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The following media statement was released on November 25 by Tim Gooden, Secretary of Geelong Trades Hall Council. “The decision of Adelaide magistrate David Whittle that Ark Tribe is innocent is a tremendous victory for Ark, his family and for working people across Australia”, Geelong Trades Hall Council Secretary, Tim Gooden said today. Geelong Trades Hall congratulates Ark Tribe for his brave stand against unjust laws. The Construction Forestry Mining and Energy Union (Ark’s union) has done a great job in the courts and ensuring Ark received all the legal help he needed.
Workers with disabilities are speaking out against the Supported Wage System (SWS), which encourages employers to legally underpay workers with disabilities. The federal government’s Job Access program markets SWS as a progressive innovation by burying it among more egalitarian policies such as funding workplace accessibility improvements. The Job Access website said the SWS was “a process that allows employers to pay less than the award wage by matching a person's productivity with a fair wage”.
Dear Melissa Parke, Federal ALP MP for Fremantle, As blue collar workers, I and my partner have been involved with our unions over the past decade. In that time, I have seen our unions fight for safety, dignity and a better life for our family. I welcome the "not guilty" verdict in the trial of Ark Tribe, but the fact that Mr Tribe was on trial at all is a disgrace. Laws that compel people answer questions in secret, do not guarantee people access to lawyers of their choice and involved other breaches of basic human rights should disgust you.
Unions NSW presented the "Better Services for a Better State" campaign in the Sutherland Shire at the Sutherland District Trade Union Club ("Tradies") on November 19. There was only a small crowd but there was fruitful discussion on the issues confronting the campaign. In his opening presentation, Maritime Union of Australia Sydney branch secretary Paul McAleer explained how the battle to keep Sydney Ferries public had been won. McAleer said the MUA, and other unions representing workers on the ferries, had focused on building the broadest possible alliance against the sell-off.
If at first you don’t succeed, redefine success. This phrase has become the unofficial motto of this year’s United Nations climate conference in Cancun, Mexico. A week out from Cancun, which runs over November 29 to December 10, there is little hope of meaningful progress. Yet key players have sought to throw a shroud of official optimism over the looming failure. Few Western politicians want a repeat of last year’s Copenhagen climate conference. They consider it a public relations disaster.
Aboriginal workers in the government’s $672 million Strategic Indigenous Housing and Infrastructure Program (SIHIP) are working for what amounts to half the dole plus rations. However, these workers are still being recorded as contributing to SIHIP meeting its employment target, Crickey.com.au said. SIHIP is the housing project announced by the federal government in 2008. The project was to provide much needed housing for Aboriginal populations in remote areas of the Northern Territory.
Green Left Weekly spoke to some of the progressive candidates running in the November 27 Victorian state elections. * * * Stephen Jolly Stephen Jolly is the Socialist Party candidate for Richmond. He was elected to the City of Yarra council in 2004. He first came to prominence in the campaign to reopen Richmond Secondary College. He spoke to GLW’s Narendra Mohan Kimmalapati. What is your platform for the election?
Thousands of supporters of Thailand’s Red Shirt movement (the popular name for the United Front for Democracy Against Dictatorship) once again turned Bangkok’s busy Ratchaprasong Intersection into a sea of red on November 19. Protesters turned out in their thousands to mark six months since the military attacked and dispersed a mass protest camp that occupied the area in April and May. More than 90 people were killed and thousands injured. Hundreds of protesters are still imprisoned.
The big “greenwash” of gas as the new “green energy” isn’t going down well in inner-city Sydney. On November 14, the Sydney Morning Herald revealed gas exploration would start within two months in the inner-city suburb of St Peters. The article said said Macquarie Energy, which is owned by Apollo Gas, received state government permission for exploration in March. The community had been kept in the dark; even the Marrickville Council, which partly covers the area, knew nothing.

The South Australian Labor government’s public service cuts were passed through parliament on November 8, ignoring sharp criticism from the Public Service Association (PSA) and widespread protests. Australian Council of Trade Unions president Ged Kearney described the cuts as a form of “political terrorism”, in an address to the PSA that day. She said public funding issues would become increasingly frequent across Australia as governments continue to adopt “neoliberal, global agendas”.

The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development’s (OECD) Economic Survey of Australia, released on November 15, called for an increase in the rate and scope of the goods and services tax (GST) and a cut in business taxes. The rich countries’ economic club also called for higher road tolls, greater labour productivity and a price on carbon. The OECD’s annual survey congratulated the Labor government for avoiding recession during the global financial crisis but also demanded it undertake further “structural reforms to strengthen productivity”.
On November 18, the federal House of Representatives passed a motion calling on members to gauge their constituents’ views on marriage equality. The motion passed 73-72, opposed by the Liberal-National Coalition and independent MP Bob Katter. In his November 12 speech introducing the motion, Greens MP Adam Bandt explained that while his motion would not repeal discriminatory marriage laws, it would force parliament to recognise changing community views on the issue. His speech is abridged below.