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John Passant

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November 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)



Ark – one of our tribe

Ark Tribe is a building worker.

Ark went to a lunchtime union meeting about safety on site. The Liberal established and Labor supported Australian Building and Construction Commission directed Ark to attend a hearing with them about the meeting. Ark refused.

The ABCC prosecuted Ark for his failure to attend. He faced six months in jail for the crime of being a unionist. He got off on a technicality. The Act requires the ABCC Commissioner to form an opinion about the need for the information. He did not form that opinion – his deputy did.

The result of the case is that in the future the Commissioner will personally make the decisions to call in people for hearings. So while Ark was not guilty, the anti-union laws and anti-union ABCC continue and the case has clarified how they can jail unionists in the future. They will get the process right from now on.

A few weeks ago building workers walked off the job in support of workers at the Wonthaggi desalination plant workers. Thiess had hired industrial thugs to spy on its workforce there.

The ABCC is investigating this ‘illegal’ activity. Most strikes are ‘illegal’ under this ‘Labor’ Government.

Worse, in the building industry – the one industry where unions sometimes fight against the boss over safety, pay and jobs – the ABCC exists to smash unions and strikes. That’s why deaths on site have gone up since it came into being.

Workers no longer have the confidence to walk off the job when there are safety issues for fear of prosecution. Shackling the building unions in their attempts to protect the lives of their members is the real crime.

Hence lunchtime meetings to try to get around the restrictions. But as Ark’s case shows, workers are not even safe from the ABCC then.

The ABCC will no doubt call in some of the workers who went on strike over the Thiess spying scandal for a chat, under pain of 6 months jail for refusing to attend and answer questions.

These draconian anti-union laws have no place in our society. Prime Minister Julia Gillard supports this abomination to the hilt.

After Ark’s acquittal her Government re-announced its intention to make the ABCC part of the industrial relations cop, Fair Work Australia. Changing its name doesn’t change its functions, especially its main function of criminalising union activity on building sites.

Let there be no more Ark Tribe cases.

The only way to smash the ABCC is to strike and cut off the flow of profits to the building bosses. Workers did that in 1969 when John Kerr jailed Clarrie O’Shea. They struck and smashed the penal powers then. They can do the same today with the ABCC.


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