The old home of the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet is being demolished now that they have moved into their shiny new building next door. If the signs on the construction hoardings were any indication, the new PM&C headquarters was financed primarily by industry superannuation funds, which means it might, in fact, be owned by the unions. Ironic, really. Meanwhile, the old building is being knocked down, and it looks like DOFA and PM&C are not worried about doing the right thing environmentally: the walls and ceilings are coming down with no effort to remove glass, aluminium or other recyclable materials from the site.

The latest casualties of the Fairfax-Rural Press bedhop are from The Age‘s pictorial department. Casual photographers — some of whom have been working for The Age for over 10 years — who turned up for their regular shifts yesterday were told to go home.  The Age was no longer employing casuals. No phone call. No explanation.

All in the Family. A very close group of flight deck crew and hosties from a “tube of pain” carrier regularly bid for Launceston trips. Nothing wrong with that, only they all, except for one, give up their accommodation to enjoy some 60s-style partying. Known in the inner circles as “The Family”, one particular tech crew has on previous occasions come close to sexual harrassment complaints. Sounds very Blue…

The unions are absolutely committed to getting the message about WorkChoices out to everyone, not just union members. Significant local campaigns are in full swing and are being supported by full-time union officials who have been “seconded” to the [email protected] campaign. In the case of one Queensland seat, a teachers’ union organiser is dedicated to the campaign on his union wage. This is being funded by each state teachers’ union branch. But this funded position is nothing when compared with the hours of voluntary work being donated each week by union members. Each [email protected] organiser is able to very quickly activate a group of union members and fellow travellers to participate in “events”, ranging from community picnics/markets and letter boxing planned well in advance to protesting at events involving members of the Government at very short notice. As your article (yesterday, item 2) suggested, the Government should be very afraid. I can’t imagine your average Lib or Nat being quite so committed to campaigning in such an activist fashion — and we’re talking union members — not ALP members. That’s a whole different group of people with a clear focus on one task.

Peter Fray

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