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Issue No. 144 12 July 2002  

The Lotto Economy
The failure of George W Bush's much-hyped pitch for corporate responsibility underlines the current crisis facing unregulated global capitalism: the system is corrupting all before it.


Interview: Capital in Crisis
ACTU president Sharan Burrow outlines the global union response to the corporate carnage gripping an increasingly shaky system.

Industrial: No Sweat
Neale Towart surveys the international debate around sweatshops and what can be done to regulate them

Bad Boss: Super Spam
Several late scratchings have seen Workplace Relations Department secretary Peter Boxall win this week�s heat of the Workers� Online Bad Boss handicap.

History: Living Treasures
Labour History is 40 this year. Greg Patmore looks back at what it took to get a regular journal of the labour movement in Australia up and away.

International: Axis of Evil
George W Bush�s scarecrow trio of Iran, Iraq and North Korea is not an original invention, argues Stephen Holt

Solidarity: Pride of Place
NSW Labor Council and CFMEU flags sit alongside the mounted jersey of former Kiwi Rugby League hooker Syd Eru in a modest home at Manurewa, south Auckland.

Technology: The Art of Cyber-Unionism
More Unionism? Transformed Unionism? Peter Waterman looks at a new handbook for unions and the internet

Poetry: The Masochism Tango
Tony Abbott's comment we should accept a bad boss like a bad husband or bad father has made us all realise that instead of fighting bad bosses, we should love them. Anyone for a tango?

Satire: Foxtel-Optus Merger 'Anti-Repetitive'
The ACCC has ruled today that the proposed content sharing arrangement between Foxtel and Optus Vision would constitute anti-repetitive conduct

Review: Bob Carr's Thoughtlines
Stephen Holt reviews one man's journey from collectivism to the centre


 Sweat Shops � Coming To A Street Near You

 Glassworkers Walk for the Umpire

 Family Friendly For A Buck

 Abbott in Slow GEER

 Royal Commission Bugs Workers

 Drivers Frozen Out by Corporate Spin

 Coca-Cola Brews Storm In A Tea Cup

 Bush Prepares for War on the Wharves

 Safety Summit A Hit With Unions

 Beattie Faces Bargaining Face-Off

 Casual Work Exploits � Catholic Church Agency

 More Effort Required On Disabled Workers

 Protecting Security Officers From Disease

 Activists Notebook


The Soapbox
Why Modernisation Matters
Labor frontbencher Mark Latham argues that the ALP's reform agenda must go way beyond the 60-40 debate.

The Locker Room
Playing To The Whistle
Phil Doyle takes a look at the man in the middle, and he doesn�t like what he sees.

Inquiry Into Executive Pay
The ACTU Executive this week called for a public debate on spiralling executive pay packets, seeking feedback from workers, community representatives and unions.

Up In Smoke
Wobbly Radio's Nick Luccinelli reports from England where drug law reform is on the political agenda.

Week in Review
Bulldust and Boofheads
Jim Marr casts his eye over a week in which bullshit and bad bosses fought for headlines�

 On Aspiration
 GST Agenda
 Amanda's Mediocrity
 Capital Ideas
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Pride of Place

NSW Labor Council and CFMEU flags sit alongside the mounted jersey of former Kiwi Rugby League hooker Syd Eru in a modest home at Manurewa, south Auckland.

Joe Eru

Eru, the footballer, is the nephew of dying Tuwharetoa tribal elder, Joe Eru, a man who carved out an honourable place for himself in the history of the Sydney Olympic Games. That contribution was recognised last week by presentations from SOCOG, Labor Council and CFMEU representatives.

Four years ago, Eru was central to resolving the problems of 400 Kiwis, mainly Maori, flown to Sydney under the false pretence that they would have Olympic-related security jobs.

When they arrived they found the companies who recruited them hadn't even got their security licenses, much less jobs.

Working closely with SOCOG, Labor Council and affiliated unions, Eru used his influence to calm the misled workers and have them placed in jobs around a city buzzing with Olympic preparations.

In return, CFMEU members turned their hands to transforming the old Arnotts biscuit factory at West Ryde into livable accommodation that became known locally as "the Maori village".

In the end, the New Zealand contingent, was central to the success of Games opening ceremony, being rushed in to manually lift tonnes of timber when it became obvious, during secret last-minute rehearsals, forklifts couldn't do the job. That story is covered in The Collaborative Games, a book outlining the secrets to the organisational success of the Sydney spectacular.

Today, the dynamic healer of four years ago is failing. He is staying with Auckland-based family, hundreds of kilometres from his central North Island home, to be closer to doctors fighting a losing battle against his cancer.

It was Eru's predicament that drew Rob Forsythe (SOCOG), Chris Christodoulou (Labor Council) and CFMEU reps Brian Parker and Steve Keenan across the Tasman. It was his standing in Maoridom that convinced New Zealand television to converge on the plain, working class home.

In a simple ceremony in his family's living room the visitors presented him with Olympic pins, union flags and jackets, a framed montage of photographs and the Collaborative Games book.

Christodoulou related the central role of unions in a collective approach to organising the Olympics. He said Eru's contribution, at a time of potential turmoil, had fitted the approach to perfection.

He recalled the rousing, traditional welcome turned on by the New Zealanders when officials visited them at the converted biscuit factory.

"We never expected such an honour because all we did was our jobs," Christodoulou said. "There is a wonderful story in this book that shows Joe did more for the Olympic Games than he will ever know."

Parker told the family the old man's efforts had won him recognition "across the ditch".

"He did his people proud and he did New Zealand proud. This honour we are paying him today is only small recogniton of the large role he played in the success of the Sydney Olympics," the CFMEU assistant secretary said.

"This man taught Australians a lot about Maori culture. In the words of my tradition, I am proud to call Joe a good mate."

Forsythe spoke of statesmanship, saying Eru had stood up to be counted when his people in Sydney found themselves in trouble.

"He sorted things out in a way that helped his people and absolutely suited SOCOG and the trade union movement," Forsythe explained. "I have come here to thank you on behalf of the organising committee and to recognise you as a statesman."

Eru, a union member and power board worker for 38 years, was clearly moved by the unexpected recognition. So, too, was his family, some of whom openly cried as the Australians told their stories.

Christodoulou said the visit had been an opportunity to present to New Zealanders the merits of a co-operative approach to major projects, through the efforts of one of their own.

More important, he added, was the desire of all parties to pay their respects to a humble man while he still lived.

"It was hard to see Joe in that condition. He was such a livewire when we last met him," Christodoulou recalled.

"When we were leaving one of his daughters told us it was the brightest the family had seen him in three months. She said the visit gave him a real lift.

"If that's the case, then it was well worthwhile."


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