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Issue No. 185 04 July 2003  

A Recipe for Conflict
Without making any excuses, Tony Abbott�s hand wringing at this week�s airing of a secret video of picket line violence was a bit like watching Don King condemn boxing.


Interview: As They Say In The Bible ...
One the movement�s great characters, Public Service Association general secretary Maurie O�Sullivan, is calling it a day. He looks back on his career with Workers Online.

Industrial: Just Doing It
Sportswear giant, Nike, is the first company to sign off on an agreement that purports to protect Australian clothing workers, wherever they labour, writes Jim Marr.

Unions: Breaking Into the Boys Club
For a 23-year-old woman who has never worked in the trade, recruiting young construction apprentices into the union has its challenges, reports Carly Knowles.

Activists: Making the Hard Yards
Mal Cochrane came to the smoke as part of an Aboriginal avalanche that redefined the face of Rugby League. Today, he serves his community through the trade union movement.

Bad Boss: In the Pooh
What do you give a boss who makes his workers labour in raw sewage? A nomination for the Tonys.

Unions: National Focus
In the national wrap Noel Hester finds a Victorian Misso delo who is redistributing lucre from Eddie McGuire into workers� theatre, South Australian unions taking that Let�s Get Real stuff seriously, an American unionist fronts up at a distinguished �meeting of the brains� in Adelaide and a look at the line up for ACTU Congress.

Economics: Pop Will Eat Itself
Dick Bryan wonders if we can be insured against pop economists promising financial nirvana as well as financial market instability.

Technology: Dean for President
Paul Smith looks at how the internet is helping one Democrat candidate to the front of the primary pack

International: Rangoon Rumble
Union Aid Abroad's Marj O'Callaghan looks at Australia's weak response to developments in Burma.

Education: Blackboard Jungle
Lifelong learning shouldn�t mean cutting jobs, but that's exactly what the Carr Government is proposing, argues Tony Brown

Review: From Weakness to Strength
Labor Council crime-fighter Chris Christodoulou catches up with his boyhood hero, the Incredible Hulk

Poetry: Downsized
Resident bard David Peetz pens the song the Industrial Relations Commission needed to hear


 Aussie Workers Cradle-Snatched

 Morris McMahon Workers Say Thanks

 Violence: Emerson Fingers Abbott

 Cowboys Face Contracts Ban

 TUTA Rises From the Ashes

 Teased Teachers Fight Back

 Labor Fails TAFE Test

 Coke Called on to Stop the Rot

 Bridgestone Drops Doughnut on Workers

 AIRC Locked in Dark Ages

 Maternity Breakthrough in Hotels

 Labour Rights: Even Bush is Better!

 Long Winter for Seasonal Workers

 Activist Notebook


The Soapbox
Cleaning Up
Rabbi Laurie Coskey from San Diego adds her voice to the global campaign for just for cleaners in Westfield malls.

The Locker Room
The Name In The Game
In an age of the sportsperson as celebrity it seems that names are overtaking the games, writes Phil Doyle.

The Beach
Southern Thailand�s terrorist activities: facts or fiction asks HT Lee

 A Tribute to Brian Miller
 Orange Peel
 After the Accident
 Cuba - the Debate Continues
 Old Ted
 Greetings from Japan
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Violence: Emerson Fingers Abbott

Tony Abbott must take some responsibility for picketline violence, such as that at Morris McMahon, according to his new Workplace Relations shadow, Craig Emerson.

In his first week as Labor�s Workplace Relations spokesman, Emerson lashed Abbott�s handling of the portfolio as partisan, out of touch, and ideologically-driven.

"I don't condone violence but sometimes emotions boil over. We should be seeking to avoid conflict of that sort and a good way to do that is to offer a vehicle for resolution, rather than allowing emotions to get hotter and hotter," Emerson said.

"That dispute lasted 15 weeks and Tony Abbott's went in and inflamed it. That seems to be his role in life. He rings up bosses where there is a dispute and either eggs them on, or urges them to continue the dispute.

"Tony Abbott is the Minister for Conflict and Confrontation. I would be the Minister for Co-operation and that is a better option for workers and employers."

Emerson gave the car industry as a "classic" example of the Abbott approach. He pointed out the Federal Government had urged employers to take a hard line against workers or lose millions of dollars in industry support.

"They made the threat very, very clear," Emerson said.

He argued that the confrontational approach was inevitable because the Federal Government had deliberately enterered Australian workers into a wages and conditions "race to the bottom' against South East Asian counterparts, that they could not win.

That policy, he says, is entirely dependent on stripping workers of bargaining power. Hence, the downgrading of the IRC as an indendent umpire and reduction of collective bargaining rights.

Abbott's Termination of Employment Bill, he said, had the same rationale, making it easier for employers to sack people and workers less secure.

Labor, he pledged, would take the opposite tack, increasing funds for training and education so Australia could compete at the top end of the market as a high-skills, high-wage, player.

He said unions should be dealt back into the main game as principal players in 21st Century Australia.

Emerson expressed confidence in the leadership provided by ACTU secretary, Greg Combet, and president, Sharan Burrow, predicting he would work co-operatively, and productively, with both.


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