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Issue No. 187 18 July 2003  

Hearts, Minds and Other Body Parts
Thanks to advances in technology, workers are being asked to expose more and more of themselves to their employer: their emails, their genes, even their urine.


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


 Authority Shafts Excessive Mine Hours

 Insurance Quiz: Money or the Baby?

 Monk Lined up with Jihad Masters

 Rat in Ranks, Tubner Warns

 Hard Drug Stance Stoned

 Vote Snooping Bosses Out of House

 Termination Battle Hots Up

 US Actors Back Aussie Comrades

 TAFE Students Called to Arms

 Teachers Caught in Family Feud

 Longer Strikes Spark Picket Code

 Max Sets Athens as Airport Standard

 Indigenous First for Construction

 Call Centre Jobs Diverted From Delhi

 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

 Feedback on Feedback
 Sid Einfield Would be Proud
 Tom in the Manger
 Sermon on the Mount
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Monk Lined up with Jihad Masters

What do Osama Bin Laden, Kim Jong-il and Tony Abbott have in common? All have been fingered as clear and present dangers to Australia’s national security.

Shadow Workplace Relations Minister, Craig Emerson, joined Abbott to the list for the “ideological obsession” which has prevented construction of a new mail screening facility at Melbourne’s Tullamarine Airport, designed to protect national borders.

Several large Melbourne construction companies have had bids, initially accepted by Australia Post, thwarted because Abbott objects to enterprise agreements they have negotiated with the CFMEU.

Baulderstone Hornibrook, Multiplex, Hansen Yunken and St Hilliers were all approached to build the security complex before having their tenders rejected by Abbott's office.

Early favoured bidder, Baulderstone Hornibrook, had just completed a much larger Victorian job for Australia Post for which their same EBA had been judged "code compliant". Industry sources say the company only learned it had been rejected when Abbott made the announcement on current affairs show Meet The Press.

According to the Australian Financial Review stunned contractors can't get straight answers from the Minister's office about how their EBAs breach Abbott's code.

The Minister concedes the enterprise bargaining agreements are all legal. He has introduced the code, without reference to Parliament, in a bid to reduce union influence in the industry.

Emerson said Abbott's anti-union "obsession" had compromised the country's security.

"The new facility for Australia Post was scheduled for completion by the end of this month, but Tony Abbott's interference has led to not a sod being turned," Emerson said.

"Several reputable companies have submitted tenders acceptable to Australia Post, but Tony Abbott has prevented the project going ahead merely because the companies have lawful agreements with the CFMEU.

"Yet again, Mr Abbott's divisive approach is damaging Australia's national interest, this time by compromising Australia's border protection regime."

Meanwhile, Abbott has dropped all pretence of impartiality to urge employers to join him in his crusade against the CFMEU.

Abbott flagged building sites crawling with taxpayer-funded industrial policemen in a question and answer session with Property Council members this week.

He said legislation, due in Parliament by September, would boost numbers with Nigel Hadgkiss' Building Industry Task Force, to be known as the Australian Building and Construction Commission (ABCC), by 500 percent.

He suggested 200 officers could be employed with fulltime presences on major city building sites.

The proposal would take taxpayer funding for Abbott's campaign against the CFMEU to well over $100 million. The Cole Commission swallowed up $60 million, and Hadgkiss' 40-strong interim Taskforce has received a $9 million budget for its first year of operation.

CFMEU Victorian secretary, Martin Kingham, accused Abbott of trying to coerce building companies to breach legal agreements with his organisation.

"He is using taxpayer money to try and make them get out of EBA contracts they have signed. That's coercion," Kingham told Workers Online.


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