has argued in favour of the sub-standard agreement.

The SDA and McDonald's got together and essentially sold a dud agreement to McDonald's 80,000 employees. These employees are particularly vulnerable as over a third are from non-English speaking backgrounds and a whopping 80% are casual.

Some of the "features" of the agreement include (and to quote Commissioner McKenna directly)

  • "the Agreement contains no casual loadings at all for employees in the Australian Capital Territory and the Northern Territory"
      • “18.3 Wage Increases

      In addition to the wage rates specified in 18.1 and 18.2 employees will be paid the following increases. Provided that an employee will not be paid less than the rate otherwise applicable to that employee under the transitional provisions of the relevant modern award.

        As from 1 July 2010

        NSW, ACT, VIC, SA and NT

        FWA Annual Wage Review less $7.50


        FWA Annual Wage Review less $3.84


        FWA Annual Wage Review less $5.00

        QLD (Level 1 employees)

        FWA Annual Wage Review

        QLD (all others)

        FWA Annual Wage Review less $7.50

How generous - employees get a pay rise LESS than the minimum wage! Jeez, you've driven a hard bargain there SDA. How did you manage to get such a great deal for workers?

Funnily enough, the agreement was not approved for reasons including "the deficient application; the failure to meet pre-approval requirements; the failure to meet the no disadvantage test; and the inadequacy of some of the proposed written undertakings." This was despite the fact McDonald's was represented by the Australian Industry Group's Matt Moir, who apparently is a barrister. Clearly even he couldn't sell this lemon. I wonder how he sleeps at night, when his job is trying to ensure workers get royally fucked over by their bosses? (I often wonder the same thing about the negotiators from the SDA too).

It's good to see somebody sticking up for workers at McDonald's. Apparently the SDA has given up on looking after the rights of workers at Maccas so it's been left to Fair Work Australia.

And all of this is yet another example of how the Shop, Distributive and Allied Employees’ Association, a so-called union, is an absolute fucking disgrace.


The Full Bench overturned the single commissioner's decision. Seems whatever AIG says is gospel these days.

06 April 2010

what's this crap?

Now I must admit one of the reasons I am blogging about is that I have a soft spot for Ms Sara Groen, however this article does highlight the double standards women face in the media.

As one commenter says: "I bet if she had a boob job there would be no complaining." Sadly, I think you're on the money mate. Can't have a woman expressing herself now.

I think the last paragraph in the story sums up the situation for women in media perfectly: "It (this story) comes after reporter Christine Spiteri alleged in a statement of claim filed in the Federal Court that Channel 9's head of news John Westacott said that for women to make it in the industry they've 'gotta have fuckability'."

16 March 2010

Cath Bowtell quits the ACTU

It is a shame to see Ms Bowtell leave the ACTU after years of service and I can understand her frustration at not getting the top job. The problem is that she is not that media savvy and comes off as a tad...well, boring. Like reading this blog.

Ged Kearney on the other hand has the media smarts and the political edge the ACTU need going forward. It's a shame she'll be working with Captain Boring himself, Jeff Lawrence. He's a nice guy but jeez, he can make even the most interesting topic seem dull.

Mind you, this isn't a problem reserved for the hierarchy of the ACTU. Many state labour councils have the same problem, being run by ALP hacks who lost touch with the realities facing ordinary workers a long time ago, so they could further their own career.

13 February 2010

hands up if you like Miranda Devine?

I don't. She has an inflated sense of importance only matched by her rampant conservatism.

She talks about right-wing tool Alex Hawke in the following terms:

"...a man whose "extremism" runs to being a Catholic who attends Mass, is married to a member of Opus Dei, and holds conservative social positions in line with much of the electorate."

Ummm..dumb arse....that makes you pretty fucking extreme. Opus Dei are a right wing cult. No one attends mass in Australia and this leads to my next point - you can hardly have conservative positions in line with much of the electorate if you're going to church every week. Only 9% of us bother going.

Devine revels in the notion of the electorate being conservative deep down, when in reality most people just don't give a shit.

08 February 2010

should these men be in jail?

4 men and a cafe have been fined hundreds of thousands of dollars for persistent bullying that led to the suicide of a young waitress. More on this can be found in this Age article.

I don't know all of the details so I cannot comment on this case. But it is about time people are held to account for their actions. Bullying that bad, that pushes someone over the edge, deserves jail time. Physical and emotional bullying are bullshit that so many workers have to endure because bosses want to sweep it under the rug or, in some cases like this, they even actively participate in it.

So I say jail the fuckers. These cowards wouldn't last two seconds incarcerated. I think this is one time when the threat of jail actually will help.

29 January 2010

Premier of WA says strikers are 'un-Australian'

YAWN. Is this the best you can come up with Barnett? I mean really, this is pathetic. Only people with no argument, wanting to score cheap political points use the tired 'unAustralian' line.

20 January 2010

the new awards

Having had to deal with the new award system all I can say is that it's a nightmare at the moment. I always knew there'd be teething problems but the fact allowances don't transition under the new system but "shift allowances/penalties" do is very problematic. There isn't a clear distinction between the two. It's the bane of my existence right now. I cannot think of anything else!

17 January 2010

Ross, stick to talking about areas you actually know

Ross Fitzgerald says that unions are gaining the upper hand in Australian workplaces. And since this is The Australian he has a big problem with that.

My favourite line is this
The reality is the Rudd government is squandering the legacy of flexible deregulated workplaces by turning back the clock on industrial relations. Its full agenda, still to unfold, may prove to be the most extensive legislative re-regulation of workplaces this country has seen.
Conservatives always like to conflate "not moving backwards" with deregulation. And anyone who doesn't like their version of deregulation automatically is "turning back the clock". Of course they cannot show any examples in the laws passed to prove this - because there are none. The Rudd Government's laws place primacy on collective bargaining and have streamlined the award system and brought in a truly national system (except for WA and that's their fault). And conservatives love to warn of the supposed evils yet to come, citing no evidence for them.

And Ross shows his true conservative colours by saying Howard was the one who introduced flexible industrial relations laws. Ummm...no, it was actually the Keating reforms of 1993 which ushered in the beginning of "flexible" industrial relations laws.

Fitzgerald is a professor in history and politics but the article is written as if he's an expert in industrial relations and economics. He's not. So saying that Howard's IR laws were the reason for low unemployment is overly simplistic nonsense.

And once again The Australian shows itself as the champion of the employers.

12 January 2010

When you think you live in a somewhat rational society...

I saw this story on Channel 7 news. I couldn't believe that so much time was spent on such utter crap. Yes, it's amazing someone survives cancer that bad. Many people pray and die of cancer. Which saint do we blame for all of those deaths?!Odds are someone will survive sooner or later. This 'miracle' is one of the two being used to make Mary MacKillop a saint.

How about just a little bit of critical thinking when reporting on this please? Apparently that's too much to ask.

03 January 2010

All the capitalists seem to very quiet about this one

I read an article today which says that Colorado's minimum wage will drop 3c/hour to the US Federal minimum wage, which is currently $7.25/hour. The US unemployment rate is just below 10% currently (Nov 2009).

Meanwhile in Australia we have the award safety net in many industries. But even if you're not covered by an award, you're at least paid the minimum wage, which is currently $14.31/hour, nearly double the US rate (since our dollar is creeping up to parity with the greenback). The Australian unemployment rate is 5.7% (Nov 2009), nearly half the US rate.

Every year the employer's bleat about how raising the minimum wage will put people out of work. It's a capitalist mantra that a low minimum wage means more jobs. Yet the US has ridiculously high unemployment with its very low minimum wage. And Australia has a relatively low rate of unemployment with a good minimum wage.

Makes me think, the rich end of town is full of shit isn't it?