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Issue No. 124 15 February 2002  

Chickens Come Home
For anyone who believes in karma, the events of the summer show how bad Australia's is right now.


Unions: Winning the Heartland
John Robertson unveils new research on attitudes to refugees and argues it's time for unions to mount their own propaganda war.

Interview: Swan's Song
Federal ALP front-bencher Wayne Swan expands on his ideas for rebuilding the Party in the wake of the Tampa election.

Corporate: Lessons from Enron
Jim Marr looks at the shock-waves the collapse of a US corporate heavy-weight are having around the globe.

Politics: What We Did Last Summer
We look back over a summer when it all went pear-shaped. Some events, at home and abroad, look set to have ongoing ramifications.

History: Solidarity in Song
Mark Gregory looks back on the annals of labour songs and offers some hints for those planning a tilt at the Labor Council's worker anthem comp.

International: A Tale of Two Cities
New York and Port Alegre are poles apart – but they both played host to important conferences on the future of globalisation over the summer.

Poetry: Nobody Told Me
Labour academic David Peetz commits the Prime Minister's current woes to verse.

Review: Labor and the Rings
Tolkien’s epic tale provides a timely reminder that that there are forces of good and evil in the world – and that they are not necessarily where we expect to find them, writes Michael Gadiel.

Satire: Rafter Named Bermudan Of The Year For Tax Purposes
Australian of the Year Pat Rafter was last night also named Bermudan of the Year, in a simple ceremony held in Bermuda's Parliament.


 Unions' Commit to Battle for Hearts

 Carr on Notice - Expectations Up

 Mad Monk Sides With Angels … Briefly

 Maritime Union Acts on Spy Scandal

 May Day Play-Off for Workers' Anthem

 Burmese Links Shroud Winter Olympics

 New Phone Venture One.Tel In Drag

 Two Million Face Rights Downgrade

 Enron Collapse Hits Share-Owner Agenda

 Corrrigan Snaps Up Rail Bargain

 Kinko Clowns With Workers' Rights

 MPs Face Security Checks

 Telstra's Tragic Delays Of Its Own Making

 Burrow Puts Case to World Economic Forum

 Shangri La Protests Hit Melbourne

 Activists Notebook


The Soapbox
Chinks in the Armour
The ACTU's Michael Crosby argues that Mark Latham's attack on the Labor for Refugees movement is the betrayal of Party values.

The Locker Room
Off-side in Korea?
With the World Cup set to kick off in a matter of months, South Korea's treatment of unions is under the microscope.

Week in Review
Cloak and Dagger
In the first of what will be a regular column, we place the week's labour news into a nutshell.

 In Whose Interests?
 'International Labour's Year in Review' - A Re-View
 Belly's Broad-Side
 Collins Gets Cryptic
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Carr on Notice - Expectations Up

Unions have warned the Premier that his government faces higher expectations from the union movement in the run-up to the next State Election in the wake of last year's bitter workers compensation dispute.

Premier Bob Carr received a cool reception when he addressed the NSW Labor Council's Annual General Meeting this week – his first visit to Trades hall since the picket on State Parliament over cuts to workers compensation entitlements last June.

While there was no mention of the W-word in the speech, delegates made their feelings felt from the floor.

Labor Council secretary John Robertson said that while the links between unions and the ALP were strong, "the relationship had been tested" in the previous 12 months.

"Expectations are now higher that the government will act on issues of concern to the union movement - not because we are ask for it, but because it is the right thing to do," he said.

Robertson nominated government contracting policies, the regulation of labour hire and standards for the call center industry as issues for specific concern.

But he said the threat of a conservative government's attack on workers rights could not be under-estimated.

Fortress NSW

Carr's address focused on the government's achievements in industrial relations, its plan to $70 million in capital works this financial year and a series of undertakings for future reform linked to the review of the 1996 Industrial Relations Act.

Key initiatives over the coming 12 months would include:

- new, clear legislation on annual leave and Long Service Leave entitlements.

- implementation of recommendations for the inquiry into labour hire

- and in principle support for the ACTU call center charter - although this would be adapted "to meet requirements specific to NSW".

The Premier contrasted his government's achievements to the on-going attacks on workers rights by the Howard Government and said that "Fortress NSW" was now a reality.

And he said that since the federal election he had been a consistent advocate for the trade union movement within the Party. "If Labor had been defeated without organic links to the union movement, we'd now be looking at ways of inventing and organic link between Labor and the trade unions."

Stalwarts Honoured

Meanwhile, the Labor Council has paid tribute eight unionists for their contribution to the movement, presenting them with scrolls of honour at the AGM:

They are:

· John Hennessy retiring general secretary of the NSW Teachers Federation

· Alastair Macdonald, from the ASU Clerkes branch recently appopinted a commissioner to the NSW IRCAustralian Services Union (NSW C & A Branch)

· Joseph Lyons, from the MEU

· Dougal Watt, secretary of the The Real Estate Association of NSW

· Joon Shik Shin, a Korean activist with the CFMEU, Construction & General Division

· Herman English, a long-time CFMEU delegate to the Labor Council.

· Madge Neilson from the NSW Nurses' Association

· and John Taylor also from the NSW Nurses

Speaking on behalf of the eight, John Hennessy said the Council had changed dramatically since the days when the factions used to sit facing each other and spoiling for a blue.

"The most positive development in my mind has been that when any affiliate raises an issue at this Council they get the support of the entire movement in this State."

Hennessy said highlights of his time at the Council included the campaign against the Metherell education reforms, when all unionists backed the Teachers Federation.

And he said he would remember with pride the day unions took a stand for workers compensation outside State Parliament.


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