Monday, August 20, 2007

They Can't Ban Our Eureka Flag!!!

As part of his war on the Australian working class, Prime Monster John Howard created the so-called Australian Building and Construction Commission (ABCC).

This innocuous-sounding organization has run roughshod over the rights of workers in the building industry.

It has saddled individual workers with fines of tens of thousands of dollars for taking industrial activity, and secretly taped (audio and video) private proceedings of union members and union officials and then plastered these all over the capitalist press, as the Dean Mighell and Joe McDonald cases testify.

The ABCC has the power to coerce building workers to answer questions during interrogation, and to provide union documents, under threat of a six-month jail term. In powers frighteningly similar to those of the Federal anti-terror laws, building workers can be imprisoned for telling anyone about having been interrogated by the ABCC.

It is now demanding that workers on building sites take down the Eureka Flag, the Australian people’s symbol of workers’ unity and national independence.

The Melbourne Age, ironically the same paper that in 1854 coined the term “the flag of Australian independence”, yesterday revealed the contents of an email from an ABCC staffer in Melbourne, Carol Hage, to an Adelaide building company, telling them to remove the flag.

In her July 5 email, Hage wrote: “The flag represents the union and gives the impression that to work on the site you need to be a union member. This is therefore a breach of freedom of association.”

In Perth, the ABCC has ordered managers of construction company Multiplex to take down Eureka flags, presenting them with a booklet containing photos of their sites where flags were flying, and quotes linking it to the union.

South Australian President of the Construction, Mining, Forestry and Energy Union (CFMEU), Martin O’Malley, said that the site targeted by the ABCC was the old Tivoli Theatre site in Pirie Street and the builder Built Environs.

“We are finding we can’t produce enough posters and stickers with the Eureka flag,” he said. “And the bosses are finding they can’t get them off the bloke’s safety hats.”

Whilst the CFMEU has demanded that the ABCC be abolished if Labor wins the next Federal election, the Labor Party (a misnomer: it is a party of capitalism), has said that the ABCC can remain until at least 2010.

It is the role of the Labor Party in Australia to control the workforce through the union movement in the interests of the imperialists and local capitalists.

It is well-known that building workers adopted the Eureka flag in the early 1970s, when the dominant political influence in the leadership of the then Builders Laborers Federation was the Communist Party of Australia (Marxist-Leninist).

The union was deregistered by a Labor Government, paving the way for even more furious attacks on building workers that came with the election eleven years ago of the reactionary Howard government.

Every decent Australian has an interest in upholding democratic rights, including the rights of building workers to express their identity through the flying of the Eureka flag.

Their freedom of association is expressed through the conscious choice to stand together beneath the blue and white Southern Cross, and to repeat the oath of 1854: “We swear by the Southern Cross to stand truly by each other and fight to defend our rights and liberties.”

They can’t ban the Eureka flag!

NB - The South Australian premiere of a new film, Constructing Fear, will be shown at the Mercury Cinema, Morphett Street, Adelaide, from 5-6.30pm on Thursday August 23.

This well-made film describes the situation that now confronts workers in the construction industry and how it impacts on their work, their families and the struggle for democratic rights in this country.

The director of the movie, Joe Loh, and the national secretary of the CFMEU, Dave Noonan, will be present to introduce the film and to take questions.

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