John Setka faces another trial by media not based on fact

By Joe Montero

The vendetta being carried out against John Setka, the secretary of Victoria’s Construction Forestry Maritime Mining and Energy Union (CFMMEU) is wrong. Plain and simple. It is those lining up to sink the boot, who are doing guilty of misconduct.

Respecting the right of women not to be subjected to either physical or verbal abuse is fundamental. We should all agree that no quarter should be given to it. But the accusations being made against Setka are something else.

Two things are being hung out for the purpose of character assassination. The first is Setka’s bad behaviour towards his wife. He admits that is acted wrongly. Both had been under intense pressure for some time, and it had an effect on their relationship. That they are now standing together should count for something, and it is wrong to use this matter for political advantage.

The other is, he has been accused of having said some terrible things against Rosie Batty, the campaigner to stop violence against women.  This allegation came from an individual at a union meeting, who happens to be an opponent of Setka. At the very least, this should be questioned. It hasn’t been.

Others at the same meeting, have publicly stated that what has been attributed to John Setka was not said. But this has been buried under the tide of accusations.

It all boils down to one thing. The outrage being orchestrated, is not really about defending the rights of women. It’s a cynical act by some, manipulating the fact that most Australians want more to be done to protect women at risk to, using the guise of moral outrage, to wage a political war.

The accusations are unsubstantiated, and in the brave new world that Australia is entering, it seems that to be accused in the absence of evidence, is enough to be pronounced guilty.

A slide into targeting individuals through trial by media and the imposition of increasingly undemocratic laws and practices, are the greatest threat to human rights in Australia today. And what is being done to Setka is very much part of this slide.

The media’s role on this, would have pleased Nazi propagandist Joseph Goebbels. For those who don’t know, Goebbels was Germany’s Rupert Murdoch, who became number two to Adolf Hitler.

In Goebbels style, the accusations are stated without proof and repeated again and again, with a good dose of name calling. This is how allegations are used to replace the truth. We are seeing far too much of it about these days.

Unfortunately, new Labor leader Anthony Albanese, for whatever reason is, at least for now, choosing to tow the line, and has even promised to have the union leader removed from the party. By doing this, he is not doing Labor any favours. He is dead wrong to give credence to a lynch mob, far less concerned with the rights of women, than it is about political ambitions.

At the head of it all, sit the Coalition parties and their backers.

John Setka has been victim of organised, relentless and unjust attacks for some time, aimed at throwing enough mud to ensure that some of it may stick.

The timing of this latest attack is important. The Morrison government is poised to move on its intention to change industrial relations laws, and make it much more difficult for unions to operate and meet the needs of their members. It wants to further erode wages and conditions at work, impose more casualised work and more.

The CFMMEU is seen as a significant barrier to these ambitions and Setka the soft target. In the eyes of this government, the union has to go. Hence the move to impose more severe controls on what it can do, and setting the stage for the union’s de-registration in the near future.

The attack on Setka is also a diversion, aimed to take public attention off the core intent. The bonus for the government is, if it serves to hamper the ability of the unions to act together to defend of union rights, so much the better.

Failure to stand behind this attack, will play right into the hands of the Morrison government, and undermine the position of unions as a whole along the way.

Those currently targeting the union leader, whether conscious of it or not, are doing the job for a government, which is proving its scant regard for basic rights, including those of women.

They should pull themselves out of this muck.

Duterte turns death squads on political activists

By Nick Aspinwall (FP 10 June 2019). The author writes about the murderous policy of the President of the Philippines, using murder as a means for taking out those he sees as political problems. The style began on a claim of the need to clean the streets of drug dealers and users, but soon spread much more widely than this. The Australian government continues to train and aid the armed forces of the Philippines. Continue reading Duterte turns death squads on political activists

Battle over Adani coal mine is heading for a showdown

Ben Pennings, who is spokesperson for Galilee Blockade, writes that this is a critical time for the Adani coal mine in Queensland’s Galilee Basin. State approval of the mining company’s water might be about to be given, and civil resistance must be stepped up.  

Thus far, a coal mine has never been stopped in Queensland on environmental grounds. A majority of Queenslanders want to stop Adani’s disastrous thermal coal mine. But politicians firmly in bed with billionaire mining magnates have failed to represent us.

On Thursday, Queensland Labor are expected to approve Adani’s dodgy and dangerous water plans. On Friday, our civil resistance starts.

Civil resistance is the final and necessary step for us to win, a powerful strategy that changes the status quo. It moves power from vested interests to the people – where it belongs.

People in Queensland willfully got arrested to save Fraser Island and the Daintree Rainforest. They are heroes, clearly on the right side of history. I visit Fraser Island with my family and am forever grateful to them.

Thousands of ordinary Australians are willing to stand up to the government. Photo supplied

People in Queensland have already been arrested in the current fight to protect the Galilee Basin, the Great Barrier Reef, and the Great Artesian Basin. I know most of you lying here are willing to join them, to get arrested on the streets of Brisbane. If the push to open up the Galilee basin continues, there will be thousands joining you.

If Queensland Labor approve Adani’s dodgy and dangerous water plans, grassroots groups in the Stop Adani movement will move beyond conventional political protest. Sustained nonviolent tactics like strikes, boycotts, street occupations and blockades will communicate our refusal to ever allow thermal coal mining in the Galilee Basin.

How many grandparents will have to be arrested before our governments protect their grandchildren? Does Labor have the stomach to arrest thousands of everyday Queenslanders? How many party members and unions will abandon Labor in favour of peaceful protesters trying to protect their future?

The Stop Adani campaign is a line in the sand, a campaign of international significance and ecological necessity.

Go to the Galilee Blockade Facebook page or Website for more information. Sign up to join the civil resistance.

Crunch time is coming. The campaign must be lifted another notch.

This is far too important to let go.

Genoa Dock workers in Italy refuse to load weapons on Saudi ship destined for war on the people of Yemen

Below is a letter of support sent by the Peace and Justice are Union Business Working Group of the Independent and Peaceful Australia Network (IPAN), to dock workers in the Italian port at Genoa and their union the CGIL. They went on strike on 20 May and refused to load weapons destined for Saudi Arabia, to be used in the ongoing attacks on the population of Yemen.

With the support of the local community, they sent a letter to the Italian government, calling it to “open the ports to people and close them to weapons.” The campaign is ongoing. The Saudi freighter Bahri Yanbu was forced to leave.

We won’t be complicit

Video from Click Heart TV

Similar action has been taken at Le Havre Port in France, and the same ship was forced to turn around and leave there as well. Action in the two ports has set an example, that could be repeated in other ports around the world.

Action taken at Le Havre Port in France

A reply from Italy has also been reproduced below.

To Genoa Port dock workers and their union CGIL – Italy

The Independent and Peaceful Australia Network (IPAN) sends warm greetings on your historic act of solidarity with the people of Yemen by refusing to load weapons on Saudi Arabian Freighter Bahri Yanbu to be used in the brutal war against the people of Yemen.

The strike by the Genoa dock workers and your declaration “We will not be complicit with the civilian deaths in Yemen” inspires and gives hope and confidence to millions of people around the world campaigning for peace and justice and against wars of aggression and profiteering by the multinational weapons corporations.

Your successful strike action showed the collective strength of workers and communities working together to stop predatory wars.

We in Australia are also campaigning against the export of arms to Saudi Arabia and our government’s subservience to US global military agendas and multinational weapons corporations.

We stand in solidarity with you and the people of Yemen.

The reply from the Ufficio Internazionale of the CGIL

 Dear friends,

On behalf of my union, FILT-CGIL, I would like to thank you for your warm solidarity letter.

We shared your letter with our dockers all over Italy and it has been really appreciated!

International solidarity is one of the fundamental values in our action, and we would like to return your message by wishing you success for the important and challenging tasks in which you are engaged.

Thank you so much!

In solidarity

How the Saudis ended up with so many American weapons

Video from Vox

Official site of the May Day Committee (Malbourne)

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