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Issue No. 188 25 July 2003  
E D I T O R I A L

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.

F E A T U R E S

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

N E W S

 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

C O L U M N S

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.

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

L E T T E R S
 The New Globalism
 Does This Make Me a Raving Trot?
 More on Bullies
 And More …
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News

The Stack Goes On


Anti-worker activist Colin Thatcher has been appointed to the Australian Industrial Relations Commission, sparking charges of partisanship against Workplace Relations Minister Tony Abbott.

Thatcher cut his IR teeth as a mandarin ushering in controversial changes in NSW, West Australia and Queensland. He was given credit for the WA regime, described in the Murdoch press as the country’s "most draconian".

He went to Canberra, serving under Peter Reith in the lead-up to the Federal Government's 1998 showdown with the MUA, and was appointed assistant director of the Business Council of Australia.

Thatcher was, most recently, secretary to the Cole Commission into the Building and Construction Industry.

In that capacity, he confirmed to the Senate the Commission was receiving information from wire taps, and raced to Sydney to interview a builder who had publicly questioned the Commissioner's credibility on occupational health and safety.

Subsequent to the Thatcher interview, the builder withdrew claims that struck at the credibility of a Commissioner who would go on to make hundreds of findings against construction industry unions.

Since Abbott took over the Workplace Relations Ministry only two of 16 appointments to the commission have come from worker backgrounds.

Just before the last Federal election he appointed gung-ho Telstra IR boss, Rob Cartwright, responsible for a unprecedented campaign of job shedding and contracting out at Australia's most profitable company.

Thatcher has been appointed to take the place of former TWU secretary, John O'Connor, breaking with the tradition of replacing worker-oriented commissioners with others from similar backgrounds.

The Thatcher appointment drew immediate fire from Labor Party Workplace Relations spokesman, Craig Emerson, and ACTU president Sharan Burrow.

Ms Burrow said it was "outrageous" that Abbott should appoint people as commissioners who were on the record opposing the judicial role and authority of the IRC.


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