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Issue No. 194 05 September 2003  

Relatively Speaking
At its heart, political debate has always been a struggle between competing views about how a society should organise itself to maximise the benefits for the majority of its citizens.


Interview: Crowded Lives
Labor frontbencher Lindsay Tanner talks us through his new book on the importance of relationships and why politics is letting the people down.

Activists: Life With Brian
Work by men like Brian Fitzpatrick is exposing new Australians to old truths. Jim Marr reports

Industrial: National Focus
A showdown looms in Cancun, Qantas gets bolshie, casual and lazy in its response to aviation challenges, and long festering disputes fester on in Victoria and Tasmania reports Noel Hester in this national wrap.

Unions: If These Walls Could Talk
Trades Hall is preparing for a major facelift but first, Jim Marr reports, it must bid farewell to the colourful bunch who have populated its dusty corridors in recent years.

Economics: Beating the Bastards
Frank Stilwell looks at some of the proposals for building a fairer finance sector.

Media: Three Corners
So its come to this. Four Corners, one of the world's longest running television programs is now under pressure from an ABC Executive that is less cultural visionary than feral abacus.

History: The Brisbane Line
Percy Spender was Menzies' foreign minister, but, Neale Towart asks, was he also prepared to serve as Prime Minister in a Japanese controlled Australia?

Trade: The Dumping Problem
Oxfam-CAA helps set the scene for this month's World Trade Organisation in Cancun.

Review: Frankie's Way
In The Night We Called It A Day Frank Sinatra learns 'sorry' Down Under is a loaded word and refusal to say it when due will lose fans in important places, writes Tara de Boehmler.


 Truckies Tip Safety on AGM Floor

 Geelong Lockout Claims Family Homes

 Aussie Labour Laws Fail US Test

 No Accident � Insurance Dough Rises

 Union Mum Wins

 Rheem Runs Cold On Entitlements

 Unions Take It Up for Footballers

 Drug Boss Fails Workers

 Ministers Urged to Take Responsibility

 Museum Jobs Face Extinction

 Less News And More Of It

 Legal Costs Threaten Access

 Learning for Life

 Activists Notebook


The Soapbox
Staking Our Territory
ACTU secretary Greg Combet argued for a fairer Australia in his keynote address to last month's ACTU Congress.

The Locker Room
Seasonally Agisted
Spring is a season when a person�s thoughts turn to�horse racing. Phil Doyle reports on the fate of nags and folk heroes.

Beyond the Block
We are wild about the people who live in The Block but not too interested in those who are on the streets outside, writes Michael Rafferty.

The Westie Wing
Workers friend Ian West MLC, reports form the Bearpit about a project to raise awareness about trade unionism amongst young people.

The Awkward Squad
Paul Smith meets one of the new generation of British union leaders who is taking the ball up to the Blair spin team.

 Lyon Roars
 Spicey and Tart
 Tony and Pauline
 PNG Bags Plastic
 Fighting Words Craig Emerson
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Truckies Tip Safety on AGM Floor

Truck drivers doubling as shareholder activists will put health and safety fears before the AGM of a publicly-listed concrete company, already facing fines and Supreme Court action over its OH&S record.

Boral owner-driver, Dudley Wellard, unveiled the ground-breaking campaign to NSW Labor Council delegates, inviting other workers to turn up at an opening barbecue outside the Australian Stock Exchange, next Wednesday morning.

While many unions have bought into share registers in a bid to put workers concerns before investors, few have done the preparation work of TWU members at Boral.

The 115 owner drivers, facing Supreme Court action over industrial action in support of contract negotiations, bought shares in the company and formed their own ginger group, Boral Ethical Shareholders.

With the TWU handling industrial strategy, Boral Ethical Shareholders took on corporate adviser, Michael Walsh, who publishes Ethical Investor magazine.

Walsh has helped drivers get seven resolutions onto the agenda of the company's October 21 AGM. They relate to health and safety standards, and executive remuneration, including a call for directors' remuneration to be removed from the company's management team and placed in the hands of shareholders voting at AGMs.

Wellard said health and safety was a key issues for drivers because Boral's practice did not match its theory.

"In our concrete plants we conducted a safety audit of every plant in Sydney and found Boral's safety policy was not being implemented because sufficient funds had not been allocated or processes for genuine consultation were not in place," Wellard said.

"While Boral has won awards for its reporting we believe there is a problem with implementing its policies. In the past month alone, it has been fined $200,000 for breaches of the OHS Act and a driver in Victoria has won the right to sue the company for the skins cancers he developed."

TWU secretary, Tony Sheldon, opened the door to other Boral unions, saying his organisation would speak with representatives of other workers over the next couple of months in a bid to present a united front to shareholders at their AGM.


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