Wednesday, November 24, 2010

NOT GUILTY!! Ark Tribe and the workers beat the ABCC

Justice was done at the Adelaide Magistrates Court today. After two years of persecution by the building industry watchdog, the ABCC, Ark Tribe is now a free man.

Around four thousand men, women and children turned out to support Ark as he entered the court for the final time. Standing tall on the union built scaffold, before entering the courthouse, Ark Tribe was presented with 2,500 messages of support posted in recent weeks on the Rights on Site website, another example of the widespread support Ark Tribe has received throughout this disgraceful ordeal.

After entering the court to chants of "One Law for All", and "Ark Tribe here to stay", Ark emerged flanked by his lawyer Stephen Dolphin and CFMEU National Secretary Dave Noonan who announced the "not guilty" verdict. Naturally, this was met with a huge victory roar from the massive crowd who then chanted "Workers united will never be defeated!" This is no doubt a victory to saviour and one that not only Ark Tribe, but the whole union movement can be proud of. From day one, the solidarity has been fantastic, a fact that Ark made clear to supporters in a short but emotional thank you speech.

As he moved back into the corner of Victoria Square, now affectionately known as "Ark's Park" workers came from everywhere to congratulate him. There were handshakes and backslaps all round and many took the opportunity to have a photo taken with the man who has courageously challenged and beaten the bosses' attack dogs.

The crowd having disperesed to return to work or celebrate elsewhere, the question still remains, when will the Government abolish this fiercely anti-worker organisation known as the ABCC? Four thousand people can't be wrong, people like Ark Tribe should be congratulated for standing up for workplace safety, not interrogated by a secret police force or dragged through the courts for simply standing up for rights at work.

Well done Ark, you have carried us to victory, but the fight against the ABCC will continue until it has been, to coin a popular phrase, "dead, buried and cremated."

Ark Tribe here to stay, ABCC dead today!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Verdict tomorrow - be there for Ark!

It's been a long wait for Ark Tribe. With court appearances almost into the double figures, adjournment's and the recent postponing of the decision, this bloke has been through hell. But he's handled it with class; always thanking his mates, family, and union comrades for the strong support they've given him throughout this turgid farce.

If it goes to script, Ark will be a free man tomorrow and he can get on with a life that has been put on hold for over two years, all because he had the mettle to stand up to a bully. And the ABCC is the biggest bully in Australia. What other entity can, without justification, summon an individual to an interview and force them to rat on their mates or force them to reveal the content of a union meeting called to address a workplace safety issue? What organisation can remove one's democratic right to silence and access to a lawyer? What other organisation attacks the men and women who build our nation by subjecting them to laws that aren't even used on suspected terrorists? That's the nature of what is now Gillard's ABCC, her "tough cop on the beat".

If Ark walks out of the Adelaide Magistrates Court tomorrow as he should, a free man, it will be a victory to saviour. But is it a victory for democracy? Not in the slightest. The fact that our Government can persecute an honest working man for standing up for basic rights at work, drag him through the courts, and potentially jail him, is an outrage, and quite frankly, more Australians should be protesting.

Thankfully, Ark has had fantastic support from thousands of workers around the country, and you should all be congratulated. As long as working people unite against these fascistic attacks against their brothers and sisters we will defeat those who wish us harm. The ABCC must be abolished. Dare to struggle, dare to win. See you at the courthouse at 8.30am tomorrow!

Monday, November 1, 2010

Ark Tribe verdict postponed

Ark Tribe's verdict has been postponed until Tuesday 24th November.

The anxious wait for Ark and his family continues.

This is a man who has faced court more than 7 times, charged with not attending an interview with the Australian Building and Construction Commission.

If you haven't already done so, please send Ark a message of support!

Ark needs to know that thousands of supporters stand by him.

You can send your message here.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Ark Tribe decision on November 3?

Come to "Ark's Park" (Victoria Square) to support Ark Tribe on November 3 to support Ark; we expect a decision will be handed down or the persecution will continue. Follow this link for more information.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Unyielding willpower

Confronted by unyielding
ABCC Star Chamber pressure
& lily livered ACTU bureaucrats

Ark Tribe's adamantine
willpower is still refusing
to be broken

Monday, September 13, 2010

Ark faces court again...

Stay tuned for an update on today's hearing. Thanks to everyone who turned out today to support Ark at his seventh court appearance.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Who's policing the police?

A question on many people’s lips during the six days of Ark’s trial was : why did the ABCC witnesses enter and leave by the same door reserved for magistrates?

A few questions to those in the know revealed that this practice was highly unusual. A journalist in the court couldn’t remember this ever happening before. In fact, Ark’s Barrister Michael Abbott questioned Magistrate Whittle as to why. The magistrate had no idea and referred Abbott to the Sheriff’s office.

More unusual was the fact that Ark’s team wasn’t afforded the same privilege. Whilst this activity will have no bearing on the case, it nevertheless reflects the special privilege given to the prosecution’s ABCC witnesses as opposed to witnesses in other cases waiting outside the various courts.

It could also leave an impression designed to highlight the charges against Ark Tribe as so serious and heinous that witnesses would require greater levels of protection than witnesses in murder, rape or even terrorist trials. That is the impression the ABCC wants the public to accept.

Throughout Ark’s trial it became clear that the ABCC witnesses think they have the power to do and say anything they want without reasonable justification. It was at times like listening to Rumpole of the Bailey confronting the well versed old copper, fixed in his ways and never allowing his views to be tainted by the facts.

Dave Noonan, National Secretary Construction and General Division CFMEU, tells some of the story:

“In extraordinary evidence this week the community learnt a great deal about the way the ABCC does business. The construction industry Star Chamber is supposed to exhaust all other channels before it uses its big guns (the controversial section 52 orders which compel workers to attend a secret interrogation). But under cross-examination, ABCC Inspector Seamus Flynn admitted that not much had been attempted before the Commission resorted to its extreme coercive powers. All Mr Flynn did before he fired the cannon was to make two quick telephone calls to CFMEU member, Ark Tribe. No letter, no text, no visit - straight to the compulsory secret interrogation. A pattern is emerging of an organisation that may not have operated within its powers and functions under its own legislation. The Commission does not seem to have paid proper attention to making sure it acted even in accordance with the very limited safeguards placed on its unprecedented powers.”

Ark’s team also questioned the ABCC inspectors use of Right of Entry . Under cross examination it was revealed that inspectors may not have the power to serve notices while purporting to use their Right of Entry powers under the Act.
It was also revealed that some documents served to Ark on site had no legal basis, yet the inspector relied on his powers to enter the site.

Had a union official misused his or her Right of Entry power the ABCC inspectorate would be demanding fines and/or removal of the Right of Entry from the official. The ABCC wield their self-appointed powers around like sumo wrestlers on steroids, frantically trying to sort out the construction industry while flexing their muscles to justify their pathetic existence. This mob has no place in a democratic country and must be disbanded.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Touch one, touch all: Ark Tribe supporters protest in London

Standing outside Australia House in London, union safety campaigners handed out flyers to passers by, some of whom were attending a concert by the Sydney Philharmonia Choir who were in town at the time. Imagine their surprise when they found out that not everything coming out of Australia is music to the ears. The protesters also handed a letter in support of Ark to the Australian High Commission.

Trade unions represented at the protest included the TSSA, UCU, NUJ, UNITE, UCATT. Members from other organisations such as the HAZARDS Safety Campaign, Labour Lawyers from International Centre for Trade Union Rights (ICTUR) and the Blacklist Support Group were also on hand to support spread the message about the ABCC and their charges against the rank and file worker, Ark Tribe.

Follow this link to a fantastic video of the protest

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Ark Tribe trial update

After the final ABCC witness was dismissed on Thursday 22nd July and Ark’s legal team leading no evidence, the magistrate, David Whittle, informed the hearing that the transcript of the case could take up to a month to be made available. He decided that Ark’s team would have to supply their written submissions to him by 27th August and the prosecution by 3rd September; both are required to give any oral submissions on the 13th September.

Following the hearing on 13th September Magistrate Whittle will then deliberate on the evidence and at a future date make known his verdict.

Another rally is to be held on Monday 13th September to show the continued support for Ark Tribe and disgust at laws which could jail a worker for 6 months for demanding the same right to silence that all other citizens of this country are afforded.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Support Ark in court tomorrow

Ark Tribe is back in court tomorrow and by the time the weekend rolls around we should know his fate. It's as important as ever that people turn out in force this week to support Ark and protest against the continued existence of the ABCC.

If you're in Adelaide come down to the Magistrates Court and stand tall for Ark Tribe. See the box to the left for details of the Adelaide, Perth and Sydney rallies.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Ark Tribe in 2010 and the death of a construction worker in 1974

The charges laid against Ark Tribe by the ABCC are undemocratic, unjust and straight out immoral. As this article from Don McDonald AM explains, the way Ark Tribe and hundreds of other building workers are being treated flies in the face of rights won by building workers over 30 years ago. So much for the "Building Industry Improvement Act".

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Case adjourned, again!

With Ark's hearing not listed on Thursday, it was left until Friday before a ruling was made on the CFMEU's day 1 argument that the ABCC staff member who laid the charges against Ark Tribe was not authorised to do so and as such charges should be dropped.

With hundreds gathering outside the magistrates court in the centre of Adelaide, the mood as buoyant; there was a feeling that this might be it, that the charges would be dropped and Ark would be able to get back to a normal life and back on the job.

Sadly, it wasn't to be. Magistrate David Whittle found that the ABCC assistant commissioner, John Draffin, was entitled to lay the complaint against Tribe and that the trial would continue. CFMEU State Secretary Martin O'Malley emerged at around 10.30am, closely followed by the union's National Secretary, Dave Noonan. They told Ark's supporters and the assembled media that the trial was to proceed and that Ark had plead not guilty to the charges.

As he did on day one of the trial, Noonan threw down the gauntlet: "If Ark Tribe is jailed, the CFMEU will take action right around the country". Mr Noonan also sent a warning to the ABCC and to employers, some of whom had threatened to sack workers for turning up to the court to support Ark Tribe.

"Construction workers will not be intimidated by those sort of threats. We will not be held down by employers who want to hide behind these draconian powers. Ark is our friend, he's our comrade, he's one of us and we will be here for him as long as it takes and as hard as it gets."

The support for Ark Tribe from the trade union movement and the wider community has been building since his case first came to light. The CFMEU National Secretary told workers it must continue.

"All of us need to know that Ark is walking in our shoes, he cannot walk alone and this law cannot be allowed to stand," Noonan said.

With much time taken up deliberating on the CFMEU's attempt to have the charges dropped, the case was destined to be adjourned to a later date. Later on Friday afternoon, Magistrate Whittle set down July 21 and 22 for the continuation of the trial.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Day 2: Message from Rights on Site team.

It was lawyers at twenty paces in in the Adelaide Magistrates Court this afternoon - but it didn't last long.

Ark's barrister argued that the case brought by the ABCC was invalid. The Magistrate then called for written submissions from both sides.

The Court sat again today. Then his Honour let us know that he needed more time to consider the submissions. The long and the short of it is that we'll be back at 10am (Adelaide time) on Friday 18 June and the Magistrate will rule on the first argument.

A frustrating but necessary process. We hope to have some good news to report Friday morning.

Thanks for all your support!

Dave Noonan and the Rights on Site Team

Ark Tribe Trial: Day 1

Across the country, thousands rallied in support of Ark Tribe yesterday.

Thank you for your support.

Inside the Adelaide Magistrate's court, lawyers began their defence of Ark Tribe, a normal construction worker accused of nothing more than failing to attend an interrogation by the Construction Star Chamber for the Australian Building and Construction Commission.

Ark's lawyers argued that the ABCC had not correctly begun the prosecution - because the person authorising the prosecution did not have the power to do so. As a result they said the charges should be thrown out.

Lawyers for the Commonwealth DPP contested the argument and the magistrate moved for an adjournment. Both sides will now make written submissions on the matter, with the court reconvening today, Wednesday 16th June at 2pm.

It is expected that the magistrate will today make a determination on this particular issue. If the arguments of Ark's lawyers are upheld, the case will end. If not, it will continue with both sides making arguments on substantive issues.

Workers, members of the broader community and unionists, were out in force outside and inside the court in support of Ark and against the ABCC. If Ark goes in, construction workers across the country will go out.

Come to Victoria Square at 1.30pm today to show your solidarity with Ark as his trial enters Day 2.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Support Ark Tribe this Tuesday, June 15th

In five days time construction worker Ark Tribe will face judgement at the Adelaide Magistrates Court. Ark may be the first rank and file worker jailed for standing up against the undemocratic and coercive powers of the Australian Building & Construction Commission (ABCC) and he needs our support.

Join hundreds of supporters, including Gerry Conlon of the Guildford Four, at the Ark Tribe Embassy at Victoria Square at 8.15am on Tuesday morning, June 15th, 2010.

Bring placards, banners, friends and workmates as Ark Tribe stands tall for the workers of Australia.

Lawyer Stephen Dolphin and others talk about Ark's case

Follow this link for the latest video in the Ark Tribe campaign.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

What's going on with Ark Tribe?

During the past month Ark Tribe has travelled across Australia visiting Sydney, Melbourne, Canberra and Brisbane, speaking to groups of workers about his situation and the laws which will have him jailed for 6 months if the ABCC has its way.

The solidarity and support he has received has been incredible and he has been left with no doubt whatsoever that workers and other people throughout this land agree and support the principle stand he has taken against outrageous laws which have no place in a democracy > Read More

ABCC asks ACTU intervene

It's hard to believe and somewhat pathetic, but it seems the ABCC are getting desperate. It was revealed today that the watchdog's commissioner, John Lloyd, has written to the ACTU requesting it intervenes in a construction site dispute in outer Melbourne.

It's alleged that CFMEU members at the new Melbourne wholesale fruit and vegetable markets are running a picket at the site, apparently ignoring Federal Court orders. Whether this be true or not, such a move from the ABCC shows they will go to any lengths to prevent workers taking industrial action, including groveling to the union peak body!

Here at Ark's Tribe we can only surmise that the out of favour Mr Lloyd has lost his direct line to Gillard and is trying his luck elsewhere. Check your letter box Ark, you may just have new mail.

Lloyd tells bosses to "get tough"

Outgoing ABCC boss John Lloyd demonstrates his hatred of unions and workers in this piece in today's Australian. Under the Lloyd-managed anti-worker regime, unions and their members are targetted while bosses are, by and large, given the green light to continue unsafe practices in order to turn a profit.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Three weeks until Ark faces court

In approximately three weeks South Australian construction worker Ark Tribe faces court to find out if he will be the first rank and file worker jailed by the Howard and now Rudd Government's repressive anti-worker task force, the ABCC. There is no doubt that Ark's case has been shaping up as one of the most important in recent industrial relations history and it's up to all of us to stand up for a worker's basic right to safety in the workplace.

Come to Victoria Square at 8.30am on June 15th to stand tall with Ark Tribe, the man who has put himself on the line to stand tall for what is right.

Follow this link to download artwork for an A2 poster which you can print and put up in your workplace and community noticeboards etc.

Let's rally together and fill Victoria Square on June 15th. The voice of the people must be heard on June 15th, 16th & 18th.

Keep an eye out for updates on this blog and via our Twitter feed.

Monday, April 19, 2010