John Howards new industrial laws contain a raft of penalties for workers and unions taking unlawful industrial action. Workers can face individual fines of $6600 ($22,000 for those in the building industry), and unions face $33,000 or more. One result has been a decline in industrial disputes since Work Choices was enacted in March.
On September 28, Victorian construction workers enjoyed a well-earned barbeque and a few beers for the traditional shutdown weekend prior to the AFL grand final. On a construction site in Geelong, workers and union officials gathered to also celebrate and commemorate union legend John Cummins life.
A new security pact between Australia and Indonesia, to be signed on November 13 in Lombok, will strengthen Canberras military and economic alliance with Jakarta, at the expense of the peoples of both countries.
Fadi Rahman from the Independent Centre for Researchs youth centre in Lidcombe, Sydney, spoke to Green Left Weeklys Emma Clancy about the impact on young Muslim Australians of the media attack on the entire Islamic community in the wake of Sheikh Taj el-Din Al Hilalys comments about women and sexual assault.
What sort of dogmatic free-market ideologue would use poor peoples (often socially constructed) desire for credit to justify shrinking the already beleaguered welfare policies of wretched Third World states?
How hard is it to raise $76,500 before the end of this year? Not hard at all for some organisations. As the November 1 Sydney Morning Herald reported: Opposition Leader, Peter Debnam, took to the harbour last night for a fund-raising cruise with the property industry aboard a luxury cruiser owned by a developer, Greg Gav.
“I’m just, I’m a little concerned with all this hysteria over this greenhouse gases and the environment, that the Liberal Party is not selling your message the way you sold it now to Leon, and that it’s not getting through to the average man in the street” — this is what “Emile”, an “unashamed supporter” of Prime Minister John Howard, had to say to the PM on November 2, during Leon Byner’s talkback show on Adelaide’s Radio 5AA.
Geelong Trades Hall was packed with unionists on October 28 exchanging ideas and experiences about surviving and fighting Work Choices. Some 130 unionists travelled from Victorian country centres such as Port Campbell, Portland, Hamilton and the Latrobe Valley to join unionists from across the country.
In its first national minimum wage decision on October 26, the Australian Fair Pay Commission (AFPC) handed down an increase of $27.36 for workers earning under $700 per week and $22.04 for those earning more than $700 covered by awards.
"When hypocritical old sexists like PM John Howard, Treasurer Peter Costello and radio shock-jock Alan Jones start delivering pious sermons about the rights of women, something very suspicious is happening", Pip Hinman, the Socialist Alliance's anti-war spokesperson, told Green Left Weekly.