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Issue No. 163 29 November 2002  

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.


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.


 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


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.

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.

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 ��

 Oh Bugger Me!
 State Based Organising
 Gino on the Gong
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Uni Backs Down On Regional Review

La Trobe University this week called off a controversial administration review at its Bendigo campus that had local staff, and the wider Bendigo community, concerned about the loss of regional educational facilities and jobs.

After 170 union and non-union staff had rejected the review and called upon community leaders in Bendigo for support, last Saturday's Bendigo Advertiser carried articles from Ken Marchingo, chief executive of the Lodden Mallee Housing Service and Penny Davies, chair of the Bendigo campus alumni association on the need to retain quality university education in central and northern Victoria.

"The uni is now a real part of the community," said Mr Marchingo.

"No matter how the accountants dress it up, regional universities are a cash cow for the sandstone metro unis and after the pending Nelson Report is announced soon, [are] likely to be even more the case."

Ms Davies claimed that 60 per cent of students from the region would have little chance of a university education without the Bendigo faculty and that the salaries of local administration staff contributed $5.5 million to the Bendigo economy.

"Any loss of income from the present 168 positions would have a detrimental flow-on effect to the community," she said.

In the face of this reaction, La Trobe vice-chancellor Professor Michael Osborne told staff on Monday that, after considering the whole issue, he had concluded the review would not be productive and did not follow previous agreements on management processes.

"I should like to emphasize that there has never been any suggestion that the Bendigo campus and faculty should lose any of their current funding - only that the distribution of the funding between the faculty budget and the campus operating costs might be reviewed. This remains the case," said Professor Osborne.

National Tertiary Education Union branch vice-president Mary Martin described the back down as welcome but just a good first step.

Staff had also called for the level of autonomy promised at integration in 1994 to be restored, said Ms Martin.

"Therefore the NTEU sub-branch executive is now calling for clarification of current arrangements and where necessary further procedures to be developed so that such disputes will never arise again."

"Responsibility for the design and conduct of any review of Bendigo operations must reside in Bendigo. We need the University's confirmed commitment to this region and the regional mission of the Bendigo faculty and campus, or we must review our relationship with La Trobe University," she said.

After meeting senior management and administration staff and Professor Osborne, the chairman of La Trobe's local advisory board, Gordon McKern, said the difficulties between the Bendigo campus and La Trobe's main campus at Bundoora needed to be settled quickly.

Mr McKern expressed confidence about a satisfactory outcome and said the Bendigo university council would explore three options: total integration, stand-alone, or some combination of both, for university education in Bendigo.

Disclaimer: A relative of the reporter is an employee at La Trobe University, Bendigo.


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