Workers Online
Workers Online
Workers Online
  Issue No 113 Official Organ of LaborNet 28 September 2001  




.  LaborNET

.  Ask Neale

.  Tool of the Week

*  Interview: The Custodian
Labor's arts spokesman Bob McMullan on the role government can play in nurturing national culture.
*  Media: Chucking a Wobbly
Veronica Apap meets Dan Buhagiar, the programmer of Labor Council's new online initiative, Wobbly Radio.
*  E-Change: 3.3 Unleashing a Networked Culture
Politics does not occur in a vacuum - it's is as much a product of its culture as it is an influence on it. In the post-Industrial Age how will this relationship change?
*  Unions: Are You a Terrorist?
Away from the talkback noise, Mark Hearn reports on how a Sydney workforce is taking up the cause of racial understanding and tolerance.
*  Organising: STAA Performers
Film industry workers are acting collectively to ensure they don't become Mexicans with Mobiles.
*  Workplace: Making Art Work
The Workers Cultural Action Committee is a community cultural development provider. What is this? And what does it mean for the union movement?
*  History: Creative Alliances
Neale Towart wanders through the archives to look at how unions' have worked with artists to promote progressive casuses.
*  Performance: Tales from the Shop Floor
Peter Murphy profiles Sydney's New Theatre and the role it has played in fostering working culture.
*  Review: Homegroan
In an extract from her new book, The Money Shot, Jane Mills argues that the local film industry needs more than patriotism to get bums on seats.
*  Satire: PM Pleads To Nauru: Take Our Aborigines Too
In the wake of Nauru’s acceptance of the Tampa refugees, Australian Prime Minister John Howard has struck a new deal with the small island nation to take our Aborigines as well.

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Olympic Labour
Ingrid Skirka

Abbott Stacks Commission on Election Eve
In a fallen assault on the independence of the Australian Industrial Relations Commission, the Howard Government has announced eleventh hour appointments that change the balance of the industrial umpire.
[ Full Story » ]

Trades Hall to Be Fit for the Arts
Designs to the historic Trades Hall renovations in Sydney may allow theatrical and musical productions to be performed in the traditional home of unionism.
[ Full Story » ]

Olympic Builders Honoured in Oil
A Sydney artist this week unveiled a series of works capturing the work of the men and women who built the 2000 Olympic venues, ensuring their role is never forgotten.
[ Full Story » ]

Terror Shockwaves Hit Security Workers
The LHMU Security Union’s airport security delegates have called for an urgent national meeting to discuss the tragedy in America, and the implications for Australian airports and security workers.
[ Full Story » ]

The Ansett Phoenix Rises
Ansett is back flying thanks to the resilience of its employees and their unions and an adminstrator who cares about jobs and consumers more than the Federal Government.
[ Full Story » ]

'The General' Makes Ansett Stand
Marilyn Patton is known as ‘The General’ by her workmates. It is partly because of the surname – but it’s also because she has been an active LHMU union delegate for most of the fourteen years she has worked supplying catering for Ansett Airlines.
[ Full Story » ]

One Dollar Workforce Highlights Workcover Concerns
Revelations that employers are assessing their entire workforce as earning a total of one dollar per week for workers compensation purposes underline union concerns that employers are not paying their way.
[ Full Story » ]

Email Workers Saved
Workers at the Electrolux Plant (formally Email) in Orange have breathed a sigh of relief after the NSW Government and the Electrolux Group announced a multi million-dollar package to secure and further develop the Plant in Orange.
[ Full Story » ]

Union Power Gets Tilers Paid In Full
Fifteen Korean tilers in Australia on work visa's have been rescued by the CFMEU from shameful exploitation.
[ Full Story » ]

NSW Nurses (Pro)Claim Their Worth
Nurses are gearing up for a statewide stoppage in support of their campaign to restore numbers to the profession.
[ Full Story » ]

AOL Sheds Non-Union Staff
AOL Australia in a surprise move this week, shed 20 jobs as part of the restructure of the company affecting a total of 10 per cent of the company.
[ Full Story » ]

Building Inquiry Faces First Test of Integrity
Commissioner Cole has been called upon to ensure the integrity of his Building Indusrty Royal Commission by holding it after the upcoming federal election.
[ Full Story » ]

Telstra Guilty Over Union Discrimination
Australia's biggest employer, Telstra, was this week fined $75000 for workplace discrimination following an email sent by a former manager – the largest fine ever imposed for a breach of 'freedom of association' provisions.
[ Full Story » ]

Paint Workers Finish the Job
Sydney paint workers have won a 10 per cent pay increase after a long and bitter dispute, which involved a seven-week strike by LHMU Paint Union members.
[ Full Story » ]

New Project Agreement A Template
A project agreement with provision for fortnightly payments for subcontractors is being hailed as a possible template to protect small business and workers entitlements in the construction industry.
[ Full Story » ]

The Workers United, Need a New Slogan!
Workers planning a major international rally against corporate globalisation are seeking inspiration for some 21st century chants.
[ 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
  • Hamberger on Stellar

  • CHOGM Agenda

  • Ian West on Trades Hall

  • Editorial

    Cultural Warfare

    As the globalised world begins its War on Terrorism, much will be made of what we are fighting for.

    Beyond the horror of the specific attacks on New York and Washington, we may well be sending soldiers to defend, not national boundaries, but more ephemeral concepts like 'democracy', 'the free world' even 'the Australian way of life'.

    These are the values that are always used at times of national crisis to bind a people against an outside threat.

    But, as the enemy ceases to be a defined geographical mass, but rather a network of individuals operating inside established societies, so too has what we identify as ourselves changed.

    In a world where international popular culture dominates, who are we Australians? Are there elements that bond us or are we just another market for American culture, which occasionally has the privilege of feeding our own Mel or Nicole into the sausage factory?

    Are there intrinsic Australian cultural values that should be nurtured? And if so what are they? How do they evolve and diversify? And on whose terms?

    Unions have long promoted culture from the shop floor, Sadly, cost-cutting associated with falling membership and amalgamations have seen much of this commitment down-graded to, at best, lip-service.

    But there are still pockets of resistance; through the New Theatre, the Victorian Trades Hall and the Workers Cultural Action Centre in Newcastle, unions are still involved in promoting new art and working culture.

    Labor Council, which for many years had its own culture and arts officer, is also reentering the fold - through the creation of Wobbly Radio to promote emerging Australian musicians.

    And with plans to refurbish Trades Hall, it is hoped that theatre could return to the heart of unionism in NSW. These sorts of projects are about more than symbolism - the arts can create the environment in which workers will assert themselves.

    They can empower people, by telling their stories, or disempower them my ignoring them and placing their stories of another culture ahead of their own.

    As the focus on a global response to terrorism replaces for now the focus on global corporatism, there is another globalisation that must be scrutinised.

    How can we integrate economically while respecting and maintaining local and indigenous cultures, in order to give ourselves the self-respect to step forward with confidence in a world without boundaries?

    Without a strong sense of ourselves, how can we engage with the broader world - stand open arms. How can we even stand up for ourselves?

    It is only with pride and a self-identity that we can look outwards. With fear and someone else's culture we will only turn in ourselves.

    Peter Lewis


    Soapbox Lockerroom From Trades Hall Toolshed
    Soapbox lockerroom trades hall Toolshed
    A Nation of Thugs The Worst Grand Finals Of My Life Neale Towart's Labour Review Ansett Killer Qu’est-ce Que C’est?



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