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Issue No. 177 09 May 2003  

Joining The Dots
ACTU secretary Greg Combet’s call for unions to develop a clear set of values to organise around on a broader social canvass is an important next step in the process of renewal.


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.


 Combet Calls On Unions to Muscle Up

 HR Honours Death List Author

 Hotel Workers Trump Living Wage

 Abbott Brushes Security Concerns

 Rebates Thorn in Medicare Side

 Bosses Infected With SARS Hysteria

 Entitlements: Bargaining Chip Ploy Fails

 Nelson Plan Faces Higher Hurdle

 Public To Pay For Patrick Closure

 Airline Ratbags Bigger Than Texas

 Credibility Crisis for World Bank

 Acid on Billion Dollar Banks

 CSIRO Budget Fears

 Activists Notebook


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.

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Letters to the Editor

The Workers Press

It is heartening to see your editorial advocating that the Labor movement seriously support a Labor press: "A workers'

press to challenge the dominant vehicle of the bosses through the Tele, the Fin and the new neo-con daily, The Australian."

I recently sent the following email to over 600 members of the ACT ALP, and the response has been overwhelmingly positive - be sure to visit the links at the bottom...

[ Note to the editor: The veracity of Cash for Comment document can be proven on request if necessary ]

Email about News Ltd to ACT ALP members

Date: Fri, 25 Apr 2003 13:14:50 +1000

From: Alex Pollard

Lincoln Wright's article on the frontpage of the Canberra times (25/4) has drawn attention to an as yet undiscussed cause for the current leadership problems.

I've sent this email to you, as fellow ACT ALP members, because neither our political leadership nor the bulk of the media wants to explore this urgent issue.

On February 19 Michelle Grattan commented on AM that there is a media campaign against Simon Crean.

In response to an email I sent to him concerning this article,

asking "Will you please identify which major news organisation is behind this campaign, and what this has to do with its CEO's position on the War in Iraq?" Shaun Carney of the Age noted that I had "joined up the dots pretty well." Rupert Murdoch's News Ltd has been strongly and openly supportive of Bush's War in Iraq.

Then there was this News Poll in The Australian comparing Crean to Beazley as preferred leader. In the absence of any challengers, News Ltd now has to resurrect an old friend of Tony Blair.

News Ltd dominates newspaper circulation in Australia, controlling the best-selling daily in every capital city except Perth and Canberra. This gives News Ltd the power to set the news agenda every day, across Australia.

News Ltd is part of the Rupert Murdoch's global News Corp media empire. Napoleon-like, Murdoch expands his empire ceaselessly. His strong backing for Bush's War in Iraq, via his US newspapers and the infamous Fox News Channel, will very likely see News Corp gain regulatory approval to take

control of US satellite television.,7558,896864,00.html,7493,935101,00.html

Here in Australia, the major media players are staying on the Government's side in the hope of ripping up the cross-media laws. The laws prevent Murdoch from gaining control of a free-to-air network in addition to his


If Simon Crean is deposed, political pundits will likely declare that it is politically fatal to oppose Australian participation in America's imperial wars of conquest. It would be harder to gain Australian political independence from future US-led wars. Lincoln Wright's article hints at the unpleasant possibility that the US Embassy is somehow involved. But without News Ltd, the US Embassy would be impotent.

News Ltd would also be sending a very strong message to all Australian parliamentarians: Don't get in our way. More than ever, Australian politics would be played out strictly within the narrow parameters set by News Ltd and other major media. How much more chronic tedium which ignores real issues can we put up with from the Canberra Press Gallery?

The Australian Labor movement needs to recognise that News Ltd is our enemy just as much as the Liberal-National Coalition is. We must unambiguously target News Ltd as the most influential proponent of both socially destructive policies, and also Australia's participation in an illegal war of aggression. In the short term, we need to rein in News Ltd's unlimited hubris.

Australian democracy can not remain the plaything of a powerful clique of ruthless unelected media hacks.

No Labor parliamentarians or officials need endorse a campaign against News Ltd. Obviously it would be better if they stayed out of it. Any such campaign would have to be the work of Labor's ordinary members. That's why I've sent

you this email.

Please send me any ideas, feedback and skepticism you have about such a campaign.

Alex Pollard

P.S. To get a sense of how News Ltd thinks, have a read of some of their internal documents:


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