Timorese: don't outlaw union solidarity

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Timorese: don't outlaw union solidarity

The National Council of Timorese Resistance last month called on the Australian Democrats to block the federal Coalition government's "second wave" of anti-union laws, the October 22 Workers Online, the NSW Labor Council's internet newspaper, reported. Joao Carrascalao, CNRT's representative for Australia, wrote to Australian Democrats Senator Vicki Bourne: Picture

"We would like to make you aware of the difficulties of another of our strongest supporters, the trade unions — difficulties over which you have some influence.

"We have known that many of the tremendous actions they took on behalf of our people in recent weeks are against the law in Australia.

"When the massacres began, most Australians expressed sympathy with our plight. However, the unions were one of the few groups that had both the political will and the degree of organisation required to take action and we believe that their initiatives were an important factor in propelling the government itself into action.

" Now the government unfortunately intend to make it virtually impossible for unions to take any solidarity action. Whilst of course your own national affairs are your business, such moves sit awkwardly with the idea of freedom that all of us are trying to achieve.

"We may or may not agree with the viewpoint of the unions at all times, but to make their effective function all but impossible is a worrying development from a democratic point of view."