Workers Online
Workers Online
Workers Online
  Issue No 110 Official Organ of LaborNet 07 September 2001  




.  LaborNET

.  Ask Neale

.  Tool of the Week

*  Interview: Cast Adrift
Ethnic Communities Council chair Salvatore Scevola gives his take on the Tampa saga and the underlying attitudes driving the debate.
*  Workplace: Coming to Australia
Jagath Banderra recounts his own experience as a new arrival in Australia entering the workforce.
*  Human Rights: Long Road to Nowhere
Iraqi refugees travel the same tortuous road as Afghans. The refugees on the Tampa have almost certainly endured a similar ordeal.
*  Immigration: Experience Required
Veronica Apap looks at the many difficulties migrants face in having their skills recognised in Australia.
*  International: Why Economic Rationalism Isn't
The CFMEUs Phil Davey surveys the wreckage after 10 years of Brazil's Government doing what the free marketeers want.
*  History: Johnny's Naruan Wet Dream
Rowan Cahill looks at how Australia's preferred refugee dumping ground's history is indelibly linked with our own.
*  Unions: Getting the Message Out
Caroline Alcorso argues the integration of immigrant workers into the trade union movement has been a central issue in Australia’s post-war labor history.
*  Work/Time/Life: Driven To The Edge
In the ACTU’S groundbreaking Fifty Families report there is one particularly sobering story. Frank tells how the modern workplace is driving some people to the fatal edge.
*  Review: Whose Party?
NSW Labor’s century of successes began in 1910, as did the “middle classing” of Labor policy.
*  Satire: Ethnic Wog Gangs Rape Everyone
People who are white in colour are being raped by people who are not white, an exclusive Chaser investigation found last week.

Afghan worker Mohammad Akram with the CFMEU's Andrew Ferguson

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Unions Rescue Afghan Worker
Unions have helped an Afghani worker - whose limited understanding of Australia's employment laws was ruthlessly exploited by his boss.
[ Full Story » ]

Revealed: Migrants Face Hidden Unions Barriers
Many migrant workers are not joining unions because they do not understand them in the Australian context, research for the Labor Council of NSW shows.
[ Full Story » ]

FOI Seeks Royal Commission Papers
The ACTU has lodged a Freedom of Information request for secret documents that it believes will reveal the Government’s political motivation in calling the building industry Royal Commission.
[ Full Story » ]

Long Hours Corrode Family Life Says Study
A new report commissioned by the ACTU paints a picture of hassled families, zombies at work and sex on the run – products of the long hours culture of the modern workplace.
[ Full Story » ]

Medibank Workers 'Feel Bitter Now'
New rosters by Medibank Private will destroy the lives of health insurer's largely female workforce by forcing them to start work as early as 7am and work back to 9pm.
[ Full Story » ]

Chronic Stress in Child Care
Savage cuts in child care funding have resulted in chronic overwork and stress amongst child care workers, according to a new survey conducted by the Municipal Employees Union.
[ Full Story » ]

It's a Steal! Workers Underpaid Since 1991
Workers in the TAFE system have discovered they have been underpaid since 1991 – but the Carr Government is hiding behind technicalities to avoid paying them back.
[ Full Story » ]

WorkCover: Bell Rings for Round Two
The Sheahan Inquiry's recommendations for the future of common law in the NSW workers compensation system will be revealed this week, signalling the beginning of the next phase battle to protect injured workers rights.
[ Full Story » ]

Transfield Fire Sale Threatens Entitlements
Sixty workers employed by the construction giant Transfield have reignited an industrial campaign to secure their entitlements with plans to sell their division.
[ Full Story » ]

Foot-And-Mouth Heroes Face The Boot
Industrial trouble is set return to the wharves as quarantine inspectors campaign against unsafe working conditions and moves to replace the current workforce with labor-hire staff.
[ Full Story » ]

Superannuation Warning to Labor
Unions have warned Labor's superannuation spokesman Kelvin Thompson not to tie himself too closely to the policies of the Keating Government.
[ Full Story » ]

Bully Casino Locks Out Workers
The Gold Coast Casino will lock out all its gaming staff for three or four days, starting this weekend, just as it launches a new multi-million dollar high-roller's gambling room targeting some of Australia's and Asia's wealthiest punters.
[ Full Story » ]

Bra Wars: US Giant Quit Burma
In a week when the ILO investigators head into Burma to review the military regime’s use of forced labour the American based multi national Sara Lee has announced that it will cease production of its garments in Burma.
[ Full Story » ]

Sydney's Salsa for Saharawis
Sydney-siders packed the Harbourside Brasserie's dance floor and salsa-ed, grooved and shook their booty to the sounds of popular eight piece Afro-Carribean band, BaBalu this week.
[ Full Story » ]

Labor Council Revamps Online
The Labor Council of NSW has launched its new website, which is the newest addition to the LaborNET family.
[ Full Story » ]

Get Ready to Wobble
Labor Council's web radio staion Woblly Radio will be officially launched on September 22, with Stellar One Eleven headlining a gig at Newtown RSL.
[ Full Story » ]

Activists' Notebook
All the latest details on actions, workshops and conferences for anyone interested in labour politics.
[ Full Story » ]

Letters to the Editor
  • Tampa Feedback

  • Battling the Bullies

  • Searching for John McNeill, Labor MP

  • Tom Seeks Family Leave

  • Spell Check

  • Injured and Ripped Off

  • Editorial

    Let's Have The Debate

    If we are going to have an immigration debate, let's have an immigration debate.

    As our unfortunate Afghani cousins are finding out, we're not real skilled at this sort of thing.

    European Australia's incompetence in coming to terms with its place in the world has fermented much of our nation's political discontent over the past ten years.

    The rise of One Nation, the failure of reconciliation and the current fear of the Arab hordes all have their genesis in our deep insecurity in our place in the world.

    Why wouldn't we be? Beyond the gold medals and boxing kangaroo, what are we but a European outpost that has thrived into an affluent society while clinging to the areas of plenty on the edges of a burnt continent.

    To our north, masses of humanity - societies busting at their seams as they attempt to manage the western model of development, imposed on them by the affluent nations and the corporations that dominate their policy settings.

    One of the fundamental sources of our insecurity is our relatively small population. Opinions vary, but there are strong advocates for a significant increase in population to create a critical mass to safeguard our self-sufficiency.

    It's how it's been since 1788 - influxes of economic and political refugees from Europe, Asia and now the Middle East - providing the nation's engineroom - both a labour base and a domestic market to build and sustain our economy.

    It's the only rational strategy for those who believe we need to grow our population. The alternative would be to ask our son and daughters to reverse the trend and breed large families - a lifestyle out of step with the aspirations of our affluent middle classes.

    One question from the past week is: where are these advocates as we move heaven and earth to keep out the very people they believe this nation need?

    Here we had 400 brave people, who had withstood the ravages of wars that were the product of US Cold War foreign policy, willing to risk their lives to escape from religious repression.

    Sounds like a pretty attractive stock, eh? Only problem is we are ignorant of their culture and scared of the excesses portrayed in sensationalist media reports.

    I'm not making a call on the population debate. What I am saying is that it is the notion of national development - and not our racial profile - which should be guiding our policy makers.

    Instead we have governments willing to push the buttons of insecurity, but ill-equipped to deal with what they are letting loose by failing to confront the borader issues of our place in the world.

    The articles in this week's Workers Online take the first steps down this track - from the plight of Arab refugees, to the difficulties new arrivals face in the workforce, to the attitudes of mainstream Australia - we go beyond the Tampa to confront the issues that fuel the hysteria.

    While political parties blow in the winds to public opinion, the current climate offers the union movement a golden opportunity to take a leadership role amongst our members and in the broader community. It's what we've always done so well

    Let the debate begin.

    Peter Lewis


    Soapbox Lockerroom From Trades Hall Toolshed
    Soapbox lockerroom trades hall Toolshed
    Arthur Rorris - The Lowest Card in the Deck Blowing the Whistle on Nationalism Paul Howes’ Week on the Web Fear and Loathing at the Tele



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