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Issue No. 168 28 February 2003  

Abbott�s Rules
Tony Abbott is at it again, with a wicked plan to cut research funding to universities that do not put their workers onto individual contracts.


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.


 Report Derails Freight Plans

 Journo Embarrasses Cole

 CASA a Safety Threat

 Howard Shafts Battlers

 Sparks Fly at Sydney Uni

 Unions Target March 14 For Peace

 Tongans Play Shame Game

 Palestinians Question ICFTU

 Neanderthals Roll Back Safeguards

 Keep Vultures out of Culture

 Bloody Noses for Sticky Beaks

 Warning As Barrier Council Turns 80

 Faint Praise for Labor Education Stand

 Staff Bogged Down

 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.

 Johnny Goes Marching Off
 Misled Artist
 Penalty Shoot-Out
 More Talk Needed on War
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Journo Embarrasses Cole

Tony Abbott�s $60 million Building Industry Royal Commission missed a corrupt WorkCover assessor, nailed this week by a television journalist, because it wasn�t looking, according to the CFMEU.

Current affairs program Today Tonight ran footage of the private, licensed, Sydney-based assessor accepting payments from a reporter that would have enabled him to operate a 60-tonne crane on a building site. While he was at it, the reporter also got rigger�s and dogmen�s tickets for $110 each.

The footage was screened hours after radio personality Alan Jones joined Labor Party front bencher, Robert McClelland, and Greens senator, Kerry Nettle, in launching First The Verdict, a book which argues the Commission brushed evidence of corruption in favour of a political vendetta against the country's largest building union.

Jones, a one-time Liberal Party activist, told cheering building workers Abbott should use the Cole Commission's report, due out this week, as a "doorstop on one of those Commonwealth garages".

"There is a better way of spending $60 million on employer-employee relationships than taking the stick to one particular union simply because it might suit the political agenda of the day," Jones said.

Union assistant secretary Brian Parker said corruption among private assessors had been raised with the Cole Commission.

"It was one of a number of corrupt practices we brought to the Commission's notice but they did nothing about," Parker said. "They failed to find the real corruption in the industry because they weren't looking for it."

Parker said the handing out of bodgy licenses was a serious health and safety problem for the whole community.

"We have seen too many cranes toppling over and too many scaffolds crashing into public streets. Sure, these things threaten our members but they jeopardise the safety of the general public as well," he said.

Since WorkCover assessing was privatised eight years ago, around 170 private operators have been accredited in NSW. The assessor at the centre of the Today Tonight sting has been suspended, pending an investigation, but the CFMEU argues the whole system should be revisited.

Parker says WorkCover must undertake a thorough audit of all its licensed assessors.

First The Verdict, argues that safety was one of a number of building industry issues sidestepped by Australia's most expensive Royal Commission. It cites the use of illegal immigrant labour, large-scale tax rorts, and phoenixing as other problems which didn't feature in public hearings because they couldn't be used to embarrass the CFMEU.

The uses Commission transcript to support its contention that evidence was selected and presented for its capacity to embarrass the CFMEU, whilst witnesses who had different stories to tell were sent packing.


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