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This website is in imminent danger of being shut down. It has been online since 1995, but the personal circumstances of the owner, Malcolm Farnsworth, are such that economies have to be made. Server costs and suchlike have become prohibitive. At the urging of people online, I have agreed to see if Patreon provides a solution. More information is available at the Patreon website. If you are able to contribute even $1.00/month to keep the site running, please click the Patreon button below.


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Democrats Reject Reith’s Anti-Union Bill

Senator Andrew Murray - Australian DemocratsThe Australian Democrats have rejected the key elements of Peter Reith’s “second wave” industrial relations changes.

The Workplace Relations Minister has proposed legislation which would further strip industrial awards of conditions, require secret ballots on strike votes, and introduce user-pays mediation processes. The bill also attacked union rights to enter workplaces and redefined the definition of a closed shop.

Senator Andrew Murray, the Democrats Workplace Relations spokesman, has said the bill “went too far.”

The legislation, dubbed the “More Jobs Better Pay” bill, was the subject of a Senate Committee Report released yesterday. Senator Murray issued a minority report.

The campaign against the legislation included a media campaign by the Australian Council of Trade Unions around the slogan “just say no”. A rally attended by about 500 workers was held yesterday outside Reith’s office in Melbourne.

The legislation now appears to be facing certain defeat before Christmas. The “first wave” of industrial reforms were passed in 1996 with the support of the Democrats under the then leadership of Senator Cheryl Kernot.


Swanson Dock – An Eye-Witness Account

It’s 9.20am and I’ve just got home after having been at Swanson Dock since 12.30am.

It really was a remarkable evening of standing around doing nothing, occasionally linking arms “in practice”, cheering at speeches, laughing at jokes, catching up with people I hadn’t seen for ages, discussing politics, ALP pre-selections and the like.

Around 4.55am the police helicopter started circling clockwise around the dock, something it kept up until just after 6.30am. Searchlights from the helicopter shone into the crowd most of this time and were met with raised fists or one-finger salutes! [Read more…]


John Howard’s Second Anniversary Speech To NSW Liberals

This is the text of Prime Minister John Howard’s second anniversary speech to the NSW Division of the Liberal Party.

The Liberal-Nationals coalition defeated the Keating Labor government on March 2, 1996. The Howard ministry was sworn into office on March 11, 1996.

In his speech, Howard spoke at length about his approach to industrial relations.

Text of John Howard’s address to the NSW Division of the Liberal Party.

John HowardThank you very much Wil. To Michael Osborne, the President of the New South Wales Division of the Liberal Party, to my Federal Ministerial colleagues of which there are a number here tonight; Richard Alston, John Moore, Judi Moylan, Bronwyn Bishop, John Herron – I don’t think I have missed any of the Ministers. If I have, put your hand up. To my Federal Parliamentary colleagues other than Ministers, to Peter Collins and other state parliamentarians, Ian Armstrong, the Leader of the National Party in New South Wales, ladies and gentlemen. [Read more…]


As Election Day Nears, Paul Keating Addresses The National Press Club

With his government struggling in the polls, Prime Minister Paul Keating appeared at the National Press Club on March 11, 1993, two days before the federal election.

Keating’s address is notable for its focus on Opposition Leader John Hewson’s Fightback! plan, particularly its 15% Goods and Services Tax. But Keating’s attack on Hewson is broader than just the GST. He talks of industrial relations, Medicare and a host of other policies. The address is a masterclass in Keating’s ability to construct a cohesive story around a disparate range of policies.

Keating also attacks Hewson for refusing to appear at the Press Club, breaking what was then a 20-year election tradition. [Read more…]