alex white's blog

President Obama

alex white's picture

In case you haven’t heard, Obama won the US election.

You can watch the victory speech here.

University news: sackings, industrial action

alex white's picture

There is a lot going on in Victoria’s higher education sector. Some of the largest ever mass-redundancies in Australian university history, as well as a growing mood for industrial action over university administration refusals to seriously collectively bargain.


Staff at Deakin University want a new collective agreement. The NTEU has produced a video explaining what is at stake and why staff need to join the union.

Deakin staff speak about collective bargaining from NTEU Victoria on Vimeo.

Victoria University

Victoria University Vice-Chancellor announced on 17 October the largest ever mass-redundancy in Australian university history.

The NTEU is running a campaign to protest the redundancies and make the university return to the bargaining table. Like Deakin, VU senior management have refused to seriously bargain.

You can support the staff at Victoria University by sending an email to the Vice Chancellor.

Hands off our union - NUW at war

alex white's picture

The NUW - the National Union of Workers - is currently experiencing an internal dispute over proposed rules changes that would abolish all state branches other than Victoria and NSW.

Dear NUW Member,

Two weeks ago the National Council of the NUW resolved to change the rules of the Union to establish a new centrally-controlled General Branch. This Branch would absorb all State Branches of the NUW other than NSW and Victoria.

This proposal was rejected by the NSW, Queensland, South Australia and Western Australian Branches.

Despite this rejection, the National Office of the NUW will be holding a postal ballot from October 17th to November 10th 2008 to change the rules to facilitate their plan. Ballot papers will be issued to all NUW members via mail in the near future.

The NSW, Queensland, South Australia and Western Australian Branches of the NUW rejects any attempt to take away or reduce local democratic control from any State Branch of the Union.

These Branches of the NUW strongly urge Members to vote NO in the ballot for any proposed rule change.

Any attempt to take away the control of State Branches of the NUW from the Members is wrong. We will not support any change that will disadvantage Members nor will we support any push for a centralised branch that will abolish any State Branch.

Iemma Gone, Costa gone

alex white's picture

Michael Costa has been sacked by Iemma, after pressure from caucus.

Article from and SMH.

Iemma has resigned! Interesting times in the NSW Labor Party.

Any NSW comrades care to comment?

Google's Browser: Chrome

alex white's picture

If you keep up to date with the latest tech news, you may have heard of Google Chrome, the new entry into the browser wars.

I’ve just started to trial it, and must say that I’m impressed. There are a few features that really appeal, like the “most visited” new tab page. When it leaves beta, and starts to get a few plug ins (like Adblock), I’ll probably use it more permanently.

Some commentary:
Why Google Chrome? Fast Browsing = $$$

Something I haven’t noticed for a while is internet ads. This is because I use the Firefox plugin Ad Block. I am amazed at how many websites have advertising - it’s like a plague.

A better class of student elections

alex white's picture

As we enter the annual student election cycle, the Labor students over at Melbourne University have raised the bar for student union election campaigns, if their website is anything to go by.

Stand Up! from Stand Up on Vimeo.

As an earlier campaign manager for the Stand Up ticket, this year’s campaign has the appearance of being top notch.

I wish the ticket well, and hope that the rest of their campaign is as slick as the website.

(Note: This election comment is published by A White 132418.)

Oust Iemma

alex white's picture

The Australian reports that the NSW Labor Party hard heads are preparing to oust Iemma.

Mr Iemma is standing firm in the belief his party has no alternative to him. But senior ALP figures were adamant: “We will find one.”

In my view, Iemma is seriously compromised and will not be able to win the next election.

Can comrades in NSW comment on how it looks north of the border?

You Tube Special: Fainting Goats

alex white's picture

In which I break my blogging drought to post an amusing You Tube clip.

Glen Milne: Rubbish Journalist

alex white's picture

Glen Milne writes in the Sunday Telegraph:

Within Opposition ranks it has firmed the opinion that Rudd is intent on going to an election at the end of next year.

The evidence, apart from Gartrell’s enthusiasm for getting on with the job, is compelling. First, there’s history: every initially victorious Prime Minister in the modern era from Hawke (subsequent election 1984) and Howard (1998) sought to cement their incumbency by going to the polls within two years.

Second, economic uncertainty. Given the external pressures of the rolling subprime crisis, who knows what will happen electorally or economically? For Gartrell and Rudd, and Labor generally, the message has to be, while you’re ahead, go now.

Third, there’s WorkChoices. The obvious potency of this issue at the last election says go early while the electorate’s hurt and resentment towards the Coalition is still red raw.

Fourth: Opposition leadership. The dynamics of the Liberals’ internal leadership tensions are likely to be at their fruit-bearing peak at the end of 2009.

To get to the bottom of all this, I could call Julie Collins and ask what Tim Gartrell said last Monday. But I haven’t bothered.

Amazing - Glen Milne could have inquired with Labor about the committee meeting - you know, to get his facts straight, or at least do that “getting both sides of the story” thing that journalists are supposed to do. But he didn’t bother.

He also wrote in a separate article:

THE powerful Maritime Union of Australia (MUA) is poised to flex its industrial muscle after a successful meeting with Prime Minister Kevin Rudd at The Lodge in Canberra on Australia Day.

A leaked union strategy document marked “confidential” reveals the MUA believes it has “strong support” from Mr Rudd and plans to push for new industrial relations arrangements that will drive up inflation.

The union wants a return to “pattern bargaining”, a technique to negotiate increased wages and conditions. However, opponents of pattern bargaining say it would also increase inflation and interest rates.

Amazing. Glen passed off as fact that the MUA’s industrial relations arrangements will drive up inflation, but we find out in the next paragraph that opponents of the MUA’s industrial policies are the ones that believe that. What happened to the neutral point of view that journalists were supposed to have?

Oh… that’s right. We’re talking about Glen Milne.

Post mortem deception

alex white's picture

Brian Loughnane, in his National Press Club address the other day said:

Labor has been given a clear mandate by the Australian people based on specific promises and this will be the basis on which they will be judged at the next election.

Labor has set high expectations, and voters will expect the new Government to live up to them. They made very specific promises to prevent grocery prices going up, to prevent petrol prices going up and to prevent interest rates from going up. Our research shows the Australian people are watching carefully to see whether Labor’s promises are just more spin or whether they can deliver. The Coalition intends to hold Labor to the standards it set itself. Mr Rudd declared the buck stops with him – it will not be good enough or acceptable to the Australian people for Labor to try and blame the previous Government when times get tough. The Australian people have given Labor a go based on very specific promises and they expect them to be delivered. (Emphasis added)

Incredible really. The Libs are trying to say that the ALP made the same mistake this election as the Libs did in 2004.