Mike Crook, Socialist Alliance candidate for the seat of Sandgate in the March 24 Queensland state elections, released the statement below on February 10.
The Socialist Alliance pledges its full support to the Queensland mining unionists engaged in industrial battle with Australia's biggest corporation, BHP Billiton.
The company is now in line to make a full-year profit almost equal to that of the four big Australian banks combined.
Yet the company dares to cry poor over a number of issues which are crucial to CFMEU members. From my own experience over many years in the mining industry, the question of mine safety is critical.
BHP Billiton is attempting to abolish one of the central gains of mineworkers over the years: union safety officers to monitor safety on the job. Mining is one of the most dangerous industries around.
History has shown that workers cannot rely on management to prevent mining tragedies. The CFMEU is merely insisting that the traditional role of union-certified safety officers be maintained.
The other key issue of sufficient breaks over 12-hour shifts is also a health and safety matter, as well as a right of workers to have enough time off work for their own wellbeing.
Over and above these issues is the question of these giant multinational mining corporations like BHP Billiton ripping off the Australian community, digging up our precious natural resources and giving almost nothing back to the public welfare.
It is time we began to seriously consider nationalising these resource giants, under community and workers' control, so that the public can decide the future of coal and other industries, so that the public interest and environmental sustainability is protected.
[For more information on the Socialist Alliance Queensland election campaign, phone 07 3831 2644/0423 741 734 or visit the Socialist Alliance Brisbane website.]