Australia

Workers' Liberty Australia

A page for and about Workers' Liberty supporters in Australia. WL Australia news Workers Liberty newsletter No 72 (Late 2019) Contents: * Change the politics to socialism. For a climate action manifesto. * Workers and trade unions, why no strike for the climate? * Climate activism for workers’ control (from Climate change activism in the workplace) * Demands on employers (from Intertwining the threads), and Organising in schools for climate action * Extinction Rebellion Lismore * Cool air, hotter climate? Design against waste * Changing the Rules under a Coalition government * John Setka and...

Vale Rod Webb, 1943-2020

Without Rod Webb, there may not have been a consistent group of supporters of the Alliance for Workers’ Liberty in Australia, advocating the ideas and principles of third-camp Trotskyism. It was because of Rod that I became a Trotskyist, and because of people he put me in touch with, even after he became less active himself, that I discovered the literature of the forerunners of the AWL, made contact with Martin Thomas, and helped to establish Socialist Fight, as a group of co-thinkers of the now AWL. This is part obituary, and part story of how Rod’s ideas and connections contributed to the...

Plutocrat philanthropy and workers' rights

Andrew Forrest is an Australian mining magnate and billionaire who set up a foundation with the seemingly benign purpose to “end modern slavery in our generation”. But as with Bill Gates and his philanthropic foundation, all is not what it seems. In spite of his lobbying for patents and intellectual property, Bill Gates has actually helped some people in the global south get vaccinated. Forrest’s advocacy does very little to alleviate the material conditions which make modern slavery, namely poverty. Within Australia, Forrest’s chief lobbying has been for controls and limits on welfare...

Vale Peter Simpson, 1963-2020

A tribute to Peter Simpson, lifelong activist with the Electrical Trades Union and Queensland state secretary 2009-2016

Bit by bit workers’ rights are being eroded

The Morrison government withdrew most of the remaining provisions of its industrial relations “Omnibus Bill” when cross-bench Senators’ amendments gutted the bill of its main intentions – to increase employer flexibility in offering hours of work, and to allow employer designed Enterprise Agreements to be imposed without union and worker approval, in certain contexts. The sop to get this through was to be a law against wage theft (i.e. employer failure to pay the full award or agreement rates), and a “pathway” for casual workers to become permanent, if their boss doesn’t circumvent. The bill...

Australian women march for justice

Around 100,000 joined March4Justice around Australia, in capital cities and regional towns, on Monday 15 March. Angry opposition to rape, sexual violence and cover-ups has erupted since the exposure of two high profile rape cases involving the national parliament. In the first case, former staffer Brittany Higgins gave a TV interview on 15 February, alleging that in 2018 she had been raped her in the office of her boss, Minister for Defence Linda Reynolds, by another staffer, and then was undermined when she reported it. Friends of a woman who suicided during Covid lockdown in 2020, wrote to...

After the Omnibus Bill, union rights still in retreat

Australia's conservative coalition government led by Scott Morrison has withdrawn most of the remaining provisions of its industrial relations “Omnibus Bill” after cross-bench Senators’ amendments gutted the bill of its main intentions – to increase employer flexibility in offering hours of work, and to allow employer designed Enterprise Agreements to be imposed without union and worker approval, in certain contexts.

Breaking the poverty machine

I was pleasantly surprised that Labor Senators voted on 24 February for a motion by Rachel Siewert from the Greens, noting “that the Government is making a deliberate choice to keep people on the JobSeeker Payment living in poverty” and calling on the Government to “urgently increase Jobseeker Payment to be above the poverty line.” That Labor voted for this is a tiny opening for supporters of living incomes, to demand more explicit commitments to $550 a week minimum income support to be made by each and every Labor MP, candidate, affiliated union and ALP branch. The opening is tiny. There were...

Facebook, Australia and democracy

In the week ending 20 February, users of Facebook platforms in Australia found links to many external sites no longer available. Facebook claimed they aimed only to cut links to news outlets, but the bans were more wide-ranging including some trade-union and campaigning organisations (such as Living Income For Everyone, LIFE, where Workers’ Liberty people in Australia are active), as well as state bodies. Facebook have stated that some of the bans have been errors, but it is unclear which will be reinstated or when. It has gone for “shoot first, question later” maximum disruption. That is its...

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