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Issue No. 163 29 November 2002  
E D I T O R I A L

Lessons from History
History has a seemingly infinite capacity to create and debunk myths, as the latest offering from the Journal of Labour and Social History shows.

F E A T U R E S

Interview: Trade Secrets
Federal Labor’s trade spokesman Craig Emerson is on a mission to bring the shady world of trade talks into the open

Industrial: It’s About Overtime, Stupid
An overtime free-for-all is at the heart of Australia’s hours explosion and it's time to look at a cap on hours, reports Noel Hester from the ACTU’s Working Hours Summit.

Unions: Full Steam Ahead
After two weeks of rallies around the state, rural Rail Towns are making a stand for jobs and safety. Jim Marr reports.

Bad Boss: The BBQ Battle Axe
Manly restaurateur, David Diamond, is a shoo-in for this month’s Bad Boss nomination, leaving Workers Online looking for a good employer who can undo some of his damage.

Economics: Different Dimensions of Debt
Professor Frank Stilwell presented the big picture on debt policy at the Evatt Foundation’s Breakfast Seminar

History: Raking the Coals
Labour historians Rae Cooper and Greg Patmore explain why today’s organisers have much to learn from the lessons of the past.

History Special: Wherever the Necessity Exists
Rae Cooper tracks NSW union organising between 1900-1910 to argue that today’s activists should be looking closer to home for inspiration

History Special: Learning from the Past
Ray Markey looks at union membership growth in the 1880s & 1900s to argue that today’s unions must engage to grow.

History Special: A 'Cosy Relationship'
Barbara Webster looks at Rockhampton between 1916 – 1957 to debunk the ‘dependence’ theory of trade union growth.

Politics: Regime Change for Saddam
Labour lawyer Jim Nolan looks at the challenge for the Left in the current geopolitical stand-off in the Middle East.

International: World War
Europe has suddenly come aflame with industrial action, Andrew Casey reports.

Corporate: Industrious Thinking
Neale Towart looks at the influence of German immigration on Australian industry policy in the post-war period.

Review: Jack High
Mick Molloy’s new flick Crackerjack tells the tale of a traditional bowling club struggling to stay afloat in an industry dominated by pokies, pokies and more pokies, writes Tara de Boehmler.

Culture: Duffy’s Song
Former Labor Council official Mark Duffy’s Sydney super band Sundial clocks in a bit of a corker.

Satire: A Nation of Sooks
The Strewth Institute's Tony Moore looks at the spate of defo suits and wonders if Australia has gone soft.

Poetry: Mr Flexibility
One of the key challenges facing unions, as the ACTU celebrates its 75th anniversary, is confronting the problems of increasing working hours and work intensity under the guise of "flexibility". Our resident bard, David Peetz, takes up that theme this week.

N E W S

 And On the Seventh Day – Satan Joins Union

 Security Masks Political Bans

 Members Offered Spotters' Fee

 Casuals Written Out of the Script

 New Mining Bully On the Block

 ACTU Examines The Cap Option On Hours

 No Sweetener for Diabetic Workers

 Pressure Goes on Apartheid Employers

 ASIC Turns Blind Eye on Dodgy Boss

 Family Test Case a Priority Campaign

 Echoes of Prestige Hit Home

 Brutal Bashing Sparks Prison Strike

 Minister Challenged by Cleaners

 ABC Journos Off The Air

 Union Says RSCPA "Kills"...

 Guards Demand Campus Security

 Uni Backs Down On Regional Review

 Peace Returns to US Docks

 Activists Notebook

C O L U M N S

The Soapbox
Economic Migrants
A man - a worker - risks death by machine gun to escape what he is told is a 'workers' state'. He flees East Berlin through a tunnel, dug beneath a cemetery.

Awards
And the Winner Is …
It’s that time of the year when we honour the best. In the past week, both the IR Writers fraternity and ACTU have got in the act with more to come.

The Locker Room
More Post-Colonial Madness
Phil Doyle joins the fools and Englishmen out in the midday sun, and finds that it all comes at a price.

Bosswatch
Call Waiting
The Howard Government backs off its plans to privatise the rest of Telstra under market pressure. But it’s nothing like the pressure that former HIH directors are under.

Month In Review
Way Down
As Elvis might have said, if he had had a longer-term perspective “ooh, what a month it was, it really was such a month …”

L E T T E R S
 Oh Bugger Me!
 State Based Organising
 Gino on the Gong
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Letters to the Editor

Gino on the Gong


Rowan Cahill's opinion piece on the Cunningham by-election result just shows how bankrupt union politics has become in the Illawarra.

Even the editorial of Workers Online declared that voting Green provides a warm fuzzy feeling to unionists, but will deliver nothing more substantial for workers, their families and the community. That Labor icon, Gough Whitlam, even said that political activists should get real and join either the two major parties to make policy changes. He even suggested that the pure are impotent. This is a well timed message to unionists who wish to only remain warm and fuzzy!

Rowan Cahill makes much of the South Coast Labour Council's role in Labor's Cunningham loss. For a so-called strong union city as Wollongong is sometimes perceived, the SCLC backed candidate could only muster 10 percent of the popular vote. A pathetic result! Even the Greens, in the lowest primary vote recorded in an election for a lower house seat, polled better than the SCLC backed candidate. If this is the 'trusted first line of defence', one could have expected a far better result. Indeed, for all the bashing of Labor by Rowan Cahill in his article, even Labor scored nearly 40 percent of the popular vote.

I note with particular interest the reference to Colin Markham and his speculated 'dumping'. The fact is that Colin Markham is now safe and would be re-endorsed as Labor's candidate for Wollongong. However, he faces a preselection challenge from two left-wing union candidates- one a former LHMU official; the other a current NSW Labor Council official, Chris Christodoulou.

The SCLC and other unions in Wollongong made much of securing Colin Markham's preselection in the last six months - even running a public campaign during a nationally significant by-election.

Now that Colin Markham's preselection is 'safe', he is under renewed threat - not from the Sussex Street Machine - but from within the ranks of the very local unions that mounted the campaign to secure his position.

Gough was spot on: the pure are impotent!

Gino Mandarino


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