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Issue No. 170 14 March 2003  

Coke or Pepsi?
And so the battle of the NSW political brands enters its final week – and at times it seems more like the Coke and Pepsi Taste Challenge; only this time the brown syrupy liquid is power.


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.


 Travelex Wrong-un Stumps Staff

 No Utopia In Lifetime Contracts

 Della Renews Jobs Pledge

 Chef Roasts Double Standard

 Howard’s Navy – Aussies Need Not Apply

 Bank Lockout Mars Peace Day

 Intrepid Tourists Buck ILO Bans

 Whistle Blown on Second Hand Rail Safety

 Back-Packers Used to Break Hotel Strike

 Qantas for High Jumps

 Burrow Calls for New Family Formula

 Central Queensland Sucks on Roche

 Cabbies Hail Fair Deal

 Smoke Free St Patricks Day

 Workers Flush on Poo Pay

 Activist 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.

 Addicted to ANZUS
 A Plea for Legal Action
 Accord Reconsidered
 Johnny's Green Card
 Veto The War
 Law and Order
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Letters to the Editor

A Plea for Legal Action

For all the talk of "no war", I am writing to ask you to consider, and if possible do all you can with human and financial resources at your disposal, seeking legal action in the Australian court system to directly stop the current move to war against Iraq. I am hearing, at last, an increasing number of talk shows discussing the legality of a war without UN approval. Yet the point seems to be, that once there are dead bodies and screaming injured people on the ground, there may be a case for war crimes prosecution against western leaders.

I can not believe that the talk has not moved to using the judicial system to prevent such crimes. While the concentration of talk seems to be to do with the role of the International Criminal Court, an obvious point is barely touched on. If the Australian government attacks another country, without any constitutional authority, the government, or those responsible for committing our forces to a war, will be committing crimes under Australia's domestic Crimes Acts. Further, the active planning of such a war amounts to a conspiracy to commit those crimes. The threat alone of such a war also amounts to a crime, even if the victims are not within Australia's borders. Prima facie cases can easily be argued.

There must be at least two possible courses of judicial action.

The first would be to seek an injunction to prevent the PM and his government from continuing to threaten an ultra vires war. Any Australian citizen should have standing to request such an order, given that every Australian will suffer (and is already suffering) the various costs of war.

The second would be to prosecute the PM (asap) and others for a number of crimes already committed, including conspiracy to commit murder. Clearly the PM has no intention of killing individual Iraqi citizens, though such a result will be the obvious consequence of a war. There can be few cases where reckless disregard for life can be so obvious. Without power to order an attack, any consequent death is a murder. There is no protection for the PM if he acts without lawful authority, and there is no need to resort to war crimes legislation to mount a prosecution.

Prosecution for existing crimes can and should be put into the hands of all state and territory DPPs. If the DPPs do not act, then the option is available for individual citizens to prosecute. A joint presentation from your, and other organisations may be sufficient impetus for the DPPs, hopefully in unison, to consider the bases for prosecution.

If you mean what you say about avoiding a war; if you believe that such a war will lead to war crimes; if you do not want to shout at deaf ears until blood appears on our TV screens once again, then please act on this letter. Please use whatever resources or contacts you can, to at least put the PM and the cabinet on notice of the above possibilities.

I obtained your email address from the internet after seeing your organization as a signatory to the no-war petition put to the senate last September.

I do not need a reply as I hope that what I have written speaks for itself, though my contact details will be provided on request.

Michael Dunne


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