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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� 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 � 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 � 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�s the way of the world but while some get stiffed, others are stuffed with obscene amounts �

 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
 Workers Online - Aoteroa
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Letters to the Editor

Memo: Carmen Lawrence

Gidday Workers online. My thoughts and reply to Labor 21 article featuring Carmen Lawrence 7/4/2002. Steve Presley

Hello Carmen,

Ive just finished reading your plan to invigorate debate from within and without the ALP. One point I've picked up on was that you would like to "pick up young people to replace the baby boomers who are moving on." The ironic point of this comment is that the Baby Boomers would have to be the most self serving -selfish- generation to have ever lived -been raised in Australia.

When one looks at the type of Australia these people lived in post ww2 with full employment, jobs for life, one wage sufficient to feed clothe educate their children, superanuation or a pension, low interest housing loans or 3% fixed loans for the life of the loan etc,etc,etc. Then on the other hand we could take a look at the realities of today. I'm 36, have four children, paying a mortgage which at one stage got to 18% , its now at 6%,Ive worked about 6 months a year for the past 5 years having to travel away from my family to Melbourne or interstate where I have to pay living expenses out of my wage which means there is less to send home.

Before that I moved my family to Melbourne at huge expense and upheaval to all including changing schools renting out house (disaster). We stayed there for 2 years where I worked at the Williamstown Dockyard fulltime. I am currently unemployed, my wife has 15-18 hours per week casual in a nursing home and we are topped up with social security. This is not living, this is shit life in Australia in 2002.

I have hung up my AMWU union card as a boilermaker-welder and have resigned off the Victorian public office selection committee ALP over the Bracks governments handling of the nursing and police dispute (which seemed to be to alike to the policies of Kennett, Howard, Abbott and Reith.) and the handling of the economic disasters in the Latrobe Valley. I worry about where my country is headed. I worry how are my wife and I going to get our children successfully through their education. I worry how we will be able to give our kids a better start in life than we had so there not in the position were currently in. I worry when i/we get to retirement age there wont be a pension left after the Baby Boomers have used it all up like everything else before us. Jobs, Government investment -Infrastructure-Utilities, Public Service, Environment, Superannuation, Pension, Cheap affordable housing and food .

We are currently spending $250.00 per week on grocery shopping. When my three girls and one boy get married what will be the cost of weddings in around 10-15 years time? I've been to three youth suicide funerals in the past year in the Latrobe Valley. If I'm having trouble coming to grips with our younger generations future I can understand why the younger ones are opting for the "Easy" way out.

The ALP MUST provide an alternative to the Coalition or its finished as a workers representative party. To Simon Crean and other leaders I say chase the swingers or the voters who choose what's in it for them only on election day but do so at the risk of losing the Heart the workers who will turn to the greens and other groups if policies are not put in place to give hope to the future.

Yours Heartfeltly

Steven Presley

Morwell Vic.


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