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Issue No. 147 09 August 2002  

A Call to Action
While there has been a lot of angst, anger and no shortage of tub-thumping over Simon Crean's push to cut union influence in the ALP, the end result of the Hawke-Wran review is that it is a call to action for unions to reclaim their party.


Interview: Save Our Souls
Labor's superannuation spokesman Nick Sherry expands on his recent discussion paper into the industry.

Unions: Rats With Wings
As the Cole Commission continues to sidestep safety, another Sydney building accident puts workers at risk this week, Jim Marr reports

Bad Boss: If The Boot Fits
Royal Commission favourite and S & B Industries top dog, Barbara Strong, carts off this week�s Bad Boss nomination.

History: Political Bower Birds
Rowan Cahill looks at a new resource detailing the fading history of the Communist Party of Australia

International: No More Business as Usual
Global unions are stepping up their campaign against corporate rip-offs

Corporate: The Seven Deadly Sins of Capitalism
Shann Turnbull outlines a new set of rules that should govern capital in the post-Enron environment

Industrial: Stiffed!
A backyard horror story has left funeral workers worrying about mooted changes to industry regulations, Jim Marr reports

Review: Prepare To Bend
If it�s a feel good flick that you want, Bend It Like Beckham is sure to satisfy on every level, writes Tara de Boehmler

Satire: Bush Boosts Sharemarket Confidence: Shares his Cocaine Stash
President Bush has rushed to re-establish confidence in the US market by distributing cocaine from his own Presidential stash to Wall Street.


 Mainstream Media Vacates IR

 Ten Click Walker 'Unfit for Work'

 Unions Push for Baby Nest

 Casino Workers Overtime Jackpot

 Abbott�s Task Force �Rank Hypocrisy�

 Shipping Policy Blamed for Reef Damage

 Dropping The Ball On Training

 Combet Pushes Consultative Vehicle

 Maternity Leave for Pacific Workers

 Hit List of Forced Closures

 Magistrate Endorses Health and Safety Rights

 Contracts a Thorn in Workers' Side

 Fringe Success for Workers� Pick

 Activists Notebook


Workers on Film
Last issue we asked you for your ideas on a union film script to match Ken Loach's The Navigators. Here are the best responses.

The Soapbox
Driving Together
ACTU Secretary Greg Combet argues that the Australian car industry needs a partnership between business and labour.

The Locker Room
Dogs And Underdogs
Phil Doyle explains why losers are half the equation in each and every sporting contest

Week in Review
Filfthy Rich and Claptrap
While Labor and the Democrats are tearing themselves to shreds, Little Lachie and Rich Ray address the main game �

Muddy Waters
It was a week when the Prime Minister washed his hands despite mounting evidence that the corporate world is out of control.

 Fraser No Workers' Hero
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Letters to the Editor

Fraser No Workers' Hero

Dear Comrades,

It's hard to know what was more sickening to read in Workers Online #146 - reading Malcolm Fraser's bleatings about refugees or reading that he had been invited to address the AMWU National Conference. It's not that I'm anti-refugee. On the contrary. Rather, I have a good enough memory to recall what Fraser did as a Liberal Prime Minister - and I have maintained the rage.

Does anyone remember Medibank, the national health insurance scheme introduced by the Labor government in 1975? Fraser came to office promising to retain it, since it was so massively popular. He then spent the next few years slicing it up piece by piece, till nothing remained but a publicly owned private health fund. The ALP had to start again with Medicare when it was elected in 1983.

Well, how about "monetarism" and the massive attacks that Fraser tried on the public sector during his term of office? He wasn't able to make much headway due to stout resistance from the community & from public sector workers, but his failure wasn't from the want of trying.

And what about the workers? Fraser spent his term of office arguing in the Arbitration Commission for workers to get pay rises less than the rate of inflation (while simultaneously nobbling the Prices Justification Tribunal) & even descended to arguing often for "zero indexation". That is, he wanted workers' wages to remain stagnant while saying "let 'em rip" to prices in the supermarket. And we mustn't forget his continuous attempts to demonise the union movement (especially the then leadership of the AMWU) in search of a method of crushing it. Once again, if he didn't succeed, it wasn't for the want of trying.

So, Malcolm Fraser has demonstrated himself a loyal warrior for the employing class. He's close to the LAST person I'd want to invite to convince workers to take up the cause of refugees. And they do need convincing. All opinion polls show a solid majority supporting Howard's disgusting policy, so we have our work cut out for us in bringing the bulk of the working class across to a pro-refugee position.

How are we to convince workers to support the refugees if they don't already? It won't be by appeals to a classless "humanitarianism", especially from someone whose track record combines such "humanitarianism" with unremitting struggle on behalf of the employing class and against the workers. Rather, it will be by accepting that refugees are workers and arguing from the foundation principle of unionism - that an injury to one is an injury to all.

Using the "touch one, touch all" principle, we can demonstrate that:

(a) The key issue behind the demonisation of refugees & the panic about "border protection" is racism; and

(b) Racism can only divide the working class in the face of attacks by the Howard government or the employers, leading to a far greater likelihood that these attacks will succeed.

To win this argument, the only one which can bring the bulk of workers across, we need allies like Malcolm Fraser like we need a hole in the head.

In Solidarity,

Greg Platt


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