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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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Labor for Refugees



Activists Notebook


Public Conference, 9.30am-4.00pm, June 7. Room 430, UTS Tower, Broadway, Entry by donation, Disabled Access

Keynote Speaker: Verity Burgmann

Writer on Australian social movements, from the University of Melbourne: Power, profit and protest: Australian social movements and globalization, Allen and Unwin, 2003; Green Bans, Red Union: Environmental Activism and the New South Wales Builders Labourers' Federation, with Meredith Burgmann, University of NSW Press, 1998; Power and Protest: movements for change in Australian society, Allen and Unwin, 1993,


9.30-10.00am, Registration /

10.00-11.00am Keynote lecture /

11.30-1.30 Parallel presentations /

2.00-3.30 Parallel presentations /

3.30-4.00 Wrapping up/

More Information:

UTS Research Initiative in Intrernational Activism, James Goodman 9514 2714

For papers from Social Movements in Action 2002, see:

Cameron Oxley Debate

Address for the first exchange is and the questionnaire is at

Subject: Should Australia have a Free Trade Agreement with the US? What do you think?

Hoping to organise one of these around executive pay.


Labor for Refugees

World Refugee Day is about 4 weeks away. The colour posters are now available from Labor Council and help would be appreciated in getting the leaflets and posters out and about. Posters can be picked up from Labor Council between 9-5 on weekdays (a few can be mailed out if you live far away from the CBD).

If you can organise members of your branch or union to do some train station leafleting that would be excellent. You could also organise for your union and branch to meet together on the day and march with Labor for Refugees. Labor for Refugees will be meeting at the south side of the Archibald Fountain next to the row of trees. A leaflet is also attached in case you have access to photocopying facilities.

2003 National Conference on Unemployment

This year marks CofFEE's 5th Path to Full Employment Conference and the 10th National Conference on Unemployment.

The anniversary conference will be held concurrently on the 10-12 December 2003 at the University of Newcastle.

A number of themes have been identified for the conference including: welfare to work issues; macroeconomic policy;

regional and environmental issues; the future of work; and globalisation.

We are pleased to already announce two of the keynote speakers:

Professor Barry Bluestone, the Stearns Trustee Professor of Political Economy and director of the Center for Urban and Regional Policy at Northeastern University in Boston, Massachusetts; and

The Rev Tim Costello, a leading voice on issues such as urban poverty, homelessness, problem gambling, unemployment and reconciliation, Minister at Collins St Baptist Church Melbourne and the Director of Urban Seed.

Please note that the call for papers is underway until 15 June. Abstracts should be submitted to [email protected]

Further details are available at the Conference homepage:


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