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Issue No. 188 25 July 2003  

Solidarity Gets Sexy
Here’s an image of modern trade unionism: articulate soap stars gives evidence to Senate inquiry into free trade; young IT workers pressure the government to get Big Brother out of the workplace and strapping young footballers join the union to take on the might of Murdoch’s NRL.


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


 Gloves Off Over Workers’ Rights

 Win for Victims of Rio Tinto "Blood Sport"

 League Players Join Union Team

 The Stack Goes On

 Trolley Rort Gathers Pace

 Allende Comes to Fairfield

 Vale Ernie Razborsek

 Kodak Chops Workers from Picture

 Stool Lady’s Stand Vindicated

 Nurses Seek Work-Based Elder Care

 Aussie Stars Buck Trade Off

 High Tech Pokies Threaten Jobs

 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

 The New Globalism
 Does This Make Me a Raving Trot?
 More on Bullies
 And More …
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Gloves Off Over Workers’ Rights

Federal Labor has identified Workplace Relations Minister Tony Abbott as a Coalition weak link and will accommodate his desire to lift trade union relevance up the national agenda.

Shadow Workplace Relations spokesman, Craig Emerson, labeled Abbott a "mad right wing lunatic" and "obsessive ideologue" in a stirring address to NSW Labor Council this week.

Emerson pledged Labor would go toe-to-toe with Abbott over every piece of workplace legislation introduced to Federal Parliament.

"Our approach will be if it (legislation) comes from Tony Abbott it will be bad and it will be anti-worker," Emerson said.

"He is the high priest of the new right. Every word he utters and every breath he breathes is anti-worker."

Emerson said a Federal Labor administration would reject Abbott's campaign to strip workers rights by modeling a national workplace regime on the co-operative system operating in NSW.

He said NSW offered a climate, fairer to both workers and employers.

"We don't see employers rushing down to Melbourne or Adelaide to set up businesses because the system here works well for everybody," Emerson said.

Labor would, he promised, build on the NSW legislative base by adding family friendly regulations and legislating to restore the rights of casuals, already stripped away by Abbott or his predecessor Peter Reith.

Other Emerson priorities included fighting the Termination of Employment Bill, currently before legislators, and restoring powers to the Industrial Relations Commission.

He likened the current industrial relations landscape to a footy match in which administrators had loaded the dice against one team.

"This Federal Government has openly sided with one team," Emerson said. "One side has to stand back 10m but the other only has to stand back 5m, one team is allowed to get away with stiff arm tackles and the other isn't.

"Worse still, one side has to follow the rules and the rules, themselves, are set down by the other side."

Labor Council secretary, John Robertson, welcomed the new approach.

He said Abbott's ideological fervour made him a potential political embarrassment.

"On the Morris McMahon picketline he was exposed for not even understanding his own legislation," Robertson said.

"Someone prepared to take it up to Abbott will expose him, not just as a fraud but as an incompetent Minister."


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