Friday, 22 June 2007

Time to cut union funding to anti-union ALP!

The Rudd-ercoaster, the out-of-control freight train of ALP electoral desperation, driven by a well-to-do bureaucrat from Queensland, has just jumped up a gear this week, as it tries to prove that it's at least as anti-union as the Coalition. We'll get to the racism later.

A while ago, the Wombats brought word of the expulsion of Victorian ETU Secretary, Dean Mighell, from the ALP for using a bit of potty-language (and daring to admit that doing his job means taking on big business, at least a little bit).

Now, it seems, the 'moral crusaders' at ALP Inc. have detected more bad behaviour from those dastardly union bovver boys. The ALP, following Rudd's lead, has announced that it plans to expel Joe McDonald, assistant secretary of the WA CFMEU. The reason? The oh-so-heinous crime? He gave a boss an earful when he wasn't allowed on site to inspect safety standards. Read McDonald's statement in response here. Personally, the Wombats think the description of any exploitative, dangerous, boss as a '"thieving parasite dog" whose days are numbered' is an artful and erudite description of the situation as it should be.

The insipid union leadership and ALP, however, seem determined to keep the second part of that phras off the table for a while. For it's part, the ACTU, under new leader Jeff lawrence (now that Greg Combet has been invited to dine at the Big Table after this election), has responded like a wet fish.

Since then, word has slipped out about the rise of Labor's great new hope, to the tune that his career has been bankrolled by his millionaire wife. While he disputes the claim, the combination of his links with big money, his attacks on militant union leaders, and backsliding on promises to scrap WorkChoices, should give anyone with illusions in the ALP pause for thought.

The Socialist Alliance his released this statement (reproduced below) on the matter (the link also has petitions on the right to strike and other material):

Time to cut union funding to anti-union ALP!
After Dean Mighell, Joe McDonald to be axed by Rudd...
Dick Nichols, Socialist Alliance National Coordinator, today described Kevin Rudd’s decision to convene a special meeting of the ALP National Executive to expel Joe McDonald, assistant secretary of the Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union in Western Australia, as marking “a new high tide of anti-unionism in the so-called party of the unions”.
He called on the ACTU and individual unions like the CFMEU to cut their funding to the ALP if federal Labor’s attacks on unionists didn’t stop.
“What exactly was McDonald’s crime?”, Nichols asked. “He swore at a manager from a building company that was using the anti-union police force of the Australian Building and Construction Commission to reduce the CFMEU’s ability to monitor health and safety in a dangerous industry—and for his pains he gets thrown out of the ALP.”
Nichols added: “This scandal has happened under anti-worker legislation which the ALP is formally committed to repeal, but which Kevin Rudd and Julia Gillard now say they will ‘phase out’—against the opinion of former ACTU secretary (and ALP candidate) Greg Combet.”
The Socialist Alliance coordinator stated that it was impossible to defend people’s rights at work without breaking anti-union laws, especially laws as draconian as those that set up the ABCC—which even eliminate the right to silence.
Nichols added: “The Rudd-Gillard leadership’s surrender before corporate and Coalition pressure over industrial relations isn’t just cowardly and hypocritical—it’s also plain stupid from the point of view of winning the coming federal election.
“Every time Rudd tries to prove he’s as tough on ‘union thugs’ as Hockey and Howard he invites those scoundrels to intensify the attack against Labor on the industrial relations front. As a result the Coalition, which was put on the ropes by the Your Rights at Work campaign, could even make a comeback.
“It’s high time Rudd and Gillard stopped attacking unionists who are just doing their job, and started talking about what Work Choices is really doing to the lives of working people.
“For example, they might begin by expressing some concern about the work regime at Telstra, which as Four Corners showed this week, drove two workers to suicide.”
The Socialist Alliance spokesperson concluded: “The ACTU and individual unions like the CFMEU should demand that Rudd and Gillard stop their union-bashing drivel that just helps the Coalition. To ram the message home they should threaten a redistribution of union election funding away from the ALP towards those parties with a more principled pro-worker and pro-union stance.
“They should also decide immediately to hold another massive National Day of Protest against Work Choices which demands that Rudd and Gillard commit to really tearing Howard’s vile legislation—Australian Workplace Agreements, ABCC and all.”
For media comment: Dick Nichols (National Coordinator) 0425 221 565 Sue Bolton (Trade Union Coordinator 0413 377 978)

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