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Issue No. 133 26 April 2002  

The Struggle Continues
While the romantic image of May Day may be one of international struggle to establish a workers paradise, the reality is far more pragmatic and practical.


Interview: If The Commission Pleases
President Lance Wright marks the NSW Industrial Relations Commission's centenary with an exclusive interview with Workers Online.

History: Protest and Celebrate
Neale Towart scours the globe to discover the spirit of May Day online � the celebration of the eight-hour day.

Unions: A Novel Approach
A union office has been transformed into a library thanks to efforts to provide books for children in detention centres, reports Jim Marr.

Industrial: Hare Tony, Hare Tony
Close your eyes and the Mad Monk sounds like a Hare Krishna, but increasingly the world is tuning out from his mantra about IR reform, writes Noel Hester.

International: Never Forget Jenin
Trade unionist Sari Kassis argues the word 'Jenin' now defines Palestinian demands for justice.

Politics: Left Right Out In France
The results of the first round vote for the French presidency have led to mass protests and calls for national unity, Paul Howes reports.

Health: Delivering A Public Health Revolution
Zoe Reynolds travelled to Cuba to discover how Australians are backing a ground-breaking child health project.

Review: The Secret Life of U(nion)s
Tara de Boehmler stumbles upon a juicy trade union sub-plot in the popular GenX TV drama.

Poetry: May Day, May Day
Rapper Swarmy G is one of the finalists in our workers anthem comp with this ode to May Day.


 Shonky Bosses Get Contract Brush

 Kirby Bouquet for Equal Pay

 Deep Pocket Syndrome Stalks IRC

 Court Decision Threatens Thousands Of Jobs

 Safety Summit to Set Accident Targets

 Detention Centre Vets Song Lyrics

 Fat Sheep Dip Into Workers Pockets

 Government Con Drives SA Vehicle Blue

 Dead Worker�s Family Calls for Safety Crime Laws

 Netball Mum Bounces Back

 Aussie Agency Backs War Crimes Call

 Thumbs-up For Union Immigration Role

 May Day Rundown

 DOCS Worker Assaulted In Courthouse

 Queensland Unions Move on Youth Exploitation

 Activist Notebook


The Soapbox
A Humane Under-Belly
Presenting the annual Kingsley Laffer Lecture, Justice Michael Kirby argues that international human rights underpin Australian industrial law.

The Locker Room
The Hidden Culture of Indigenous Football
Brian McCoy argues that indigenous footballers do not just bring thier skills to the game, they bring their culture as well.

Of Shares and Options
It was a week when Rio Tinto faced its shareholders, Ford faced a backlash and a bid to cap US executive salaries failed.

Week in Review
The ANZAC Spirit?
Jim Marr wonders what the ANZACs would have said about our current treatment of the homeless and needy.

 French Connection
 Gold Star Student
 Time for a General Strike?
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Detention Centre Vets Song Lyrics

Villawood management put a trade union choir through security hoops, including vetting song lyrics, before letting it entertain asylum seekers.

A member of Sydney�s Trade Union and Solidarity choirs, who performed in last week�s Villawood concert, told Workers Online how far Government paranoia over asylum seekers had gone.

"We were required to submit all our songs for their approval and had to attend several interviews before they would give us the go-ahead," the anonymous chorister revealed.

"Such are the security restrictions that we were actually surprised when they gave us the green light."

The concert went ahead after six months of negotiations between centre management and choir representatives.

Detainees from a variety of countries, including Colombia, China, Nepal, Fiji and Spain attended a recital that included songs in some of their languages.

Our source said audience and performers were allowed to mingle and share stories after the recital.

Detention Officers Not Scapegoats

Meanwhile, workers at detention centres at Port Hedland and Curtin are caught in an impossible position and must not be used as scapegoats for the Federal government's poor policies, their union says.

The Liquor, Hospitality and Miscellaneous Workers Union's Carolyn Smith, says officers working in the detention centres lack permanency, have inadequate training and suffer from chronic understaffing.

"It is an impossible situation that our members are in," Smith says. "They are expected to work in a very difficult environment, but without the support they need.

"It is grossly unfair that they should be made scapegoats because of the inability of the Federal Government to run these centres properly.

"More than 50 percent of the Detention Officers are casual employees, some receiving only one shift per fortnight.

"For the 180 detainees at present in the Port Hedland centre, there have been on occasion only seven officers on duty in the compound. This level of staffing is appallingly inadequate.

"How can our members possibly provide a proper level of care and security under these conditions?"

Smith says it is a problem which can only get worse and the Federal Government must act immediately to ensure that the safety of both officers and detainees is assured."


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