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Issue No. 142 28 June 2002  

Safety First
This week's Safety Summit, called by the Carr Government, is a timely opportunity for the union movement to put occupational health and safety into a contemporary perspective.


Interview: Safe as Houses
Labor Council secretary John Robertson outlines the union movement's priorities in the lead-up to this week's Safety Summit.

Safety: Ten Steps to Safety
On the eve of the NSW Safety Summit, Workers Online went looking for the ten biggest workplace health issues and what needs to be done to address them.

History: Staying Alive
Neale Towart winds the clock back to discover that contemporary arguments that regulators should stay out of workplace safety and let the market do its business are nothing new.

Unions: Choose Life
While Commissioner Cole struggles with the concept of unions trying to improve workers� wages, out in the real world, bosses daily thumb their noses at safety authorities, as Jim Marr discovers.

International: Seoul Destroyers
The rise and rise of the Korean national football team in the World Cup competition was more than matched by the rise and rise of the number of imprisoned Korean trade unionists.

Corporate: Crash Landing
Did Ansett workers� productivity really crash Ansett? Jim McDonald weighs up the evidence.

Activists: The Refusenik
At 20, Rotem Mor has spent more time analysing how he will live his life than most people twice his age. A month in prison and another 18 serving in the Israeli army saw to that.

Review: Dumb Nation
Michael Moore's new book, 'Stupid White Men' exposes the rorts behind the Bush presidency with bitter humour, writes Mark Hebblewhite.

Poetry: Helping Out The Rich
From proposals to 'deregulate' (ie raise) university fees, to attempts to restrict workers' right to strike in the name of 'genuine' bargaining the Government's rhetoric about helping out the battlers is wearing just a bit thin.


 Redundancy Bonus for Members Only

 Tax Office Backs CFMEU Case

 Lib MP Named in Cole Commission

 Sentencing Guidelines for Safety Breaches

 Revealed: Costello�s Hit List

 Virtual Cold War Over

 Safety Lock-Out Enters Second Week

 Unions Seek Talks With New Airport Owners

 Journos Attacked by NRMA

 Strip Bosses Face Dressing Down

 Beattie Called Into Bargaining Impasse

 Nurses Deliver Largest Ever Petition

 US Braces for its Own Waterfront War

 Activists Notebook


The Soapbox
Back to the Future
McKenzie Wark argues that the future of the book relies on the future of a sphere of public debate.

Chain Reaction
The Big Australian discovers a uranium mine it never knew it had, a corporate fraud sparks a worldwide market plunge and the price of investing ethically.

The Locker Room
Three Colours Blue
After a World Cup that saw post-colonial cultural theorists chanting 'we beat the scum one-nil' on the Terraces of Inchon, it was the natural order of things that prevailed, writes Phil Doyle

Poll Positioning
Unions Tasmania secretary Lynne Fitzgerald gives an overview of the State Election called earlier this week.

Week in Review
The Weight of Office
Apart from the Teflon John, power walking at his own pace, would-be leaders everywhere turned in shockers as Jim Marr discovered.

 Link Wages to CEO Pay
 Voodoo Unionism
 Good News from the Pilbara
 Go Mark, Go
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Chain Reaction

The Big Australian discovers a uranium mine it never knew it had, a corporate fraud sparks a worldwide market plunge and the price of investing ethically.

BHP Sells Forgotten Uranium Mine

BHP Billiton has sold a uranium mine it did not know it owned - the Smith Ranch mine in Wyoming, US. It was inherited by South Africa's Billiton on its takeover of Canada's Rio Algom in 2000, just ahead of Billiton's merger with Melbourne's "nuclear free" BHP last year. The operation has now been acquired by Canadian uranium group Cameco for an undisclosed sum. BHP Billiton says the sale completes its "exit from uranium production as part of its planned divestment of non-core businesses". (Source: SMH)

WMC To Ramp Up Olympic's Output

It remains to be seen whether BHP's "exit" from uranium means the group is a non-starter in the expected tussle for ownership of WMC's Olympic Dam mine after WMC's demerger in October/November. Olympic Dam is a world-scale copper and uranium producer. Aggressive expansion plans were outlined by WMC chief Hugh Morganlast week at the group's Melbourne annual meeting envisage a multi-billion-dollar expansion of the Olympic Dam copper-uranium mine in South Australia. Under the plans uranium production would also more than double, to 8000 tonnes a year, making Olympic Dam the biggest uranium mine in the world. But faces the challenge of first finding buyers for the radioactive material. (Source: SMH)

The Price of Sin - Just 0.7 Per Cent

Does virtue pay? Not as well as sin - but not as far off as some would have you believe - according to a new study from the University of Melbourne's Centre for Corporate Law and Securities Regulation. It found that investors who steered clear of tainted industries when choosing where to park their money sacrificed returns of about 0.7 percentage points a year. The report, purportedly Australia's first comprehensive analysis of SRI, measures the effect of removing shares in companies that operate in so-called "sinful industries" - alcohol, armaments, gaming, pornography and tobacco to name a few. (Source: The Age)

MIM Scores From Peso's Plunge

MIM has revealed a depreciation of the Argentine peso will boost full-year profit by $80 million. The profit increase reflects MIM's ability to deduct against taxes most of the increase in the value of its peso-equivalent debt for its half share in the Alumbrera copper-gold mine in Argentina. An additional benefit comes from the fact that MIM pays its costs in peso yet earns US dollar revenue for Alumbrera's production. In the past six months the value of the peso, which was once pegged against the US dollar, has depreciated by about 40 per cent. MIM still owes around $US179 million on Alumbrera, which is a key part of its copper division. (Source: SMH)

CSR Chair Gets Golden Handshake

CSR's departed chairman Ian Burgess received a "retirement allowance" of almost $528,000 last year, the building materials group's annual report shows. While such payments to non-executive directors are now frowned upon in corporate governance circles, CSR made the payment after Mr Burgess, also a former AMP chairman, retired on May 1 last year, plus a $102,986 payment to another non-executive director, Robert McLean, who retired in July. The group saw several executives depart during the year, with executive director Jim Osborne leaving with a payment of almost $1 million while former construction materials boss Chris Barry received $904,000. (Source: SMH)

Bush: Big Business Excesses Hurting Markets

United States President George W Bush says a few bad apples in the corporate barrel have harmed confidence in the US business world and financial markets. His comments came after news of a sharp downturn on the New York Stock Exchange and another major corporation, pharmacy chain Rite Aid, charged with criminal fraud relating to manipulation of profit reporting. Mr Bush says the weakness in US markets is centred around terrorism and security, but there is also distrust of big companies in the post-Enron environment. Bush says people have to have the confidence that the leadership has got the shareholder and employee in mind when they make decisions. (Source: SMH)

WorldCom Scandal Hits World Markers

To prove Bushes point, the Australian share market has fallen sharply with key stocks affected by another financial scandal in the United States. WorldCom, the second largest long-distance telephone and data services company in the US, has been accused of fraud. The company admitted breached accounting standards by showing it was making a profit when it was in fact making a loss. WorldCom has sacked its chief financial officer after uncovering improper accounting for more than $7 billion. The company is already under investigation by the Securities and Exchange Commission. (Source: ABC Online)

Enron Hid Profits During Energy Crisis

And more revelations of the practices of failed energy trader, Enron, which used undisclosed reserves to keep as much as $US1.5 billion in trading profits off its books during the California energy crisis. The enormous reserves, which would have doubled the company's reported profits, were hidden in late 2000 and early 2001 as energy prices soared in California and politicians accused trading companies like Enron of price gouging. The former Enron officials said that the company swelled the reserves in hopes of damping the political firestorm. (Source: The New York Times)


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