The Sweep Story.

On the last day of October 2020 was also the last day of a good friend and college, taken by mesothelioma.

It was not a plesent experience for the relatives and people who knew the journey but in the end it was a relief to those knowing the pain and discomfort of the patent.

A story we probably we have all heard before but is close to me and my wife.

Mick (Sweep) and I both are boilermakers, both worked the Evens Deakin shipyard, and both apprentices to that organisation and did the same work. I won’t go into the exposure to asbestos but it was extreme and we both did it without any knowledge of the consequences.

Mick got mesothelioma, I got asbestosis.

Why we were effected differently is in the hands of the medicos for explanation but it certainly makes you think how precious a day is.

But in retrospect we had a great apprenticeship. The best we felt, working and being taught by some true tradesman. No shortcuts, no inaccuracies, it was a culture where you were judged on your product you produced, be it a bracket, a stringer, or a shell plate. Each and every welding run you put down had to be as close to perfect as you can and that standard was adopted by about 98% of the lads and those who failed the mark were really did not last.

The benchmark was set by the Master.

Our Master was Slam Sullivan. No one knew his real first name. A mountain of a man with hands as big as frying pans that you were never silly enough to smart mouth.

That 2% I spoke about was weeded out and addressed often by a smack in the ear or if required a back hander to convince you to consider your attitude to the job.

Oh yes I can hear the cries of violence to the youth but it was mans trade then and you grew up or did not survive. No mummy’s boys, no crying to the big boss as you would be regarded as a wimp

Slam worked on the Story Bridge a time where accuracy was demanded and his experiences and standards were passed on and to his credit turend out tradesmen that were welcomed once knowing your shipyard training in other factories in any other facets of the boiler-making trade.

Mick stuck with the trade his whole life, I divested after about 10 years and went to PMG, Telecom, and Telstra, but did not escape the asbestos exposure as the pits and conduits.

Again though, part of our training was life experiences few experienced.

The years was a melting pot of cultures. Walking distance from Yungabah hostel the landing point of New Australians arriving and having a job almost immediately if you had experience in any part of the shipbuilding industry.

Every day was a learning experience, be it trade or life working alongside of people who were too learning about our culture and us theirs.

Yes the lingo was in todays terms racist and unacceptable but it was common language then yet those of us who really wanted to know how the rest of the world worked it was an open book, in a time in the late 60”s where everything was being challenged from culture, working conditions, life styles, music ,everything that represented authorities including governments.

Some great discussions, ideas and arguments and at time fights but looking back a great base for me that you could never experience in a class room or office job and we had it on tap.

This could be a sad story but I won’t allow it.

Although we both got some shit disease unknowingly we did have some experiences in our youth that would never pass the occupation health and safety standards today and both of us would probably be in jail if we did to each other what was did then.

Setting little traps with welders, tools ,electricity, acetylene and whatever we could invent to get a laugh or get square was all part of learning a trade and character building, and that experiences carry us through life and give us sometimes a different view of life few can accept at times.

To be honest it took years for Mick and me to realise we both worked at the yard as there was about 200 of us covering many trades so we played golf against each other misbehaved accordingly and as age does we did not recognise each other in that light until one afternoon the penny dropped when is saw Mick walk into the clubhouse dressed in his work gear and I said boilermaker, then it all fell into pace, the toolbox was opened and it we started swinging the 4 pound hammer of our youth, driving in the wedges and dogs of the past

He remains in my mind a true tradesman full stop. He stayed and practiced the game to the end and I hope he passed on his standards to his subordinates in trade but I’m pretty sure he passed them on family in another forms and they will live with them.

His legacy remains in many ways.

Thanks for the memories old mate and meet you at the lunch room for the game of 500 with the big school.

Slam No Trumps.

Goughs Quote Hits home In Covid-19 Times

We are all updated daily if not hourly on how the Covid -19 battle is going at home and with our trading partners little media is being give to the poorest and less higher profile nations fight against the virus.

This is a vital mistake and oversight not only will it keep the virus alive worldwide but it time will effect every manufacturing process and eventually our national supply

All manufacturing process start with the basic minute product at the start of the chain and many of those poor nations supply and manufacture those basic products at sweat shop rates.

If the virus become rampant in those nations that link ceases to exit and the chain slows or dies effecting basically every item we use.

We have all become aware that our workers, the truck-loaders, drivers , shop assistants, cleaners are vital to our survival and these poorer nations products and services are critical to the manufacturing process so it’s in our own interested, particularly the more affluent nations to support these struggling ones for our own benefit.

Unfortunately in the past the narrow views of foreign aid has been apolitical football for the ignorant, now that self interest will come back and bite us.

Gough’s Quote rings so true in these times

“The punters know that the horse named Morality rarely gets past the post, whereas the nag named Self-interest always runs a good race.

Gough Whitlam, writing in the London Daily Telegraph on October 19, 1989.”

Wayne Offer

Let’s Rethink All Elections in Australia.

#covid_19

After this period of time now and beyond our world will never be the same.

We will have to have a total reset in Australia after the risk management exercise and we will have to analyse our Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats at a scale never done before.

Our leaders and their performances at all levels plus industry, workers, in fact society will be part of that assessment that is if our politicians put the nation before self interest.

We will, probably demand our leaders have a skill set to move us into the new World that everyone will be looking inward on how they performed in this crisis at all levels of government that is why I feel we should suspend all elections now as the people we elect today may not be the ones with the ability to take us forward in the unknown.

Locally who knows where we will end up, but it won’t be the same. We want people to match the times at the helm and we the punters can’t judge now on a landscape we know will never be the same.

Yes a big call but it’s time for big calls from leaders who have that forward vision and in this case practically must outrank process and I’m sure our public servants should be allowed to continue without the responsibility of holding the hands of the new kids in the sandpit on changeover in a national crisis.

This will upset some who think in the present, but it’s the ones who think past the present are the ones we need in our council chambers.

WAYNE Offer

The Poor will be Forgotten.

While we all are under ther pump in the Cov19 spread I recall that when the GFC was in full flight we saw some unscrupulous employers and organisations exploited the situation to attack workers rights and conditions that were never reinstated after the recovery.

Since then our casual workforce has increased to about one third and again its those people who will be the first to feel any repercussion due to containment of the spread.

Watching the Attorney Generals and some government frontbenchers I am convinced they do not get the fact that millions of people live on a day to day week to week basis under their watch and any disruption to their income can be the difference of weather you eat, get medications, or have a roof.

This blasé approach of the blue ties worries me as as we move towards a recession footing, its the most vulnerable the ones on New Start, Pensions, and the casuals that will be overlooked as they will aim any stimulus towards the business sector who will gratefully take it and put it in their pockets, as they have done in all hand outs. No trickle down there.

We have a government that is there by default, they did not plan to win and this virus has just compounded the issue as when the chips are down and money has to be spent on the little people it won’t as it goes against the ideology of good liberalism, and they will do everything possible to ensure that mantra is sustained at all costs regardless of the masses pain.

Wayne Offer

It’s Wage Theft if you Get Caught.

At last the term Wage Theft is now part of the narrative in Industrial Law but surprise surprise the employer groups are blaming the Awards and conditions are the problem.

Like every single conservative government the first job on election is to adopt a royal commission into unions and do everything to destroy working conditions and what the call “red tape”.

That Red Tape covers safety and building standards, wages and representation of workers and the simple cut disturbing fact the we are loosing at least one worker a week on the job many not game to be represented by unions for the fear of loosing employment let alone challenge award wages.

It seems to be a crime nowadays to have the gumption to challenge for fair wages and conditions in a group, your declared as a militant yet its n been ok for the employers to rip off their employees without any justice other than a tut tut naught boy declaration from the establishment..

Being a former employer it’s totally my responsibility to ensure my employees were paid correctly and I appreciate oversights can occur but the ones who are falling on their swords now are serial thieves over many years.

This Coalition will never respect a persons right of representation by a union on ideological grounds so expecting anything other than a token naughty boy response is about as likely as they are in getting a federal ICAC in place.

WAYNE Offer

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