Geelong Trades Hall Council (GTHC) backs Australian Workers Union (AWU) national secretary Paul Howes 100% in his call for Australia to roll out the red carpet for refugees.
It's a relief that a union movement figure of Howes' importance stands up and rejects the miserable competition between the Rudd government and the Coalition on who can be “toughest” on “people smugglers”. Howes is completely right when he says that the issue “brings out the worst in our politicians”.
How ironic that the Rudd government's refusal to let a few boatfuls of people fleeing death and persecution in Sri Lanka enter Australia coincides with the 60th anniversary of the beginning of the Snowy River Scheme. The Chifley Labor government helped build this country by welcoming people fleeing war and persecution, but Rudd Labor increasingly resembles the previous Coalition government of John Howard, one of the most racist in Australian history.
The government is even sending furnished shipping containers from the Baxter detention centre — suspected of dangerously high formaldehyde content — to Christmas Island to house asylum seekers there.
GTHC calls on the entire trade union movement to follow the lead given by the AWU national secretary, and for it to mobilise public opinion against Canberra's bipartisan bullies of refugees.
The Australian Council of Trade Unions must stand up against the inhumanity of the politicians. GTHC will be doing all it can to make that happen.
From: Comment & Analysis, Green Left Weekly issue #815 28 October 2009.