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Issue No. 191 15 August 2003  

Three Year Itch
The triennial ACTU Congress meeting Melbourne this week comes at the most difficult of times for the union movement, as the horror prospect of seven years of conservative government becomes an ongoing reality.


Interview: The New Deal
US union leader Amy Dean expands on her agenda to give unions a real political voice

Unions: In the Line of Hire
Unions have lobbied and negotiated in a bid to stem casualisation and insecurity. Now, Jim Marr, writes they are seeking protection through a formal Test Case.

Culture: Too Cool for the Collective?
Young people are amongst the most vulnerable in the workforce. So why aren't they joining the union, asks Carly Knowles

International: The Domino Effect
An internal struggle in the biggest and strongest industrial union in Germany IG Metall has had a devastating wave effect across not just that country, but also the rest of Europe, writes Andrew Casey.

Industrial: A Spanner in the Works
Max Ogden looks at the vexed issue of Works Councils and the differing views within the union movement to them.

National Focus: Gathering of the Tribes
Achieving a fairer society and a better working life for employees from across Australia will be key themes at the ACTU's triennial Congress meeting later this month reports Noel Hester.

History: The Welcome Nazi Tourist
Rowan Cahill looks at the role Australia's conservatives played in supporting facism in the days before World War II.

Bad Boss: Domm, Domm Turn Around
Frank Sartor might have shot through but Robert Domm still calls the IR shots at Sydney City which pretty much explains why the council is this month’s Bad Boss nominee.

Poetry: Just Move On.
Visiting bard Maurie Fairfield brightens up our page with a ditty about little white lies.

Review: Reality Bites
The workers, united, may never be defeated but if recent episodes of Channel 10 drama The Secret Life Of Us are to be believed, this is not necessarily a good thing, writes Tara de Boehmler.


 Public Backs Services Over Tax Cuts

 Seafarer Awards – Full Steam Ahead

 Sunnybrand Plucks Workers

 Call Centre Stink Over Time in Loo

 Reynolds Banks on Safety

 Workers To Back League Stars

 Witnesses Line Up for Test Case

 Unfair Legislation Dismissal

 Tax Office "Bites" Its Own

 Bosses Grab Massive Pay Hikes

 IR Staff Walk Over Job Cuts

 Government Kills Manslaughter Bill

 Rail Workers Spitting Mad

 Activists Notebook


The Soapbox
Fighting Words
Craig Emerson gave what could be the most spirited Labor spray in a decade to the NSW Labor Council this month. Here it is in all its venom.

Out of Their Class
Phil Bradley argues that Australia's education system should not be up for negotiation in the global trade talks.

The Locker Room
The ABC of Sport
Phil Doyle argues that the only way to end the corporate madness that is sport, is to give it all back to the ABC.

Locks, Stocks and Barrels
Union Aid Abroad's Peter Jennings updates on the situation in Burma, where the repression of democracy is going from bad to worse.

 Tom’s Tool
 Neighbourhood Watch
 MUA CD Launch
 The Remittance Man
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Letters to the Editor



I'm no public transport lobbyist or protester, but just an ordinary bloke believing that the Government has lost the plot regarding public transport.

Is anyone planning a weekend rally or something on this?

We've heard about the scandals surrounding the safety of rail bridges and the Millennium trains, but the current construction of the Parramatta Rail Link is much worse. Instead of a bridge across the Lane Cove River, which the Government wanted and the minor parties (including the Greens) supported but the Libs opposed, we've got a tunnel being built below the river. It means that there's no station at the UTS campus, meaning that non-northern-side students can't get there quickly, and there's now some 5km of underground track without stations, which is unviable and impractical and, worse still, highly unsafe. The Government should have put down the local zealots (who don't even vote for the Labor Party), as the Greens did, and stuck with a bridge - in capitulating to these windbags, it has acted in the most cowardly and irresponsible manner ever. And the Libs won't do anything - they're hooked to the road lobby like drug addicts. The Government chops down trees in the dead of the night, Bjelke-Petersen-style, to make way for a road tunnel, and is happy to build a road tunnel through Lane Cove, despite the idea that new road tunnels will ease traffic gridlock is an absolute lie. So why won't it clear 2ha of parkland to make way for a non-polluting rail bridge, which even Ian Cohen and Lee Rhiannon have supported? Work that out if you can. And now Bob Carr and friends want to jack up fares for public transport - what a better way to get people back into their cars and increase the gridlock! Thank goodness for Labor MP Paul Gibson and Labor Council bloke John Robertson for speaking out against the Government's stupidity. And what hypocrites the Libs for slamming the Government - they're happy to have more cars on the roads, and they will cut through the Lane Cove National Park to link the M2 and F3 roads, bringing yet more cars, doing more environmental damage than any rail line ever would do. And still on the planned road tunnel through Lane Cove, unless action is taken soon, this absolutely stupid project will start before the end of the year. Somebody has to put a stop to this - now! It's perfectly simple. The Government must stop the tunnel under the Lane Cove River, revert back to a bridge, and restore the UTS station, otherwise the Parramatta Rail Link won't work properly and we'll have another Airport-Link-style white elephant. And if the tunnel developers must be compensated, so be it - remember that work HAD started on the Franklin Dam in Tasmania when the Hawke Government stopped it in 1983 (and no doubt you remember that).

I hope that somebody can do something here about the Government's actions on public transport, and fix up this stupid mess with the Parramatta Rail Link. And whoever does has my support - this ordinary bloke is just a believer in this issue, but sadly a lone voice. Could someone please prove me wrong?

Yours faithfully

WARREN GRZIC, a very concerned and angry observer.


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