18 November 2009
Newcastle Greens councillor Michael Osborne today called on conservative Newcastle councillors who again tried to axe the Newcastle Show holiday to show a bit more Christmas cheer to local workers in future years.
Conservative councillors, led by Aaron Buman (Independent) and Brad Luke (Liberal), last night tried to cut Newcastle's Show holiday back to half a day, after attempting last year to cut it entirely.
"For the past two years now, these anti-worker councillors have tried to make council "the Grinch who stole the show holiday", just before workers are preparing for Christmas," Cr Osborne said.
"If they don't stop doing this, this "Grinch clinch" against the Show holiday will become an annual set piece from Cr Buman, his Liberal brother-in-arms (Cr Luke), and others who support this campaign by the Hunter Business Chamber," Cr Osborne said.
"During last night's debate, Cr Buman admitted he wasn't even aware that Australian workers had amongst the fewest public holidays of any country in the world.
"Information put to councillors last night indicated that the Howard government's WorkChoices system had created confusion among local businesses about the status of the Show holiday, and Cr Buman voted with Liberal councillor Brad Luke, to cut the holiday on these grounds.
"For Cr Buman and Cr Luke to exploit the confusion created by the Liberal's WorkChoices system is particularly distasteful," Cr Osborne said.
"Fortunately, enough councillors saw through this to vote to preserve the holiday.
The decision coincided with yesterday's release of research by the Australia Institute (in their Something for nothing report) showing that Australian workers work some of the longest hours in the Western world, and really should have more time with family, friends and community," Cr Osborne said.
"No thanks to Cr Buman and Cr Luke, at least local workers can go to Christmas knowing that Newcastle Council won't be further cutting back this valuable off-work time by axing next year's Newcastle Show holiday.