The Guardian • Issue #2080


  • The Guardian
  • Issue #2080

Bunnings will stop selling engineered stone from the end of this year after succumbing to pressure from construction workers. The CFMEU has been urging the hardware giant to pull deadly kitchen bench tops, which contain deadly silica dust, from its product line. After the CFMEU’s peaceful protests and community education campaign, Bunnings will stop selling the products from 31 December 2023. SafeWork Australia has recommended to federal, state, and territory ministers that governments should implement a full ban on the manufacture, import and use of engineered stone. The CFMEU will implement its own ban on members working with engineered stone if governments fail to act.

CFMEU National Secretary Zach Smith said: “This is the end of the line for engineered stone. When even a massive corporation that until now has put profits over workers’ lives concedes it’s lost any remaining social licence to sell this killer stone, no government can squib it on a ban. Bunnings should be congratulated for eventually doing the right thing and pulling these deadly bench tops from their shelves. The only reason Bunnings finally sided with workers’ health was grassroots pressure from CFMEU members passionate about saving lives. All retailers must follow suit immediately. IKEA talks a big game on social responsibility yet lines its shelves with bench tops that kill Australians. Today all governments and businesses are on notice that Australians will accept nothing less than a total ban on the import, manufacture and use of engineered stone. The CFMEU won’t rest until the asbestos of our generation is stopped forever.”

PARASITE OF THE WEEK: The US ‘free press’

As anyone who has ever watched movies or television from the US knows, a ‘free press’ is the cornerstone of the democratic system. This message is common to all capitalist governments, but the US government, the epitome of bourgeois democracy, proclaims it more loudly and more frequently than any other. By “free,” the apologists for capitalism mean free from any and all government restraints or “interference.” Restraints imposed by owners or advertisers don’t count. They also mean free from any “union bias” or “left wing” bias. The news must appear to be “balanced,” with no overt political viewpoint; this means, of course, that it assumes a more or less covert conservative, ruling class political viewpoint. That, however, is okay. It is still “free.” It is just a coincidence that all the news programs present identical views and analysis. It is apparently purely coincidental that they all jumped on the “War on Terrorism” bandwagon with identical news reports and an astonishing uniformity of opinion. It is also, it seems, purely coincidental that they all report strikes and other industrial matters solely in terms of picket line violence and inconvenience to the public. The ruling class’ mastery of spin doctoring really comes into its own when it’s combined with their control of the mass media. This ensures that essentially only one (distorted) version of the truth appears across all media. Is it any wonder some people are taken in?

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