By Bill Mason BRISBANE — The proposed "competition" bill arising from the Hilmer report is "the most regressive legislation in the history of the labor movement in Australia", Brian O'Halloran from the Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace told a public meeting organised by the Public First campaign here on November 24. The meeting of some 100 people heard speakers from the trade union movement, political parties and social movements condemn the moves by federal and state governments to break up — including the corporatisation and contracting out — and the privatisation of public assets. Australian Democrat Senator John Woodley pointed out that only the Democrats, Greens and Senator Brian Harradine opposed the Hilmer legislation in the Senate. "Competition policy will force competition between public and private industry and destroy local government jobs and security", he said. Other speakers included Les Crofton, secretary of the Public Transport Union; Ovideo Orellana, from the Committee for Human Rights in Guatemala; Jean Bowden, from the Pensioners League and the Telecom Consumers Council; Dita Peterson, from the Queensland Teachers Union; and Peter Clark, from the Overseas Services Bureau. The meeting was co-chaired by Mike Carr, joint secretary of the Maritime Union and Claire Moore, state secretary of the Community and Public Sector Union. Frank Malone, from the Biala Support Group, moved a resolution to "condemn the arbitrary decision to implement the so-called Hilmer reforms over the next 10 years ... We oppose in principle the massive privatisation agenda contained in the Hilmer report ... We call on all progressive forces in Australia to unite as never before to defend public assets, mobilising in a coordinated manner at all levels", to resist the privatisation agenda.
Defend public assets!