ACTU theatre

…from the quill of Antisthenes the Younger

Our fighters for workers rights are having their triennial talkfest at the Sydney Exhibition Centre. The Prime Minister addressing them said she was under no illusions about the massive task she faces to revive her government’s fortunes and urged Labor’s industrial wing not to allow the political pressure to lead to a “council of despair”. She has issued a call to arms to the union movement urging Labor supporters to “stiffen our spines” and prepare for a tough 500-days to the next federal election. Beside frightening us with further five hundred days of mismanagement, schoolmarmish exhort ions by a puppet for puppet-masters to behave are a cause for a smile.

Someone on the ACTU Congress website claims the congress is “the parliament of working people”. Considering the fact that less than twenty percent of Australian workers belong to an union, that most of those in the unions are public servants, not wealth creators; and that elite 4000 under paid (according to Paul Howes, Australian Workers Union apparatchik) apparatchiks represent them, the better description could be a “parliament of parasites”.

The Congress reluctantly had to deal with comrade Craig Thomson and his Health Services Union. It ought to be remembered that if not for the dispute over the spoils between those underpaid officials, neither HSU members nor the general public would be any wiser and the union movement could continue in its merry way.

 PAUL HOWES: We have to be more diligent and more vigilant about ensuring that debacles like the HSU aren’t repeated again and we can only do that by holding ourselves to a higher level of accountability and a higher standard than people who do at the moment….All unions here at Congress are distressed and angry about what has occurred in the HSU. I’m livid about what has happened in that union and how a few people have brought into question the actions of you know- there is about 4,000 full-time union officials in this country who work hard for very little money on a daily basis representing working class people.And if it happens again, then yes, I think there is a real possibility that our entire existence could be brought in to question…

Pretending that HSU is an aberration is disingenuous. Precedents, financial and political, abound. Australian union movement has a long history acting against the interest of Australia and Australians:

 War or no war, unloading was slow and strikes not infrequent. The North Australia Workers Union, nearly moribund in the slack days of the mid-1930s, regained its power when military supplies began to pour into Darwin. Servicemen complained of ‘litiginous [sic] mongrel wharf labourers, who all earn from £20 to £30 weekly’ (a private soldier’s pay was £8 per month); unionists resented the occasional use of service labour to unload military supplies. In December 1941 E.J.Ward, the Minister for Labour and National Service in the Curtin Labor government, persuaded N.A.W.U. To allow more labour on the wharf. One hundred and sixty men were flown in from the south. The arrival did nothing toease the growing bitterness between unionists and servicemen. The former could see no reason why war should inhibit their campaign for better industrial conditions; the latter considered them little better than traitors. – – -

No amount of willing labour could have made the Darwin wharf efficient, and the nearness of the war, plus the long-standing radical reputation of Darwin unionists, tended to throw industrial relations there into a harsher light than they deserved, for strikes were no more frequent than in other parts of Australia. – – -

In November 1939 a local arbitrator broke a strong local convention by awarding a lesser wage increase to railwaymen than to other N.A.W.U. Workers. The Full Bench of the Arbitration Court confirmed the decision; the Railways Commissioner refused to make up the difference; and the railwaymen downed the tools for the first time in sixteen years. The army moved in to unload military stores; and the wharf labourers struck because non-union labour was used. The strike lasted a month.” / Alan Powell – Far Country, Charles Darwin University Press 2009/ (Until June 1941, when Hitler attacked Soviet Union, the communists and the unionists opposed the “imperialist” war)

 Stiffen your spines, shut your mouths and keep on paying your dues. Trust us.

About Antisthenes

A Greek philosopher, a pupil of Socrates. Led a revolt, with Diogenes, against the demands of the city-state and the sophistication of life. Accepted the interrelation of knowledge, virtue, and happiness; and sought the ideal condition for happiness in return to primitivism and self-sufficiency. Rejected all social distinctions as based on convention, scorned orthodox religion as a fabrication of lies, and studied early legends and animal life in order to arrive at a true understanding of natural law. The individual was free and self-sufficient when he was master of his passions, secure in his intelligence, impervious to social or religious demands, and satisfied with the poverty of a mendicant. Needless to say, a person who on the Fog of Chaos adopted the Athenian philosopher's name has nothing whatsoever in common with him.
This entry was posted in Australia, Corruption, Labour Party and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to ACTU theatre

  1. here and now says:

    The current absolutely despicable behavior of Labor politicians may even surprise those aware of trade union and Labor history. But the myth about that shining light (red) on the hill persists and still some 30 – 40% think that Labor represents the workers. 500 days to elections? God help us.

  2. Albanise says:

    I agree with your conclusions and will eagerly look forward to your incoming updates. If it was only HSU! Out of these 4000 hard working union officials Howes mentioned – how many ever worked and if so, for how long? The union idea, good in itself, was stolen from the workers a long time ago. And, after all this, HSU members are silent and obediently pay their dues to support the likes of Jackson in their lifestyle.

  3. missi rose says:

    I’m really impressed with your writing skills and also with the layout of your weblog.

  4. Mon Beat says:

    unions lost the plot long time ago. No hope for the workers now, except to join public service

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>