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  Issue No 117 Official Organ of LaborNet 26 October 2001  




.  LaborNET

.  Ask Neale

.  Tool of the Week

*  Interview: Brothers In Arms
Labour historian Marilyn Dodkin explains how she exposed ASIO ties with Labor Council's Cold War leadership.
*  Politics: Defending the Faith
Launching 'Brothers', Premier Bob Carr gave his own take on the allegations that union leaders worked with security agencies during the Cold War.
*  History: Surviving the Split
In this extract from 'Brothers' Marilyn Dodkin, looks at the manouverings around the establishment of the DLP.
*  International: Viral Attack
Postal unions in the USA are mobilizing to protect their members from the widening repercussions of an apparent bio-terrorist attack.
*  Unions: A Living Wage
The ACTU this week unveiled its claim for the 2002 Living Wage Case. Here's what they'll be arguing.
*  Campaign Diary: Week Three: Wave Them Goodbye
In a week when our boys and girls went off to war, Labor fought a desperate battle to fight the election on the home front.
*  Human Rights: Colombia's 'Dirty War' Against Unions
It might be tough being an organiser in Australia under the Howard Government, but spare a thought for Colombian trade unionists.
*  Review: Red Rag Unfurls
Ian Syson is an upfront, knockabout bloke. He heads up a new, small, independent publishing outfit called Red Rag Publications.
*  Satire: New Hope for Labor: Mackerras Tips Liberal Win
The electoral hopes of the Labor party have revived dramatically, after the perennially unreliable analyst Malcolm Mackerras forecast a huge victory for the Liberals.

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Graham's Empty Pockets

Unions Call for Air Price Floor
A union leader has called for the re-regulation of the aviation industry, with minimum prices imposed to prevent the discount wars that led to the demise of Ansett and now threaten to undermine wages and conditions within Qantas.
[ Full Story » ]

With Friends Like the Banks, Who Needs Kiwis?
Angry Ansett workers are taking up the fight against banks and mortgage brokers who have refused defer loan repayments while their future employment prospects are determined by the airline's Administrator.
[ Full Story » ]

Living Wage Claim For GST Rises
Low paid workers will seek a $25 a week wage rise to offset the increase in basic goods and services as a result of the GST under the the ACTU's Living Wage Claim for 2002.
[ Full Story » ]

New Compo Showdown Looms
A fresh outbreak in hostilities over workers compensation reform in NSW looms after Industrial Relations Minister John Della Bosca told unions he would not negotiate on contentious new thresholds to restrict injured workers' access to the courts.
[ Full Story » ]

NIDA Tax Rorts Embarrass Howard
Betaform Pty Ltd, the largest contractor on the NIDA project at Kensington opened by the Prime Minister as a campaign stunt, was recently found by the CFMEU to be not remitting tax deducted from workers to the ATO.
[ Full Story » ]

First Case Under NSW’s New Pay Equity Principle
Librarians are the first group of workers to test the New Equal Remuneration Principle in the NSW Industrial Relations Commission.
[ Full Story » ]

Veil of Silence on Public Sector Outsourcing
Unions have called on the Carr Government to come clean on the levels of non-secure employment in the public sector as unions commence a push for greater job security.
[ Full Story » ]

False Start for Race Day
Sydney Hotel Union members will hold a stop work meeting on Melbourne Cup Day to discuss the key issues hospitality industry workers in 5-star and 4-star hotels are currently facing.
[ Full Story » ]

Union Proxy Campaign Gets A Boost
The CEPU-Communications Union campaign to have Len Cooper elected to the Telstra board has received a boost with the Confederation of National Trade Unions in Quebec, Canada pledging its proxies to the union's campaign.
[ Full Story » ]

Nauru Guards Claim Back-Pay
The LHMU Security Union is seeking a compensation payment of nearly $7000 for each security union member who was sent to Nauru to act as a security guard at the refugee detention centre set up by the Australian Government.
[ Full Story » ]

Unions Await Final Triumph
Some international activists have drawn our attention to the fact that we may have been celebrating Triumph International's withdrawal from Burma a little prematurely.
[ Full Story » ]

PM Claims No Aged Care Nursing Home Crisis!
The Prime Minister's claim on Perth radio this week that he doesn't believe there is a nursing home crisis shows that our government is lead by a man with his head in the sand.
[ Full Story » ]

Eighty Woolies Cleaners About To Lose Jobs
Up to eighty members of the LHMU Cleaners Union are about to find themselves unemployed because Woolies only care about the price of the cleaning services they buy.
[ Full Story » ]

CFMEU Gets Disabled Athlete A Start
When CFMEU member and disabled super athlete Todd Philpott rang the Union with a problem this week, he was at the end of his tether.
[ Full Story » ]

Malaysian Solidarity Action in Sydney
Trade unionists and human rights activists rallied today outside the offices of Malaysian Airlines to demand the abolition of the ISA and release of political prisoners in Malaysia.
[ 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
  • Super Risks

  • The Great Orwell Debate Continues ...

  • In Defence of Nader

  • Editorial

    Political Warfare

    As the union movement and the party it created - the ALP - attempt to regain power of our national government, the release of a book on the history of the NSW Labor Council helps shatter a few myths.

    The line from conservative parties such as the Coalition and the Democrats is that the Labor Party is in the union movement's pocket and that this is a bad thing for workers and the Australian community as a whole.

    But, as Marilyn Dodkin's book 'Brothers' illustrates, the power that the union movement has exercised in the past half century has been exercised responsibly - in the interests of both the membership and the broader public.

    In NSW the triumph of successive Labor Council leaders was to manage Cold War tensions within the union movement without splitting the Party.

    From the perspective of the ALP Right this was an heroic achievement that was decisive in keeping the Party from Communist control. Even many of those on the Left would accept the value of this work with the benefit of hindsight.

    Now with the Cold War ended, it is the Labor Council that is dealing with the new era where factions still exist for dispensing power and favours but are increasingly devoid of ideological content.

    By promoting a pluralist union movement, it is helping to define a new labourism - dominated by industrial objectives and shop floor considerations over the undeliverable master plans that have diverted so much energy over the decades.

    This is good for workers, good for Labor and good for the borader community.

    As Kim Beazley begins to pare back the Howard Government's Khaki lead, it is notable that it is the core labour values that are driving him back into the contest: public health, public education and job security.

    As John Robertson points out in his Labour Day speech, the union movement's constituency is a Labor Government's ultimate focus group, it's link from the halls of power to the real world.

    In this context, it's not hard to understand why the conservatives view unions with such fear and loathing.

    If Labor is to triumph in this difficult election it will be because of its adherence to these bread and butter labor issues; while Howard indulges in the circus of terror, Beazley is addressing our issues of substance.

    Peter Lewis


    Soapbox Lockerroom From Trades Hall Toolshed
    Soapbox lockerroom trades hall Toolshed
    Robbo's Labour Day Address New Blood for the Bloods Neale Towart's Labour Review Blonde Ambition



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