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February 2013

The Maritime Union of Australia was very happy with Julia Gillard in 2008

This is the union that Bill Shorten was so proud to be associated with yesterday.

I thought you might be interested in a news story from 2008 - the story is based on a leaked MUA strategy document.   (I wish more journalists would just publish the document, rather than write a story that selectively quotes it!)

Maritime Union prepares to flex muscles

You can read Glenn's story online here.

The MUA strategy paper apparently includes insights like this

The union wants a return to "pattern bargaining", a technique to negotiate increased wages and conditions. However, opponents of pattern bargaining say it would also increase inflation and interest rates.

The effect of such a campaign would be to impose the boom wages and conditions in Western Australia to the rest of Australia, regardless of productivity.

The document also reveals plans to pressure employers into watering down tests that "penalise" workers with a recreational cannabis habit.

MUA national secretary Paddy Crumlin met Mr Rudd in Canberra where, according to the document, the Prime Minister agreed to give the union access to personal security information collected by the Government on so-called "scabs" crewing non-union ships.

In another sign of increased militancy under the Labor Government, the union is also demanding that its heavy machinery drivers be exempted from strict, on-the-job drug testing.

On the question of what the document calls "scabs and parasites" crewing non-union ships, the MUA says it has received co-operation from Mr Rudd and a range of senior ministers, including Deputy Prime Minister Julia Gillard and Attorney-General Robert McClelland to access the personal security information of such crews.

"The National Secretary has contacted the ACTU who are working the matter through with the Minister for Industrial Relations, Julia Gillard.

Read more:

And this is a brief extract from the Power Index article on the redoubtable Paddy Crumlin at whose conference Bill Shorten spoke yesterday.

Paddy Crumlin

Matthew Knott Thursday, 10 May 2012

The globe-trotting MUA boss punches above his weight

National Secretary, Maritime Union of Australia

Born in: Sydney

FriendsPaul Howes | Tony Maher |Tony Sheldon

It's worth reading the power index piece in its entirety online here.

"He has led the MUA with strength, determination and panaché," says AWU boss Paul Howes, who counts Crumlin as a friend and mentor. "Through his own style, intellect and foresight he has ensured that the MUA belts well above its weight."

Chris Cain, secretary of the MUA's WA branch, says: "Under his leadership, we've become one of the most powerful, strategic, feared unions in the country. He can go into any room, any forum and turn it around to his way of thinking -- whether its employers, governments or his members."

Last September (2011), following years of concerted lobbying by Crumlin, transport minister Anthony Albanese announced major reforms to revitalise the Australian shipping industry through tax breaks and training incentives. Crikey's Bernard Keane slammed the policy as a "taxpayer rort" that will lift the MUA's membership, but deliver negligible benefits for ordinary Australians.

Crumlin's also led the MUA through a bitter 20-month dispute with stevedoring company Asciano that saw over 60 work stoppages and cost the company an estimated $15 million. In April, the parties signed an agreement that will deliver pay rises of 22.5% over five years in exchange for productivity increases.

"I'm not losing my bargaining edge," Crumlin says. The Fair Work Act's rules of engagement, he notes, have also helped the MUA assert its influence – a statement sure to draw howls from Peter Reith/AFR types.

Surely to God this can't be right. Who could sign their name to this? Sorry, no care for you.

I would be very pleased to hear that this report is wrong.   It was published in Sunday's News Limited papers.  

Terminally ill suffer as federal palliative funds dry up

TERMINALLY ill cancer patients and the elderly will be left without specialised end-of-life care from July when a $500 million program at the heart of Julia Gillard's health reforms finishes.

Palliative care nurses and specialists in three states have already been told they will lose their jobs and at least one five-bed service in Victoria has closed already.

Also affected are young disabled patients with spina bifida, neuromuscular disease and those with severe injuries who will have their access to rehabilitation axed from the same date.


About 2000 NSW patients will be left in the lurch when 54 palliative care workers lose their jobs in July, Palliative Care Australia estimates.


Mental Health and Ageing Minister Mark Butler said federal funding for palliative care service "is not expiring".

The states had been given an extra $1.6 billion in funding from 2010-11 to 2013-14 to invest in sub-acute services.

"It is open to the states and territories to use this funding in hospital and community settings with the aim of increasing access, including to palliative care," he said.

Health Services Association NSW said patients would die at home with their families forced to care for them without medical support.

You can read the whole story here.

There is a reason paramedics are the most trusted profession in the country. This move is not before time.

Australia's Most Trusted Professions 2012

The results of our annual Most Trusted Professions survey are out. Read here for the full list of Australia's Most Trusted Professions 2012.
“Our frontline paramedics are invited into people’s lives every day, sometimes in stressful and challenging situations. The respect and trust the community has for [them] allows them to perform these duties.”
Mike Willis, acting CEO, NSW Ambulance Service
For eight years, paramedics have held the title of Australia’s Most Trusted Profession, while members of the poll’s top five professions continue to hold our lives in their safe and careful hands.

Reader's Digest Trust Poll 2012 Professions

1. Paramedics
2. Firefighters
3. Rescue volunteers
4. Nurses
5. Pilots

Paramedics take legal action to leave HSU, form own union

  • From:The Australian 
  • February 27, 2013 12:00AM

HUNDREDS of paramedics have taken legal action to split from the troubled Health Services Union in NSW, declaring they no longer want to be represented by the state's "least respected union".

The application by the Australian Paramedics Association will be opposed by the HSU and Unions NSW when it is considered by the state Industrial Relations Commission next week.

Of course Unions NSW opposes the application.  For the burghers of the Labor movement it has nothing to do with the conditions or rights of workers and everything to do with power.

"What she did to what's-his-name, Kevin Rudd, in the streets of Rooty Hill that's called a dog act"

Mark colvin abc
A warm welcome awaits the visitor to Rooty Hill.   Unless you're noted for the odd Dog Act.   Dog Acts are rather looked down on you see.   Go Dog once and it might be reasonably anticipated you'll Go Dog again, or Go Dog on me or my mates.
The keen student of Rooty Hill attitudes will be richly rewarded for listening to a little of Mark Colvin's PM radio show of the 26th instant.   You'll only have to wait a minute or so.
Follow the link here

Memo to Sussex Street and The Lodge - this is what doing the right thing looks like

Sinodinos’ $3.7m shares giveaway

Arthur sinodinis

The Australian Financial Review reports

The president of the NSW Liberal Party, Arthur Sinodinos, has abandoned a claim to a 5 per cent shareholding, worth up to $3.75 million, in infrastructure company Australian Water Holdings after revelations that linked the company to Labor powerbroker Eddie Obeid.

Senator Sinodinos, who was chairman of Australian Water and is now Parliamentary Secretary to federal Opposition Leader Tony Abbott, told The Australian Financial Review he would not pursue the share stake.

He was responding to questions from the Financial Review on how Australian Water became one of the largest donors to the NSW Liberal Party within days of Mr Obeid’s ­family contracting to buy a $3 million stake in the company in November 2010.

True to his word - here is his declaration of the shareholding in his Senator's Interests Register made on 25 November, 2011

Sinodinis sharehoolding

And here, yesterday, is his report that he has disposed of the interest.

Sinodinis disposal


If it looks a bit smelly, if it involves people of questionable repute, if it discloses a conflict of interest - your conscience will let you know what's right, wouldn't it?

Your shareholding in a water company with the Obeids? $3.75M

Your integrity?   Priceless

Bill Shorten is the Minister for Industrial Relations. And he is a trade unionist. Conflict of Interest?

Members of Parliament usually divest themselves of investments or other affiliations that could give rise to conflicts of interest.

I know that the Labor Party requires its members to be members of unions - but Bill Shorten's behaviour at a conference of the militant Maritime Union of Australia alongside Paddy Crumlin should give rise to concerns about his impartiality in his ministerial role.

Maritime union
Shorten at maritime conference

Continue reading "Bill Shorten is the Minister for Industrial Relations. And he is a trade unionist. Conflict of Interest?" »

The ABC Board seems to have redefined the law in its new electoral coverage policy

The ABC published a new election coverage policy in January this year - Web Archive suggests it was published between 21 and 31 January.   Julia Gillard announced the election on 30 January this year, with the polls to be held 14 September 2013.   The proximity of the Gillard announcement to the ABC policy change gives rise to some reasonable questions - why the change and why now?

Here are the links to the ABC's old and new  electoral coverage policies.   And for completeness, here is a link to the relevant sections of the governing legislation, the AUSTRALIAN BROADCASTING CORPORATION ACT 1983.

The New Policy Header

New policy
The Header of the Old Policy it replaced

Old policy

The new policy explicity states that it's been approved by the  ABC Board .   While the new policy doesn't repudiate the older Fact Sheet, I'll presume that the explicit imprimatur of the Board and the later date (2013 v 2010) implies that it takes precedence.   Just to confuse things, the older Fact Sheet is still online at the ABC website here.

The first sentence in each document is telling.

The New

No longer subject to legislation
The Old

Subject to the act first sentence

Continue reading "The ABC Board seems to have redefined the law in its new electoral coverage policy" »