Workers Online
Workers Online
Workers Online
  Issue No 118 Official Organ of LaborNet 02 November 2001  




.  LaborNET

.  Ask Neale

.  Tool of the Week

*  Interview: Flying High
ACTU Secretary Greg Combet on saving Ansett jobs, defeating Howard and wooing a new generation of unionists.
*  Corporate: Howard's List of Shame
ACTU President Shaharn Burrow runs through the litany of corporate collapses and down-sizes that have cut a swathe through the Australian community.
*  Campaign Diary: Week Four: The Battle Lines Drawn
It was a week that saw the leaders launch their campaigns, kiss lots of babies and battle for space with a Holy Jihad.
*  Industrial: Desperately Seeking Solutions
They might not call it 'industrial relations' in the spin of modern politics, but all the major parties have released plans that will affect the way we work over the next three years.
*  Economics: Manufacturing Prosperity
Neale Towart looks at the hidden debate of the election campaign - the degree of intervention government should take through Industry Policy.
*  History: War And Politics
The Conservatives are trying to wage war and win the election. The pundits say it’s a tried and true recipe for electoral success. The 1940 federal poll suggests otherwise.
*  International: Globalising Labour
On the eve of the International Metalworkers Federation Congress general secretary Marcello Malentacchi argues all nations need to retain a manufacturing base.
*  Review: Security - Who Needs it?
What does it mean to be secure? Should we even need to ask? In his new book, Anthony Burke asks the tough questions.
*  Satire: Locksmith Promises "Greater Security" If Elected
A Melbourne locksmith has agreed to run for federal parliament, campaigning on the key issue of security.

GI John

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Wobbly Radio


Beazley's Rallying Call

Workplace Blitz in Poll Lead-Up
The Australian union movement will dedicate the final week of the election campaign to grassroots campaign to highlight the importance of job security and expose the differences between the major parties on the issue.
[ Full Story » ]

Abbott Under Pressure to Hold Seat
Serial head kicker and Federal Workplace Relations Minister Tony Abbott is looking shaky in his seat of Warringah.
[ Full Story » ]

Howard Double Dip Is Skyway Robbery
John Howard is selling himself as the white knight coming to Ansett’s rescue while his Government is blatantly double dipping into funds for worker entitlements, say Ansett unions.
[ Full Story » ]

Knowledge Nation Boosts IT Skills
A national program to train blue-collar workers in IT skills is one of the centerpieces of Kim Beazley's Knowledge Nation strategy.
[ Full Story » ]

Stellar Win in Call Centre
Consistent agitation from CPSU workplace activists has won a breakthrough award at Stellar Call Centres.
[ Full Story » ]

Unionists Barred Entry to Australia
The Australian Government's refusal to supply entry visas to two international union officials seeking to attend the International Metalworkers' Federation's (IMF) 30th World Congress being held in Sydney, in November may be for political reasons, congress organisers fear.
[ Full Story » ]

Shier's Famous Last Wordds
"I've just got three things to say: I know I have the support of the executive. I believe I have the support of the board. The only call for my resignation has been from the union. They will not get my resignation. Graeme Thomson does not have an influence here at the ABC. " So said Jonathan Shier on 17 October 2001.
[ Full Story » ]

Real Baby Bonus for Local Government
The Municipal Employees Union has won an historic Paid Maternity Leave victory on behalf of thousands of workers throughout NSW.
[ Full Story » ]

Entire Town Joins Nurses' Strike
The first industrial action since the Shearer’s strike of the 1890’s happened in Tottenham, NSW, (population: 390), when their nurses rallied on October 18.
[ Full Story » ]

Some Good News in Orange Squeeze
Swift action the by the CPSU has saved jobs and improved redundancy payments for over 300 workers caught by the corporate shakeout at Orange telecommunication this week.
[ Full Story » ]

Train Drivers Call for Level Crossing Action
Working train drivers today warned the NSW Parliament's StaySafe Committee that another rail tragedy was inevitable unless swift action was taken to make level crossings safer.
[ Full Story » ]

Posties See Wage Rise By Christmas
Some 35,000 Australia Post workers across Australia can expect an added Xmas gift this year, to the tune of an eight per cent pay rise.
[ Full Story » ]

Howard Fails To Stem Workplace Deaths
A national workplace survey has highlighted the failure of the Federal Government to act against workplace death and injury.
[ Full Story » ]

Greenpeace Activist Gets Union Support
A fundraiser was held this week to support unionist and Greenpeace (Australia-Pacific) anti-nuclear campaigner Nic Clyde, who faces six years gaol in the United States for doing his job.
[ Full Story » ]

Hotel Workers Name Their Odds
Several hundred Sydney hotel workers are expected to attend a paid stop work meeting next Tuesday, Melbourne Cup Day.
[ Full Story » ]

Airport Screeners Strike Over Work Value
Security staff at Melbourne’s Qantas and international airport have returned to work following an interim offer of a pay increase of between $24 and $26 a week – and an agreement for a new work value case – with an outcome before Christmas.
[ Full Story » ]

East Timor Training Centre Copmpleted
The Australian construction industry this week celebarted the completion of the East Timor Vocational Education Centre in Dili.
[ Full Story » ]

NSW IR Act Due for Five Year Review
The NSW Government is seeking comment on the state's industrial relations laws as part of its five-year review of the 1996 Act.
[ Full Story » ]

Organiser of the Year Nominations Open
Union officials and activists have a month to bid for an overseas trip and the chance to work for an overseas trade union organization as the winner of the third annual Organiser of the Year award.
[ Full Story » ]

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

STOP PRESS: Jakarta Shangri-La Hotel Workers Fined US$2 million
In a decision seen as precendent making, the South Jakarta District Court, has ordered seven dismissed union leaders from the luxury Shangri-La Hotel to pay over US$2 million in fines.
[ Full Story » ]

Letters to the Editor
  • More on Orwell

  • The Ostrich Approach

  • Editorial

    Who Should Rule Australia?

    When you strip away the hype and hyperbole, government is about making rules. When we vote on November 10 we'll be choosing who will make the rules for the next there years.

    Rules are important - they're what define us as a society: what we choose to have rules about, what those rules are and what happens to those who break the rules.

    John Howard has been making the rules for the past five years. In that time he's made choices that have had a direct impact on the lives of every working Australian.

    In the workplace he has relaxed the rules that employers must stick to when managing their workforce and he's toughened the rules to prevent workers acting collectively to stand up for themselves. At times, he's even been prepared to help employers break the rules to get what they want

    The removal of rules for employers has been a consistent theme for the Howard Government. Some call it economic deregulation - an agenda Howard has pursued with a passion, implement policies to 'enhance competition' - another way of saying 'getting rid of the rules for trade'

    But that's not to say Howard has anything against rules: for people seeking political asylum, for recipients of welfare and unemployment benefits and people running a small business, Howard has created more rules than ever before.

    Howard has also made rules to give his corporate buddies the inside running on the new technologies - like restricting all but the existing media moguls from using digital technology to broadcast data.

    It's this choice on the mix of rules that defines a government and for Howard it seems to be that the less powerful you are, the tougher the rules will be.

    The inherent dishonesty of the Howard Government is its claim to be an advocate of free enterprise, when it is really a proponent of state-sponsored capitalism - ensuring the playing field helps the established interests.

    Kim Beazley offers a very different set of rules, almost a mirror image of the Howard agenda, which sees rules as a means to creating a fairer and happier society.

    Beazley would bring back the rules governing the workplace, meaning workers could again work collectively to stand up for themselves and turn to an independent umpire in times of conflict.

    Beazley would create new rules for big corporations like the banks, who would be forced to treat its customers as people rather than cost items on the balance sheet.

    More fundamentally, Beazley would look at how government can use rules to harness the best in its people, to promote dynamic industries through tax incentives, improve universities and encourage people form all walks of life to engage with the opportunities that rapid technological change bring.

    When asked to define 'Knowledge Nation' this week, Beazley gave a one-word reply: 'jobs'. Another answer would be equally as concise - 'making rules for the long-term'.

    At this traumatic moment in history we need people running our country who will make rules for all of us, with our long-term interest clearly at the forefront of their considerations.

    It is this long-term focus - combined with Howard's self-serving myopia - that is the most compelling reason why working people should vote Labor on November 10.

    Peter Lewis

    NB - There will be no Workers Online next Friday as anything we say will be old hat within 24 hours. But we'll publish early the following week for a full post mortem of the federal election.


    Soapbox Lockerroom From Trades Hall Toolshed
    Soapbox lockerroom trades hall Toolshed
    Kim Beazley's Heart to Heart Jim Marr's Hot Tips Rossy's Geek Heaven Under Cover of Terror



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