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Issue No. 176 02 May 2003  

Interview: Staying Alive
CPSU national secretary Adrian O'Connell talks about the fight to keep the public service - and the union movement - alive.

Bad Boss: The Ultimate Piss Off
Wollongong workers on poverty-level wages are losing up to $5000 for taking toilet breaks, according to the union representing staff at a Stellar call centre.

Industrial: Last Drinks
Jim Marr looks at the human cost of the decision to close Sydney�s Carlton United Brewery

National Focus: Around the States
If Tampa told us that John Howard circa 2003 is the same spotted rabid dog from 1987, this week�s assault on Medicare confirms it reports Noel Hester in this national round up.

Politics: Radical Surgery
Workers are vitally interested in Medicare, not least because they traded away wage rises to get it. Now, Jim Marr writes, the Coalition Government is tearing apart the 20-year-old social contract on which it was founded.

Education: The Price of Missing Out
University students and their families will pay more for their education following the May Budget, writes Tony Brown.

Legal: If At First You Don't Succeed
Love is wonderful the second time around, goes the famous torch song. But is the same true for legislation? Asks Ashley Crossland

History: Massive Attack
Labour historian Dr Lucy Taksa remembers the general strike of 1917 to put the recent anti-war marches into perspective

Culture: What's Right
Neale Towart looks at a new book that looks at the failings of the Left, while reasserting the liberal project

Review: If He Should Fall
Jim Marr caught Irish folk-rock-punk legend Shane MacGowan at Sydney�s Metro Theatre. He was surprised but not disappointed.

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.

Satire: IMF Ensures Iraq Institutes Market Based Looting
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has agreed to monitor the Iraqi economy to ensure that the reintroduction of looting into the economy conforms with free-market theory.

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Mystery Men Behind Pan Bungle
Pan Pharmaceutical staff didn�t know the men responsible for half of them losing their jobs and the others facing uncertain futures.

AWU delegate, Paula Rich, a 14-year-veteran with the company, revealed that when directors appeared on television in the wake of Australia�s biggest pharmaceuticals recall, it was an eye-opener for most of her workmates. [full story]

Charities Brace for Medicare Backlash
Australian charities are bracing themselves for requests to meet medical bills for the first time in living memory.

That was the stark warning from St Vincent de Paul spokesman, Peter Rigg, as unions, community groups, health professionals, churches and political parties met in Melbourne to organise resistance to John Howard�s latest assault on Medicare. [full story]

Court Throws Out Cole Prosecutions
Another court has delivered a blow to the credibility of the Cole Royal Commission into the Building and Construction Industry.

A Melbourne magistrate has dismissed contempt charges against Victorian CFMEU secretary, Martin Kingham, and awarded costs against the Federal Director of Public Prosecutions. [full story]

Child Actor Dodges Broken Voice
A broken voice has not spelled the end of an emerging star�s participation in the hit musical �Oliver!�, thanks to a union code protecting the interests of child actors.

Fifteen-year-old Benjamin Nicholas was facing the poor house after nature intervened mid-way through the production meaning he could no longer play the pivotal role of Dodger. [full story]

Rio Tinto: $40 Million for Boss, Eviction for Workers
Rio Tinto is attempting to throw five families out of their central Queensland homes and slash health care from retired Utah steelworkers while authorising a $40 million retiremement payout for chairman, Robert Wilson.

More than 2000 Western Australian trade unionists rallied outside the Perth offices of Hammersley Iron demanding a fair go for the miners and steelworkers on May Day before representatives put their cases to shareholders at the nearby AGM of parent company, Rio Tinto. [full story]

Child Care for Oldies Too
Unions have called for a major rethink of aged care policy, with workers responsible for their aging parents requiring the same sort of support that young parents receive through child care.

The call came as more evidence emerged of employer inflexibility in the guise of Dick Smith Electronics, who have thrown two women out of work after refusing to take account of their family responsibilities. [full story]


 Winning Poster Shouts at Freeloaders

 May Day Tragedy Claims Union Lives

 Westfield Cleaners to Down Mops

 Question Marks Over Nursing Home

 Burn Payout Highlights Compo Fears

 Costa Blows Whistle on Canberra Raid

 Hoops Bet on National Body

 Tear Us Down, Buttercup

 Activist Notebook

email workers to a friend latest breaking news from labornet
Our winning May Day poster - by PSA organiser Kayty O'Sullivan

Our May Day message is it�s time to pull off the blinkers and build a movement, not just a bunch of unions struggling to stay afloat.

Snake Oil Jim


The Soapbox
What May Day Means to Me
Reader Marlene McAlear penned this tribue to May Day and worker solidarity.

The Toast
Labor Council secretary John Robertson's toast to the annual May Day dinner in Sydney.

The Locker Room
The Numbers Game
In life there is lies, damned lies and sporting statistics, says Phil Doyle - but who�s counting.

Brukman Evicted
ZNet's Marie Trigona reports from the streets of Argentina in the rundown to last week's presidential election.

The Costs of Excess
Some tall business poppies had their heads lopped this week as the laws of economic gravity applied their always chaotic theory.

LETTERS to the Editor
 Is Labor History?
 Bob Gould Sprays Gerard Henderson
 War and Peace
 A Strange Light
 A Little History
 Does It Have To Be?

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