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Issue No. 184 27 June 2003  

To the Victors The Spoils
Revelations that private American lawyers, rather than the ILO, will rewrite the labour laws of countries levelled by the American military vindicate the warnings of those concerned by US unilateralism.


History: Nest of Traitors
Rowan Cahill uncovers a ripping yarn that could redefine the way we look at Australian involvement in World War II.

Interview: A Nation of Hope
Former PM Bob Hawke bemoans the demise of industrial relations but takes heart from the prospect of peace in the Middle East

Unions: National Focus
Noel Hester reports on a soap star rebellion, Howard’s plans to renuclearise South Australia, more historical atrocities in the north, the redundancy test case plus more in the monthly national wrap.

Safety: The Shocking Truth
It’s every power worker’s worst nightmare – and it happened to Adrian Ware. In a flash of voltage, his life changed forever, as Jim Marr reports.

Tribute: A Comrade Departed
From Prime Ministers to wharfies, the labour movement paid tribute to Tas Bull this week. Jim Marr was among them.

History: Working Bees
Neale Towart looks at a group of workers who got sacked so their boss could keep making the Bomb.

Education: The Big Picture
The NTEU’s Dr Mike Donaldson and Tony Brown join all the dots in the current debate around higher eduction.

International: Static Labour
Ray Marcelo argues there’s another side to the recent furore over Telstra’s use of cheap Indian IT contractors.

Economics: Budget And Fudge It
Frank Stilwell argues that Peter Costello’s latest budget plumbs fiscal policy to new depths.

Technology: Google and Campaigning
Labourstart’s Eric Lee argues the latest weapon for campaigning could be the humble search engine.

Review: Secretary With A Difference
Looking for a new job can be hard enough, without having to worry about sadomasochistic bosses and the threat of being spanked for forgetting to cross your ‘t’s, says Tara de Boehmler.

Poetry: The Minimale
The Labor Party leadership is in the news again, inspiring our resident bard David Peetz to song

Satire: Howard Calls for Senate to be Replaced by Clap-O-Meter
John Howard released a controversial policy statement today, arguing that the Senate be abolished in favour of a device measuring noise from the gallery of the House of Representatives.


 Rail Chaos Looms

 Electrolux Blows Fuse at Fundraiser

 ACM Loosens Handcuff on Democracy

 Sick Call on Mum’s Job

 Now For Industrial Shock and Awe

 Brian Miller – Working Class Hero

 Dynamite: Howard Handout for Rorters

 Family Case to Nurture Mothers

 Militants Lock Out Another 600

 Tipping the Turtle – Fijian Style

 Carr Goes Private

 Wages Blemish Sound Budget

 Westie Takes On Westfield ‘Hypocrisy’

 Eleventh Hour Reprieve for Women's Centre

 Activist Notebook


It’s Our Party
Long time union watcher Nicholas Way looks at the changing dynamics between the industrial and political wings of the labour movement.

The Soapbox
Grass Roots
In his Maiden Speech, new MP Tony Burke argues that the ALP’s union links are nothing to be ashamed of.

Opinion Forming Down Under
Evan Jones condemns the mainstream’s media coverage of the War on Iraq and the damage it is doing to our national psyche.

The Locker Room
Location, Re-Location!
It’s all fun and games until someone loses a club, writes Phil Doyle

 In Defence of Cuba
 The Story in General
 Thinking of America
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Brian Miller – Working Class Hero

Building workers are organising a big farewell for one of their number who wore Cole Commission criticisms of his safety activity as a badge of honour.

Brian Miller, a carpenter by trade, became a building industry legend, respected by workers and employers, for his refusal to compromise over workplace safety. He died in Sydney on Tuesday.

When the $60 million Royal Commission, fixated by attempts to halt workplace injuries and deaths, came to town it was inevitable Miller's work would fall under its spotlight.

"The building industry is a dangerous place but Brian's tireless work made it considerably less dangerous than when he started. It's fair to say that Brian Miller's work saved many lives," CFMEU state secretary, Andrew Ferguson, said.

Miller died in Sydney on Tuesday after a long and courageous battle with cancer.

In more than 40 years as a union activist and official, Miller played leading roles in all building worker campaigns of the modern era. He cut his teeth as a site delegate in the 1960s before being elected a fulltime BWIU official in 1973.

Breakthroughs like portable long service leave, the 38 hour week, superannuation, redundancy and licensing of the demolition industry were some of the campaigns he threw his energy into.

Peace and volunteer work were other areas he made his mark in. He was a long-standing peace activist, a driving force behind 150 Sydney building sites - Darling Harbour, the QVB and the Entertainment Centre amongst them - voting to declare themselves peace sites.

He organised volunteer building workers from around the state to assist in the reconstruction of Darwin after Cyclone Tracy, and backed up when floods ravaged Nyngan and bushfires tore through Sydney more than 20 years later.

Miller, though, was Mr Safety. He finished his career with the CFMEU as its safety co-ordinator and more than 500 people, from all sections of the building industry, packed a tribute dinner at Souths Leagues Club, last month.

He was the first recipient of Labor Council's occupational health and safety liftetime achievement award that now bears his name.

"Brian was highly respected by workers and employers in the building industry," Ferguson said. "But, when he went onto a site, there was never any doubt about whose interests he was acting in. For that reason he was feared by developers and builders and we make no apology for that."

Ferguson recalled his own survival strategy, starting out as a 22-year-old city organiser. He said he would tell employers Miller was waiting around the corner or, if they didn't do the right thing, that he would call Miller in.

"I did that for the first two years of my career and it worked," Ferguson admitted.

Comrades, family and friends will farewell Miller at a 10am service at Sydney's Convention Centre on Tuesday. Several building sites around the city have already voted to shut down so workers can attend his send off.


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