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  Issue No 101 Official Organ of LaborNet 06 July 2001  




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Unified Approach to Sheahan Inquiry

The trade union movement has agreed to present a single submission to the judicial inquiry into common law rights for injured workers being conducted by Justice Terry Sheahan.

Members of the Labor Council's Workers Compensation Campaign Committee are working on the submission, which is due to the Inquiry by July 13. Several affiliates will raise specific issues of concern in appendixes to the main report, such as treatment of workers in high-stress industries.

"We want to send a clear message to the Inquiry that the trade union movement is at one on this issue," Labor Council secretary John Robertson says.

While the first wave of the Della Bosca reforms have now passed State Parliament, trade unions maintain that the big ticket items: the way injuries are assessed and a worker's right to sue a negligent employer - are still to be determined.

The inquiry was called in line with an agreement emerging from negotiations between the government and trade unions over the Della Bosca workers compensation reform package. His original Bill made it harder for workers to sue negligent employers by raising thresholds and introducing US-style assessment guidelines.

The inquiry's Terms of Reference are:

· to recommend the appropriate threshold for "serious and permanent injury" necessary to recover damages at common law in the WorkCover Scheme.

· to examine more efficient ways to process common law claims

· to identify ways to reduce unnecessary costs and inefficiencies in the processing of common law claims

· to identify ways to reduce the incentive for pursuing common law claims

Virtual Inquiry

The Sheahan Inquiry is using the Internet extensively to meet trade union demand's that it be conducted in an open and accountable manner.

All submissions will be posted on the inquiry website at: . All oral submissions will also be transcribed and place online within 24 hours.

The Inquiry will be advised by a committee involving four trade union representatives: John Robertson, Sandra Moait, Andrew Ferguson and Peter Remfrey.

It is due to hand down its final report on August 17. The government response to the Inquiry - which trade unions have already made clear they will not be bound by - is likely to be the next flashpoint in the

On the Ground Campaigning

Meanwhile, trade unions are gearing up for the next phase of their campaign to protect workers compensation entitlements.

A campaign kit has been produced and distributed as trade union begin a program to meet with every MP from all political parties across the state.

Materials are being produced - including 50,000 fliers and 20,000 stickers - with the slogan "I Work and I Vote" - and will be available later this week.

LaborNet's compo site has been revamped for the next phase of the campaign and will house all documents and information - including a ledger of all MPs and their attitudes to workers compensation entitlements. It is at:


*   View entire issue - print all of the articles!

*   Issue 101 contents

In this issue
*  Interview: A Little Knowledge
Labor's science spokesman Martyn Evans was the Opposition's key player on the Knowledge Nation inquiry. He fills us in on the process.
*  Education: Theory and Practise
Whether or not you agree with the priorities for of Barry Jones’ Knowledge Nation Taskforce, Julie Wells argues its boldness has to be admired.
*  E-Change: 1.1 Email Nation
In the first of a series of articles on politics and the new economy, Peter Lewis and Michael Gadiel argue network technologies are reshaping the fundamentals of society.
*  Economics: Banking on the Goodwill
Given their history, Evan Jones wonders whether banks can really claim to be "just like any other business"
*  International: A Deathly Struggle
In this dispatch from PNG, a trade union leader briefs us on the situation following the shooting of seven students at an anti-privatisation rally.
*  History: Enlarging Human Personality
Mark Hearn argues that Lloyd Ross's post-War approach to Workplace Democracy seems contemporary by today's standards
*  Satire: Shit is a Four Letter Word
Australian TV drama is lame and gutless just look at the ABC's Love is a Four Letter Word, says Tony Moore
*  Review: Tribute to an Artist
Dalgarno painted the seagulls circling the seafarer like flies buzzing around the face of a bushman. Thus did the artist depict the maritime worker.

»  Academic Freedom On Trial
»  Unified Approach to Sheahan Inquiry
»  Living Standards Shape as Election Factor
»  Clairvoyant PM In Secret Deal Fantasy
»  Hotels Face Workers Quiz
»  Call for Senate to Decide Spammer's Fate
»  PNG – Howard Should Speak Out
»  Couriers Buck Over Tax Ruling
»  Kempsey Killing Highlights Health Fears
»  Checkout Operators Better Paid Than Aged Care Workers
»  ACTU Weighs Into Bank Campaign
»  Fund Bad Health for Families
»  Australian Music Web Radio Station Needs Recruits
»  Activist Notebook

»  The Soapbox
»  The Locker Room
»  Trades Hall
»  Tool Shed

Letters to the editor
»  Mate Against Mate
»  Disconnected from Reality
»  Applause for the Ton
»  Unions Online? Not Yet!

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