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Issue No. 169 07 March 2003  

Re-considering The Accord
The twentieth anniversary of the Hawke Government�s election provides an opportunity to ponder the Accord�s historical conundrum: how at the moment of the union movement�s greatest influence did it suffer its greatest loss of members?


Poetry: If I Were a Rich Man
Through a distortion in the time-space continuum, we have found a recording showing how people a few years into the future will deal with health care.

Interview: League of Nations
ICFTU general secretary Guy Ryder on the war, core labour standards and why Australia is an international pariah.

Industrial: 20/20 Hindsight
A retrospective analysis of the Accord is needed to help develop future strategies. Is it worth trying again? And if so, what would need to be different?

Organising: On The Buses
A new rank and file leadership team is standing up for the harried bus driver in the run-up to the NSW State Election

Unions: National Focus
A gaze around the country reveals some inspiring and innovative organising initiatives, a fruitful connection with young workers in South Australia and some typically robust industrial campaigns reports Noel Hester.

History: The Banner Room
On the eve of it�s refurbishment, Jim Marr ventures into one of Trades Hall�s best kept secrets; the room that houses relics of labour�s halcyon days.

International: The Slaughter Continues
Chilling new statistics from Colombia's main trade union confederation CUT: nine trade unionists assassinated in the first two months of this year.

Legal: A Legal Case For War?
Aaron Magner looks at the legal implications of the crusade of the Coalition of the Willing

Culture: Singing For The People
When there�s a struggle for social justice, when a war is brewing or rights are being eroded, the first ones to pen, paper and protest are often the folkwriters.

Review: The Hours
On the eve of International Women�s Day Tara de Boehmler follows the tale of three women who would rather choose death than a life devoid of personal choice.

Poetry: I Wanna Bomb Saddam
Scarier than Star Wars, the latest weapon to be deployed in the battle for Iraq is the Singing Dubya.

Satire: Diuretic Makes Warne's Excuses Look Thin
Australian cricketer Shane Warne today admitted that he was still feeling the after effects of the diuretic he tested positive to.


 Sacre Bleu � It�s �La Gong� Now

 Mum Raises Labour Hire Bar

 Investigate the Buggers

 NSW Libs Madder Than The Monk

 Kits Strike Terror into Govt

 West Braces for Shelling

 Executive Pay Under Senate Spotlight

 Clean Energy�s Jobs Bonus

 Zoo Workers Buck �Mercy Killing�

 Canberra Firefighters Win Union Backing

 Global Equity Under Spotlight

 Aussie Workers Fight Indian Child Labour

 Water on the Brain

 Activists Notebook


The Soapbox
Workers Friend
Shock jock Alan Jones snubbed his Liberal mates to bucket the Cole Royal Commission and launch Jim Marr's book

The Locker Room
Boer Bore Boring
In the face of oppression Phil Doyle falls asleep in front of the TV

Guest Report
Dead Labor
The Hawke and Keating legacy is John Howard, Leonie Bronstein argues.

Hands Off, Tony
John Della Bosca argues the NSW Industrial Relations System gives his State a competitive advantage.

Groundhog Day
Another year, another round of corporate excess. Bosswatch returns from its summer slumber to find the same old dogs up to the same tricks.

 Re - Core/Non Core promises.
 Strangers in the House
 Nursing Home Concerns
 Catholic Tastes
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NSW Libs Madder Than The Monk

The NSW Opposition has made a mockery of its claims to be IR moderates, with a policy that would see US-style union recognition ballots imposed on Australian workers for the first time.

News of the radical policy came as the Coalition vowed to scrap an industry-based program to cut workplace accidents and funnel the money into chasing compo fraud.

According to reports in the Daily Telegraph the Coalition policy would:

- prevent union representation in workplaces where less than 50 per cent of workers were members.

- allow non-union agreements to be approved without scrutiny of the Industrial Relations Commission through a new Enterprise Agreements Commission

- Create an anti-union police force, modelled on the federal government's Employment Advocate.

Labor Council secretary John Robertson says the laws would become a tool for employers to drive unions out of the workplace by forcing 'union recognition ballots' for every workplace agreement.

He says the Enterprise Agreement commission appears to be modelled on the 1991 NSW laws which employers and unions agreed was unwieldy and unworkable.

"The effect of this proposal would be to force a ballot on whether unions should play a role in each agreement - a process that employers would exploit to keep unions out and drive wages down," Robertson says. "If anything, this policy is more extreme than the Reith-Abbott federal model.

Policy an Insult

Robertson says the Coalition policy is an insult to NSW workers and the responsible trade union movement that works so hard to promote the interests of this State.

"John Brogden seems to have a very short memory - just three years ago we were celebrating the best Olympics ever, delivered without a hitch by a unionised workforce," Robertson says.

"Now the Coalition wants to replace this successful model of co-operative labour relations with a US-style system predicated on conflict and division."

"Like the USA, we run the risk of creating a system weighted in favour of the employer where the rights of all workers - whether union or non-union come second."

And in a bizarre section of the Liberals' policy, employer associations also cop it, with an impossible barrier to entry into any non-union agreement.

According to a release from Gallacher, employer associations appear to require a majority vote of employees before they can take part in the negotiations. "This shows the policy is either ill-conceived or loopy," Robertson says.

Safety Cuts Will Cost Lives

Meanwhile, the Labor Council has panned a Coalition plan to scrap the WorkCover Assist program would have a devastating effect on occupational health and safety across the State.

"This program, which provides assistance to both employer organizations and unions, has already trained more than 8,000 people to create safer working environments," Robertson says.

"To scrap the program and replace it with money to investigate workers compensation fraud is akin to scrapping cancer research to invest in better morgues.

"Michael Gallagher talks about the Liberals representing a light at the end of the WorkCover tunnel. On evidence to date, that light is an oncoming train for workers."


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