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Wiley 19th Apr 2012 15:54

Well said, WitW. You really need to get yourself a weekly column in one of the MSM papers.

hellsbrink 19th Apr 2012 17:12

Most unions, no matter where they are in the world, are NOT "run for the benefits of the members" but are there for the benefits of those who actually run the union.

As you all know by now, I am originally from the UK and now live in Belgium. I am one of those people who went on a "work to rule", on a "march" to 10 Downing St and our own union HQ, and even went on strike against a decision my own union took regarding my terms and conditions in the UK national agreement for sparks. Yes, you read that right, our own union agreed a deal that could take 75% of our work away from us and give it to joeys that did a 3 week course in how to cut cable tray and we, the members, went on strike against our own union. Beat that one!! (They backed down, by the way, but the "snouts in the trough" moniker still sticks to them).

Over here, I have resigned my membership due to my union calling "national strikes" over things that have no effect on me. There is no talking, just "strike". When that means all public transport comes to a halt, unless they need a train to go to Brussels (you can guess my views on that, and my boss managed to make me see sense and not take all these eggs down to their meeting place at Antwerp rail station), and the whole country is buggered without any real negotiation whatsoever.

The union was handy IF I needed to claim dole, it saved me going down to Antwerp. Now, I'd rather make the journey so these parasites do not get a cent from me.........






Don't get me started on bloody trade unions.

Lex Talionis 19th Apr 2012 18:07

Again very well said Worrals and a pleasure to read a balanced point of view.

Not all unionist are corrupt just the same as not all management are corrupt either.Unfortunately it only takes one person to bring everyone else into suspicion.That goes for any group regardless of position in society.

even with pinching almost all of the available WA workforce and a fair percentage from the Eastern States there are still not enough willing Australian workers to fill the positions in mining - never mind the gapped positions in WA in the rest of the commercial world.

Those positions have to be filled. Ergo, 457 visas. It's a short term answer to, hopefully, a short term problem.
Sisemen that's not true at all and in fact it is the opposite which is true.

I happen to know a number of people who are looking to get a job in the mining area and cannot get a look in.

One of them told me he applied for a position as a trainee mobile plant operator in South Australia only to be told there was a minimum of 2 year experience required.

It sounds very suspicious to me that they classify the job as that of a trainee but will only take experienced workers.

The airlines are also using 457 visa to get cheap labour from overseas.No problem getting Australians to fill those positions but they don't want to pay Australian pay and conditions.In other words they want to save money.

As Worrals said it is all very well to say there is a shortage of Labour but there isn't and if you give someone from China or anywhere in Asia a job for $30,000 per year it takes away a job from an Australian who could not live on that and support a family here.The imported labour have their food,clothing accommodation supplied and send their pay home where it is a small fortune.

The mining companies talk about the mining tax and how much it will affect them but how about talking to the government and investing in training Australians to do the job.

The reason why the money is so good in WA is because they work mainly 4 or 3 weeks on and one week off with 12 hour shifts.Thats hard work in anyones language and to me the people working there earn every cent of the money they get.

In Queensland it is more like 2 weeks or 1 week on and one week off but the pay is about 20,000 to 30,000 less as well compared to WA.

CoodaShooda 19th Apr 2012 23:28


Again very well said Worrals and a pleasure to read a balanced point of view.

Not all unionist are corrupt just the same as not all management are corrupt either
Bugga. How can we have an arg...(sorry)....a spirited discussion when we are in such agreement?

Worrals in the wilds 19th Apr 2012 23:47


Bugga. How can we have an arg...(sorry)....a spirited discussion when we are in such agreement?
Ha ha ;). Thanks, all! Anyway, it would be a pretty boring thread if we all agreed on everything.

There is no talking, just "strike..."
The Fair Work Act prohibits snap strikes. They have to be approved by FWA as protected industrial action. If you recall the Qantas dispute, after [insert insult of choice] Joyce grounded all flights FWA ordered the striking workers back to work and prohibited further action by either side for thirty days. From memory they cited 'national interest' as the reason.

In fact your story is further evidence of the need for IR legislation. Certainly there used to be a lot of snap strikes here in the 1970s (the baggage handlers were famous for it, particularly a week before Christmas :ouch:), but as it's not possible to strike without the approval of FWA, snap strikes are currently a thing of the past. If negotiations have broken down, FWA usually permits action, they have guidelines they have to follow.

No doubt the UK unionists would consider this a gross breach of our human 'rights' :ooh:, but it does ensure that strike action is a genuine last resort, and transport strikes come with a bit of warning.

Lex Talionis 20th Apr 2012 00:07

Thanks very much Cooda,I just opened up PPrune and nearly spilt my coffee laughing reading your last post. :D

We can all blame Worrals as it's obviously her fault as she's raised the bar for future posts ;)

So how about this for a compromise.If you want to make a post you can pick from either of 2 scenarios which will dictate your entire theory of life.

1:All unionists and ergo Labor governments are communist subversives secretly led by the North Korean security services (sorry about your last missile test boys...I hear that after they stopped laughing the Americans are now calling it the Kardashian 1 because of the length of time it was actually working).

2:All management and conservative governments are right wing radicals bent on a plan of world domination and are led by a group of wealthy American industrialists and bankers who periodically start wars (including the last few big ones from about the crimean war onwards) for financial gain.

That should just about do it :ok:

On a serious note,I think it's a pity that the current fiasco with a certain ex union official(s) is tainting the image of a lot of people who really are concerned with their working conditions and ability to earn an income.

At the same time it's a pity that there is another small group of employers and management who care only about their next bonus and will do just about anything to anyone to get it.

Now if we look at politicians I find it incredibly frustrating that they will look at us directly without blinking telling us a load of baloney and then walk away happy that they are being paid a considerable sum without achieving any significant results.

I don't know what makes a person want to become a politician but I suspect an over active ego has a lot to do with it rather than an inherent desire to make the country a better place.:ugh:

sisemen 20th Apr 2012 00:59

In the meantime it would appear that 'Our Maker' is getting in on the argument....


Residents in parts of Canberra have been awoken by an earth tremor.
Geoscience Australia says the relatively small magnitude-3.7 quake hit an unpopulated area about 40 kilometres west of the capital near Clive, around 5.09am (AEST).
ACT Policing says it has been inundated by calls from people startled by shaking windows.
There have been no reports of damage at this stage.
One resident said the tremor lasted for several seconds.
Lex - in the current spirit of bonhomie I accept your piece on 457 workers :ok:

CoodaShooda 20th Apr 2012 01:35

Wasn't it Freud who said that those who sought power were least suited to wield it?

I find that I support the concept of most of our institutions (yes, even the unions). It's the behaviour of the individuals who purportedly act on their behalf that I have a problem with.

Perhaps we should be immersing our prospective leaders in the works of Eckhart Toll and making them embrace Vipassina meditation before allowing them to occupy positions of power.


The thought of all of our politicians, union leaders and business leaders going on a 10 day silent meditation retreat has a certain appeal. :E

Worrals in the wilds 20th Apr 2012 02:38

Particularly if there was no grog allowed. :E
I'm liking the concept more and more...

parabellum 20th Apr 2012 03:54

Just going back to the 457 visa for a moment. Haven't been down that road myself but have had quite a bit to do with a couple of people who have.

There are a large number of hoops that have to be jumped through in order to satisfy the visa requirements and agreeing to accept a lower wage isn't one of them! The hoops are, quite rightly, intended to protect the employment prospects of Australians. The requirements for wide spread advertising alone are both expensive and daunting in detail.

There have been instances of abuse, the 1989 pilots dispute was one and the abuse came from the Hawke government, probably others connected to strike breaking dockers would have had a nod of approval from the government too, but generally it is a fair system that doesn't allow someone in if there is an Australian who is qualified and who is willing to do the job, possibly involving re-location to where the work is and has applied. The unions are never slow in playing the 457 visa card but most of the time it is a red herring, as numerous employment agencies will testify.

Clare Prop 20th Apr 2012 06:02

Just getting a 420 visa for a few mates in a band to come to Australia for a week and play some gigs is a major undertaking, part of which is that you have to satisfy the Musicians Union and the MEAA that you will be paying the musos AND the supports the "musicians award" and all food, acommodation etc allowances...(though they never seem to enforce that for local musos! :mad:) and that there will be a "net employment benefit" for Australian workers in the entertainment industry. This proess can take a few weeks and has to be approved before immigration will even look at the visa application, which takes up to another three months.

So it's not an easy process.

However I have a student at the moment whose 457 visa (he's a lawyer) was issued in less than a week...:confused: I guess the employer had been looking for someone for a while.

Worrals in the wilds 20th Apr 2012 06:15

IME, anything to do with the entertainment industry is painful. Most of its regulations seem to be designed to prevent any entertainment happening at all.
There seem to be a million 'bodies' that claim to act on behalf of artists but are never seen except when either sticking the paw out, or sending out copyright infringement prosecution threats if your bar staff are heard humming a popular song and you haven't paid the zillions of dollars a year for a Barmaid Broadcast license.

I'm surprised lawyers are on the 457 list, In Qld anyway we've got a huge surplus. Maybe different in your neck of the woods? Or is he a special sort of lawyer?

Clare Prop 20th Apr 2012 10:37

Some special kind of lawyer I think...if there is such a thing.
I was pretty jealous as my 126 visa took seven years. :ugh:

Captain Sand Dune 20th Apr 2012 22:12

And the hits just keep on coming............


SPEAKER Peter Slipper is facing explosive allegations he sexually harassed a young male adviser and misused taxpayer-funded Cabcharge dockets in a major new crisis for the Gillard government.
The man who holds the highest parliamentary office in Australia is accused by a key adviser, James Ashby, 33, of making "unwelcome sexual advances" and "unwelcome sexual comments".
Mr Ashby, in court documents obtained by The Daily Telegraph, alleges Mr Slipper, 62, only recruited him "for the purpose of pursuing a sexual relationship".
The Australian Federal Police will also be asked to investigate conduct by Mr Slipper in relation to the use of public funds.
These include claims he signed multiple Cabcharge vouchers which were later filled out by a Sydney-based limousine driver.
Mr Ashby is being represented by Harmers Workplace Lawyers, the same firm which represented Kristy Anne Fraser-Kirk in her successful suit against David Jones chief executive Mark McInnes - who resigned over the harassment claims.
Mr Ashby is seeking a court order that Mr Slipper undergo counselling and training in anti-discrimination, as well as compensation from the federal government and the Speaker.
Mr Slipper, who was last night flying back from overseas, is accused of making "unwelcome suggestions of a sexual nature" through mobile phone text messages and in private conversations.
The court documents also revealed Mr Slipper would regularly send "bizarre" kisses to him by ending text messages with an "X". One text from Mr Slipper to Mr Ashby merely read "xxx".
According to an application filed in the Federal Court yesterday, Mr Slipper asked Mr Ashby to shower with the bathroom door open at his Canberra home.
And after complaining of having a sore neck, Mr Slipper arranged for a massage, during which he made moaning noises indicating "intense sexual pleasure".
Just a month after starting work with the Speaker, Mr Ashby also claimed he was asked: "Have you ever c ... in a guy's a ... before?".
It is alleged that the question was repeated several weeks later, with Mr Slipper also asking whether the adviser preferred "twinks or bears" - homosexual slang.
In a series of text messages Mr Slipper sent Mr Ashby in February he told the staffer, "if you are interested we could be closer".
But his attempt to forge a closer relationship was rejected by the adviser, who joined the Speaker's office in December.
He also asked Mr Ashby: "You getting roks (sic) off. Pity," during an exchange of text messages sent on February 1 this year. A few minutes later Mr Slipper wrote via email: "U want something more? U brillianmt (sic) at massages."
However when Mr Ashby - who told Mr Slipper he was homosexual before commencing employment - said he only wanted a professional relationship, the Speaker's tone allegedly changed.
He told Mr Ashby he should "in future" arrange all communications through another staffer, Tim Knapp, as Mr Slipper said he "cannot guarantee availability".
He also allegedly threatened to stop Mr Ashby accompanying him to Sydney for two harbour cruises with delegations from Samoa and Cyprus.
According to the court documents, the Howard government was aware of Mr Slipper's sexual relationship with another young male adviser - and other allegations of sexual harassment - as early as 2003.
Megan Hobson, a former adviser to Mr Slipper, approached John Howard's then senior adviser Tony Nutt after she - and two other women - had viewed a video featuring the Speaker and the young male adviser.
According to the court documents, the video included footage of Mr Slipper lying on a bed with the male adviser and hugging him in "an intimate fashion".
After hearing her concerns about the video, Mr Nutt allegedly told Ms Hobson to "forget all about it".
Mr Ashby's legal team claim the adviser had suffered "considerable stress, humiliation and illness and was seeking medical assistance".
Anthony McClellan, a spokesman for Mr Ashby, said: "Mr Ashby has nothing further to add at this time."
The allegations against Mr Slipper - which are yet to be tested in court - come at a bad time for Prime Minister Julia Gillard, who is battling record low polls and a collapse in her approval rating. Mr Slipper's defection from the Liberal Party in late November after Labor wooed him with the role of Speaker delivered vital breathing space to the minority government.
The Daily Telegraph has learned the Cabcharge transactions allegedly took place in January and February while the Speaker was in Sydney.
Mr Slipper last night denied the claims.
Is Labour running the Lib's campaign for them?

Worrals in the wilds 20th Apr 2012 23:50

Classy. :eek:

I believe the prevailing off record (and possibly on record) opinion within the Libs re Slipper's defection was; 'You're welcome to him'.
That's if it's true of course. No doubt we'll hear more. :E Text messages are harder to get rid of than a lot of people realise.

sisemen 21st Apr 2012 02:19

A good headline would be "Slipper tries to slip it up" or "Slipper slips up"

Ahh, there must be a million of 'em. :E

woollcott 21st Apr 2012 03:05

"News Limited says the court documents show the Howard government was aware of Mr Slipper's sexual relationship with another young male adviser - and other allegations of sexual harassment - as early as 2003."

Takan Inchovit 21st Apr 2012 10:18

That means, Jools would have been well aware as well ... at least as late as 2011/2012?

CoodaShooda 21st Apr 2012 13:04

The problem for labor is that, if they are critical of Howard for not acting in 2003, they condemn themselves if they don't act against him now.

Although there does seem to be a slight difference in the two cases.

One was an internal complaint by a third party who saw a video involving two other people. Was homosexuality illegal in 2003? Definitely unwise in a married politician but what law was broken?

The second is by an individual who is claiming to have been personally harrassed and has initiated legal action. I expect labor will take the "innocent until proven guilty and the allegations are currently disputed etc" approach.

Another problem for labor is that dredging up history may lead to a reminder of their paedophile Minister from the Hawke/Keating years.

I have no respect for Slipper and hope he vanishes from the scene sooner rather than later. In this regard, I'm more interested where the most recently reported allegations of rorting his cabcharge entitlements may take us.

But it makes an interestig distraction from the impact of the budget on things like energy costs, defence spending and the possible increase of fees and charges in the "those rich bastards can afford it" sectors, like aviation.

RJM 21st Apr 2012 15:39

They've already started that. Albanese said tonight about Slipper that "it wasn't appropriate to comment on a matter that the police are investigating".

If Slipper (or Labor) had any respect for parliament at all, Slipper would stand down, the Deputy Speaker Anna Burke would take his place. Slipper would go to the cross benches and still vote, and Labor could cling, however desperately and inelegantly, to power, as long as the independents continue to support Gillard's ALP. Even if Thomson joins Slipper on the cross benches, Gillard can still hang on, but with two more non-caucus members sitting in the chamber, Gillard will need for every vote the support of all her Labor MPs, then a Green, two Independents, an ex-caucus Labor MP (Thomson) and an independent Speaker in exile (Slipper). Thomson will always support Labor (they gave him $150,000 to kerep him out of bankrupotcy) and Slipper won't want to give up his fat salaery.

If that doesn't increase the perception of shambolic desperation surrounding this government, I don't know what could.

Gillard and her gang could well kill the Australian Labor Party - or at least cripple it for years, but I honestly don't think Gillard gives a rat's ar*e about that. After all, she's made Prime Minister, and now she just hangs on day by day.


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