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John Passant

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February 2010



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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)



Building unions, the ABCC and insulation deaths

The best way to stop deaths on building sites is to empower building unions and workers.

That means the Rudd Labor Government abolishing the anti-union Australian Building and Construction Commission and workers reclaiming their power to enforce safety standards through strike action.

After all, who has real interests in workplace safety, and who has the power to deliver it? Workers. The bosses’ real interest is profit, not safety.

Howard set up the ABCC to smash building unions, one of  the last group of workers in Australia with any tradition of strike action. Rudd Labor have continued this anti-union abomination for the same reason.

What has been the impact of the ABCC on safety standards? As I wrote in Is Ark Tribe Labor’s next political prisoner?:

Ever since the ABCC began its crusade against building workers and against their willingness to strike over safety issues, deaths and injuries on building sites have increased.

The year before the ABCC crawled from Howard’s swamp there were no deaths on building sites in Victoria. Now there are ten a year.

Without unions able to enforce standards through industrial action bosses have cut corners on safety to increase their profits.

Profit is king and a few extra deaths aren’t important to the bosses and the ABCC.

Every year 50 workers die on building sites around Australia. 

In the name of stopping the lawlessness of death and injury on sites isn’t it time the ABCC attacked the building bosses to enforce safety standards?  But they won’t because their real role is to tame the building unions.

Where was the ABCC when the shonks predictably moved in to the roof insulation business and put badly trained workers at risk?

Perhaps they were too busy trying to imprison Ark Tribe for the heinous crime of refusing to answer their questions about, you guessed it, a meeting on a safety issue.

Meanwhile the real criminals were cutting corners (literally), rushing to put foil in roofs and not training people properly. Unions could have enforced safety if there had been a program of empowering workers in the industry instead of worshipping at the feet of the white shoe brigade and quick bucks.

The Act setting up the ABCC says that one of its objects is ‘improving occupational health and safety in building work’. How is that coming along, Julia Gillard?

The Act even sets up a Federal Safety Commissioner to, among other things,  ‘promote occupational health and safety in building work’. Where were they, Julia, when young kids were dying putting insulation foil in roofs?

Could it be the real role of the Gillard Gestapo is to handcuff unions to stop them enforcing safety standards so the bosses can make more profits? Could it be their real role is to tame the building unions so that other workers won’t draw obvious lessons – strikes can enforce safety standards and win better conditions? 

Not voting Labor, not voting Green, not voting Liberal (shudder!), not relying on ‘independent’ state bodies, but workers using their power in the workplace.

That would mean breaking Labor’s laws.

No strike is illegal (something some in the ALP used to believe).

If the choice is between breaking the law by striking to enforce safety standards and protect lives or doing nothing and watching people die, I’m for breaking the law.


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