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Issue No. 152 13 September 2002  

The Legacy of 11/9
From the orgy of righteous indignation that has enveloped the ‘Free World’ this week a more chilling truth is emerging: if the suicide bombers were attacking Liberal-Democracy they have succeeded beyond their wildest dreams.


Interview: Still Flying
Flight Attendant’s Association international secretary Johanna Brem looks at life in the air since last September’s terrorist attacks.

International: President Gas
NSW Firefighter’s president Darryl Snow sent this missive to his members on the anniversary of a day when 343 of their colleagues died in the line of duty.

Politics: Australia: A Rogue State?
ARM director Greg Barnes argues that September 11 has summoned a new era of isolationism and international lawlessness.

Unions: Welfare Max
Maximus Inc is big, American and controversial. Right now its knocking on the door of Australian welfare delivery and there is every chance the Howard Government will usher it inside, reports Jim Marr.

Bad Boss: Welcome to Telstra!
A Telstra call centre has joined the race for Bad Boss after sacking a pregant woman who had the audacity to need to use the toilet.

Health: Fat Albert: The Grim Reaper
Workers Online's cultural dietician Mark Morey chews the fat over this week's conference on child obesity

Satire: Iraq Pre-empts Pre-emptive Strike
Saddam Hussein has launched a pre-emptive strike on the United States to prevent it from pre-emptively striking Iraq first.

Poetry: A Man From the East And A Man From The West
Resident Bard David Peetz has penned this ode to the sacked Hilton hotel workers

Review: The Sum Of All Fears
Tara de Boehmler checks in to see that America’s cultural cringe is alive, well and sponsored by Marlboro cigarettes


 ‘Robbed Generation’ Seeks Stolen Wages

 One Year On: Ansett Crash Still Hurts

 Cole Exposed By Immigration Scam

 Car Workers on Howard Hit List

 Mystery Windfall for Hilton Workers

 Shock: Abbott Backs Workers

 Union Billboards Censored

 Track Grab Ignores Lessons of Glenbrook

 Casual Approach to Air Safety

 Bosses Say No Living Wage For NSW Childcarers

 Pastry Workers Tell Boss To Get Puffed

 Injury Toll Mushrooms

 Victorian Zookeepers Down Buckets

 Pride and Safety for Workers Out!

 Activists Notebook


Gough's Plaza
Labor's living legend challenged NSW Labor to lift its game as he attended a renaming of 2KY House to Gough Whitlam Plaza.

The Locker Room
Support The System That Supports You
This system is a certainty, a moral, a good thing and a knocktaker; well, at least according to Phil Doyle

RIP Chainsaw Al
One of the heroes of corporate downsizing has been cut down but his memory lives on with golden handshakes for leaders of failed businesses still thick on the ground.

The Importance of Being Ernie
It was the tenth annual “Ernie” Awards for sexist behaviour and Labor Council’s Alison Peters was amongst the noisy punters

Week in review
Lest We Forget
You can’t help a sneaking suspicion, Jim Marr writes, that George Bush is conscripting the dead of September 11, 2001, to lead his push for another war in the Gulf…

Workers Out!
Gay and Lesbian trade unionists are organising an international conference to develop a global response to homophobia in the workplace, writes Ryan Heath

 The CFMEU Race Debate #1
 The CFMEU Race Debate #2
 Keeping it Clean
 Sue the Leaders?
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‘Robbed Generation’ Seeks Stolen Wages

State governments face the largest back-pay claim in Australian history as indigenous Australians seek redress for more than 70 years of systematic under-payment.

Armed with QC advice that a claim would be successful in the courts, the ACTU Indigenous Conference this week passed a resolution backing a claim for reparations against the Queensland Government.

The Beattie Government has offered to pay a one-off $55.4 million to indigenous workers employed under the Protection Acts, which governed wages and conditions for most Aboriginal Queenslanders.

Under the Queensland Government's offer, Aboriginal people over the age of 50 would receive $4000 per person as total settlement while people aged 45 - 49 would receive $2000 per person as total settlement. This would be backed by a written apology to all claimants

Those negotiations have broken down because the Queensland Government is refusing to negotiate further with those entitled to compensation.

Sorry History of Exploitation

From the 1890s to 1972 the Queensland Government controlled the wages of most Queensland Aborigines. Some Aboriginal workers lived on settlements or missions and most were not paid. .

Some Aboriginal people were sent out to work under a licensing system where the Government paid the wages. Most received around 66% of the white rate but at times adjustments were not made and this rate fell to as low as 25% of the white rate.

However, even with this reduced rate, Aboriginal workers only ever received 30% of their total wage with the balance going to tax and a number of forced savings schemes.

Permission was never asked for nor given for the deduction of money for these forced savings schemes. Some of the money was used to buy Aboriginal people clothing, dental work etc. Evidence is available that these schemes were poorly managed with all kinds of trustee and fiduciary implications.

Control over employment of Aboriginal people ceased in 1968, control over relocations ceased in 1971 and control over the savings of Aboriginal people stopped in 1972.

National Implications

Workers Online understands that if successful, similar claims would be pursued by indigenous workers in other states and federally - although the claims will depend on the form of 'protection' regime that was in place in each jurisdiction

NSW Labor Council's Adam Kerslake, who attended this week's conference, says the whole issue of underpayment of indigenous workers is a can of worms that must be addressed.

"Beattie does deserve some credit because his Government was first off the mark," Kerslake says.

"The sting in the tail is that this will become an issue in every State in Australia. The challenge for the union movement is back the calls from our black activists."


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