The Guardian 26 October, 2005

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Letters to the Editor

Thank you, Mr Howard

I think we are very ungrateful. Mr Howardís recent media advertisement campaign promoting his so-called industrial relations "reforms" is a great success as far as I am concerned. Previously I used to watch some programs on commercial television. Not any more. When I first saw those ads, and then saw them again and again and again they sort of made me sick. As a result, I have switched off completely. True, I really have to be spot on for the beginning of SBS news to miss them there but I feel itís a small price to pay. I was also very impressed by the story about those happy workers (real ones) who had been duped into believing they were taking part in a safety campaign filming. Imagine their surprise when they appeared in Mr Howardís masterpiece.

As for the catch cry of the campaign ó "guaranteed by law"Ö Iíll tell you a little story. A friend of mine is a diabetic. As such she has to take her medication three times a day with a meal. Itís all right in the morning and in the evening but during work she does not have a regular meal break. The company she works for usually has some urgent work to do and the manager would say "letís just finish this job and then youíll have a break". The break may be an hour or even two hours later, if at all. Not a very good thing for a diabetic.

In cases like this her GP can give her a letter saying that she needs regular meal breaks. But as my friend says: "I canít really do this because I am on a temporary contract". So she has a right to have a break to have her medication, but her boss has a right to find another employee. So when I saw those ads I remembered my friend.

And dear Mr Howard who so much cares for us. I think we should pay him back ó what about him and us negotiating his wages and conditions? Iíd like to see some penalties included into negotiations about economic and financial mismanagement (wasting public money on wars, for example) instead of providing education, medical services and other things necessary for a society which cares about its citizens. Meanwhile, Iím looking forward to new and improved advertisements on the proposed anti-terror legislation.

Jo Donleavy

Howard, why donít weÖ?

One of the United Nations Millennium Development Goals is to eradicate extreme poverty in the world. This sounds like an admirable goal but at first glance it seems like an impossible task ó all those teeming millions of people needing even more teeming millions of dollars.

However, this task can be achieved by rich countries like ours giving just 0.7% of our gross national income (GNI).

Recently the Prime Minister announced that we would increase our overseas development aid budget from 0.25% to 0.28% of GNI. Well done, Australia: 0.28% of GNI amounts to less than one cup of coffee per week for the average wage earner. Surely we can do better than that!

Extreme poverty is defined as living on less than $1 a day and over a billion of the worldís population are doing that. Can you imagine living on $1 a day? Why donít we immediately double or triple the amount we give to overseas development aid?

This is not a rhetorical question. I really would like to know why we donít do this. Surely we can spare another cup of coffee and perhaps a scone to go with it.

Geoffrey Smith
West Haven, NSW

Party position on Iraq

I have been reading with interest the articles in The Guardian on Iraq. Am I right by saying that the CPA supports the interim Government in Iraq and if this is the case urgent discussions within our organisation should take place on this issue? I was reading, with horror, in The Guardian that the interim Government in Iraq is about to seize the assets of all trade unions in Iraq. We must protest this US/Australian Government led suppression of a democratic right of workers to organise wherever they live.

Bush/Howard must be loving their freedom to once again be part of an organised push to protect there capitalist friends and the assets as they are stealing off workers every day ie; unpaid overtime, threatening behaviour, unsafe working conditions, and the list goes on.

The article about the seizing of the unionís assets deserved to be page one. What a disgraceful act to steal peopleís assets but what else would you expect from leaders who think the world is up for sale ó at any price.

Mick Layt

Response from Editor: The CPA (and The Guardian) does not support the actions of the Iraqi Government. It supports the Iraqi people and their right to independence and peace, the removal of occupying forces and a political solution to the crisis.

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