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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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Museum Jobs Face Extinction

Australian Museum management has offered to fall on its sword after workers battling planned job cuts passed a motion of no confidence in museum executives.

The unexpected support follows requests from the Museum's trustees for more information over the plan to shelve 30 positions, and for management to identify alternative areas for budget cutbacks.

The job cut proposal flies in the face of State Government policy to rejuvenate the museum and the work of John Gale, who is conducting a restructure and review of the museum for the NSW Ministry of Arts' Steering Committee in line with state government policy.

"The staff are really positive about John Gale," says Public Service Association Industrial Officer Kerri Butson who is looking to meet with the Ministry of Arts and the museum's trustees in the near future to achieve a better outcome than the one currently facing museum staff. "The issue for us is the proposed budget strategies."

A meeting in August of PSA members employed at the museum passed a unanimous vote of no confidence in the museum's current executive. The museum's executive had proposed the job cuts as a solution to a budget shortfall that staff accuse management of being aware of but not making allowances for.

The proposed job cuts come on top of losses in a previous restructure that saw 12% of the Museum's total workforce slashed. At that time museum staff were told that the restructure would ensure the viability of all remaining positions and the continued health of the museum.

The cuts will have an impact on the museum's ability to mount exhibitions and is reported to be affecting staff morale.

"Staff believe that, because of poor management strategies, they are again to going to have to pay the price with their jobs," says Burtson.

Burtson met with the museum's trustees to recommend that the current executive be replaced, a position that the current executive also shared. The trustees, who will meet next week, have made no decision on the future of the executives.

The Museum's controversial director, Mike Archer has been accused of not responding to staff concerns.


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