Well it’s been no holds barred today as the war of press releases continues between Jon Stanhope and Brendan Smyth over the proposed launch of ACTU’s anti-IR reform campaign at Floriade.
At 1.34pm this media invitation to the launch popped into my inbox:
NATIONAL LAUNCH OF ACTU â€œI DIDNâ€™T VOTE FORâ€ POSTCARD CAMPAIGN
Chief Minister Jon Stanhope will on Monday launch the â€œI Didnâ€™t Vote Forâ€ postcard, part of the Australian Council of Trade Unionsâ€™ national campaign against the Federal Governmentâ€™s proposed industrial relations reforms.
The campaign points out that, when Australians went to the polls 12 months ago, they did not have the opportunity to consider the Howard Governmentâ€™s radical industrial relations changes.
What: National launch of the ACTU postcard
When: 12pm, Monday 3 October 2005
Where: Village Stage, Floriade, Commonwealth Park
Just eight minutes later I got this release from Brendan Smyth.
He called the whole thing a “disgrace” and said it showed the contempt in which Mr Stanhope holds us Canberrans and our visitors.
“He knows the last thing that tourists or Canberrans want to hear this long weekend is a political message about workplace reforms, but knows if he does it centre stage at Floriade people will be forced to listen,” Mr Smyth said.
He also wondered what Ted Quinlan “thinks about all of this”, saying, “Surely he is not pleased that Canberra’s major tourist attraction is being abused by his leader in this way.”
And to finish off he claimed the ACTU has not got the relevant permissions from the National Capital Authority to conduct a political campaign in the area.
Well. It took Stanhope’s staff a wee bit off time to think out the best way to respond to all this and I received this at 3.26pm.
In it Mr Stanhope said “Brendan Smyth ought to come clean on his stance regarding the Howard Governmentâ€™s appalling attacks on Australian workers and Australian families”.
He said Monday is the most appropriate day to launch such a campaign as it is the celebration of “one of the labour movementâ€™s greatest achievements â€” the eight-hour day”. It also appears that it was ACTU who decided to use Floriade as the venue for the launch.
He claimed the proposed changes (which I don’t believe are finalised yet) will affect up to 100,000 Canberrans — or roughly a third of our population.
He finished off his bit of wordy spray with, â€œThe Howard Governmentâ€™s majority in the Senate might stifle free speech on Capital Hill, but it wonâ€™t stifle free speech elsewhere in the ACT.â€
One does wonder why Jon Stanhope has been asked to do this — was Stephen Smith too busy to help launch a campaign that you might think he’d be rather interested in?