Sue Bull

The Fair Work Commission (FWC) has sought to end a long-running dispute between Health Workers Union (HWU) members and Dorevitch Pathology, by issuing a draft determination in which workers’ wages are set to rise by up to 20% and allowances by up to 30%.

New Prime Minister Scott Morrison unsurprisingly revealed on September 4 that he is considering deregistering the Construction Forestry Maritime Mining and Energy Union (CFMMEU).

The reason he gave was not that the union had committed any industrial “crime”. Instead it was a Father’s Day tweet by Victorian CFMMEU state secretary John Setka.

Nearly 100 workers at Note Printing Australia (NPA) in Craigieburn, which is owned by the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA), were locked out by their employer on August 10.

The workers have been campaigning for a wage rise of 3.5%. Their demand is in line with the appeal made by RBA Governor Philip Lowe to federal parliament in February, when he said that a generalised wage rise of 3.5% would help stimulate economic activity.

Minister for Jobs and Innovation Michaelia Cash may find herself in front of a court if the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions (CDPP) decides to lay charges over leaks from her office regarding a raid on the Australian Workers Union (AWU) last October.

The Australian Federal Police is referring material such as witness statements, emails, text messages and phone records to the CDPP over the next few weeks.

Ever tried to book a flight online, made a mistake and then found that either there was no one available to help you fix it or that it was just going to cost you more anyway? I have, while experiencing the fury that everyone feels at the helplessness and injustice of it all.

I would consider myself to be relatively computer and internet literate. However this era of new technology and electronic media excludes vast numbers of people and disadvantages them terribly.

I’ve been a Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union (CFMEU) member for 15 years and I cannot remember a time when the union was not portrayed as a pack of gangster-like thugs, who standover "innocent" bosses.

Somehow the nature of a tough, multi-billion dollar industry with a history of being the most dangerous in the country always gets lost in the propaganda.

So imagine my delight, along with tens of thousands of other CFMEU members, when blackmail charges against union officials John Setka and Shaun Reardon were dropped on May 16.

I awoke this morning to Radio National telling me that United States President Donald Trump could be in line for a Nobel Peace Prize.

What the … is black white? Had I awoken in a dystopian parallel universe?

Last week, the creep was bombing Syria. This week he’s the world’s greatest peacemaker and British bookies are slashing the odds on Trump and Kim Jong-un getting a Nobel Prize!

Are you sick to death of the endless debate about whether odious Deputy PM Barnaby Joyce has a right to privacy? 

Of course some of that debate has now veered into thoughtful comparisons of how a misogynistic press “pawed” over the private lives of female politicians, such as Julia Gillard and Cheryl Kernot. But generally it remains fixated on whether public figures have a right to keep their private lives private.

“So, how come the left is so divided?”, we get asked routinely. After a conversation in which we try to put 150 years of struggle into its historical context, they inevitably respond with: “Yes, but don’t you think you’d be able to fight the right better if you were bigger and stronger?”

The answer is yes!

Tony Abbott was elected in 2013 on the “promise” that the Coalition’s proposed industrial relations legislation, Work Choices, was “dead, buried and cremated”.

Of course, few workers genuinely believed that an incoming Coalition government would keep its word. Certainly, construction workers knew it was only a matter of time before they were in the firing line.

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