The Guardian • Issue #2071


  • The Guardian
  • Issue #2071

Mining transnational BHP, at one time known under the jolly capitalist moniker of The Big Australian, has admitted to deducting annual leave from staff entitlements for over a decade, resulting in the underpayment of approximately $430 million to past and present employees. Around 28,500 individuals have been affected by the theft. In addition to the annual leave grab, BHP also ‘discovered’ a separate ‘accounting error’ related to the entitlements of approximately 400 workers at Port Hedland.

The news that Neil Para and his family have been granted permanent visas is very welcome. They have been waiting since August 2012. It was doubly welcome as it came right at the end of Neil’s 1000 kilometre walk from Ballarat to Prime Minister Albanese’s electorate in Sydney. But Neil Para’s permanent visa raises the same question as the permanent visas granted to the Biloela family – what is the future for the 10,000 others rejected under fast track or still waiting for a decision? Labor recognises the flaws in the fast track system introduced under Morrison but has done nothing to rectify those flaws; despite policy, the fast-track system has not been abolished. Nor has Labor provided any systematic way to review the flawed decisions. Neil’s walk exposed the difficulties his family faced having to survive for more than 11 years without work rights, study rights, basic income support, or Medicare. Labor is forcing many other individuals and families, rejected by fast track, to survive in the same impossible circumstances. Despite their claims of concern for vulnerable migrant workers, and their review of the migration system, Labor is doing nothing for this most vulnerable group of people who arrived in Australia seeking asylum who have been cruelly failed by the system. “Despite many approaches to the Minister, Andrew Giles is still unwilling to fix this glaring injustice,” said Ian Rintoul, spokesperson for the Refugee Action Coalition. “Ten thousand people failed by fast track are waiting for justice. Albanese’s election night promise that ‘no one would be left behind by Labor’ is a dim memory.” Rallies are planned in three capital cities in October to take the fight to Labor and demand justice for the 10,000 people still in limbo for over ten years. Sydney rally, “Permanent Visas For All”, Sunday 29th October, 2 pm, Sydney Town Hall; Melbourne Sunday 8th October, 2 pm at the State Library; Brisbane, Sunday 29th October. For more information contact: Ian Rintoul 0417 275 713.

PARASITE OF THE WEEK: Revealing the true sentiments of the capitalist class, Australian billionaire real estate developer Tim Gurner declared last week that “arrogant” workers must be tamed and that to do that “unemployment has to rise.” Gurner’s tirade against workers carries on from the ideological groundwork laid in the earlier days of capitalism. Here’s a quote from the grand plan Thomas Malthus espoused in On Population, published 1798: ‘Instead of recommending cleanliness to the poor, we should encourage contrary habits. In our towns we should make the streets narrower, crowd more people into the houses, and court the return of the plague. In the country, we should build our villages near stagnant pools … But above all, we should reprobate specific remedies for ravaging diseases.’

As the opening line in the Communist Manifesto states: ‘The history of all hitherto existing society is the history of class struggle.’

The Guardian can also be viewed/downloaded in PDF format. View More