Saturday’s socialist speak out
Over 40,000 Victorian teachers went on strike on Wednesday. Around 15,000 attended a mass meeting and rally in Melbourne. The Baillieu government has offered a miserable 2.5% and extra pay for ‘well performing’ teachers. This is a fight for better pay and against performance bonuses.
After over 2 weeks the building workers’ union, the CFMEU, lifted its picket of Grocon’s Emporium Building in Melbourne to have negotiations with Grocon about union representation and safety on site. The cease-fire has begun but the war could break out again at any moment.
In Queensland workers and unions are gearing up for a protest on Wednesday 12 September against the Newman Budget. This Budget will be a shocker, taking a meat axe to what is left of the public service. Up to 20000 workers could be sacked.
It is a case of cutting down the government trees to watch the private enterprise weeds grow. The weeds of course are ideological and sometimes real mates of the Newman government.
On Friday that Government announced the sacking of 2753 health staff, including 1500 frontline staff. Apparently less staff means better health service outcomes. Yes, I thought that ‘logic’ was a bit odd too.
To date Queensland unions have reacted mildly. You don’t play by the Marquis of Queensbury rules when someone is attacking you with a meat cleaver, union leaders.
If anyone wants to know what an Abbot Government will be like tell them to look at Queensland. Campbell Newman is Tony Abbott’s cane toad.
In Quebec the university fee increasing government of Liberal Jean Charest was defeated at the election and the new minority government has promised to both abolish the fee increases and repeal Bill 78, the law that made student protests illegal.
Julia Gillard withdrew from being the keynote speaker at the Australian Christian Lobby’s annual conference, but only after bigot-in-chief Jim Wallace had said the gay lifestyle was a greater threat to health than smoking. A demonstration planned for the event, and the lively equal love welcome Gillard got at Curtin University from my comrades and others may have had her looking for any reason not to attend. Wallace gave it to her in spades.
Now Gillard, all you have to do is really help create an atmosphere in which gays and lesbians feel accepted and perhaps the suicide rate among young gay men might fall. Equal marriage legislation would be an important step in removing that sense of isolation and difference and non-acceptance that drives some gays to take their own lives.
On Wednesday the Canberra Times published a letter of mine. It said:
We invade and occupy their country for over a decade, kill their kids and impose a puppet regime of warlords and drug thugs on them. Why on earth would they want to kill us?
Let me publish the response of Neil James from the Australian Defence Association on Friday to give you an idea what the right wing is really thinking about free speech. He said:
John Passant (Letters, September 5) exemplifies the lack of empathy and citizenship irresponsibility that needlessly endangers our troops and undermines informed public debate.
Especially when, as in this case, such factually incorrect, simplistic and perhaps ideological claims about complex and nuanced issues bolster enemy propaganda in both Afghanistan and Australia.
And where this consequence would or should be known by any reasonable and responsible person.
Our reformed treachery laws now rightly criminalise intentional acts, anywhere in the world, that assist an enemy we send our defence force to fight on Australia’s behalf.
Thus closing the 1945-2001 Burchett loophole that allowed its namesake, and later David Hicks, to escape prosecution for acts that if undertaken now are criminal offences.
Australia is at war, not just our defence force. The recognition, discouragement, prohibition and punishment of irresponsible acts are necessary reciprocal obligations every Australian owes to the fellow citizens our government lawfully commits to war. As with many other offences, our treachery laws need further reform to also criminalise reckless acts.
As with vilification offences, reasonable, responsible and morally legitimate public dissent would be unaffected.
Neil James, executive director, Australia Defence Association
If Neil James has his way and the law is amended then presumably I could be charged with ‘reckless’ treason and, if found guilty, bunged away for a few years. Weren’t we fighting in Afghanistan to defend and extend democracy?
One of the other letter writers today ended their equally nonsensical contribution with this:
We are not invaders or occupiers, and the critics are in effect the allies of the repressive force the Taliban, who are helping them by promoting inaction by us.
Maybe these idiots should read Malalai Joya to understand the complexities of Afghanistan and why she calls for Western troops to get out and for the defeat of the Taliban. But what would an Afghan woman who was expelled from the Parliament for calling the warlords and drug thugs ‘animals’ know about the situation in Afghanistan?
Here is a link to an interview with Malalai in 2010 arguing for Western troops to get out of her country.
I understand CDs containing her talks at Marxism 2012 may still available from Socialist Alternative. I cried listening to this brave Afghan woman who has survived 6 assassination attempts in her struggles against both the Western invaders and occupiers and the Taliban.
I am writing a response which the Canberra Times may or may not publish. I will put it on my website anyway in the next few days.
To have your say or see what others are saying hist the comments link under the heading. Like all post on this blog comments close after 7 days.