Jun 4, 2009

Gillard’s ACTU spray a centrist triumph

Julia Gillard's speech at the ACTU Congress yesterday a display of raw executive power, writes Bernard Keane.

Bernard Keane — Politics editor

Bernard Keane

Politics editor

As unpleasant as it might have been at the time, Julia Gillard would have been chuffed at her hostile reception from unionists, and especially construction industry workers, at the ACTU congress yesterday.

It couldn't have come as a surprise. How else were CFMEU representatives going to react to words like these:

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4 thoughts on “Gillard’s ACTU spray a centrist triumph

  1. Liz45

    Rudd should’ve torn up the ABCC as soon as he was sworn in. Any so-called Labor PM who supports the bullying tactics and fascist behaviour of this secretive mob, that doesn’t have to give any reasons for their tactics is appalling. It’s more at home in a dictatorship, not in a so-called democracy. Not even judges have the right to force people to answer questions; even if they’re guilty. A defendant can nominate not to take the witness stand in their own defence; a person doesn’t have to answer police questions with or without their lawyer present; a person is entitled to legal representation immediately they’re detained. Not with the ABCC. You can’t have legal representation, and if you are forced to go to court, you can’t select your own legal person; you can’t refuse to answer any questions; you can’t tell your partner where you are, have been or why – to do so is a jailable offence! What sort of country adopts these bullying tactics as part of their IR laws?

    Not one person was charged as a result of the Royal Commission into the Building Industry. It was a beat up and a shameful waste of money. The so-called revelations didn’t address the unsafe working conditions, that sadly cause death and injury on a daily basis to those workers who deserve at least, to look forward to going home to their loved ones at the end of their working day. I don’t recall Julia Gillard including this in her address to ACTU delegates yesterday! I don’t recall anybody putting this question to Julia Gillard or Kevin Rudd or ????
    A government that trots out any actions of alleged ‘violent protest’ but is silent over the torture and illegal detention of its own citizens in foreign jails, hardly has the moral right to indignation. The Labor Party only called for David Hick’s repatriation after there was overwhelming public agitation for justice. I don’t recall the Rudd govt, like the Howard govt before it, speaking out against police bashing innocent protestors, who are only exercising their democratic rights!

    Today, there’s much talk of the horrors in China 20 years ago, and rightly so, but the smug politicians, who allow actions of the ABCC to exist are not much better. It’s all a matter of degree!
    I didn’t hear them objecting to the water cannon or stun guns introduced in NSW for instance, or the oppressive laws re bikies, that can be used against any organization the NSW govt takes a dislike to. We’re a very small distance away from the possibility of Tiananmen Square. Maybe I’ll see the day, when the law enforcers are on the street to protect me from oppressive laws made by govts that want to resume open spaces, that should be accessible to us all; threaten workers with jail for fighting for their right to a safe workplace; mine coal in fertile areas needed for growing food, or save trees from being demolished for a pulp mill that will pollute the oceans, wineries, food growing areas and the people around it, to name just a few ! Maybe a journalist will have the guts to challenge politicians over their hypocrisy! Maybe?

  2. John T

    Does LIZ45 think the money from a self-centred and dwindling union movement predominantly based in the public sector is enought to buy educated labor pollies, who know how to work the Labor pre-selection machine – many of whom have never done dirty work?

    The public associates the officials of the building workers’ and like unions with the emotive, descriptive words of LIZ45’s first para. In typical Stalinist style, Labor pollies just cannot have the grubby and rude workers calling the shots unexpectedly, especially using the nasty sort of bullying most young Labor pollies thought they’d left behind once they made it to uni. And what would the PM’s staff think – heavens, imagine the damage those nasty workers would do to today’s controlled political agenda!

    Why does Julia make me catch so many echoes of Margaret Thatcher? It’s not just the sinilar suits: this lady is not for crossing. And she’s loved, in a sort of terrifying nursery way, by the right, wherever those might be found.

    No, let’s cut loose the dirty workers, sustain and cosy up to the public-sector unionists, and create the antiodean nomenklaturia to rule the workers’ paradise.

  3. Jenny Haines

    What was Gillard talking about? Dave Noonan didn’t know of any balaclava thugs speeding across Melbourne. Liz T is right. The ABCC would be at home in a dictatorship but should not exist in Australia, a so called democracy. The delegates to the ACTU Congress were right when they heckled Gillard with “one law for all.” That is what it should be and this right wing Labor Government (forget centrist!!) should be ashamed that the ABCC has persisted as long as it has and their plans for replacing it. The main issue on building sites is safety and the prevention of untimely death and injury. If the unions did not campaign for safety, no-one else would.

  4. Jenny Haines

    Companies, director charged over worker deaths
    05 June 2009 | Content provided to you by AAP.

    BRISBANE, June 5 AAP – Charges have been laid against three companies and an executive officer following an investigation into the deaths of two Gold Coast workers last year.

    The workers were fatally injured on 21 June 2008 when the swing stage scaffold they were using to carry out concrete patchwork on the Pegasus high-rise, then under construction at Broadbeach, failed and they fell 26 levels to the ground.

    The charges allege various breaches of the Workplace Health and Safety Act 1995 for failing to ensure the health and safety of the workers.

    Allscaff Systems, which erected the swing stage, is charged with failing to ensure the plant was erected in a way that ensured it was safe when used properly.

    Ralph Michael Smith, director of Allscaff Systems, is charged with failing to ensure the company complied with its obligations under the Workplace Health and Safety Act.

    Karimbla Construction Services, which built the high-rise, is charged with breaching obligations as a person in control of a workplace and as project manager.

    Pryme Constructions, which undertook the concrete patching, is charged with breaching its obligations to ensure workplace health and safety.

    In a statement, Workplace Health and Safety Queensland said it had advised the deceased workers families that the investigation into the incident is complete and charges have been laid.

    The complaints are scheduled for mention in the Southport Industrial Magistrates Court on June 26.

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