Analysis

On July 18, Ford Australia president Tom Gorman announced that Ford's Geelong engine plant would close in 2010, putting 600 workers out of work. Geelong Trades Hall Council's Union Air radio show interviewed Australian Manufacturing Workers Union vehicle division delegate plant Tony Anderson.
Below is an abridged speech given by Lawrence Gibbons, editor of the City Hub, a part of the Alternative Media Group, to a benefit for the South Sydney Herald on July 8.
PM John Howard announced on June 28 that his government was “taking control” of up to 80 remote Aboriginal communities in the Northern Territory, claiming this was a necessary response to the 320-page Little Children are Sacred report, which detailed high levels of sexual abuse of children on a range of NT Indigenous communities.
PM John Howard’s new “intervention” policy in the Northern Territory has begun with federal and state police storming into Indigenous communities.
“Australian Defence Minister Brendan Nelson has admitted that securing oil supplies is a key factor behind the presence of Australian troops in Iraq.” This was how the BBC reported Nelson’s July 5 comments to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation on the release of a review of Australia’s “defence strategy”.
“John Howard is more than happy to welcome war criminal George Bush to Sydney in September, but he won’t even give the time of day to struggling workers, such as Botany Cranes union delegate Barry Hemsworth, who is still on the grass more than 300 days after being unfairly sacked”, Socialist Alliance activist Pip Hinman told Green Left Weekly.
Pressure from unions over the exploitation of foreign workers employed under the 457 visa scheme for temporary workers has forced the Howard government to tighten some of the regulations.
PM John Howard and ALP leader Kevin Rudd have both attacked Unions NSW secretary John Robertson for comments, secretly recorded and leaked to the media, made at a Bennelong Your Rights at Work meeting in late June.
In last month’s elections in the Australian Manufacturing Workers Union (AMWU), the Workers’ Rights team took all positions against a ticket led by an alliance between the union’s print and vehicle divisions. Some Workers’ Rights candidates received over 80% of the vote. In the Victorian branch, where most positions were strongly contested, 40% of members voted.
The 10th national Labour History Conference on June 4-6 delved into the labour movement’s past, but also featured interesting debates about present-day concerns.

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