Wednesday, June 10, 2009

CPA condemns ABCC, supports worker Ark

The Communist Party of Australia calls on the Rudd Labor Government to abolish the ABCC at its first opportunity. The ABCC is a secret police force that targets innocent, hard-working Australians on the grounds that they work in the construction industry. It's that simple.

The ABCC possesses coercive powers akin to those used against terrorist organisations. If hauled in by the ABCC, workers have no right to silence, they must answer questions or risk a fine of up to $22,000 and a prison sentence of up to six months!

Adelaide rigger Ark Tribe is the first rank-and-file member of the Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union (CFMEU) to be charged by the ABCC. Mr Tribe is now facing six months jail for allegedly not attending a "compulsory" interview with the ABCC.

Yesterday, Ark Tribe's case was adjourned until August 11 at the Elizabeth Magistrates Court. A large crowd of around 200 trade unionists and supporters rallied outside in support of the man who, perhaps unwittingly, has become the face of the campaign to shut down the ABCC. Ark has had the courage to stand up for his basic human rights in an industrial system that seems intent on taking them away and we commend him for it.

However, one so-called trade union leader is not quite as supportive. An article on the front page of today's Australian quotes SDA National Secretary Joe De Bruyn as saying the Rudd Government has no mandate to shut down the ABCC.

According to de Bruyn, the government "doesn't have a mandate for that in its current term of office because it didn't say that to the people of Australia when it went to the polls."

Such a comment is to be expected from the right-wing de Bruyn. The ALP-aligned Shop Distributors and Allied Employers Association is hardly representative of the working class movement in this country and is unlikely to be standing in the corner of the CFMEU when the going gets tough.

But nonetheless, it's a shame that de Bruyn finds it necessary to publicly support the ALP's so-called Fair Work Act while sticking the knife into one of Australia's most progressive unions. He should be ashamed of himself and resign - he has no right to call himself a trade unionist.

Follow Ark's case on the campaign website

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Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Strong support for Ark Tribe

Hundreds of workers and other supporters formed a guard of honour as Ark Tribe entered the Elizabeth Magistrates Court this morning. They had gathered to express their solidarity with the rank and file building worker who has been charged by the Australian Building and Construction Commission with failing to attend an interrogation about a union meeting about safety at the Flinders University Health Sciences building. He faces six months jail and fines of up to $22,000 if convicted. The matter has been adjourned until August 11.

CFMEU Construction and General SA Secretary Martin O’Malley, CFMEU National Assistant Secretary Lindsay Fraser and SA Unions Secretary Janet Giles all pledged their organisations’ support for Ark. The crowd swore the oath first taken by the workers who made their stand at the Eureka Stockade in 1854:

“We swear by the Southern Cross to stand truly by each other and fight to defend our rights and liberties.”

Monday, June 08, 2009

Don't jail Ark Tribe, shut down the ABCC!

The fate of an Adelaide building worker will be decided in the Elizabeth Magistrates court today. Ark Tribe is alleged to have failed to attend an interrogation of the ABCC (Australian Building and Construction Commission) and faces up to six months jail if convicted.

"What we have here is yet another example of why the Federal Government must move immediately to shut down the ABCC," Communist Party of Australia State Secretary Bob Briton said yesterday.

"This body has unprecedented powers, and its existence ensures that workers and their representatives in the building and construction industry are treated differently under the law to other workers."

"Workers and union representatives called to appear before this body are even denied the basic right to remain silent. This places them in a situation worse than that of alleged terror suspects," he continued.

"At the last federal election, the Australian people voted in a Labor government, believing this would lead to the restoration of the rights of workers and unions. The fact that this government has failed to shut down a body of this nature is a breach of faith with the Australian people."

"The government's plan to move the ABCC and its powers within Fair Work Australia is frankly no more than window dressing. It does not alter the fact that this body will still have the power to intimidate and bully building and construction workers and their representatives, and will do little to restore basic fundamental rights", said Mr Briton.

"The Communist Party of Australia totally supports the efforts of construction workers and their unions and calls on the Federal Government to immediately shut down the ABCC," he concluded.

Supporters of Ark Tribe will gather at Elizabeth Magistrates Court at 9am this morning.

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Sunday, June 07, 2009

Follow us on Twitter

We at the CPA are convinced that all creatures great and small will one day benefit from a socialist revolution - birds included. So it stands to reason that we should be tweeting. Click here to follow us on Twitter.

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Lartelare - nice park but not what was needed

Lartelare – a park named after the last Kaurna elder to live in the traditional manner on lands in Port Adelaide – was officially opened last Friday. It contains sensitive interpretations of traditional implements and a wodli – the shelters used by the Port River people before they were sent to missions at the turn of the twentieth century. The CSR plant stood on the Glanville site until the early 90s when the disused sugar mill burnt down. Hopes were high the land would be handed back to the traditional owners but the South Australian Government handed it over to a consortium of developers instead. Lartelare Park sits amidst blocks of luxury apartments and marinas. It is of little practical use to the local Aboriginal community.

Lartelare’s great grand daughter, Auntie Veronica Brodie, fought for years to have the land returned to the traditional owners for use as an aged care facility or a Kaurna cultural centre. Neither proposal received official backing. Auntie Veronica passed away in 2007 with her wishes unfulfilled. Her family were at the opening on Friday. Daughter Margaret (photo above) spoke emotionally about her mother’s vision; how it was thwarted by reports of land contamination and lack of government support. She thanked designers, artists and council staff for working with her family to produce such a pleasing park. SA Minister for Aboriginal Affairs Jay Weatherill recalled a discussion with Auntie Veronica in hospital before she died and the commitment he made to her to build a cultural centre in Port Adelaide.

The Lartelare Glanville Land Action Group founded by Auntie Veronica will be meeting soon to discuss the next steps in their long-running campaign.

Saturday, June 06, 2009

Foley’s Budget gets big business thumbs up – hits low paid, pensioners

“Peter Vaughan of Business SA has given Kevin Foley’s latest Budget the thumbs up but it’s one in the eye for the low paid and pensioners,” Bob Briton, State Secretary of the Communist Party of Australia, said last night.

“The people with the least resources will be paying the most for Foley’s golden credit card with extra water charges, increased car registration and public transport costs,” he continued. “The meagre increases given via the aged pension in the Federal Budget would by now have been wiped out.”

“The Premier claims the heart of the Budget is water and the heart of that is the desalination plant. The spending on the desal project absolutely eclipses other water commitments and, together with the attack on public transport users, shows just how out of touch the government is from the environmental needs of the time,” Mr Briton added.

“The capping of public services wage increases at 2.5 percent locks in a pay cut for these workers meaning lower living standards, reduced purchasing power and downwards pressure on the economy. Workers and small business are being handed the bill for the recession.”

“The effective wage cut will make it harder to attract teachers to public education and nurses and midwives to the public health system. Our Party will support union efforts to resist this wrongheaded approach,” Mr Briton concluded.

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