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Issue No. 156 11 October 2002  

Work and the Meaning of Life
The high-profile case of Kamal El-Masiri takes the debate over the intersection of work and family onto an altogether higher plane.


Interview: The Wet One
NSW Opposition industrial relations spokesman Michael Gallacher stakes out his relationship with the union movement.

Bad Boss: Like A Bastard
Virgin Mobile is sexy and funky, right? Well, only if those terms have become synonyms for dictatorial or downright mean.

Unions: Demolition Derby
Tony Abbott likens industrial relations to warfare and, like a good general should, he is about to shift his point of attack � from building sites to car plants, reports Jim Marr.

Corporate: The Bush Doctrine
For the powerful, consumerism equals freedom, and is all the freedom we need, writes James Goodman

Politics: American Jihad
Let�s get real. The origins of modern Islamic terrorist groups are in Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and Langley, Virginia not Baghdad, argues Noel Hester.

Health: Secret Country
Oral history recordings are an inadequate tool in trying to find out what happened to Aboriginal stockmen and their communities on cattle stations in Northern Australia, writes Neale Towart

Review: Walking On Water
On the 20th anniversary of the first AIDS-related death, Tara de Boehmler witnesses the aftermath of losing a loved one to the illness in Walking On Water.

Culture: TCF
Novelist Anthony Macris captures life on the shop floor in this extract from his upcoming novel, Capital Volume II

Poetry: The UQ Stonewall
The University of Queensland has sought to join the ranks of union-busting companies like Rio Tinto in trying to sack the president of the local union - and made the mistake of thinking they were dealing with an array of acquiescent academics.


 Muslims Snubbed in Discrimination Laws

 Workplace Racism Rife Post S11

 Mad Monk�s World In Turmoil

 Qantas Directors Bust Wages Freeze

 Deregistration on Cole Agenda

 Aussie Wharfies Save Farmers

 Victorian Libs Block Pay Rise

 Dad�s the Word For Steelworkers

 Funeral Workers Dig in Their Heels

 Unions Expose Truth Of McDonalds� People Promise

 Gay and Lesbians Workers To Meet

 VTHC Urges Compassion For Colombian Refugees

 New Zealand Workers Win Paid Parental Leave

 WorkCover Inspectors Off the Road

 Mine Guards Shoot Own Workers

 Unions On Call For Working Young

 Activists Notebook


The Soapbox
I Walk The Line
American civil rights leader Jesse Jackson has weighed into the Hilton Hotel dispute with this special message to the workforce.

Mekong Daze
Union Aid Abroad's Phil Hazelton fires off a missive from Laos where he is spending a year working with the community.

Month In Review
Bush Whackers
It was a month where the world teetered on the brink of peace, no thanks to the leader of the free world, writes Jim Marr

The Locker Room
The Laws Of Gravity
Phil Doyle goes looking for the fine line that separates sport from an exercise in time-wasting

Snouts in the Trough
It�s AGM season in the corporate world, and deal after shady deal is being exposed as highfliers treat company accounts like the proverbial honey-pot.

Songs of Solidarity
There has been a proud history of pro-worker tunes dating back to the early days of the 20th century, which will be continued in a new CD, writes Dan Buhagiar.

 Who Is Farmhand?
 Direct Voting Rights
 Iraq is a Gobalisation Issue Too
 Letter to George Dubya
 WTO and Schools
 Casual Thought
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Victorian Libs Block Pay Rise

Around 250,000 disadvantaged Victorian workers could miss out on pay rises and better conditions because of the Liberal Party's decision to block the Bracks Government�s industrial reforms.

The Federal Awards (Uniform System) Bill would extend the protection of the Federal award safety net to Victoria's most underprivileged workers, who have been denied award protections by decisions of the former Kennett Government.

The Victorian Liberals have announced that they will use their numbers in the State's Upper House to block the Bill. Workers could miss out on pay rises and better conditions such as redundancy pay and carers leave because of the Liberals decision.

"The Liberal Party is punishing some of Australia's most vulnerable and low-paid employees. It is unjust and discriminatory that these workers should be denied the same basic rights as all other employees," says ACTU Secretary Greg Combet.

"The Liberal Party is denying many Victorian employees the minimum protections of John Howard's own federal legislation. The Prime Minister should tell Victorian Liberal Leader Robert Doyle to help bring the State into line with the rest of the country."

The so-called Schedule 1A workers in Victoria are not entitled to basic conditions including penalty and overtime payments, leave loadings, personal, carers and bereavement leave, allowances and redundancy pay.

The Liberals last year blocked the Bracks Government's Fair Employment Bill, which also would have restored award protections to all employees in the State.

"Federal Labor condemns the Victorian Liberals' cruel decision - backed by Tony Abbott - to block fair industrial reforms by the Bracks Government for Victorian workers and businesses," says Shadow Attorney-General and Shadow Minister for Workplace Relations Robert McClelland.

"Sadly the Victorian Liberals are still dancing to Tony Abbott's tune - unlike the NSW Liberals who declined last week to back Mr Abbott's divisive approach to industrial relations.

"Accordingly, Labor will now move amendments to the Howard Government's miserly Victorian Workers Bill to ensure fairness in Victoria.

"Labor's amendments would empower the Australian Industrial Relations Commission to extend the operation of federal awards across Victoria.

"Victorian businesses who are covered by a federal award are sick of being undercut by operators who can get away with paying the Liberals' miserly minimum wages and conditions.

"If this is how the Liberals treat Victoria, how can they be trusted to run the place?

"Instead of trying to play the part of Mini-Reith, Tony Abbott should do the right thing by Victoria's workers and businesses and support Labor's approach," says McClelland.


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