A CFMEU protester targets workers at a Queensland mine.
A CFMEU protester targets workers at a Queensland mine.

Bitter union protest blamed for $3.2m loss

THE mining division of the militant CFMMEU in Queensland posted a $3.23 million deficit last financial year.

The union said the loss was due in part to the "prolonged industrial dispute" at Glencore's Oaky North coalmine at Tieri in central Queensland.

It dragged on for nine months and achieved little. The union's annual report revealed $1,479,200 was paid "in hardship support payments to members in accordance with union rules".

In all, 245 miners were involved in a stoppage and a lockout at the mine.

There were bitter exchanges between picketing unionists and the contractors engaged to replace them.

In a Fair Work Commission hearing earlier this year, a mine manager accused union chiefs of intimidation for allegedly shouting the words "f---king grub", "f---king scab" and "f---king maggot" to passing vehicles.

Deputy Commissioner Ingrid Asbury heard there was a range of other of offensive comments, including "grub'', "f---king grub", "scab", "f---king scab", "once a scab always a scab", "f---king dogs", "c--khead", "dickhead", "prick", "c---", "maggot", and "go hang yourself".

Federal Opposition Leader Bill Shorten was criticised for secretly visiting the picket last year.

The unionists eventually returned to work.

What was perplexing was that miners at more than a dozen other sites had already agreed to the new pay deal of $180,000 with generous accommodation benefits.

At Tieri, single workers pay $24 a week for accommodation with free meals. Families pay $15.50 for a two, three or four-bedroom house.

BABYLONIAN BABBLE

I'M fascinated with the work of Martin Worthington, a University of Cambridge linguist who has taught himself to speak ancient Babylonian - 2000 years after it became extinct.

As part of his campaign to revive it, Worthington made a 20-minute feature film, The Poor Man of Nippur, based on a Babylonian folk tale about a man who seeks revenge against a mayor who killed his goat. You can see it on YouTube.

Babylonian was once the lingua franca of the Middle East. It was spoken by Babylonian kings in Mesopotamia and by Egyptian pharaohs.

Worthington, an expert in Babylonian and Assyrian grammar who is based at St. John's College, has also recorded Babylonian poems. He teaches Akkadian and Sumerian language, and courses on Mesopotamian literature and religion.

Perhaps his achievements may inspire academics here to revive some of our indigenous people's lost languages.

FIRED UP

I DON'T think the State Government has finished punishing the Katters yet. I'm told Labor is plotting to ban political parties from accepting donations from firearms wholesalers, just as it banned donations from property developers.

This would block Katter's Australian Party receiving funding from Brisbane's successful NIOA group, featured in today's Qweekend magazine.

NIOA chief Robert Nioa is a KAP member and is married to Bob Katter's daughter Eliza. Annastacia Palaszczuk declared war when she stripped funding from the Katters. The decision seems to have backfired with the Premier facing challenges in the courts and the parliamentary ethics committee.

Guns, of course, are a necessary tool in the bush. The Katters have sensible gun policies. Queensland leader Robbie Katter has called for a permanent amnesty to enable owners to hand-in unregistered firearms.

 



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