Sunday, 7 July 2013
dumbest of union quotes - Dave Oliver!
ACTU secretary Dave Oliver told The Weekend Australian that reforms to modernise the party were "a good thing" following Kevin Rudd's announcement of a federal take-over of the NSW branch of the party to address cultural and structural problems.
However, Mr Oliver warned against using party reform as an excuse to attack the union movement or downplay its relevance in the 21st century.
"Some people in the Labor Party are using the process of party reform to have a go at the role of unions," Mr Oliver said.
"The truth is, unions speak for the interests of around 60 per cent of the Australian workforce.
"Unions have faced up to the challenge of modernising to remain relevant, to grow and to represent the interests of working people." The ACTU cited figures showing that almost four million Australians were on collective agreements, 1.5 million were on the award or the minimum wage and two million were paying union fees.
Shop Distributive and Allied Employees Association national secretary Joe de Bruyn said yesterday he would not support any move to reduce union representation at state conferences from its present level of 50 per cent. He said that trade unions spoke for numbers that were far in excess of the total Labor Party membership.
"The union representation in the Labor Party is . . . a fundamental part of the whole structure of the Labor Party and it ensures that it is going to represent the views of working people who are its primary electoral base," he said.
Chris Bowen backed the Prime Minister's initiative, saying it was a good and necessary change.
"The Prime Minister made it clear that this is something that's important to him and this will be an ongoing process. I've previously laid out some ideas on reform of the Labor Party. That's not my focus this week, my focus is my role as Treasurer. But I want a Labor Party which is modern, inclusive and large," the Treasurer said.
During the week Mr Rudd promised "zero-tolerance of corruption" and outlined changes to be imposed on the NSW branch.
The changes included new powers for the branch to expel corrupt members; a ban on property developers becoming Labor candidates; an independent review tribunal to resolve party disputes; the right for members to appeal against decisions to the courts; and the appointment of a Labor ombudsman to hear complaints.
Posted by Geoff Seidner at 1:22 pm