Monday, October 29, 2007

Holdfast Bay staff fight AWAs

The City of Holdfast Bay council chambers was the site of a protest against un-Australian Workplace Agreements (AWAs) this morning.

Staff employed by the local government covering the Glenelg and Brighton areas voted by a 75% majority in a secret ballot to reject AWAs in favour of a union-negotiated award.

However, the CEO of the City has rejected the views of the staff and insisted that they be placed on AWAs. Typical of the logic of bosses everywhere, he has convinced himself that he is open to negotiation, provided it is on his terms.

“Our management representatives,” he says in a pro-forma email reply to supporters of the staff, “remain prepared to negotiate on aspects of concern to the staff, provided it is based on the central component of a registered Workplace Agreement.”

About 25 staff, along with representatives of their union, the Australian Services Union, gathered on the council lawns this morning for a breakfast rally.

State Secretary of SA Unions, Janet Giles, turned up to show support, as did Australian Council of Trade Unions national secretary Jeff Lawrence (see photo below).

Full marks to Lawrence for being there, but the thrust of his message was that everything hinged on the outcome of the federal elections: “We need to make sure that we have a change of government so there is legislation that can resolve this type of dispute,” he said.

What needed to be added was that regardless of which party is elected to office on November 24, the campaign for “Your Rights at Work” which is now embedded in communities across the nation must be kept alive and must have a momentum and a focus independent of parliament.

The empowerment and activity of workers on the job, supported by community networking, is the key to the defeat of WorkChoices and un-Australian Workplace Agreements.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Right wing emails: return to sender

A friend recently sent me this email. Read it, but then please also read my comments following it, and check out the links if you like.

For anybody who is not familiar with a jet engine, a jet fan blade should be perfectly smooth. You might want to think twice the next time you fly on a Chinese Airline. A pilot for a Chinese carrier requested permission and landed at FRA (Frankfurt, Germany) for an unscheduled refueling stop. The reason became soon apparent to the ground crew: The Number 3 engine had been shutdown previously because of excessive vibration and because it didn't look too good.

It had apparently been no problem for the tough guys back in China: as they took some sturdy straps and wrapped them around two of the fan blades and the structures behind, thus stopping any unwanted windmilling (engine spinning by itself due to airflow passing thru the blades during flight) and associated uncomfortable vibration caused by the suboptimal fan.

Note that the straps are resourceful! After making the "repairs", off they went into the wild blue yonder with another revenue-making flight on only three engines! With the increased fuel consumption, they got a bit low on fuel and just set it down at the closest airport (FRA) for a quick refill.

That's when the problems started: the Germans, who are kind of picky about this stuff, inspected the malfunctioning engine and immediately grounded the aircraft. (Besides the seatbelts, notice the appalling condition of the fan blades.) The airline operator had to send a chunk of money to get the first engine replaced **(took about 10 days).The repair contractor decided to do some impromptu inspection work on the other engines, none of which looked all that great either. The result: a total of 3 engines were eventually changed on this plane before it was permitted to fly again.

Soon the Chinese will export their cars to Australia.

Well, that's the email.
Actually, this set of photos has something of a history that pre-dates the comment - obviously meant to please the multinational car manufacturers lobby in Australia, about Chinese car exports to Australia. To sum up, (1) they’re not seat belts and were most likely attached as part of blade removal safety practice; (2) the damage is consistent with ingestion of foreign objects during a flight, as happens to all carriers from time to time; (3) there is nothing to positively identify it as a China Airlines plane.

For further discussion, see

This sort of anti-China material comes regularly out of the US, where there is much hysteria about competition from China. The car manufacturers in particular are worried about a very cheap small car, the Chery, that China is about to release for export (see here, and note the relavance of the final comment!).
China has exceptional quality and skill in the manufacture of their own cars, and has had manufacturing plants for the likes of Audi, Volkswagen, Jeep and General Motors for years. The Chinese-designed Buick La Crosse is regarded as better than the US version (see ).

Heaps of these emails do the rounds, some having a go at migrants, some at welfare recipients or some other group that rich people think their taxes are wasted on.

Like Elvis said, "Return to sender" is my advice.

Eureka flag flies on Built Environs site again

The blue and white Eureka flag is a specifically Australian symbol of defiance and rebellion.

Born of an armed uprising against British colonial authority in the then colony of Victoria in December 1854, it also represents working class and other progressive aspirations for independence from colonialism and imperialism.

In a purely formal sense, the modern nation state of Australia is independent. But the reality is that it is still enmeshed in the economic, cultural, political, military and diplomatic web of imperialism, with US imperialism spinning the most controlling and restrictive threads.

The imperialist glove puppet John Howard has a traitor’s hatred for the Eureka flag. He hates the working class and he’s a sycophant of US imperialism.

For nearly 30 years, the Eureka flag has been particularly synonymous with militant workers in the building industry.

That is why the hated creation of John Howard, the Australian Building and Construction Commission (ABCC) has sought to ban the Eureka flag on building sites.

In the process, the ABCC has bullied building companies, telling them that they will not be eligible to tender for Federal construction projects if the flag, or any sticker, poster, t-shirt or other item containing the flag, is allowed on site.

And if you think that it is just the working class that is the subject of restrictions on freedom of expression, read some of the material put out by the capitalist media who are also chafing under the controls that Howard has placed over the media’s access to information (here).

The argument used by the ABCC in banning the flying of the Eureka flag on the Built Environs job in Adelaide (see here) is that the flag intimidates non-unionists and is thereby in breech of their “freedom of association” (ie freedom not to belong to a union).

This was why I held my one-man flag protest at the Built Environs site some months ago (here).

However, workers united can never be defeated.

CFMEU members demanded the right to fly their flag, and pointed out to management that non-unionists were on the job during the time that it had previously been flown so that it could not be argued that they had been “intimidated”.

By persisting with their arguments, the workers got around the ABCC objection that the Eureka flag was a CFMEU symbol by getting agreement from Built Environs that they, the company, would supply the flag, and at their own cost!

The company also suggested that it fly a flag representing a charity, and the workers had no objection.

So, for the last fortnight, a construction company-supplied Eureka flag has given back to Built Environs workers the right to freely express the culture that the ABCC had tried to intimidate out of existence.

The capitalist media, with all of its power and might, is still bemoaning the loss of free speech.

The workers are celebrating its restoration.

Fight racism, support the Jena 6

US singer-songwriter John Mellencamp joins a growing list of public personalities who have taken up the case of the Jena 6, a group of secondary students who face major charges after responding to an incident in which white students hung nooses from a playground tree.

Mellencamp, who has written a song about the Jena, said: "This song is not written as an indictment of the people of Jena but, rather, as a condemnation of racism, a problem which I've reflected in many songs, a problem that still plagues our country today.""

You can click here to see and hear Mellencamp's musical statement.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

McDonald beats trespass charge, claims ‘victory for workers’

The anti-worker and anti-union laws that the Howard Government is using to try and crush workers and their representatives (see also second post below) was dealt a telling blow in the Perth Magistrates Court this morning.
This is cause for great rejoicing and celebration.
The working class will be around long after Howard and his ruling class are consigned to the dustbin of history.
It is an even greater victory, as Howard has featured McDonald in a series of anti-ALP electoral ads, claiming that if the Labor Party wins office, McDonald "will be back".
The truth is that so long as Joe genuinely represents the interests of his CFMEU members, and the working class more broadly, he will always be around regardless of the fortunes of the capitalist ALP.
A press report from The West Australian follows:
25th October 2007, 10:45 WST

Trade union heavyweight Joe McDonald was this morning found not guilty of trespassing without lawful excuse in first of six trespass trials, with the assistant secretary of the Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union of WA labelling his acquittal a “victory for workers” outside the court.

Magistrate Joe Randazzo handed down his ruling in the Perth Magistrate’s Court after hearing evidence on Tuesday, saying in his decision that although Mr McDonald was “slow moving” after being asked to leave a Doric Construction building site in Joondalup in February, he had not been there without lawful excuse and his conduct had been “reasonable”.

His trial was told Doric site manager Jim Kemp warned McDonald he was trespassing after he entered through an exit gate, on February 19 this year.

McDonald testified he had replied to his friend, “Jimmy, what makes a man turn dog?,” referring to the former union member’s job with the construction company.”

Mr Randazzo said there were no aggravating factors or actions of aggression and McDonald had been there in a union capacity, discussing safety issues with workers.

The magistrate noted Mr McDonald had been on the site a “very short duration”, which the court had been told was 13 minutes, was “well received” by some workers and had not hindered or interfered with work on the site.

Mr McDonald was awarded $2500 costs but still faces the prospect of a civil action for the same incident. He also faces five more trials in the Perth Magistrate’s Court relating to alleged trespasses on other Perth worksites between February and April.

Outside court, Mr McDonald vowed that the CFMEU would continue its protection of workers, for whom this case was a victory.

“It’s good to see that every time I sneeze it’s not a crime. This has been a victory for workers in Western Australia. The CFMEU will continue to service workers when they are getting robbed by unscrupulous bosses and where they are being forced to work in unsafe conditions,” he said.

The Liberal Party today launched a new ad attacking Opposition Leader Kevin Rudd’s failure to have McDonald expelled from the Labor Party over thuggery claims.

McDonald said he had not seen the ad.

“John’s (Howard) gone, you know that, I’ll be back.”


Monday, October 22, 2007

Billionaire calls for slave labour

Owner of the retail chain Harvey Norman, billionaire boss Gerry Harvey, has called for a two-tier wage system to allow employers to pay foreign guest workers up to 50% less than their Australian counterparts.

He wants foreign workers on fixed visas to form a second tier to the labour market.

This creep, who earned $896,879.00 in salary and other entitlements from Harvey Norman (or $2457.00 each day of the year), wants a system that is more open to exploitation and oppression than the current Section 457 scheme, which is bad enough.

He said, “When you get unemployment down to four per cent, to three per cent, to two per cent, business can’t get the labour. I’ve got horse studs and it’s difficult to get staff.”

Oh, the problems of the filthy rich!

Like the scum that sits on the top of a pond, the rich sit on the top of society.

Lauded by some for his business acumen, Harvey is a major franchiser who has to do little for a fair part of his earnings.

He is a major buyer of property, believing that “property ownership is integral to the successful operation of the retailing and franchising system” (2007 Annual Report, p. 4).

This enables him to charge rent to other people who have to move his stock off the shelves. As one commentator has noted, “…he knows how much they (the franchisees) all make and can increase the rents to match the takings. He squeezes them from both ends…in the rents and the profits.

Harvey Norman franchise outlets grew from 155 in 2003 to 192 in 2007 whilst those owned directly by his company increased from 28 to 53 over the same period.

Over the same period, the value of retail sales per franchised store increased from $18.7m to $23.4m, whilst that of company-owned stores remained steady at $25m.
Thus, while the latter had a head start, the former are growing in sales at a faster rate.

Despite going public and crying about how difficult it is for the parasite class to get really cheap labour, Harvey was rather more upbeat in his 2007 Annual report.

There he wrote that Harvey Norman had experienced “a record result for the year ended 30 June 2007”.

“Harvey Norman is committed to growth and is extremely well-placed to take advantage of emerging opportunities…Our strong financial position and low gearing places us in an excellent position to capitalize on any competitor failure in the market place.”

Harvey admitted that “You won’t get politicians saying what I’m saying, but privately they know this sort of thing is a reality in the future.”

Anyone feel a boycott coming on….?

Joe McDonald should not be on trial!

Western Australian CFMEU official Joe McDonald faced court yesterday in Perth over charges that he had trespassed by entering building sites on union business.

These charges are a consequence of the draconian provisions introduced by the Howard Government when it established the Australian Building and Construction Commission, a group of anti-union zealots who have terrified the families of building workers and intimidated building companies from allowing their workers to fly the Eureka flag on site.

The ABCC can and does enter sites at will, can and does threaten companies that they will not be able to bid for Federal construction contracts if the Eureka flag is flown.

Workers want their elected union officials to come onto sites and into workplaces to service their needs, to disseminate information, to check on health and safety concerns.
They don't want a gang of suited thugs who threaten to impose fines of up to $28,000 on any worker who takes industrial action.
In a class society, the question of rights is a class question. The bosses create rights for themselves, and the workers do likewise. There are no divinely ordained rights. Rights exist when groups of like-minded people collectively create their own rights, and defend them from attack.
A worker should have the right to access, on the job and in work time, a representative who is well-versed in the relevant practices, provisions and legislation relating to, for example, occupational health and safety.
And, if he or she has been ripped off like the Chinese workers in the post below, then there shoud be provision for the worker representatives to enter the site to seek resolution of the issue with the employer.
Joe McDonald was not breaking a law that any worker would recognise. He was upholding the rights of his members to have their interests serviced by their elected officials.
He should not be on trial.
From the point of view of Australia's workers, he has been exemplary in his conduct.
Would that there were more like him!
(A copy of a report from the capitalist press in Western Australia is attached for reference.)

Unionist warned over trespassing
22nd October 2007, 15:15 WST

Trade union official Joe McDonald was warned he was trespassing on a Perth building site before police were called, his Perth trial has been told.

Mr McDonald, the West Australian assistant secretary of the Construction Forestry Mining and Energy Union, today went on trial in the Perth Magistrates’ Court for trespassing.

It is the first of six trials Mr McDonald faces for unlawfully entering Perth building sites between February 14 and April 24, 2007, after having his right of entry permit for building sites revoked by the Federal Court.

His trial was told Doric site manager Jim Kemp warned McDonald he was trespassing at the Lakeside Shopping Centre site in Joondalup, in Perth’s northern suburbs, after he entered through an exit gate, on February 19 this year.

Mr McDonald said Mr Kemp, who he had known for about 16 years, was “under a bit of pressure” during his visit.

“He used to be a member of the union, now he works for one of the worst companies,” Mr McDonald said.

“I said to him ‘Jimmy, what makes a man turn dog?’.”

Mr McDonald said he could not recall Mr Kemp telling him he was trespassing.

But he said Mr Kemp told him “you’re going to get me in the shit if you stay”.

Mr Kemp told the court the two remained friends.

Mr McDonald testified he noticed safety breaches when he visited the site to speak to a sub-contractor over problems with superannuation and long service payments.

McDonald’s lawyer Gavin MacLean said his client had entered the work site to talk to a subcontractor over payments to CFMEU members.

Mr McLean said McDonald therefore had a lawful excuse for being on the site and argued it was not a criminal offence.

“It’s the type of trespass that should be dealt with by ... civil sanctions,” Mr Maclean said.

But prosecutor Barry King said McDonald had been clearly told to leave the site.

“He simply had no authority to be there,” Mr King said.

Magistrate Joe Randazzo will hand down his judgment this Thursday, October 25.


Sunday, October 21, 2007

Section 457 visa workers exploited by bosses, protected by unions

After years of chronic under funding of Australia’s Technical and Further Education (TAFE) colleges, Australian industries have been hit by a shortage of skilled workers and an absence of young apprentices going into workplaces.

Since 1998, the year Howard was first elected Prime Monster, funding cuts to TAFE are estimated to have denied 300,000 young people places at TAFE colleges.

To make up this politically-created skills shortage, the Howard Government has encouraged employers to bring in overseas workers on Section 457 visas.

“Let other countries pay for the educating of skilled workers,” seems to be Howard’s reasoning, “and we’ll procure them on a just-in-time basis, like factories do with their parts and materials. And then we can send them home when they’re not needed so they’re not a drain on the public purse.”

And Section 457 visa workers are not required to be paid Australian Award wages, thus applying downward pressure on hard-won wages and conditions.

Out of India, China, the Philippines they come, and into the shittiest jobs, the most dangerous jobs, and to the remotest localities they go.

For a couple of years now, we’ve seen Chinese going into abattoirs - 100 plus families going to Murray Bridge with no advance notice given to the community or the local schools to prepare the social and educational infrastructure that a group this size needs and to which it is entitled.

More going to Naracoorte at a time when local meatworkers were engaged in a struggle with the boss.

These are some of the dirty jobs.

The dangerous ones are in construction. And if the workers don’t understand English, as many don’t, then they are immediately behind the eight ball when it comes to understanding occupational health and safety issues.

A Darwin plastering firm tried to put pressure on one of its workers to go to China and recruit 60 workers, despite there being local tradespeople capable of doing the work, and local youth in need of training and work.

In central Queensland, construction giant John Holland Pty Ltd is threatening to replace local workers with Section 457 visa workers if the former refuse to sign un-Australian Workplace Agreements (AWAs). The Award rate was about $1800 for a 46 hour week, plus about $130 as an employer contribtion to superannuation. The ten Section 457 visa workers already there were given one hour to read their AWA contracts under which they are only paid $1022 per week with $92 for super. This is a loss of over $800 per week.

Even more disgusting has been the case of two Chinese brought in to work in Sydney who were fired by their boss, evicted from their accommodation and threatened with deportation.

Neither Gong Wei nor Huang Jiandong had a working knowledge of English when they were recruited by an agent in a rural area of Jiangsu Province. Their first problem emerged with the recruitment process itself, each having to pay the agent $12,000 as a condition of recruitment.

They were then given to understand that they would be paid $16,000 (close to RMB100, 000) for a six-day week, not understanding that this was far below the Award rate for workers in Australia doing the same work.

The reality was even worse. They were treated like slaves, being given only $50 per week for living expenses, having to share a small three bedroom house with up to seven other workers, and made to work excessive hours - sometimes 17 hours, or through to one o’clock in the morning!

Nor was their work what it had been described as in China. They were transferred to the construction of a new house for their employer, the owner of Elite Marble and Granite Furniture.

When the two men complained about being underpaid, they were sacked by their boss, which resulted in the termination of their visas, meaning that they could no longer work and were required to return to China. They were also evicted by police from their house because they could no longer pay the rent, and forced into homelessness, appealing to the cops to arrest them so that they would have somewhere – jail – to stay.

However, the construction union, the CFMEU, stepped in and took up their case.

Firstly, it arranged temporary food and shelter.

Secondly, it ensured that they were not deported before their claim against the boss for full payment of wages owed was heard by the courts.

Thirdly, it brought the issue to the attention of the public, inviting the two workers to participate in a demonstration protesting unfair treatment of Chinese workers on Section 457 visas and obtaining, as a result, mass media coverage of the issues.

Fourthly, it arranged for the two to attend a meeting of Unions NSW as delegates of the CFMEU so that they could explain the situation to the peak body of all unions in New South Wales.

Gong Wei told this meeting that he wanted to thanks Unions NSW, the CFMEU and his solicitor for preventing their deportation, and assisting them to obtain a temporary visa. He also thanked the CFMEU for its assistance in fighting for their proper wages and back pay.

Gong also congratulated the Australian trade union movement for their support for guest workers in Australia to be treated with dignity.

He said he fully supported the Your Rights at Work Campaign to have fairer workplace laws.

Which brings us back to the TAFE issue.

Whilst there will be acceptable circumstances in which labour moves between countries, (and certainly there are growing numbers of skilled Australians working all over the globe), the answer to the skills shortage is not a visa system that allows vulnerable guest workers to be exploited by parasites and thugs, but the proper funding of the TAFE system.

Donald Peter is a lecturer at Regency Park TAFE in South Australia, and Chair of the TAFE Divisional Council of the Australian Education Union. He says:

“Regardless of the public and private agendas of the economic rationalists within incumbent and would be governments, there is voter support for a properly funded public education system.”

“A coupling of the TAFE and Secondary education sectors with pathways between TAFE and secondary levels would allow students to move seamlessly between the two systems creating complementary parallel education streams as distinct from the current continuum, ie leave school and start TAFE.”

This complements the view of the CFMEU, namely, that “the future of our industry depends on skills development and training, not importing and exploiting workers on temporary 457 visas.”

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Matt Walker's Seditious Art

This is just a reminder for Adelaideans that Matt Walker's anti-racist, anti-Howard artwork is till on display at the wonderful Wheatsheaf pub at Mile End, and will be there until Nov. 8. Unfortunately, Howard will be around for a further 16 days after that!

For those unlucky enough to be non-Adelaideans, you can check out the exhibition, and two previous ones, here.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Photos from Kunming and Yichang

Kunming is the capital of China's Yunnan Province. I've just come back home after doing a two-week loop that went Kunming-Dali-Lijiang and then Chongqing to Yichang via the Three Gorges, and then back to Kunming.

A couple of things that warmed the cockles of my old proletarian heart were driving into Kunming on the first day and seeing the international proletarian symbol in pride of place for China's National Day (photo 1). We later walked past the Party headquarters which is still emblazoned with the slogan “Zhonghua Renmin Gongheguo Yiqie Quanli Shuyu Renmin” – “In the Peoples Republic of China, all power belongs to the people”. How great those sentiments were and are!

In Lijiang a couple of days later we paused at the statue of Comrade Mao Zedong still standing in the town's main square (photo 2).

Later, in Yichang we got into a taxi that had a large transfer of the model Communist soldier, Lei Feng, on the bonnet. Noticing the driver's Party card on the dashboard, I pointed to Comrade Lei Feng and asked whether it was some sort of advert (after all, what hasn't been commercialized and post-modernised these days?) The comrade taxi driver said it wasn't a commercial. So I said, “So this is actually promoting the spirit of Lei Feng?” It certainly was, and a handful of other taxis also had the same transfer, so it must have been some sort of Party movement amongst the taxi drivers. When I got out, I saw an inscription (not visible from the front seat due to the bonnet's curvature) which read "Lei Feng jingshen shifan che", or "Taxi for demonstrating the spirit of Lei Feng". The driver was quite surprised when I asked to take a photo of his taxi (photo 3).

Full support to these Chinese comrades still upholding the spirit of Lei Feng!

Monday, October 15, 2007

Howard’s constitutional reconciliation a further attack on Aboriginal people

John Howard’s recently announced proposal to hold a referendum for a Statement of Reconciliation to be included in the Preamble to the Australian Constitution reeks of last minute election hypocrisy.

Many have described it as the death rattle of a dying government.

There is some truth to this – no doubt Howard hopes that he can retrieve some electoral ground by a death-bed conversion to the reconciliation process that all decent Australians have long ago endorsed.

However, Howard is not a recent convert to reconciliation at all. He is a creature of imperialism and a racist, or, as he has expressed it, a person who seeks to “retain those cherished values, beliefs and customs that have served us so well in the past.”

The past comprises colonial dispossession of the original inhabitants by force and the threat of force, the imposition of a belief and value system shaped by and serving colonialism and then imperialism.

The past comprises the suppression of an indigenous collective culture and the oppression of the collective organisation and culture of the working class. The Australian bourgeoisie, like its counterparts in all other capitalist countries, raises the rights of the individual and the rights of the body corporate - the nation – to a position of precedence over Aboriginal and working class collective rights.

Howard trumpets this nonsense in his “new paradigm” for reconciliation: “This new Reconciliation I’m talking about starts from the premise that individual rights and national sovereignty prevail over group rights. That group rights are, and ought to be, subordinate to both the citizenship rights of the individual and the sovereignty of the nation.”

So, goodbye to collective bargaining rights and welcome to un-Australian Workplace Agreements!

And goodbye to land rights and community leasehold and welcome to “emergency” military “intervention” in Aboriginal communities in the Northern Territory.

At the time that the latter was announced, ostensibly as a response to the Little Children Are Sacred report, I alerted readers of this blog to the 2006 Discussion Paper on the dismantling of land rights in the NT and the proposed “entry, without hindrance, of Aborigines in the NT to the mainstream Australian economy.” I said at the time that this should really read “to facilitate the entry of the mainstream Australian economy (read multinational miners and pastoralists) to traditional Aboriginal lands”. Howard wept crocodile tears all over the Report in order to achieve the objectives of the Discussion Paper.

In his proposed “new paradigm for reconciliation”, he’s at it again. No change, just another means of achieving outcomes for his mining masters: “At its core is the need for Aboriginal Australia to join the mainstream economy as the foundation of economic and social progress. This is at the heart of the work the Australian Government is pursuing under the Federal Minister Mal Brough’s leadership.”

Howard’s proposed Constitutional referendum should be opposed. It is a trick to define Aboriginal cultures as museum pieces and to force the break up of land rights and impose 1950s style assimilation (read: “cultural obliteration”).

It is a ploy to avoid the responsibility of a negotiated Treaty and an apology for the crimes of colonialism and imperialism.

“This nation,” said Howard, “spent (and wasted) a lot of time in the last 30 years toying with the idea of a treaty implying in some way e are dealing with two separate nations…We are one great tribe; one Australia.”

Ein Volk, ein Reich, ein Feuhrer!

Like Hitler, Howard is obsessed with his own destiny. “The old paradigm’s emphasis on shame, guilt and apologies made it impossible to reconcile the goal with the path I was required to tread,” he declared.

As an Australian, I feel no shame or guilt about a Treaty or an apology.

Quite the opposite.

The day a Treaty is signed and an apology for the crimes of colonialism and subsequent settler governments (principally the crimes imposed on the Stolen Generation) is issued, I will stand taller as an Australian, part of one nation comprising many peoples, with one national identity based on respect for the diversity of all who live and work here. Naturally, this excludes the exploiters and oppressors.

Reject Howard’s phoney “conversion” to reconciliation.

Reject his “new paradigm” of reconciliation.

Reject the stunt of an assimilationist amendment to the Constitution.

For a Treaty on terms acceptable to Aboriginal Australians!

For an apology to the Stolen Generation from the settler government!

For an anti-racist and anti-imperialist independent People’s Australia!


See here for statements by the Women for Wik on Howard’s constitutional referendum.

See here for a statement by leaders of the Catholic Church in the Kimberley region of Western Australia.

See here for the racist and assimilationist subterfuges of the imperialist servant Howard.