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  Issue No 106 Official Organ of LaborNet 10 August 2001  

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Letters to the Editor

Left Right Out


The debate over the Third Way continues in Australia, with Mark Latham's latest book "What Did You Learn Today?". The reception of this book, along with "The Enabling State", was appropriate for a traditional Left wing ideology that continues to be sidelined.

The Old Left in the Labor Party, especially the Ferguson clan, continues to berate people such as Latham, claiming that Latham is playing both sides of the political fence. This only suggests that such critics are in total denial of their ideological shortcomings.

It is about time that people recognised the value of voluntary welfare work, and the private-public partnerships that can make a real difference to alleviating poverty.

It is true that Church organisations can drive the welfare dollar much further than the traditional Government department. Unfortunately, instead of trying to save the welfare sector by creating a sense of community in poor areas, the traditional left bags any private involvement in poverty alleviation.

The Left is continuing to advocate the failures of Government departments. The fact is, poverty programmes of the old "big government" kind do not work. They do not work because the only way to lift living standards is to lift productivity. The best way to do that is by encouraging private initiative and savings among poor people, rather than throwing money at problems that don't go away. Government is best used as a facilitator for community work, rather as an active agent that is usually out of touch. I would like to see the usual critics of any original thought put more emphasis on relevant responses to new ideas, instead of brushing off good ideas and calling for more government programmes that won't work.

Steve Edwards


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*   Issue 106 contents

In this issue
Features
*  Interview: In Exile
Burmese's government in exile's Minister for Justice U Thein Oo talks about a struggle for democracy that has become a test of international solidarity.
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*  Politics: A National Disgrace
Labor's IR spokesman Arch Bevis gives his take on the workers entitlements issue and its mismanagement by the Howard Government.
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*  E-Change: 2.2 The Information Organisation
Peter Lewis and Michael Gadiel look at how network technologies will change the way organizations operate in the Information Age.
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*  Media: The Fine Print
Mark Hebblewhite looks at how the major dailies handled the Tri-Star dispute and finds that the story really does depend on the telling.
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*  Human Rights: A People Besieged
Labor MLC Janelle Saffin, an active supporter of the pro-Democracy movement in Burma, sets out the issues behind the ILO sanctions.
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*  International: Postcard From Brazil
The CFMEU’s Phil Davey reports on a rural movement that puts our National Farmers Federation to shame.
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*  History: Indonesia Calling
They needed no resolutions. Soldiers and workers who did not know one another moved together, the black ban started to reach out across the harbour from the noisy, smoke-filled room.
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*  Solidarity: On the Frontline
Australian trade unionists are providing practical help for the Burmese through projects funded by APHEDA-Union Aid Abroad.
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*  Satire: Skase 'Too Ill' to Fly Home for Burial
Spanish authorities have deemed Christopher Skase too ill to return to Australia for his own funeral.
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*  Review: Living Silence
In these extracts from her new book, Christina Fink goes inside Burma to find a world where military repression is slowly crushing a people.
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News
»  Revealed: ABC Censors Industrial Reporting
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»  WorkCover Revisited – Public Sector Laws Rammed Through
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»  Bras First in Burma Boycotts
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»  Tri Star Only the Start of Entitlements Push
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»  New Spying Tactics Hit Work Cars
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»  Howard’s Secret Anti-Worker Plans
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»  Direct Action to Increase Nurses' Worth
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»  High Court: Courier Was Employee
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»  Victory for Academic Freedom
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»  Put A Stop To Acoustic Shock
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»  Builders' Bucks: Payroll Tax Evasion Rife
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»  Tassie Workers Brew Up a Storm
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»  HIH Collapse Hits Arts Industry
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»  Labour for Hire Not Entitlements
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»  Rail Inquiry Into Treatment of Homeless
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»  ACTU Awards To Reward Union Excellence
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»  Activist Notebook
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Columns
»  The Soapbox
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»  The Locker Room
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»  Trades Hall
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»  The Soapbox
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Letters to the editor
»  Botsman Goes Crosby
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»  Left Right Out
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»  Belly's Shout
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»  Ode to the New Serfs
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