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Issue No. 131 12 April 2002  

Cry Freedom
If there's a common thread running through this week's issue, it's the continuing crisis faced by workers around the globe confronting the practical reality of Free Trade.


Interview: Cross Wires
Media Entertainment and Arts Alliance chief Chris Warren surveys the fluid state of the Australian media.

International: Two Tribes
As the Middle East burns, Andrew Casey shines a light into one of the world's darkest corners.

Activists: Beneath the Veil
A young Afghani woman has travelled to Australia to put a human face on the suffering of her people - and her gender.

Unions: Terror Australis
When push comes to shove, it appears the Howard Government is more scared of the Maritime Union than Osama Bin Laden, Jim Marr reports.

History: A Labor Footnote To The Royal Funeral
Stephen Holt reports that an intriguing Australian connection has been overlooked amidst the supposedly blanket media coverage of the end of the Bowes Lyon era.

Economics: Private Affluence, Public Rip-Off
New Labour's enthusiasm for business is matched only by its lack of business sense, as the private finance fiasco shows.

Review: The Great Hall of the People
In an extract from the latest issue of Labor Essays, the ARM's Richard Fidler looks at the symbolism behind the Republican debate.

Poetry: Waiting for the Living Wage
The Living Wage Case was heard this week. The workers´┐Ż voices in this poem have been adapted from the evidence presented by low wage earners to the living wage case.

Satire: Israel Recruits NAB To Close West Bank
Israeli security forces have successfully enlisted the expert help of the National Australia Bank to close down the West Bank.


 Baby Company Punts Netball Mum

 Dairy Workers Win Global Breakthrough

 Treasury Modelling Backs ACTU Claim

 Bank Nabs Huge Sales Targets

 Come Clean ´┐Ż Insurance Giants Challenged

 May Day Jam and Toast

 Job Security Win For Cabin Crew

 Workers Gear-up For Pollution Fight

 Shuffling The Deck On The Yarra

 New Push On Workplace Crime

 Super Child Care Win

 Doubts Over Ettalong Wharf Funding

 The Sane Monk Stands Down

 Fabians Debate Refugees

 Activists Notebook


The Soapbox
Unions and the Web ´┐Ż Where to Now?
Peter Lewis argues the time has come to revisit how trade unions interact with workers and how the Web could be the catalyst for such a change.

The Locker Room
Free To Where?
Parents with kiddies who play a bit of sport will have noticed the escalating costs associated with their kids being involved in sport.

Week in Review
The Joys of the Chop
Workers come and workers go, right? Well, it´┐Żs the way of the world but while some get stiffed, others are stuffed with obscene amounts ´┐Ż

 Labor and Unions - What About the Workers?
 A Voice for the Shareholders
 Noses in the Trough
 Bugger Off
 Memo: Carmen Lawrence
 Police: Make the Boss a Woman
 Baby Faced Brogden
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Waiting for the Living Wage

By David Peetz

The Living Wage Case was heard this week. The workers´┐Ż voices in this poem have been adapted from the evidence presented by low wage earners to the living wage case.

The case has been adjourned pending a decision. Some of the other voices were inspired by an ABC Background Briefing program, 'Luxury Fever', from February 2000.



'My workmates have been laid off
My workload has increased
Our rosters have been moved about
I've not a moment's peace'

'We haven't had a holiday
Away from home for years
We don't go out together
The movies are too dear'

'I hear that the Alps had a good fall last week'
'No, lets go to that beach, it was in Martinque'

'When the bills come in I often have
To pay them in instalments.
It's a problem if I have to get fixed
Something that's important'

'New clothes, furniture, TV
Are things I do without
A new car? Wouldn't one be nice,
Of that I have no doubt!'

'This home cinema? Was just one twenty grand.
But I think that the Merc is a little too bland'

'The oven, well it broke down
Oh, about three years ago
We've been cooking on two hotplates
So the meal's a little slow'

'The telephone's been cut off
I couldn't pay the bill -
Just like the gas. Insurance?
Don't think I ever will!'

'Sit down, don't you just love the clear harbour view?
I paid more for this flat than on Park Avenue'

'I work a lot with chemicals
The lifting's very hard'
'I'm really quite exhausted
When I drive back in the yard'

'This job is very busy
We'd love a holiday
Perhaps I could save up
If we got a rise in pay'

'I bought this new boat with last year's bonus shares.
I shut out the world and forget all my cares.'


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