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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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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.


Canberra saw Her Majesty's loyal oppositions slide further into the zone marked disarray. In the washed-out-pink colours, Simon Creen was smacked about the melon by schisms in his Victorian power base and would-be, if-he-could-be, Mark Latham, generated more heat than light. As the sharemarket stumbled, again, workers around the country breathed sighs of relief that their incomes weren't dependent on Latham's "aspirational" share portfolios.

Meanwhile, over in Democrat-land, the girls were locked in another unedifying hissy-fit. Meg wrote off Natasha, again, reminding us of the golden rule - honoured only in the breach - that former leaders should, if possible, be neither seen nor heard.

No wonder the Teflon John is hanging out the prospect of a double dissolution.


There are rumbles in Liberal-land as well, however, even if they remain low and distant. Peter Costello has kept his belly-aching to himself but Tony Abbott is looking to the unions to give him a boost in the ascendancy stakes.

Abbott's double-pronged approach centres on standing over the Senate to pass unfair dismissal legislation, while greasing the wheels of the Cole Commission with $60 million of our money.

Abbott's Commission was treated, this week, to reports of a six-year-old telephone conversation; an anti-CFMEU employer, virtually conceding union claims that he had been ripping off Workers Comp, tax, and doing a bit of phoenixing for good measure.

Call us simple if you want but sometimes it seems the Abbott formula can be summed up thus: Royal Commission + Unfair Dismissal = Early Election.


On a more serious matter, would-be Aussie rugby league skipper, Gorden Tallis, throws a wobbly of gargantuan proportions to see off Origin for another year. Tallis directs expletives, and a finger, at a section of the Sydney crowd after the series decider ends in an 18-all draw.

More importantly, in a brilliant piece of tactical leadership Tallis crows in every interview about Queensland's series victory. The line is followed by every other Queenslander who addresses the subject and is so successful that Sydney radio broadcasters also award the series to the northerners.

We at Workers Online were perplexed so ran the actual results past a panel of leading mathematicians. Having wrestled with the core equation, NSW 1, Queensland 1, Draw 1, they came up with the proposition that Origin 2002 had in fact been drawn.


We all know that business leaders have become de facto political leaders, deciding national policy and in the case of transnationals, international polices but, gee, some of them are naughty.

Hot on the heels on Enron, giant US telco, WorldCom, is found to have been engaged in devious accounting practices. Caught inflating cash flow by something around $8 billion it reacts with typical leadership, announcing plans to axe 17,000 jobs.

WorldCom's doubtful future sends shockwaves around the financial world, including Australia where, take note Mr Latham, $10 billion is wiped off the local market in 24 hours.


George Bush, would-be leader of the known universe, gives his unique take on democracy and national independence with a lecture to the Palestinians on how they might finally cash in on UN resolutions about their entitlement to statehood.

The cornerstone, according to Bush, is dumping elected leader Yasser Arafat for someone more to American tastes. Apparently unmoved by the fact that Arafat got a vastly bigger share of the Palestinian vote than he managed in the US, Bush ups the ante by saying vital aid will also be withheld unless his demands are met.

To their credits, US allies around the world, including Australia, the UK and France, distance themselves from Bush's latest takeover bid.


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