By David Rainbow, Cairns Branch Founder
I was first advised by Councillor Richie Bates that we did not require a Permit.
In spite of the Centrelink Manager trying to move us on, we lasted one day without one in front of Centrelink conducting a peaceful information stall handing out Your Rights Booklets, The AUWU flyer and the Membership form.
Many Unemployed people in this region are homeless (an estimate of 2000 people per night sleep out in the streets, parkland, bush etc.) and are in desperate need of information and support.
On the second day we set up outside the Job Network provider “Workways”.
We lasted three hours and were then moved on under threat of arrest because we did not have a permit.
We paid the Council $225 after a debate with the Council officer who finally agreed that we did not fit the definition of “Touting”. Her supervisor instructed her to take the money and get the Permit.
Two days later no Permit was issued. I decided to use the Receipt, set up in front of Centrelink and see how we went. After an initial discussion with the Centerlink Manager who came out the Front and asked us to move on we successfully held our ground for five hours.
Council and Police were determined to move us on and as you can see in the videos they were not going to take no for an answer.
I have pointed out to Councillor Richie Bates should another fatality occur like the one in Toowoomba on a Work for the Dole Scheme, the Council will be held culpable for denying people their basic Occupational Workplace Health and Safety Rights.
People have a basic Human Right to refuse to do something that is Unsafe.
That can be as Simple as refusing to use machinery when you’ve had nothing to eat and feel fatigued, not being provided with Personal Protective Equipment up to Modern Australian Workplace Standards or no Safety plans like Job Safety Analysis, Toolbox talks, Take Five Safety Culture being present in that workplace.
These Rights and many more are covered in the booklet and it is for reasons of exploitation and discrimination that Centerlink and the Job Network are trying to deny people this basic knowledge.
Unity Is Strength,
Cairns FNQ branch Organiser