BY STUART MARTIN
WOLLONGONG — Labor Premier Bob Carr has studiously avoided Wollongong since June 27, when a mass meeting of Illawarra workers declared that they would demonstrate outside his next appearance in protest against his government's decimation of WorkCover. But on August 24, Carr agreed to open a new slag-grinding facility at BHP.
Workers found out about the August 20 visit on August 20, but not the exact time. The premier did everything he possibly could to keep the visit time a secret. The media were not notified until a few hours before and ALP parliamentarians, assumably in the know, appeared to be under strict orders not to talk to the unions. Even the local police were not alerted to the time of arrival until the day before. But for all this secrecy, Carr did not totally escape the protesters.
A spirited group of 60 unionists and community activists were at BHP's front gate to greet Carr when he arrived. While the protest was much smaller than it would have been with more notice, the unionists and community activists present flexed their vocal chords to remind Carr that the Illawarra hasn't forgotten or forgiven. Carr decided to enter the plant through a side gate.w