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  Issue No 111 Official Organ of LaborNet 14 September 2001  




.  LaborNET

.  Ask Neale

.  Tool of the Week

*  Interview: Amidst the Debris
ACTU President Sharan Burrow surveys the wreckage from a week that rocked the world.
*  Politics: Consequences of Empire
The horror of the events in New York has not led to all American and international observers feeling committed to bloody revenge.
*  Industrial: Grounded
Ansett workers lay bare their feelings at seeing their company driven into oblivion.
*  International: Election Results from East Timor
Fretelin as expected has topped the poll in East Timor’s first free democratic election and the violence predicted by some has not eventuated.
*  E-Change: 3.2 The Electronic Consumerist
In their latest instalment Peter Lewis and Michael Gadiel ask how effective has the law become in safeguarding the things that really matter to us?
*  Legal: Howard's Falkland War
Zoe Reynolds chronicles the bizarre tale of the Tampa and how a group of refugees bacame pawns in a bigger political game.
*  Compo: Round Two Begins
Nancy Searle reviews the Sheahan Report and highlights some of the areas of concern to injured workers.
*  Economics: Knowledge, Power, Banking
Raj Patel questions whether a new World Bank initiative is actually designed to control the way the Third World thinks.
*  Review: Political Theatre
The Naked Theatre Company is a youthful, adventurous, professional, Sydney theatre company committed to the development and production of Australian playwrights.
*  Satire: Howard US Visit "Marginally Overshadowed"
Australian Prime Minister John Howard has said his US trip was a complete success, if slightly upstaged towards the middle.

Ansett Workers Stand Up

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Absolutely Outraged

Howard Deserts Ansett Workers
The Howard Government has rejected a proposal to keep Ansett flying, yet is continuing to spend millions on television advertising, Opposition leader Kim Beazley told its former workforce today.
[ Full Story » ]

Trans Tasman Battle for Entitlements
Australian workers should boycott Air New Zealand services until the estimated $500 million owing in workers entitlements was repaid to Ansett workers, the ACTU has vowed.
[ Full Story » ]

Qantas Workers Move To Protect Their Entitlements
More than 1,000 Qantas maintenance workers today stopped work in support of their Ansett colleagues and to safeguard their own accrued entitlements.
[ Full Story » ]

Unions Denounce Muslim Attacks
Unionists must take a leadership role in ensuring that Muslim workers do not become the targets of misguided retribution for the terrorist attacks on the USA, NSW Labor Council secretary John Robertson has warned.
[ Full Story » ]

Fund Established for New York Workers
Australian unionists have established a fund to assist the families of emergency workers who lost their lives in this week's attack on the USA.
[ Full Story » ]

Australian Unionist Lost in New York
A young South Australian trade unionist who worked as an organiser before travelling the world is among those missing from this week's terrorist attack on New York.
[ Full Story » ]

US Flight Crews Support Ansett Workers
Stranded crew members from United Airline flights attended today's Ansett rally in Sydney in support of their Australian colleagues.
[ Full Story » ]

Compo: Threshold Too High
The Carr Government faces another battle with the union movement over workers compensation if it pushes to implement the recommendations of the Sheahan Inquiry into workers compensation in their totality.
[ Full Story » ]

Della Moves on Premium Evasion
The NSW Government has released plans to make contractors responsible for any evasion of workers compensation by sub-contractors working for them.
[ Full Story » ]

Travel Site Severs Burma Links
The international campaign against the Burmese junta is gathering pace, with Europe's largest online travel agent dumping the Lonely Planet travel guide.
[ Full Story » ]

Paint Company Wants Strike Declared Illegal
Taubmans paintworkers at Villawood in Sydney are facing an attempt by their boss to force them back to work in a court hearing next Tuesday.
[ Full Story » ]

Casino Staff Locked Out Again
500 Gold Coast Conrad Jupiters Casino staff were locked out by their bosses on Tuesday night - for four more days – even though they were not participating in any form of industrial action.
[ Full Story » ]

Tax Staff to Strike Back
The campaign against 1300 tax office job cuts is hotting up with CPSU members considering strike action next week.
[ Full Story » ]

Union Applauds Deet Ruling On Clothing
The Australian Education Union has applauded the decision by the Department of Education Employment and Training (DEET) to allow for a range of co-ordinate clothing to be registered for tax deductibility for staff in Victoria's public schools.
[ Full Story » ]

Unions Take Message to Migrant Workers
This week Fairfield MP Joe Tripodi and Labor Council Secretary, John Robertson, launched the first series of translated “Join a Union” pamphlet produced by the Labor Council.
[ Full Story » ]

Get Ready to Wobble
Labor Council's web radio station 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 » ]

STOP PRESS: Howard Rolls Abbott on Entitlements
Late today the Prime Minister dumped his government's workers entitlements scheme under intense pressure from the Ansett workers.
[ Full Story » ]

Letters to the Editor
  • Message from the AFL-CIO

  • Online Opinion

  • Editorial

    Air Atrocities

    The atrocious acts in the USA this week are so horrendous that the day to day battles that unions fight seem, for now, irrelevant.

    Thousands of workers dead at the hands of unknown terrorists, office workers and the emergency crews who came to their aid, in a seemingly senseless act of violence. Or so CNN would have us believe.

    It is dangerous to draw conclusions at such an early stage, more appropriate to reflect on the horrors of war. But there are a few points that have not come through in the blanket TV coverage that may go some part of the way to explaining the madness.

    The attacks have come in a climate of a failure of US geo-politics - the inability to broker peace between Palestine and Israel, the betrayal of the Iraqi resistance and the flowering of the Afghan seeds of fundamentalist militarism sown by the CIA in the late 70s.

    In the post Cold War era these failures have channeled hatred against an America that is the most affluent on earth, whose consumption is the most conspicuous, whose culture is the most pervasive.

    The growing global disparity in wealth coupled with communication barriers that continue to fall make for a potent brew. And while the US military machine can control the world's nation-states it remains vulnerable to the acts of individuals.

    As American and its allies, including Australia, talk of war, it must be recognized that violence will only beget more violence. While those who have lost loved one's seek vengeance, it is up to cooler heads to think this through and have the courage to argue the case for moderation.

    Nation-states can react to terrorism by firing bombs at hostile regimes and massively increasing domestic security, but it is doubtful they can wipe out dissent or block movement between countries.

    The US must bring the perpetrators to justice, but to declare war on a people or their religion will only increase the suffering for all. As a wise wag once quipped: 'fighting for peace is like fucking for virginity'.

    Of course, the collapse of Ansett does not even sit on the same radar in magnitude as the US attacks - but there are some common threads. The concept of a nation 'owning' a company in a borderless economy is questionable at best, but Ansett seems to have been a victim of nationalism.

    Air New Zealand was desperate to have a prize Aussie asset, the Australian Government wanted Qanatas to take control, and no one on either side of the Tasman wanted to see Singapore Airlines win the 'prize'

    The losers in this international tussle are now the 16,000 Ansett workers, who have lost their jobs and possibly their entitlements through no fault of their own.

    More innocent victims are left to deal with the consequences of our political leaders inability to come to terms with a world where borders are breaking down faster than our consciousness

    The greatest political challenge of our age is to reconcile corporate globalisation with our human psyche, which is still tribal, insular, seeking security from the outside. As thousands of American workers learnt this week, the stakes are high.

    Peter Lewis


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