Friday, October 28, 2005

The Western Sydney Peace and Community Group invite you to a public forum:

Your Rights At Work
Going, Going, Gone...

John Howard's workplace laws have been met by unprecedented opposition from churches, community groups and unions, who have all raised fears about the impact on families, young people and those on the minimum wage.

These laws remove most protections for Australian workers, leaving millions with only 5 basic conditions and the prospects of individual contracts that sign away annual leave, public holidays, overtime and dozens of other rights.

Come along to a public forum of local people talking about what these laws mean for them and their families, as well as ideas about what you can do to fight for your rights at work.

Date: Monday 7th November
Time: 7PM
Venue: Rooty Hill Uniting Church (86 Rooty Hill Rd Nth, Rooty Hill)
Speakers include:

  • Adam Kerslake (Unions NSW - "Your Rights At Work" coordinator)
    Adam is currently coordinating the Unions NSW "Your Rights At Work" campaign. He is actively involved in educating the community about the potential impact of these laws, and the need for individuals to get involved and fight for their rights at work.
  • Barry Walker (Penrith Panthers '91 Premiership / owner driver)
    Barry is a former Rugby League player with the Penrith Panthers, and was a member of the '91 Premiership winning team. He is now an owner truck driver who distributes beer for Toohey's. New work laws mean his union, the Transport Workers Union, will no longer be able to negotiate on his behalf.
  • Brett Gay (Crane driver)
    Brett is a crane driver and Glenmore Park local. He is concerned about the Australian Building and Construction Commission which the Howard Government recently created. It can impose $22,000 fines on workers who attend union meetings. It can also jail people for refusing to answer questions.
  • Mark Tough (Minister - St Johns Anglican Church, Minchinbury)
    Mark is a local minister in Minchinbury. He is concerned that new workplace laws will lower the wages of poorer workers and those will less skills. He is fearful that without unfair dismissal laws job security will be lessened. He is also concerned about the impact on families of increased hours of work.
  • Michael De Wall (Local public school teacher - Mt Druitt)
    Michael is worried that IR changes will impact on quality public education and harm local kids. Local TAFE's will be forced to offer individual contracts, and funding will be linked to workplace changes, rather than to serving the best interests of local people.
  • Lee Healey (Community worker - Mt Druitt)
    Lee is the Animation Coordinator with the Mt Druitt Community Ministry. She is worried that people from non-English speaking backgrounds will be taken advantage of. She also worries that people with less education and skills will have many of their conditions slashed.
  • Natalie Lang (Young retail worker)
    Natalie works for a local video store in Western Sydney. When she started work as a 17 year old she was given an AWA (individual contract) to sign that slashed her conditions. As a result of not receiving rest breaks she was hospitalised with a serious medical condition caused by her work.

    More Info? Contact Tim Vollmer ( vollmer@optusnet.com.au / 0404 273 313 )

  • Monday, October 10, 2005

    ASIO and You: Civil Liberties Under Attack 

    Electronic tracking of citizens, people detained for 14 days without charge, random bag searches: not the worst nightmare of science fiction writers, but the reality of Australia in the 21st century.

    The Australian Government has passed more than 20 new laws in response to international terrorism. This public forum exposes what these new laws mean for ordinary Australians.

    Lee Rhiannon (Greens MLC - NSW)

    Cameron Murphy (President of NSW Council for Civil Liberties)

    TIME: 7PM
    DATE: Monday 17th October
    VENUE: Rooty Hill Uniting Church, 86 Rooty Hill Rd Nth, Rooty Hill

    Around the world a network of anti-terrorism and security measures is quietly being constructed. Governments are taking measures to track the movement, communication and profiles of individual citizens.

    In Australia, new terrorism laws severely restrict privacy, freedom of speech, movement and religion. These laws reduce civil liberties by increasing federal police powers to electronically track citizens, detain citizens for 14 days without charge, order journalists and others to hand over documents without a court order and to undertake random searches.

    These laws allow ASIO to spy on citizens for longer and to remove and retain items from citizen's homes - making ASIO more closely resemble a secret police force than ever before.

    Making the situation worse, all State Governments have supported a Federal Government agreement to introduce even more draconian security powers. The Howard Government required the States to agree because these latest changes breach the Constitution, and the Government was unable to implement some sections of the laws.

    Australia has modelled many parts of these laws on the UK. Recent English experiences have already shown serious abuses, including an elderly Labour Party member being banned from a party conference for yelling out his opposition to a certain policy. He is now a regarded as a terror risk.

    Last month a British journalist waiting at a railway station was arrested by anti-terrorism police, had his unit ransacked, as detained overnight, and had his mobile phone confiscated because he was 'acting suspiciously' while waiting for a train, and had a black backpack on which contained a laptop.

    He had committed no crime, yet the police have refused to remove references to his arrest from his record, which is available to the law enforcement agencies of all other nations that he travels to in future.

    Come along and defend your civil liberties!

    Contact: Tim on tvollmer@nsw.cfmeu.asn.au / 0404 273 313

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