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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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HR Honours Death List Author

The HR Nicholls Society has presented a medal to a Perth building magnate being investigated by police after boasting of drawing up a hit list of 30 trade unionists.

The ultra-Right organisation honoured Len Buckeridge with its Charles Copeman Medal, struck to commemorate the antics of a New Right activist and Robe River strikebreaker, for “services to industrial reform”.

Buckeridge joins the architect of the Howard Government's industrial relations policy and phone card rorter, Peter Reith, as a recipient of the medal.

In his speech to the society, Buckeridge whose companies turn over hundreds of millions of dollars annually, confirmed he had drawn up the death list. He claimed it came in response to having been threatened by "a sub-normal little thug".

Buckeridge also confirmed he had been placed on a two-year good behaviour bond after being charged with assaulting a union activist. He attributed that reverse to "some left wing magistrate".

But once he warmed to his audience he moved beyond building unions to attack the Maritime Union and its former secretary John Coombs whom Buckeridge labelled an "evil little thug".

Buckeridge had stood to benefit from Reith's 1996 attempt to break the MUA but joined the collateral damage as maritime workers rallied public support for their cause.

"Unfortunately the state government went to water and left me holding an empty bag and if you think about it," he said, "this merry band of thugs has held Australia to ransom from during World War II to the present day."

Back in the real world, in a Perth court today, Buckeridge had his latest attempt to sideline the CFMEU dismissed by a judge as a "misuse of process".

The case stemmed from a crane toppling over on one of his sites and landing on a bobcat. When assistant union secretary, Joe McDonald, and organiser, Cam McCulloch, tried to speak with the bobcat driver and union member they were denied access.

The company then gained AVOs against the pair without the union being notified of the hearing. It was an attempt to extend those orders across the Buckeridge group that the judge took exception to today. He also lifted the original order.

MP and former lawyer, John Quigley, and the CFMEU have both lodged official complaints with police over Buckeridge's 30-person hit list.

"We take it very seriously," CFMEU WA branch secretary Kevin Reynolds confirmed.

Reynolds called on both the state and federal governments not to do business with Buckeridge.

"It is wrong for governments of any colour to reward a man who admits he has been involved in conspiracy to murder," Reynolds said.

Asked if he believed his name was on Buckeridge's list, Reynold said he would be "bloody disappointed" if it wasn't.


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