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Issue No. 166 14 February 2003  

A Call To Arms
Workers Online returns from our summer break to face a world on the brink, the structures of global cooperation being crushed by the iron will of the earth’s last remaining superpower.


Interview: Agenda 2003
ACTU secretary Greg Combet looks at the year ahead and how a union movement can keep the focus on the workplace at a time of global crisis.

Peace: The Colour Purple
Local communities across Australia are taking stands against war by displaying purple banners. Jim Marr visits one.

Industrial: Long, Hot Summer
As Workers Online took its annual break, the world kept turning – at an increasingly alarming velocity.

Solidarity: Workers Against War
Joann Wypijewski reports on how union locals in the USA are fighting the hounds of war at home.

Security: Howard And The Hoodlums
With all the talk of terror, the Howard Government’s Achilles heel is its tolerance of Flags of Convenience shipping , writes Rowan Cahill

International: Industrial Warfare
Scottish freight train drivers have already acted to disrupt the war effort in the UK with crews of four freight trains carrying war supplies to ports walking off the job, writes Andrew Casey

History: Unions and the Vietnam War
The Vietnam experience steered some unions towards social activism for the first time. Unions are today key players in the anti-war movement, writes Tony Duras.

Review: Eight Miles to Mowtown
Mark Hebblewhites looks at two summer movies that tap into different sounds of American culture - white boy rap and motown blues.

Poetry: Return To Sender
Resident bard Divd Peetz discovers that Elvis has become the latest shock recruit to the peace cause.

Satire: CIA Recruits New Intake of Future Enemies
CIA Director George Tenet announced today that the agency has begun recruiting future enemies for the year 2014.


 The Cuffe Link – Taxpayers Cough Up

 Carr: Secret Lib Plan to Slash Public Sector

 Abbott Comes Out Swinging

 Thanks a Million: Cole’s Lawyers Clean-up

 Corrigan Dogs On Jobs Promise

 Gnomes Fess Up – Unionism Best For All

 Owens Survives 30-Year Ban

 Ribs and Rumps Something for Government to Chew On

 Badges of Honour

 Guards Rail Against Assaults

 Workers Online Scoops Global Prize

 Currawong Must Pay It’s Way

 Let’s Get Real! 2nd Australasian Organising Conference

 Guard Knocked Out in Villawood Escape

 Activists Notebook


The Soapbox
Getting On with The Job
Premier Bob Carr chose Trades Hall as the venue to launch Labor's IR policy for the upcoming state election.

Justice in Bogota
Sydney lawyer Ian Latham knows how to pick them. He’s gone straight from the Cole Royal Commission to justice Colombian-style.

The Locker Room
Heart Of Darkness
There is a school of thought that there is, in fact, only one World Cup - and it doesn’t involve cricket, writes Phil Doyle.

Danger Mouse
John Howard's politics have trapped him into supporting an unpopular war. He is in political trouble, Leonie Bronstein argues.

 Bouquets and Brickbats
 War Talk
 A Tale of Two Malls
 Talk Back Tom
 On The Beach
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The Cuffe Link – Taxpayers Cough Up

Australian taxpayers will subsidise the $32.7 million payout from the Commonwealth Bank to Colonial funds manager Chris Cuffe to the tune of $10 million.

The ACTU is stepping up its push for the removal of tax deductibility for corporations who pay their executives more than $1 million per year or reach multimillion termination payments in the wake of Cuffe’s golden handshake furore.

The ACTU proposal, handed to a Senate Economics Committee last month, has been slammed by the conservative press because it would cost corporations more to make multi-million payments.

ACTU Secretary Greg Combet says the changes are needed to stop ordinary taxpayers from subsidising excessive corporate payments and to provide a financial incentive for companies to rein in remuneration packages.

Sources told Workers Online that in the Cuff case, the Commonwealth Bank's tax bill would be cut by about $10 million - 30 per cent of the profit the bank has been forgone.

Under the ACTU plan, the company would not be able to discount the million-dollar payouts from its bottom line, meaning the taxpayer would not be subsidising the exit package.

News of the Cuffe payout has outraged workers, customers and investors. It was announced the same day that the bank, which has chopped 17,000 Aussies off its payroll and closed branches, announced a big fall in profits.

It follows the controversial $4.65 million bonus Commonwealth Bank paid to chief executive David Murray last year. Nationally, the average income of CEO's leapt from 67 times to 89 times the Federal Minimum Wage in the last 12 months.

The Finance Sector Union's Sharron Caddie says the payout would have paid the wages of all the 1,000 workers that the Commonwealth Bank laid off in the past 12 months.

"Its disgraceful that the thousand CBA staff sacked last year could still be in work, and dozens of branches could have remained open, if sums like Cuffe's payout and the bonus paid to David Murray were reinvested in the Bank," she says.


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