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My interview Razor Sharp 18 February
Me interviewed by Sharon Firebrace on Razor Sharp on Tuesday 18 February. (0)

My interview Razor Sharp 11 February 2014
Me interviewed by Sharon Firebrace on Razor Sharp this morning. The Royal Commission, car industry and age of entitlement get a lot of the coverage. (0)

Razor Sharp 4 February 2014
Me on 4 February 2014 on Razor Sharp with Sharon Firebrace. (0)

Time for a House Un-Australian Activities Committee?
Tony Abbott thinks the Australian Broadcasting Corporation is Un-Australian. I am looking forward to his government setting up the House Un-Australian Activities Committee. (1)

Make Gina Rinehart work for her dole

Sick kids and paying upfront


Save Medicare

Demonstrate in defence of Medicare at Sydney Town Hall 1 pm Saturday 4 January (0)

Me on Razor Sharp this morning
Me interviewed by Sharon Firebrace this morning for Razor Sharp. It happens every Tuesday. (0)

I am not surprised
I think we are being unfair to this Abbott ‘no surprises’ Government. I am not surprised. (0)

Send Barnaby to Indonesia
It is a pity that Barnaby Joyce, a man of tact, diplomacy, nuance and subtlety, isn’t going to Indonesia to fix things up. I know I am disappointed that Barnaby is missing out on this great opportunity, and I am sure the Indonesians feel the same way. [Sarcasm alert.] (0)



The Tax Office: the attacks on staff continue

The ATO is continuing its assault on Tax Office jobs and conditions. 

Yet its budget on the failed Change Program has doubled over initial estimates to now be more than $750 million.

So it’s nothing for staff and everything for machines. 

That just shows you where the priorities of the leadership of the ATO (and those of the HowRuddistas in the Rudd Government who fund this failed Change Program but want agency heads to slash jobs and wages) lie.

Here, according to the union, the CPSU, is part of how the ATO wants to cut jobs and conditions.

Tax’s agenda is totally unacceptable

You told us that ATO’s current bargaining proposals are totally unacceptable. If unchanged, they will lead to:

  • massive outsourcing and the increased use of cheaper, non-permanent staff
  • expansion of rostering to all staff with a phone
  • the loss of 2 days personal leave a year
  • less access to flextime – only when Tax wants
  • higher duties allowance only paid after you work at a higher level for ten days each time
  • slashed conditions for non-ongoing employees

The proposed attacks on Operations staff, as John predicted in his articles ‘9000 Tax Office staff to go?‘, and ‘Tax Office to attack its own staff’, are now being extended to all ATO staff. 

More outsourcing, more forced part time work, real wage cuts, less staff to do more work.  This is the future for ATO staff if they let their management get away with these attacks.


Real wage cuts?  The offer so far from Tax is below core inflation and assumes lower inflation in coming years, an assumption which may not be correct if interest rates rise.
The CPSU has a  cunning plan to defeat management.  They have called a national day of action on 7 May.

Don’t get too excited. It turns out these are lunchtime meetings.

Wow, Commissioner D’Ascenzo will be quaking with fear.

The CPSU leadership has organised a campaign designed to fail.  They don’t really want to defeat the ATO and its attacks so they are going through the motions. 

They fear their membership and unleashing their power more than they fear ATO management.

How so?

First, the decision to hold lunchtime meetings (not stop works) is top down. It is the bureaucrats who have decreed this stoppage with no input from the membership and no involvement of the rank and file in the campaign from beginning to end.

So after years of ignoring the members, concentrating power in the hands of the leadership at the expense of the rank and file, these industrial giants expect to be able to turn membership pressure on and off as needed to force ATO management to make a few mickey mouse changes. No chance.

You build an industrial campaign by steady empowerment work over  a number of years so that the membership feel confident about taking action and winning and the decisions about such action flow from them.

Second the action is pathetic.  Tax management will laugh at this lunchtime meeting. 

 The CPSU leadership strategy is to stroke the ATO bosses with a feather. 

Here’s what the radicals currently in charge of the CPSU are planning:

In the morning, CPSU delegates and campaign helpers will be handing out balloons and a special CPSU Tax Stimulus package. They will also be asking you to attend a brief lunchtime gathering outside or very near your office on the day. At the lunchtime gathering a special all staff motion will be put to the gathering for endorsement.

Wow! Balloons should have the Commissioner dropping everything and agreeing to the union’s meek and mild demands.  Not.

Basically it is going to be a brief lunchtime meeting to rubber stamp whatever disastrous fail sure plan the leadership will put forward.

An all staff motion means that you can’t amend it from the floor.  None of that nasty debate and disagreement stuff from members. 

There’s this plaintive little sentence in the day of action bulletin which highlights just how timid and pathetic the Labor Party leadership of the CPSU is.  They say:

  • This is protest action not industrial action – so you do not need to notify anyone or seek permission.
  • First it should be industrial action – a mass meeting of all tax officers around Australia to consider strike action (indefinite if needed) if the ATO does not accept a real wage increase of say five per cent per annum and a guarantee of more full time permanent staff not less, and no job losses at all, and an extension of conditions.

    Second what sort of crap is this about having to seek permission to go on strike.  CPSU leaders will go cap in hand to ATO management saying: Please sir, can we go on strike?

    You don’t ask the boss if you can strike. You shut down production to get him or her to negotiate, with you in the position of strength.

    The public service is facing difficult times ahead as the Government’s ‘efficiency dividend’ continues to cut funding for staff, wages and conditions. 

    All public servants should meet together to decide on action to defend jobs and gain real wage increases. 

    Tax Officers have the strength to win.  They can cut off the flow of revenue to Government overnight. 

    The Government is desperate to keep the money rolling in, so may capitulate quickly to any concerted industrial action.

    In Egypt for example Tax Officers struck for 3 months and occupied the centre of Cairo for 11 days.  They won a 325 percent pay increase (yes, 325 percent!) and have now formed the first independent trade union in Egypt in over 50 years. 

    A real campaign by Tax Officers here  will have to come from the rank and file since the leadership is a lapdog of Labor and scared of its own shadow.  If that happens then staff can win.

    Tax Office members need to take the running of the campaign away from their failed leadership and reclaim their union. In taking real industrial action that shuts down the Tax Office they can win job security and real wage increases.



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