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Issue No. 196 19 September 2003  

A Secret Country
So Tony Abbott has tabled his legislation to crush the CFMEU, while refusing to release the secret volume of the Royal Commission on which the recommendations are based.


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.


 Cole Skeletons Shake Monk

 Abbott Flags Move On Nurses

 Workplace Bullies Leave Three Dead

 People’s Bank Scraps People

 Left-Right Combo Drops Motorway Boss

 Free Wally - Movie Offer

 Detention for Minister Who Praised Scabs

 Cancun Flop Spurs Local Stars

 Public Sector: Cuts and Thrusts

 Medicare Cuts Take Cake

 Beating Around The Bush

 Other Half Lives It Up

 Anderson Ducks Mudgee Bill

 Deaf, Blind and Looking For Friends

 Filipino Vote Call

 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.

 Freedom from Choice
 Free Art
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Cancun Flop Spurs Local Stars

The failure of global trade talks has given new urgency to the campaign by Australian performers to protect local cultural content rules.

The Free 2B Australian campaign, run by the Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance (MEAA), fears that the breakdown in WTO talks will give added impetus to the US-Australia bilateral treaty.

Under the proposed Free Trade Agreement government support and subsidy for the Australian media, entertainment and arts industry is under threat.

This means local content provisions on television for drama, comedy, documentaries, children's programs and commercials could become illegal.

Local content provisions for radio which provide airplay for Australian acts and cross media ownership rules which stop the monopolisation of our media would also be open to challenge, as would direct government subsidy for theatre, dance, film and the ABC and SBS.

MEAA state secretary Jonathon Mill says it's crunchtime for the Free to be Australian campaign. "The disturbing word on the street is that the government is going to cave in on previous commitments and consider a proposal on standstill," Mill says.

The Alliance is organising a rally at the Sydney Opera House in the Studio on Monday 6 October at 11am - days before a government decision is expected.

Cancun An opportunity Lost

Meanwhile, the ACTU says the failure of the World Trade Organisation's talks in Cancun, Mexico, represents a lost opportunity for a fairer international trading system.

ACTU President Sharan Burrow, who attended non-government talks at the WTO Ministerial meeting in Cancun, says the intransigence of European and United States negotiators on the issue of agricultural subsidies made a new agreement impossible.

"The failure to agree on a framework for agricultural reform has also cost any agreement on other important issues including labour and environment standards and the social impact of globalisation," Burrow says.

"When confronted with a strong negotiating block of developing nations in the G21, the US and Europe were not prepared to compromise.

"Farm industries and employees in Australia and in poor and developing nations again will miss out on the benefits of greater access to overseas markets."

International unions are now calling on world governments to try to revive the WTO and global multilateralism by dealing with the needs of the developing world.


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