Thursday, December 24, 2009

A not-so-merry Christmas for Ark Tribe

Ark Tribe attended his last court hearing for 2009 on Friday Dec 18th. His extraordinary saga continues next year when he is required to attend the Magistrates Court on the 15th, 16th, and 18th of June to defend his right to remain silent following a workplace safety meeting.

In the mean time, the construction site where Ark’s odyssey commenced is now a finished, occupied business, with people wandering in and out going about their daily lives probably getting excited over the prospects of Christmas holidays and Christmas dinner with their family and friends.

The construction company that built the property, John Hindmarsh, is winding down for the Christmas period which will allow their workers a well earned rest before 2010 brings yet another year of balancing on the precarious edge between profit and safety through unrealistic scheduling.

The police who were called onto the site by over-enthusiastic management are hopefully busy doing what they are really paid for - chasing and protecting the public from crooks and villains and not running around sites wasting taxpayers’ money and time chasing union officials for spurious reasons.

The Federal Government officials in the form of the Australian Building Construction Commission were more interested in charging the CFMEU and its officials with breaches of anything they could conjure up instead of concerning themselves with the OHS&W issues facing workers on site or investigating why John Hindmarsh locked out all the workers from a site on the Saturday following a safety meeting on the Friday. We are still waiting to hear of any charges being laid against John Hindmarsh on this one.

Don’t hold your breath.

It could be assumed that all those involved in bringing about the charges that would have Ark Tribe jailed for 6 months, if found guilty, are looking forward to a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. They probably think they deserve it because they have had a hard year and are now looking forward to the break.

What a pity Ark Tribe couldn’t be afforded the same sentiment by those hounding him. After enduring delay after delay through the courts, he now has to wait another six months before his case is heard.

Not a Merry Christmas for Ark or his family with six months jail hanging over his head. Even with the greatest of support, a jail sentence hanging over one’s head cannot be discarded, it is always in the back of the mind all day every day including Christmas Day.

We can only hope all those who have supported Ark will continue doing so and have a really great Christmas and a prosperous New Year.

For all the others, who cares?

Click here to see a Christmas message to Kevin Rudd and Julia Gillard from supporters of Ark Tribe.

Christmas message to Australia's leaders

Click here to see a video message to Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and his deputy, Julia Gillard.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Give some Christmas cheer to Ark as he faces another court appearance

As we approach the end of 2009, Ark Tribe will again appear in the Adelaide Magistrates Court to defend himself against the charges brought by the workers' scrooge - the ABCC! It's a sad day when a hard working man like Ark Tribe has to spend his Christmas wondering if will soon be behind bars, all because he took a stand for his workmates and others who face daily the dangers of unsafe construction sites.

The ABCC, still yet to bring any charges against an employer for putting the lives of building workers at risk, should drop the charges against Ark Tribe and let him enjoy the festive season without the spectre of jail hanging over his head. Enough is enough!

Ark Tribe says he is "blown away" with the support he's received at the rallies and through the many comments and letters submitted online and that while it's never crossed his mind to give in to the pressure that's been placed upon him, the solidarity he's received spurs him on to continue his strong stand against the undemocratic and un-Australian ABCC. says thank you to all who have supported Ark in 2009 and on behalf of the CFMEU, we invite you to a sausage sizzle and rally tomorrow, December 18, 11am, Victoria Square, Adelaide.

Bring your family and friends and continue to STAND TALL for the rigger Ark Tribe.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Historian McQueen talks on radio about Ark Tribe case

Noted historian Humphrey McQueen (above) and South Australian State Secretary of the CFMEU Martin O'Malley were interviewed about issues in the construction industry by Catherine Zengerer of SA Unions for the Your Rights at Night broadcast on Radio Adelaide 5UV.

Here is a link to the first of several podcasts on the topic:

Click on the file "McQueen Speech" in the box widget on the right of this page to download or hear Humphrey's full address to Ark Tribe supporters at the recent rally outside Adelaide Magistrates Court.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Tribe follows Ark to the steps of courthouse

Around one thousand supporters of Ark Tribe chanted "one law for all" as the Adelaide construction worker entered court for the third time since August. This time the case was heard in the Adelaide Magistrates Court which meant workers were able to come off various jobs to support Ark in his fight for justice.

SA CFMEU Construction & General Secretary Martin O'Malley introduced a number of speakers including historian Humphrey McQueen who had travelled from Canberra to address Ark's supporters. McQueen openend and closed his speech, which drew loud applause from all in attendance, with this quote from Samuel Champ, BLF organiser from Hobart in 1916:

"Our liberties had not been won by mining magnates or stock-exchange jobbers, but by genuine men of the working-class movement who had died on the gallows and rotted in dungeons and were buried in nameless graves. These were the men to whom we owed the liberties we enjoyed today."

CFMEU Federal Secretary, Construction & General, Dave Noonan followed Humphrey McQueen, telling the crowd that the union's highest decision making body - its Federal Executive - had recently determined that industrial action would be taken on building sites acrorss the nation should Ark or any other construction worker be jailed under the powers of the ABCC.

Revved up by the union's strong commitment to stand behind its members, the large crowd stood tall behind Ark Tribe who led them toward the Magistrates Court where he entered to await his fate.

With Ark Tribe inside the courtroom, men and women from trade unions, progressive political parties, community organisations and the like chanted "One Law for All" while they waited for Ark to emerge. Less than 15 minutes later, Ark appeared with legal counsel Stephen Dolphin and it was announced that for a third time, the case would be adjourned - this time until 18 December.

Audio of Humphrey McQueens speech, along with video footage and interviews from the rally, will be available in full on this blog soon. Stay tuned!

STAND TALL for Ark Tribe today!

Ark Tribe faces his third court hearing today in Adelaide. Supporters will gather outside the court at 11am where speakers, including eminent historian Humphrey McQueen, will address the crowd.

Supporters of Ark - "Ark's Tribe", call on Julia Gillard and the Rudd Government to abolish the ABCC and let the rigger Ark Tribe go free! The ABCC is an undemocratic anti-worker body and has no place in Australian society - or any society for that matter.

Down with the ABCC - let the Ark Tribe go free!

See you there at 11am as we chant One Law for All!!

Rally details around the country:

SA: 11am Outside the court at the Southern End of Victoria Square, Adelaide
NSW: 11am Sydney Trades Hall, 377 Sussex Street Sydney
QLD: TBC Outside Prime Minister Kevin Rudd's Office, 630 Wynnum Road, Morningside
TAS: 9.30am Outside the offices of the Australian Building and Construction Commission, 142 Elizabeth Street, Hobart
VIC: 9.30am Outside the offices of the Australian Building and Construction Commission, 533 St Kilda Road Melbourne

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Heroic South Australian construction worker Ark Tribe faces his third court hearing on October 30. He is charged with allegedly failing to attend a compulsory interrogation by the ABCC in 2008. The penalty, if he is found guilty, is 6 month’s gaol.

Not bad for a bloke who attended a meeting about safety on his job! This piece in the Vanguard speaks volumes!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Rallies to be held around the country

On Friday 30 October, the rigger Ark Tribe will face the Adelaide Magistrates Court to answer charges brought against him by the Australian Building & Construction Commission (ABCC). The laws prosecuted by this mob are undemocratic and pose a serious threat to our civil rights. They must be challenged and stopped.

Ark Tribe has been unfairly charged and he needs your support. Rallies are being held in almost every state, so please do whatever you can to attend...and bring your friends!


SA: 11am Outside the court at the Southern End of Victoria Square, Adelaide
NSW: 11am Sydney Trades Hall, 377 Sussex Street Sydney
QLD: TBC Outside Prime Minister Kevin Rudd's Office, 630 Wynnum Road, Morningside
TAS: 9.30am Outside the offices of the Australian Building and Construction Commission, 142 Elizabeth Street, Hobart
VIC: 9.30am Outside the offices of the Australian Building and Construction Commission, 533 St Kilda Road Melbourne

Stand up for workers' rights.

Support the rigger Ark Tribe!!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Stand Tall with Ark Tribe on October 30

The case against Ark Tribe moves to the Adelaide Magistrates court where charges laid against the CFMEU member by the Australian Building & Construction Commission (ABCC) will be heard on October 30.

Supporters of Ark Tribe are asked to rally in Victoria Square (law courts end) at 11am. Bring your friends and co-workers. It's time for all workers to stand united against the Federal Government's undemocratic "tough cop on the beat". Don't Jail Ark Tribe!! Down with the ABCC!!


Download the file "Ark Tribe Poster" in downloads box to the right, print off a bunch and stick em' up around the place. Do your bit to help Ark Tribe beat the ABCC!

Ark Tribe Song

Go to the box widget on the right where can download the Ark Tribe song to play at your rally or event in solidarity with Ark on the 30th of October.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Urge the independent senators to take a stand

The Senate will soon vote on the Bill to replace the ABCC with a new Building Industry Inspectorate.

A Senate majority report recommended that the Bill is passed, with some amendments. The coercive powers in the construction industry could stay, and a construction worker like Ark Tribe could still face jail for standing up for his rights on site.

Our Independent Senators could change that, but they are coming under heavy pressure from big business and property developers to keep the coercive powers in the construction industry.

Over ten thousand Rights on Site supporters have reminded politicians and big business that there should be one set of laws for all Australian workers.

The laws the senate passes will determine whether our politicians support one law for all Australian workers, and could bring an end to construction workers like Ark Tribe being singled out for harsher penalties in their workplace.

Now we need you to ask Senator Fielding and Senator Xenophon to take a stand for rights on site before they vote on the new laws.

Go to Rights on Site to send a letter to Senators Fielding and Xenophon.


Senator Fielding today said he would rule out supporting the bill to replace the ABCC. Your message to him needs to be strong and clear – he needs to know that Australian workers won't stand for undemocratic and coercive powers in the workplace!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Did the ABCC ever investigate McGurk???

Below is a letter from Spirit of Eureka (NSW) to the Sydney Morning Herald contrasting ABCC's treatment of building workers and unions (and Ark Tribe) with the treatment of Michael McGurk, Sydney's multi-million property developer murdered in Sydney last weekend.


Dear Sir

Michael McGurk, the murdered millionaire property developer with “dubious business dealings”, had close links to big ALP donors (SMH 5/9/09). The second largest individual donation to the ALP in 2007 was from an associate of McGurk.

The multi-million dollar Australian Building and Construction Commission was supposed to root out building industry corruption. Despite clear evidence of criminality amongst sections of construction employers, the ABCC has never targeted them. It aims only at workers.

South Australian construction worker Ark Tribe is facing six months gaol for ‘contempt’ of the ABCC.

Following a safety dispute each worker on Ark’s site was dragged before the ABCC for secret interrogations. Their crime? Calling the union and signing a petition. They had no right to silence, no guaranteed right to a lawyer of their own choice and no right to tell anyone what was said. They had fewer rights than a terrorism suspect. Ark refused to go. He says he’s done nothing wrong, but he’s being treated like a criminal.

Labor leaders spoke against the ABCC under Howard, but now support it. Perhaps money talks.

Meanwhile fatalities are rising in an industry which kills 50 Australians each year, and the ABCC does nothing.

Lindy Nolan

Spirit of Eureka NSW

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Stand Tall with Ark Tribe

Important read: CCU submission to Senate Committee

In a recent submission to the Senate Education, Employment and Workplace Relations Committee, the Combined Construction Unions, which include the CFMEU, AMWU, CEPU and AWU, have called for the repealing of the BCII Act, which unfairly discriminates against workers in the construction industry.

Click on the link on the "Stand Tall" widget on the right of this page to download the submission in full.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Support grows for the rigger Ark Tribe

Click on the voice bubble (bottom left) to see photo captions.

Click here to see the larger version.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Hundreds chant "one law for all" in Elizabeth

Around 300 people turned up at the Elizabeth Magistrates Court today to protest for a second time against the draconian laws of the Australian Building & Construction Commission (ABCC) and the charges brought against Adelaide construction worker Ark Tribe.

As readers of this blog will know, Ark Tribe has been charged with failing to attend a "compulsory" ABCC interrogation. Taking advantage of laws usually reserved for the likes of suspected terrorists, the bosses whip snake – the ABCC - has moved on from attacking union officials and is going after rank and file workers like Mr Tribe.

However, the ABCC have taken their attacks one step to far and are meeting a growing resistance, not only from building and construction unions but from the whole union movement and its supporters. They have clearly underestimated the strength of working Australians who, with every day that passes, are standing tall with the rigger Ark Tribe.

Keep an eye on this site for photos, video and interviews from today's rally.

One Law for All, Justice for All!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Stand Tall - the Ark Tribe song goes live.

Click on the mp3 icon in the box to the right to stream the new song "Stand Tall", the official anthem of the Arks Tribe campaign. Stand Tall will be pumping out at the Elizabeth Magistrates Court as Ark Tribe's case resumes next Tuesday.

Supporters of worker's rights are asked to gather at 1030am at the front of the Frobisher Rd courthouse for a rally in support of Ark Tribe and in protest at the coercive powers being used by the Australian Building & Construction Commission (ABCC) against Australian construction workers and their unions.

What: Protest against the ABCC & in support of Ark Tribe
Where: Elizabeth Magistrates Court, 15 Frobisher Rd, Elizabeth, SA.
When: 11th August, 1030am sharp.

*Stand Tall lyrics written by Mike Williss, performed by Peter Hicks and engineered by Geoff Francis in Southern Tasmania.

Click on the arrow next to the mp3 icon to download the song, get a link for your website or create a ringtone for your mobile phone.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Does the PM need new specs?

The Prime Minister Kevin Rudd in welcoming and thanking those who attended the Community Cabinet meeting at Elizabeth High School last night, made a point of praising his own government's economic achievements over the past year.

Ironically, the meeting was held not far from the magistrates court at which Ark Tribe will be facing a sentence of six months jail in less than two weeks time.

Besides other things, the PM pointed out the infrastructure package he and his team had developed which has assisted small business and kept workers employed. He highlighted the Northern Expressway and the bridge his minister had just opened as a good example of what his government is building. Overheard from a worker in the audience was, "I can't remember seeing any of that lot up the front helping us on the job".

Ark Tribe was also observed at the meeting along with about 400 other citizens.

When the Prime Minister had finished his speech, he asked for questions from the good citizens.

Ark Tribe was standing up at the back of the hall with his hand up. All the audience in front of Ark was sitting down. Many questions were asked and each question was meticulously answered by the PM and/or the minister concerned. Ark Tribe remained standing, hand raised hopefully on each occasion.

The PM called for the last question and Ark Tribe, still standing with hand up and everyone seated in front of him, still couldn't be seen by Prime Minister Kevin Rudd.

One would have to conclude that the PM deliberately ignored Ark or he needs new glasses.

At the conclusion of the meeting I approached Ark Tribe and asked him what question he wanted the PM to answer. He replied with the following: 

"Why is it, that as recently demonstrated by Mr. Turnbull, he like most other Australians can exercise their right to remain silent, yet I as an Australian Construction Worker who only demands the same right, find myself in a situation where your government is trying to imprison me for 6 months?”

“All I want, Mr. Prime Minister, is a fair suck of the sauce bottle mate."

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Stand Tall – for Ark Tribe

Come gather round and listen
To the thunder rolling in,
‘Cos the rich are trying to break us
And we’re not gonna let them win.

Well they tried it on the wharfies
With scabs and thugs and lost,
So how to break the building sites
Where the workers won’t be bossed?

“We own the law, we own the courts
And that’s the key to their defeat:
We’ll give the workers six months jail
For every time they meet!”

The workers met on safety
And Ark Tribe led the way,
So Gillard’s thugs decided
That he would have to pay.

“If your name it is Ark Tribe
Come to our interrogation –
You’ll have to dob your mates in:
That’s the way we run this nation!”

“Oh my name it is Ark Tribe
And I ain’t gonna talk to you.
My freedom flies with the Southern Cross
And there’s nothing you can do.”

“If there’s anything that I’ve done wrong
I’ll take your jail, that’s fine!
But killing fifty men a year
Is the bosses’ crime, not mine!”

“As for your Liberal and your Labor,
To me they look the same
With Howard’s rotten laws served up
In Julia Gillard’s name.”

“Well, I’d a-ridden with Ned Kelly
I’d a fought with bold Ben Hall,
‘Cos it was wild colonial boys like these
Who taught us to stand tall.”

Well, if Ark Tribe’s put in prison
By their “tough cop on the beat”,
The wild colonial boys and girls
Must get out in the street.

And we must ride like Edward Kelly,
We must fight like bold Ben Hall,
‘Cos it was wild colonial boys like these
Who taught us to stand tall!

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Who's policing the bosses?

You don't have to look too hard on the ABCC's new look website to find out what this coercive and undemocratic organisation is all about. Despite the Federal Government's claim that the ABCC is charged with making construction sites fair and equitable for both employers and workers, their current cases list says it all. Not a single prosecution against an employer to be found.

With the ABCC's powers completely intact under the Federal Government's so-called Fair Work Act, we can look forward to more attacks on union officials and construction workers. Meanwhile, employers are reaping the financial benefits of Rudd's economic stimulus package while continuing to underpay workers, ignore OH&S law, hold back worker entitlements and take advantage of migrant workers.

So who is policing the bosses? Why no one of course, it seems they're above the law.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

First class hypocrits

On Thursday 25/06/09, the Coalition, assisted by Family First Senator Steve Fielding and Independent South Australian Senator Nick Xenophon, voted to disallow a ministerial direction from Julia Gillard which would give construction workers some basic protections against the coercive powers of the ABCC, using its numbers in the Senate to block the move.

CFMEU Construction National Secretary Dave Noonan accused opposition leader MalcolmTurnbull of double standards, pointing out his decision last night to exercise his own right to silence over the fake email affair.

But the double standards don’t stop there. On the News last night on TV Liberal Senator Eric Abetz who reveled in leading the false exposure of the fake email affair, carried on about non co-operation with any inquiry into the affair, saying he would not disclose his source of information and no one will force him to.

On the ABC’s AM program on Wednesday, former Industrial Relations Minister and chief head kicker Tony Abbott, was crying about “the ferocious display of the coercive power of Government” and the government “using all the agencies of the state as a form of political coercion and intimidation”.

Well fellows, welcome to the nightmare of your own rotten creation. Building and construction workers have been facing these draconian powers since John Howard introduced the ABCC in order to coerce and intimidate them.

Under the ABCC’s coercive powers, Australian construction workers have no right to silence and are forced to give evidence about union meetings or any other issue the ABCC wishes to address.

Apparently, politicians and senior bureaucrats can hide behind their right to silence – even in the face of serious allegations – and yet construction workers can be fined or jailed for trying to exercise the same right.

Malcolm Turnbull and his mates are happy to exercise their right to silence but deny thousands of Australian construction workers even minimal protections.

This is a shameful act of hypocrisy from Turnbull and his mates - but who is surprised at that?

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Employers shed crocodile tears

Commenting on the release of new legislation today, ACTU Secretary Jeff Lawrence said rather than pretending to be disappointed, business groups should be honest and admit that they stand to gain from the proposed laws that threaten innocent workers with six months jail.

"The Australian Building and Construction Commission was introduced by the Howard Government to favour the property industry and to undermine the rights of construction workers," Mr Lawrence said.

"The new Building Industry Inspectorate and accompanying legislation will retain much of the coercive powers and unfair treatment that existed alongside the Howard Government's WorkChoices.

"Under the proposed new laws introduced into Parliament today, workers who are not accused of any wrongdoing still face a jail sentence of up to six months if they fail to attend an interview or answer the questions of the inspectorate.

"This could prevent workers on building sites from speaking out when when a situation is unsafe or unfair, and could lead to lower safety standards in an already-dangerous industry.

Business groups should also cease misleading the public with wildly exaggerated claims about the nature of the construction industry, Mr Lawrence said.

He said there are more than 900,000 people employed in Australia's construction industry.

"These workers are driving Australia's economic recovery and are the key to implementing the Government's stimulus package: they deserve more respect.

"It is highly misleading to say special laws are needed for the construction industry to deal with alleged violence and intimidation when these issues are criminal matters, unrelated to industrial law and outside the remit of the ABCC or the proposed new inspectorate," said Mr Lawrence.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Unions vow to fight unfair laws

Commenting on the announcement by the Federal Government that it would introduce new industrial relations legislation for the construction industry into Parliament tomorrow, ACTU Secretary Jeff Lawrence said:

"Unions are determined to improve workers' rights and to ensure workers in the construction industry have the same rights as all other Australian workers.

"It will be good to see the Australian Building and Construction Commission (ABCC) abolished, as the Government has said it will do.

"The removal of unfair, higher penalties for construction workers is also a step forward.

"However it is unacceptable for the Labor Government to retain discriminatory laws including the use of over-the-top coercive powers against one group of workers.

"Unions are fundamentally opposed to the continued use of coercive powers against workers - even for a five year period and with the new safeguards that are proposed.

"The only people that will win from the retention of unfair laws in this industry will be the big building developers and construction companies.

"Our short term fear is that workers will continue to be subject to laws that are just unfair and unreasonable.

"Our long term fear is that these laws will stop workers on building sites from speaking out when a situation is unsafe or unfair.

"According to official figures from the Australian Safety and Compensation Council, prior to the introduction of the Howard Government's discriminatory laws for the construction industry in 2004, there were 19 deaths on building sites but in 2007 this had risen to 33 deaths.

"Special laws have failed to deal with the terrible record of health and safety in this often dangerous industry and have failed to improve productivity.

"The recent report by Justice Wilcox into the industry found the discriminatory laws had no positive impact on productivity and debunked the ABCC's claims that they had.

"The Australian people voted at the last election to restore workers' rights and to get rid of the Howard Government's unfair IR laws.

"Unions will continue campaigning to ensure this happens," said Mr Lawrence.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Letter in reply to yesterday's Advertiser front page is ignored

A letter sent to the Advertiser in response to it's disgraceful attack on building workers yesterday, has been forwarded to instead. You can read the Advertiser hatchet job here.

Dear Ed,

I thought your lead story “Thug rule” (The Advertiser 15/6/09) would deal with the “standover tactics”, “bullying” and “intimidation” that force building workers to take short cuts to ensure that projects are completed within or ahead of deadlines.

Instead, it rehashes tired innuendo and “cases under investigation” to attack building unions and justify their continuing unfair and discriminatory treatment. There has been one case brought against a union official under the draconian ABCC regime. That case was dropped.

The second charge is against Ark Tribe, a rank and file member who organized a petition about safety issues at the Flinders University site. Subsequently, Safework SA issued the builder with two improvement notices.

Now Ark faces 6 months jail for refusing to attend an ABCC interrogation about the matter, an interrogation at which he has no right to silence and no right to legal representation.

Remind me again – who are the “thugs” and “bullies”?

A concerned citizen.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

It's all about production stupid!

While Ark Tribe could go to goal for 6 months for defending the rights of construction workers to remain silent, the MBA, voice of the construction bosses, has responded as to why it is necessary to retain draconian laws for construction workers.

Master Builders Australia chief executive Wilhelm Harnisch is supporting retention of coercive powers over the construction sector, saying it was about productivity. "It's about providing the best bang for the taxpayers' buck," he said. (11/06/09 AAP)

If the concern was for taxpayers bucks one would think abolishing the ABCC would be a good start to saving $33 million per annum. The only tax payer the MBA is concerned with is the taxpayer bosses in the Building and Construction Industry (if any could be found paying their fair share).

Griffith University Professor David Peetz in a supplementary submission to the Wilcox inquiry states, “While there is scant evidence of a large impact on productivity, of the order claimed by the ABCC, Econtech and the employer bodies, there is more persuasive evidence for suggesting that the ABCC might have been associated with the transfer of income shares from labour to capital.”

Put pure and simple, more profits for the bosses-less rights and wages for workers.

How crude the bosses have become using a state sponsored industrial police force to improve their profit margins and how exposed some current Federal Labor Politicians are becoming by justifying legal bullying and intimidation as, “keeping a tough cop on the beat”. All this without a care that a worker could be goaled for 6 months for the very basic right enjoyed in any civilized society to remain silent.

John Howard introduced the most draconian industrial relations laws seen in Australia, in the past week Kevin Rudd and Julia Gillard have declared themselves caretakers for these draconian laws.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

First cut footage on Adelaide Now..

Click here to see video from this morning's rally,

Ark's Tribe rallies at Elizabeth

Hundreds of workers rallied outside the Elizabeth Magistrates Court this morning. Construction workers taking their RDOs (rostered days off) were joined by members of the Transport Workers Union, the LHMU, both education unions (public education's Australian Education Union and private education's Independent Education Union), the Nurses' Federation, and the Australian Metal Workers Union.

Construction union (CFMEU) State Secretary Martin O'Malley addressed the gathering, warning that the powers of the ABCC were a danger to all working people.

The ABCC has the right to interrogate anyone about the conduct of union meetings, or any other matter related to the construction industry. People who refuse to attend interviews with the ABCC (as Ark is alleged to have done), or who refuse to answer questions, or who tell any other person about their interrogation (spouse, children, workmates, union officials etc) face 6 months in jail and fines of up to $22,000.

"There's one set of laws for workers in the construction industry, and one set for everyone else," observed O'Malley.

"They say they've drawn a circle around our industry, but the circle can be widened at any time to include other groups of workers. This is what happened in Nazi Germany in the 1930s," he said.

He then introduced Tribe, describing him as "just a construction worker who wants to go to work each day and do his job."

State Secretary of SA Unions, Janet Giles congratulated Ark on the stand he was taking, adding "and I promise you we will be with you all the way."

As Ark stood waiting to go into court, O'Malley invited those present to sign a Eureka flag with messages of support for Ark, and then the whole assembly recited the Eureka Oath, first sworn at Ballarat in 1854 by miners who took up arms against the British colonial oppressors: "We swear by the Southern Cross to stand truly by each other to defend our rights and liberties!"

Those present them formed an arch of honour with Eureka flags and union flags fluttering above Ark as he walked to applause into the courtroom.

The case has been adjourned until August 11, 2009. Click here to see the video on Adelaide Now.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Don't let Ark go to jail. Rally at Elizabeth Tuesday!!

Ark Tribe faces six months jail if convicted for not attending an interview with the ABCC (aka The Building Industry Task Force).

Come to the Elizabeth Magistrates Court, 15 Frobisher Rd, Elizabeth, this Tuesday 9 June at 9am to rally in defence of not only Ark, but all working people!

View Larger Map

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Story of the Ark

Don't let the ABCC jail Ark: Join us at Elizabeth Magistrates Court this Tuesday, June 9 at 9am to support Ark.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Unions call on Gillard to abolish ABCC at ACTU Congress

Ark Tribe, a South Australian construction worker, faces six months jail after being charged
with allegedly refusing to attend an interrogation by the Australian Building and Construction

Earlier in the week, the Australian union movement stands behind Ark and will urge the Rudd Labor
Government to abolish the ABCC when Julia Gillard, Deputy PM and Minister for Workplace
Relations, speaks at the ACTU Congress.

The ACTU Congress yesterday unanimously passed a resolution calling on the Government
to abolish the ABCC and the unjust laws that underpin it.

Click here to read more

Friday, May 29, 2009

CFMEU Executive: Ark's fight is our fight!

The CFMEU Construction and General Division have today pledged to fight fresh charges laid by the Australian Building Construction Commission (ABCC) against South Australian construction worker, Ark Tribe.

At a meeting of the union’s executive in Sydney, all branches closed ranks around Mr Tribe, who allegedly failed to attend a compulsory interrogation by the ABCC in 2008.

Under the Federal Government industrial relations laws, construction workers like Mr Tribe can be fined up to $22,000 each for stopping work or jailed for up to 6months for refusing to answer questions about a union meeting.

Click here to read the press release in full.