||Issue No. 137||24 May 2002|
An Aussie Icon
Interview: Just Done It?
Tribute: Lest We Forget
History: Solidarity Forever
Technology: Unblocking the Superhighway
International: Gloves Off
Unions: Out Of Work
Review: Strange Business
Poetry: The Lawyer's Lament
Satire: Government Mourns Loss Of Last Anzac
The Locker Room
Week in Review
Your Tools Page is Down
Big Dave Foster
Give Us a Click!
Will the Real Mark Latham Please Stand Up?
The Last Survivor
Not Hate Mail
The Good, The Bad and the Ugly
Sheet Maker Folds Jobs
Linen and bathroom product company Sheridan will cut 70 jobs from its Adelaide plant. The company says the Adelaide job losses resulted from the closure of Sheridan's printing plant in Hobart. Sheridan says a changing marketplace and future changes to world trade structures are other factors in the job cuts. It is reducing its manufacturing workforce and would get more products from overseas. Last November, Sheridan cut 53 jobs in Adelaide and warned of more job losses.
Lower Tariff Would Kill Tyre Industry
Australia's largest tyre maker, South Pacific Tyres, would have to close its remaining factory if automotive tariffs were reduced below 10 per cent after 2005, the company has warned. SPT has already closed three plants and consolidated its remaining operations at its Somerton, Victoria, site following inundation of the tyre market by wave after wave of cheap imported tyres in recent years. And the Ford Motor Company, while not throwing doubt over its local operations, has warned that the risks associated with any reduction in the proposed new tariff would "significantly outweigh any marginal benefits that would accrue". SPT employs about 4000 people, 500 in manufacturing.
No Frills Franklins Back In Business
The iconic Franklins name will live on with South African supermarket giant Pick `n Pay relaunching the chain along with its `No Frills' products. While the major Australian retailers who helped themselves to large chunks of Dairy Farm International Holdings Ltd's Franklins business merged the operations into their own stores, Pick `n Pay is keeping the Franklins name. The No Frills range will be the key driver for the 69 store NSW-based chain with some products and ingredients changed and packaging upgraded. Dairy Farm's 287-store Franklins chain was sold off in a $300 million carve up last year, with the majority handed to independents including through Metcash. The remainder went to Woolworths, Foodland and Coles Myer.
Open May Soon Close
Almost exactly a year since One.Tel went belly-up, another Packer and Murdoch telecommunications play appears to be headed for the scrap heap. Open Telecommunications is believed to be on the brink of financial collapse, after its managing director and chief financial officer both quit yesterday. The telecommunications software developer informed the Australian Stock Exchange that the resignations of managing director Colin Chandler and chief financial officer Shane Hodson were effective immediately. Open's undoing has been its failure to win a major contract in more than a year, as it struggles to withstand the telecommunications industry downturn. The company lost $43 million last year, a sharp turnaround from the $11 million profit made in 2000.
Reprimand for ACCC over Fines
A Federal Court judge has rebuked the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission for not aiming high enough when asking courts to sanction fines negotiated with errant companies. In an unusual dressing-down for the ACCC, Justice Mark Weinberg indicated that it had pulled up short when it requested that Colgate Palmolive be fined a total of just $500,000 for two breaches of the Trade Practices Act. The maximum penalty was $10 million on each count. He suggested that the fine levied might not be sufficiently bruising to dissuade big companies such as Colgate from breaking the law in future.
Newcastle Steels for Industry Revival
Newcastle is set to become a steel producer again, with the New South Wales Government giving approval to the first stage of a new $1.8 billion steel mill. The Protech Steel Mill, to be built on Newcastle's Kooragang Island, will eventually create more than 1,000 jobs. NSW Planning Minister Andrew Refshauge says the $650 million first stage of the project, a cold mill facility, will create 700 construction and 360 full-time jobs. The cold mill should be operating by the latter half of 2004, producing 520,000 tonnes of coated and painted carbon steel per year for the building industry.
Government Compensates for Green Protest
The Federal Government has given Southern Pacific Petroleum a $36 million handout to the company which was struggling because of environmental protests.
The ignited the battling company's shares, sending them 22 per cent higher in early trade. The Brisbane-based company said the Government's decision to "reshape" the existing excise rebate arrangements on oil produced from the Stuart oil shale project was "far-sighted and significant" for Australia's reputation. The move was necessary after Australia's four refineries refused to take the product. Although none stated a reason it is believed to be based on Greenpeace protests.
Nike Claims It's Now Clean
US sporting apparel giant Nike claims has lifted its game since coming under attack in 1997 over the working conditions of its workers in developing countries. Nike vice president for corporate responsibility Maria Eitel, currently in Australia, is now trying to get her message across to the public that Nike is doing the right thing by its workers in third world countries. She says Nike is attempting to fast track the education of its global management about human rights issues and why it will benefit their business. This includes allowing independent monitors to make spot checks of Nike factories in free Trade Zones.
Free World Leaders Aint Cheap
President George W Bush is a millionaire at least nine times over - but he's still behind his second-in-command. In financial disclosure forms filed with the Office of Government Ethics, the president and first lady Laura Bush reported assets between $US9 million and $US19 million ($A16.4 million and $A34.7 million), most of it in a blind trust. Vice President Dick Cheney and his wife, Lynne, reported between $US23 million and $US70 million ($A42 million ($A128 million). Before returning to government, Cheney was chief executive of Halliburton, an oil services firm based in Dallas. Among his assets, Bush listed his 633 hectare ranch near Crawford, Texas, valued between $US1 million and $US5 million ($A1.8 million and $A9 million). Cheney listed undeveloped real estate in McLean, Virginia, in the same value range.
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