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Issue No. 123 21 December 2001  

The Unmaking of History
The new millennium has got off to an ominous start. The fireworks, circuses and self-congratulation of 2000 were a thing of the past and we were left with the task of redefining ourselves in a new era.


Interview: Braveheart
Labor Council secretary John Robertson looks back on a turbulent year and forward to a dynamic 2002.

International: Global Year in Review
Labourstart's Eric Lee gives his take on a year where the world changed forever.

Unions: A Year at the Barricades
2001 was a year when workers were forced to fight for what they once took for granted.

Technology: Unions Online 2001
Social Change Online's Mark McGrath looks at the advances unions made in web development in 2001.

Republic: Terror Australis
ARM national director James Terrie asks where to now for the Republic?

Economics: 2001: Annus Horribilis
Frank Stilwell looks back at a troubled year and looks forward to the challenges for the labour movement.

Campaign Diary: Melanie and Me
Strewth's Steve Cannane went into the viper's nest on election night and emerged with an ordinary feeling.

Politics: Tony Moore's Final Word
Wide boys, spivs, spin doctors and hereditary idiots have hijacked a once great Australian institution.

Review: You Are the Weakest Program
Cultural theoritician Mark Morey deconstructs the televisual subplots of our collective consciousness.

Legal: The New McCarthyism
The �war on terrorism� declared in the wake of the American events of September 11 dramatically threatens Australian democratic life.


 Unions Take Lead in Refugee Rethink

 Workers Christmas Wish List

 Sparkie Snares Organiser of the Year Title

 Bosswatch Gets International Attention

 Bank Workers Get Serious in 2002

 Qantas's Warfare Agenda Exposed

 Cabin Crew Stand Up for Themselves

 Win for Medibank Workers

 City Council's Tactics Rival Worst in the World

 Dynamic New Start for Musos

 Unions in the Mosh Pit

 Scholarship Opportunity


The Soapbox
Into the Crystal Ball
What will happen in 2002? We asked some of the players in the world of industrial relations to look into the crystal ball.

The Locker Room
The 2002 Workers Online Sports Awards
There may have been no Olympics, but there were some stellar performances in 2001, from madass bad boys to terminated talents, these are the big ones.

Trades Hall
Neale Towart's Labour (Year in) Review
Sporting a Costa crew-cut, a new look Neale looks back on some issues of 2001 that look likely to the centres of debate for unions in 2002.

Tool Shed
Tool of the Year? You're Standing In It
After a year when Australians brought out the worst in themselves, we all stand condemned for a stint in the Tool Shed.

 A Fair Go For All
 The First Bastion
 Tom Collins' Christmas Wish
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Workers Christmas Wish List

NSW unions have sent Premier Bob Carr a Christmas message - and a friendly reminder that there is a lot of unfinished business at Macquarie Street.

Labor Council secretary John Robertson has sent the Premier greetings of the season, while pointing out there are a large number of important worker issues remain unresolved by the Labor Government including:

- implementation of the findings of the Inquiry into Labour Hire: completed some 12 months ago by former ACTU President Jennie George, released this week, but with the recommendations still being 'considered' by Industrial Relations minister John Della Bosca.

- call centre standards: unions have called on the NSW Government to follow the leads of the Tasmanian, West Australian and Queensland governments and ensure that call centres doing government business recognise the right for workers to organise collectively.

- email privacy: a long-awaited report from the NSW Law Reform Commission into email surveillance has been released but the government will spend the summer considering whether they should implement its findings.

- public sector code of conduct: unions are awaiting a release of standard through the Department of Public Works that would hold all government contractors to core labour standards and provide an important springboard to organising work that has been outsourced from the public sector.

- measures to improve workers safety: the great undeliverable of the workers compensation 'reform' process, unions are still waiting for action on safety and compliance.

After the battle over workers compensation entitlements, unions believe there are bridges that need rebuilding and have nominated these outstanding issues as an important first step.

"The union movement wants to work constructively with the Carr Government and wants to see Labor retain power in this state," Robertson says.

"But the ALP must realise that it is expected to deal with basic issues of workers rights - not because we ask them to, but because it's the right thing a Labor Government to do.

Urgent Action Needed on Labour Hire

Meanwhile, the NSW Labor Council has called on the Carr Government to move swiftly to implement the recommendations of the Labour Hire Task Force.

Robertson says that while the release of the report this week is welcome, it comes more than 12 months after it had been handed to the Minister for Industrial Relations John Della Bosca.

"We raised the issue nearly two years ago because of concerns about the impact of the practices of some labour hire firms on both the workers they employ and the workers whose jobs they replace." Robertson says.

"We would like to see the government go further than merely considering some of the recommendations and actually move on our key concern: the lack of regulation in the industry.

"An education campaign is a good start and review of legislative definitions is welcome, but the government's response falls short of what is required: a comprehensive strategy to ensure that community employment standards are not undercut by labour hire.

"The labour hire industry is growing fast and workers whose jobs are effected by this trend are expecting decisive action.

"If the government is serious about addressing the issue, we would want to see some action early in the New Year."


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