[Marxism] Victorian government attempts to censor nurses' union Facebook page

Nick Fredman nick.fredman at optusnet.com.au
Thu Mar 1 03:39:37 MST 2012

My partner, a midwife at a Melbourne hospital, is a member of the union
waging the most important industrial struggle in Australia at present.
Nurses and midwives here are the worst paid in Australia, partly because
they've traded off wage increases for maintaining safe patient/nurse ratios.
The conservative state government is demanding these be scrapped and many
nurses replaced with lesser-qualified assistants. While the union has a
misplaced faith in conciliation getting them a better deal they've also
repeatedly defied the threat of large fines under federal Labor's industrial
laws and continued industrial action. Stoppages were however called off on
Monday after more direct threats of fines, although rallies and other
campaigning continues. The latest government bullying was a demand today to
censor the campaign Facebook page.


1 March 2012, 4:08pm

Victorian nurses dislike Baillieu Government facebook gag

Private conciliation resolved disputes in 1997, 2001, 2004 and 2007 and can
resolve 2012 

The Baillieu Government has spent more taxpayer money on lawyers - this time
to prevent nurses and midwives from freely using social media to discuss the

Baillieu Government-paid lawyers wrote to ANF solicitors last night
demanding ANF delete nurses' and midwives' posts from the Facebook campaign
page at www.facebook.com/respectourwork

The letter seeks that ANF immediately delete from the Facebook site any and
all comments which organise, advise or assist the taking of industrial
action by ANF members or which aid, threaten or propose to engage in such
conduct. The letter says: "We also require that you confirm in writing that,
once deletions have been effected, the ANF continue to maintain its social
media websites to ensure that comments of a similar nature are immediately

Australian Nursing Federation (Victorian Branch) Secretary Lisa Fitzpatrick
said: "It's outrageous that Minister Davis can take advantage of his
position and use the mainstream media to misrepresent nurses and midwives,
but wants to stop Victorian nurses and midwives and the community talking
about nursing issues on their own Facebook site.

"Why are Mr Baillieu and Minister Davis prepared to waste more taxpayer
money on lawyers to censor the internet and control and punish nurses and
midwives when they should be working on finding a solution to end this
dispute and get improvements happening in our hospitals?" she said.

The Baillieu Government already tightly censors Victorians' freedom of
expression by blocking voters and deleting their comments from its own
Facebook pages.

"Nurses and midwives have also been blocked from Œliking' Premier Baillieu's
and Minister Davis' and other Liberal politicians' facebook pages which
means nurses and midwives can't leave comments. Now the Baillieu Government
wants nurses and midwives blocked from commenting on their own Facebook
page," Ms Fitzpatrick said.

"Nurses have long been suspicious that the Baillieu Government actually
employs people whose only job is to sit in front of a computer and delete
critical comments on government social media sites," she said.

"Gagging nurses and midwives will not resolve this dispute," she said.

"I again call on Mr Baillieu to be the man he was in Opposition four years
ago when he called on the previous premier to stop being confrontational and
take the conciliation path to resolve this dispute," she said.

Twitter @ANFvicbranch
ANF (Vic Branch) is Victoria's peak nursing industrial and professional body
representing more than 63,000 members 

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