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  Issue No 106 Official Organ of LaborNet 10 August 2001  




.  LaborNET

.  Ask Neale

.  Tool of the Week


Activist Notebook

Action for Western Sahar, refugee rights and an upcoming conference on privatising democracy are all on this week's agenda

Fundraiser for Western Sahara

Featuring Babalu, Metro Flamenco and Soiree...

Babalu... this 8-piece band is one of the most popular Afro-Caribbean acts in Australia at the moment

Metro Flamenco...'the hottest flamenco dance ensemble to appear in Sydney's underground scene'

Other music includes Soiree and there' s a DJ as well...

Money raised will be used to bring a Saharawi woman out to Australia on a speaking tour to help gain support for the struggle of the Saharawi people, who have been living in Refugee Camps since 1975 when Morocco invaded their country. Polisario is the liberation movement fighting for Western Sahara's independence.

Thursday 6 September 8pm Harbourside Brasserie

Tickets: $15, $10 students/concession

Enquires: Stephanie Brennan 9320 0042 or 0411 239934 or Natalie Joughin 8204 7251 or 0425 214618

Organised by the Western Sahara Alliance and the Australia Western Sahara Association (AWSA)


Moving Forward: Reparations for the Stolen Generations Conference

Where: University of NSW

When: August 15-16

Speakers Include:

Bob McMullan, Federal Shadow MInister for Aboriginal Affairs

Senator Aden Ridgeway (Australian Democrats)

George Erasmus (President of the Canadian Aboriginal Healing Foundation)

Dumisa Ntzebeza, former Commissioner on the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission

Justice Joe Williams, Chief Judge of the NZ Waitangi Tribunal

Brian Butler, Social Justice Commissioner, ATSIC

Dr William Jonas, HREOC Social Justice Commissioner

Elizabeth Evatt AC, formerly Australia's representative to the UN Human Rights Committee

Further details and registration brochures are available from the HREOC Website ( or from Bryce Nimmo or tony Westmore on 9284:9830 or 9284:9612


Refugee Action Network

This is to announce the first meeting of trade unionists in Sydney who want to built a network of support amongst unionists for the closure of the refugee detention centres and to fight against the racism which the policy of mandatory detention encourages.

In the last year the courage and organisation of the detainees and the hard work of activists outside the razor wire have brought public attention to the mistreatment of refugees. In the Refugee Action Collective (RAC) we feel we are gaining ground and beginning to set the agenda. The next strategic step is to put maximum pressure on the ALP to abandon its bipartisanship with Ruddock and Howard on this issue. We don't believe it is possible to have nicer mandatory detention, nor that it is right to discriminate against refugees because they are desperate enough to risk coming here by boat.

RAC has already received good support from the ACTU, Labor Council and from a number of affiliate unions, however until now we have been thin on the ground and need to do some consistent work, such as raising money, education work via journals and speaking at delegates mtgs and conferences, and putting specific pressure on the ALP.

If we can build a network it will mean that future events (e.g. the planned free the refugees rallies around the country in the fortnight before the election) will be much bigger and more politically significant.

A draft agenda for the meeting is:

(1) the progress of the campaign so far

(2) the centrality of unions to the campaign's success

(3) strategic brainstorm!

People who feel uncertain about how to tackle some of the issues (e.g. "illegal workers", "queue jumping") are welcome to come along and share their ideas and questions with everyone else.

This needs to be the start of turning mostly passive support into active mobilisation, so please let anyone else who may be interested know about the meeting, including to any relevant lists (but please consult so as not to cross post).

Details of the TUFRR meeting are:

>next Tuesday 14 August at 6pm at the Teachers Federation, 23-33 Mary St, Surry Hills (near Central Station, between Albion and Reservoir Sts)

>meet in the bar (around to the left) then upstairs (one of the meeting rooms on level 1)

Please reply to me here if you would like more information (including a copy of RAC's 4 page fact sheet)

In solidarity Bruce Knobloch for RAC Sydney


Privatising Democracy

The Evatt Foundation and Pluto Press Australia jointly present a half-day seminar exploring the changing nature

of the state, its relationship with citizens and the crisis in governmental legitimacy.

When: Thursday, August 30, 2001, 9.00 am to 1.00pm

Where: NSW State Parliament House Theatrette, Macquarie Street, Sydney


Prof. Murray Goot, Department of Politics, Macquarie University

David Hill, former CEO State Rail Authority, and former

Managing Director, ABC

Margo Kingston, Political Commentator, Sydney Morning Herald

Dr Ghassan Hage, Department of Anthropology, University of Sydney

Dr Christopher Sheil, Visiting Fellow, University of NSW

About the Seminar:

For over a decade now public utilities such as water and

telecommunications have been subjected to either internal

corporatisation and the cult of managerialism, or subjected

to full or part privatisation. Further government reforms,

especially the new enthusiasm for mutual obligation

'compacts' as part of the mechanism of government suggest

that the practice of democracy is undergoing far-reaching

transformation. The rhetoric of mutual obligation now masks

the heavy and unequal burden of 'good' behaviour being

imposed on welfare recipients, while the responsibilities of

government bodies, political representatives, the business

sector and the community are barely articulated, let alone


At the same time analysts are sensing a growing disaffection

amongst voters for government in general and politicians in

particular that may lead to a crisis in consent.

• What are these reforms doing to the idea of the 'public'

or the 'public good'?

• How much of these reforms have the people consented to?

• Is a language of contractualism being imposed on people's

relationships with government?

• Who are being excluded from governmental power?

• Are we seeing now a process of democracy being privatised?

See over for the Seminar Program

Advanced booking and pre-payment are essential.

Cost: $50 and $25 unwaged. Cheques should be made out to the

Evatt Foundation.

mailto:[email protected] or phone 02 9385 2966


*   View entire issue - print all of the articles!

*   Issue 106 contents

In this issue
*  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.
*  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.
*  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.
*  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.
*  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.
*  International: Postcard From Brazil
The CFMEU’s Phil Davey reports on a rural movement that puts our National Farmers Federation to shame.
*  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.
*  Solidarity: On the Frontline
Australian trade unionists are providing practical help for the Burmese through projects funded by APHEDA-Union Aid Abroad.
*  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.
*  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.

»  Revealed: ABC Censors Industrial Reporting
»  WorkCover Revisited – Public Sector Laws Rammed Through
»  Bras First in Burma Boycotts
»  Tri Star Only the Start of Entitlements Push
»  New Spying Tactics Hit Work Cars
»  Howard’s Secret Anti-Worker Plans
»  Direct Action to Increase Nurses' Worth
»  High Court: Courier Was Employee
»  Victory for Academic Freedom
»  Put A Stop To Acoustic Shock
»  Builders' Bucks: Payroll Tax Evasion Rife
»  Tassie Workers Brew Up a Storm
»  HIH Collapse Hits Arts Industry
»  Labour for Hire Not Entitlements
»  Rail Inquiry Into Treatment of Homeless
»  ACTU Awards To Reward Union Excellence
»  Activist Notebook

»  The Soapbox
»  The Locker Room
»  Trades Hall
»  The Soapbox

Letters to the editor
»  Botsman Goes Crosby
»  Left Right Out
»  Belly's Shout
»  Ode to the New Serfs

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