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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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Thanks a Million: Cole’s Lawyers Clean-up

One lawyer hired to prosecute the CFMEU in Tony Abbott’s Building Industry Royal Commission took almost $1.5 million out of the public purse for less than 18 months work.

When Senate Estimates revealed the cost of the Royal Commission this week, Melbourne silk John Agius QC topped the money-earner’s list for his effort in extracting $1.489 between August 16, 2001, and February 7, this year. Included in Agius’ haul was a staggering $88,000 in perks and allowances.

Agius topped a chart of 12 Counsel Assisting who benefitted from the exercise, designed to hold down the wages of building workers, by more than half a million dollars each.

Lionel Robberds QC finished second on the money list, boosting his personal fortune by $1,258,000, ahead of controversial colleague Nick Green, who led the assault on the CFMEU's NSW branch and walked away with $944,000 for his troubles.

Other top individual earners were Richard Tracey QC, $861,990; Dr John Bishop, $817,684; Andrew O'Sullivan, $788,812; Ronald Gipp, $681,177; Ian Neil, $665,355; Dr James Renwick, $640,881; Antoni Lucev, $616,525; Dr Matthew Collins, $576,566; Timothy Ginnane, $553,723 and Dr Stephen Donaghue, $465,855.

Bishop proved most adept at utilising the generous allowance regime in place for Commission lawyers, collecting more than $90,000 on top of his $726,000 basic in just over 15 months.

All-up, the Commission forked out a whopping $21 million in legal fees and expenses, up from $19 million in last year's revised budget.

Separate from the allowances already outlined, the Commission paid more than half a million for taxis and cars and nearly $3 million on travel costs.

One intriguing figure was the $1,265,000 devoted to "communications". Throughout its public hearings Commission media officer, Rick Willis, played an activist role in keeping journalists "on message".

Royal Commissioner Terence Cole, QC, will deliver a 6900 page report to Workplace Relations Minister Abbot on Monday, February 24. Abbott is expected to use the document as an excuse to take the power to bar individuals from holding trade union office into his own hands.


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