Industrial relations dominant

President's perspective

We thought is worthwhile to put out this special Evatt Newsletter as part of the campaign against the Howard government Industrial Relations legislation that is being debated in the Senate. Our new book, The State of the States 2005 (focusing on the State of Industrial Relations) and the articles on our website are valuable weapons in exposing and finally destroying this power grab by the business elite. If you have any doubt, watch the advertisements from the Business Council of Australia, representing the 100 largest companies, as they support their John Howard.

The book was launched at State Parliament the dining room of the President of the Legislative Council, the Hon Dr Meredith Burgmann, by John Robertson, the Secretary of Unions NSW, on the eve of the successful ACTU campaign that brought half a million unionists and community supporters onto the streets across Australia.

Former NSW Attorney General, Jeff Shaw QC, addressed the constitutional questions. The New South Wales Commissioner for Children and Young People, Ms Gillian Calvert, described the danger to youth when she spoke to her department's contribution, 'What about working children?'

The reaction since the launch has been excellent, as orders are rolling in. I ask all members and supporters to make a special effort to promote and buy the book, so that its insights will be spread widely. In this Newsletter, we publish the "Introduction" to the book, and supply a sample chapter by Chris Briggs, Rae Cooper & Bradon Ellem on the implications of the new law for collective bargaining.

As is traditional, we also publish the results of the annual Evatt Foundation State Government League Table, along with past results, a background briefing on the assessment, and a detailed account of our assessment methodology.

The Evatt Foundation website now has a comprehensive list of some of Australian's leading experts on industrial relations describing how Australian workers and families will be damaged. In this Newsletter, we add Greg Combet's defiant speech to Australia's workers on the National Day of Protest and the statement that accompanied the historic 43-page joint submission by 151 Australian academics put to the Senate inquiry.

"On a more positive note, if one can be positive about tragedy, the Bush, Blair and Howard experiment in unilateralism has been discredited across the world, increasingly in their own countries."

Annual General Meeting & the year ahead

Members are reminded that the Annual General Meeting will be held on Tuesday 29th November at 6.00 pm in the Sydney Mechanics School of Arts, 280 Pitt Street, Sydney.

At the meeting we will have a discussion on what we should pursue next year. The issues dealt with at our Seminars and on our website this year will continue.

With industrial relations dominant, our seminar on "Promises and Pitfalls for Working Women" has now been validated by the criticism Prue Goward has made to the Senate IR Committee, as has our earlier IR seminar featuring NSW Minister for Commerce and Industrial Relations,John Della Bosca, and the National Secretary of the Australian Manufacturing Workers Union, Doug Cameron. Our Seminar, "Young People and Politics, Engagement and Participation" was replicated in a discussion at the National Fabian Conference in Melbourne, as all people of goodwill seek to involve and activate young Australians.

At our first seminar for 2005, Dr John Merson warned of "Climate Change and Australia's Paradoxical Position on the Kyoto Protocol". We are now facing our warmest year for some time, droughts in the Amazon and yet another international conference of the world's leading climate change experts demanding action.

On a more positive note, if one can be positive about tragedy, the Bush, Blair and Howard experiment in unilateralism has been discredited across the world, increasingly in their own countries. Next year we need to address the development of the UN as outlined by John Langmore in his new book Dealing with America, the UN, the US and Australia.

If these are some of the continuing topics for next year, what are the other issues that we need to highlight? I urge Foundation Members to attend the AGM and I invite supporters to email their suggestions.

On behalf of the Foundation, I wish all our members, supporters and readers the best of the season, and hope for the peace we have all been praying and working so hard for in the New Year.

Bruce Childs
Evatt Foundation