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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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Dead Worker’s Family Calls for Safety Crime Laws

More than 5,000 workers rallied outside Victoria’s Parliament to call on State coalition and independent MPs to pass the Bracks Government’s industrial manslaughter legislation.

The large crowd of mainly construction and manufacturing workers was hushed during a minute’s silence as 12 white crosses were placed on the steps of Parliament in memory of the dozen workers killed on the job in Victoria so far this year.

Jan Carrick - who's 18-year-old son Anthony was killed on his first day at work at Drybulk Pty Ltd in inner Melbourne in 1998 - told the crowd that the legislation was needed to stop companies like Drybulk from killing people and getting away with it.

Drybulk's liquidation means the company and its principals have not had to pay $50,000 in safety fines and $20,000 in criminal compensation awarded by state courts.

The Victorian legislation would criminalise gross negligence causing death or serious injury in the workplace, with fines of up to $5 million for corporations and prison terms of up to five years for individuals guilty of the worst kinds of industrial manslaughter.

"When it's manslaughter, it's manslaughter, whether it's on the roads, whether it's in private, or whether it's in workplaces," Victorian WorkSafe Minister Bob Cameron told the rally.

State Attorney-General Rob Hulls dismissed as "nonsense arguments" claims by employer groups that the legislation was unnecessary because the average annual number of people being killed at work had decreased.

"We've got to stop this carnage. If road deaths decrease you don't ease up on road safety. I say to the Liberal Party: if you oppose this legislation then you're sending a message to Victoria that you're soft on crime in the workplace," Mr Hulls told the crowd.

Victorian Trades Hall Secretary Leigh Hubbard said the legislation, although not yet passed by Parliament, had already had a beneficial effect: "We know of examples of companies that have already smartened up their health and safety practices in response to this legislation."


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