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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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Activists Notebook

A Saharawi Woman Speaks Out in Australia

In May/June 2003 a representative of the Saharawi people, Fatima Mahfoud, will visit Australia and New Zealand to tell the story of the Western Sahara conflict from a Saharawi woman's point of view. She will share her experiences of life in the refugee camps where her people have been living in unbearable conditions for 26 years whilst their families remain trapped in the territories occupied by Morocco where they suffer human rights abuses. It is the first time a Saharawi woman has visited Australia.

UN Referendum

Fatima is visiting Australia to explain the history of the conflict in Western Sahara and to raise awareness of the crucial need for a UN-brokered referendum. There are strong parallels between the East Timorese and the plight of the people of Western Sahara who are still waiting for their referendum.

Hear Fatima speak:

Sydney Uni Centre for Peace & Conflict Studies

10 June 12.30 - 2.00 pm

Public Meeting at Sydney Trades Hall, 10 June from 6 - 7 pm Politics in the Pub on Friday 13 June, 6 - 7.45 pm

Further information

n Find out about the Australian tour:

n Email: [email protected] or [email protected]

n Phone: Lesley Osborne: (02) 9810 5372 or Paul Reid 0407 242 092

n Contact Cate Lewis 03 9489 4007 about the Melbourne part of the tour

Find out more:


A discussion by participants and witnesses about 1956 and the impact of Nikita Kruschev's "secret speech" upon Australian communists.

Speakers are Bob Walshe, Eric Aarons, Elaine Bryant, Bob Gould.

Venue: PSU House, Level 7, 191 Thomas Street, Sydney

Time: 2-5pm Sunday, May 18.

Organised by the Sydney Branch, Australian Society for the Study of Labour History.

All welcome.

Inquiries to Julie (02) 9557 8097.


Juanita Nielsen Memorial Lecture

Wednesday 21 May 2003

6.15 pm for 6.30 pm start

Jubilee Room, Parliament House

Macquarie St, Sydney

Guest Speaker: Maree O'Halloran

President, NSW Teachers Federation

Maree O'Halloran will deliver this year's Juanita Nielsen Memorial Lecture, focusing on Aboriginal education. Maree is a strong campaigner for social justice and an advocate for public education.

Introduction: Dr Rae Francis, Australian historian

Rae will speak about the significance of the Green Bans era and Juanita's contribution.

Chair: Soraya Kassim, community development worker

Juanita Nielsen, publisher of the independent paper Now and active campaigner against high-rise development in Kings Cross, disappeared in July 1975. Her murderers were never brought to justice. The investigation was reopened last year. The circumstances of her disappearance remain unresolved but it is commonly believed that she was murdered because of her stand for the environment and the rights of low income residents.

Organised by Greens MP Lee Rhiannon

RSVP - (02) 9239 3551

or [email protected]




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