Australia

Australia in the pandemic

Published on: Tue, 07/04/2020 - 10:19
Author

Janet Burstall

Australian unions first focussed on work health and safety in response to the Covid-19 pandemic. In some workplaces unions won improved health and safety conditions, and teachers and parents have protested online against schools being kept open.

Union attention quickly moved onto incomes and jobs, when Qantas stood down 20,000 workers on 18 March. The unemployment benefit was doubled on the spot, from $550 (£270) a fortnight to $1100 a fortnight, and the onerous work test was stopped.

By 22 March thousands of workers who had lost their jobs were queuing for hours outside Centrelink

International greetings to Workers' Liberty conference, January 2020

Published on: Tue, 21/01/2020 - 15:15
Author

Various`

Various communist groups, internationally, with which we have connections, sent messages for us, for our annual conference. We invite them to also send delegations where possible. We include the messages below.

Workers' Liberty in Australia

Your work on climate action and a socialist Green New Deal is particularly vital to us, as all round the world, the link is being made between capitalism and climate change.

The specific measures needed in Australia are different, reliant as we are on coal and other mineral exports, extensive livestock and cropping in arid lands, combustion engines and

Tackling the union bureaucracies

Published on: Wed, 08/01/2020 - 11:22
Author

Bob Carnegie

Trade union organisation has always tended to centre in the better-off sections of the working class. But that tendency has been sharpened in the neoliberal era by increased inequality within the working class, and union organisation receding into more limited “bastions”.

In Australia — and in general — trade unions have been able to hold on to a degree in some strongholds, but in my working life, 45 years now, the influence of trade unions in society has markedly decreased.

Unions have become much more bureaucratic.

Most union leaders put the trends down to the anti-union laws which have been

Bushfires burn holes in climate change denial

Published on: Wed, 08/01/2020 - 08:51
Author

Janet Burstall and Riki Lane

The current fire season, and drought, in Australia are expected to continue for months.

When the fires do end, rainforests and animal habitats may never regenerate fully, and animal populations may never recover.

The seeds of a socialist political response to climate change might grow out of the opposition to the government, if climate activists can develop a clear set of demands, and broaden support for a just transition.

The world has seen the devastating bushfires in Australia, and the humiliation of Prime Minister Scott Morrison for his failures to lead a government response.

Lowlights for

Bushfires: Community-union solidarity for climate action

Published on: Wed, 11/12/2019 - 10:44
Author

Janet Burstall

The bushfire emergency is caused by climate change. Climate change is already bringing disaster. In NSW as of early December 2019 over 2.5 million hectares have been burned, over 700 homes destroyed, 3 people have died in the fires, and thousands of native creatures have been incinerated.

Beyond doubt of reasonable people, we do need urgent action to reduce greenhouse emissions.

In relation to the bushfires we also need to protect ourselves from the dangers caused by the fires; to repair the destruction to land, health and wildlife that they have caused; to provide more resources for

Bob Carnegie made honorary member of ETU

Published on: Mon, 09/12/2019 - 09:38
Author

Bob Carnegie

On Friday 6 December 2019, I was awarded honorary life membership of the Queensland and Northern Territory Electrical Trades Union (ETU) for a working life which has at several critical moments intersected with supporting the ETU, its members, and their families.

It is the first time in the branch’s 104 year history it has awarded honorary membership to anyone other than an ETU member.

In 1985, I was arrested nine times for supporting the ETU after 1,007 members working in the state owned electrical distribution network were sacked by a reactionary state government and replaced by scabs.

I

Changing the Rules under the Coalition government

Published on: Thu, 19/09/2019 - 01:34
Author

Editorial WL72

A confidential ACTU review of the Change the Rules campaign was obtained by The Australian newspaper. The ACTU should release the report so that trade unionists, especially the activists who put so much effort into the campaign, can have a say in how unions can campaign for union rights, pay and conditions.
Change the Rules like previous Australian Union campaigns, Rights@Work and to a lesser extent Build a Better Future, organised thousands of trade union activists into local campaigning groups, leafleting, door-knocking in the suburbs to talk about union issues, with an immediate aim of

John Setka and making unions fit for women

Published on: Thu, 19/09/2019 - 01:25
Author

Editorial

John Setka’s position as Secretary of the Construction Division of the Victorian CFMMEU should be put up for re-election, so that members can have a say and settle the issue of his fitness for office in light of his abuse of women.
The CFMMEU Executive should call a proper member vote for his position. Setka should resign because of his sexual harassment and abuse.
We utterly oppose government interference in the right of union members to choose their leaders, or to judge John Setka. Neither should socialists, nor the labour movement be pressured into defending sexist abuse, because the

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