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Issue No. 180 30 May 2003  

Headless Nation
So the Governor-General has voted himself out of the Big House, recognising that his capacity to discharge his duties as Head of State had been fatally compromised by the skeletons in his Yarralumla closet.


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.


 Sanitarium Casts Democracy into Hell’s Fire

 Mouse that Roared

 Abbott: Look After Number One

 Entitlements Revamp – Acid on States

 Strong Stuff – Commission Star in Court

 Think Before You Drink

 Maritime Hero Takes Final Journey

 All Ding but No Gong

 Aged Care in Terminal Condition

 Strathfield Joins War on Shonks

 AMWU Returns to the Fold

 Green Jobs In Offing

 Register for Action

 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.

 Language Most Foul
 Unions Deserve Reputation
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Maritime Hero Takes Final Journey

Tas Bull, former general secretary of the Waterside Workers' Federation, died at his Sydney home last Thursday.

A seafarer, waterside worker, socialist and union activist, Bull was elected a WWF official in 1967, becoming general secretary in 1984, a position he held until his retirement in December, 1992.

He was also appointed vice president of the ACTU in 1987 and senior vice president in 1991 as well as representing the Asia Pacific region on the executive board of the International Transport Workers' Federation for 10 years.

While retiring from the union, Bull did not retire from the struggle, distinguishing himself as chairperson of the ACTU organising works program, the ACTU overseas aid agency, Apheda, and as president of Cuban Children's Fund. He celebrated his 70th birthday in Havana, Cuba, with friends and comrades last year.

Bull wrote two books - "On the Waterfront" released during the Patrick dispute, and "Politics in the Union" on the 1950s Hursey dispute.

Born in Tasmania, he went to sea the age of 14 on British and Scandinavian ships joining the Seamen's Union in 1954 after his return to Australia four years later.

His first industrial battles were fought during the waterfront strikes of 1954 and 1956 when, as a seafarer, he assisted local WWF strike activity in Port Pirie and Hobart. He then joined the waterfront and the WWF in 1956.

Bull was influential in the decision to amalgamate the WWF and the Seamen's Union of Australia into the Maritime Union of Australia.

Bull is survived by wife Carmen and his two sons Peder and Anders.

Maritime workers, family, comrades and friends will gather at 8 Darling Harbour, Hickson Rd, Sydney at 10.30am next Tuesday. The procession will march behind the funeral car down the Hungry Mile, joining buses to the funeral at the Northern Suburbs Crematorium, Delhi Rd, North Ryde, at noon.

Bull and his family have requested no flowers, asking that donations in lieu be made to Apheda's Cuban Children's project.


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