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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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Detention for Minister Who Praised Scabs

Praise for strikebreakers has landed NSW Deputy Premier and Education Minister Andrew Refshuage in the sin-bin, as state Labor Governments attempt to spin themselves out of a teaching crisis.

When teachers in three states walked off the job, Refshauge earned himself a formal censure from the trade union movement for formally thanking scab teachers in State Parliament.

The NSW Labor Council supported the NSW Teachers Federation's condemnation of Refshauge's comments, describing them as "inflammatory".

"It is unacceptable that Labor members of parliament are making these sorts of provocative statements,' says NSW Labor Council secretary John Robertson. "I find it hard to understand how a Labor member could even contemplate saying something like this."

The minister's statements followed a National Day of Action on September 16 when teachers in three states went on strike over outstanding wage justice claims.

In NSW 20,000 NSW public school and TAFE teachers converged on parliament house, describing the state government's pay offer as "despicable".

Their country counterparts engaged in a range of activities from Canowindra teachers writing to parents, to others across the state visiting local Members of Parliament and attending rallies in major regional centres.

Many schools and TAFE colleges closed with support for the stoppage considered by the NSW Teachers Federation to be the highest ever with many schools reporting 100% out. The high level of support from teachers for the action reflecting the concern amongst teachers that their cause is not being adequately addressed.

NSW Teachers' Federation president Maree O'Halloran said if they failed to win their case, or if a significant payrise was funded by making cuts elsewhere in the education budget, teachers were ready and willing to stage further strikes next year.

"If there's not the outcome that public education needs, then action is more than likely from the beginning of the 2004 school year," says Ms O'Halloran.

NSW Labor Council secretary John Robertson told protesters the state's entire union movement was behind them. "Bob Carr has called himself the education premier, well if he is the education premier I will run naked down Macquarie Street," Mr Robertson said.

National Day Of Action

The national day of action on September 16 saw teachers in NSW joined by thousands of their colleagues in Western Australia and Victoria who are also battling state government stonewalling on the issue of adequate pay rates for public teachers.

In Albury and Moana, hundreds of New South Wales teachers met their Victoria colleagues on the bridges across the Murray and united to demand salary justice from their respective government. In the far southwest, New South Wales teachers met with colleagues from Mildura.

Thousands of Victorian teachers vowed to continue their campaign for wage justice with over 10,000 teachers filling Melbourne's Vodafone Arena, voting unanimously in support of a resolution demanding that state and territory Labor Governments honour their electoral commitments to make public education a 'number one priority'.

West Australian public school teachers took a half-day stoppage, vowing to escalate industrial action in their pursuit of a 30 per cent pay claim. 7,000 teachers attended a stop-work meeting at Subiaco Oval.

Keeping the UNI in CommUNIty

Meanwhile the National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU), in conjunction with student groups, has planned a series of rallies in western Sydney to campaign against cuts to the funding for the University of Western Sydney.

On Monday the 22nd of September the NTEU, along with the CPSU, local student associations, local P&Cs, the Western Sydney Region of Councils and the community of western Sydney will rally outside a public hearing by the Senate Enquiry into Higher Education scheduled for the Parramatta campus of the UWS. The rally is scheduled for 12pm.

On Tuesday the 23rd a rally will be held outside the office of the Federal MP for Parramatta, Ross Cameron at12.30pm. On Wednesday the 24th supporters of higher education will rally outside the office of Federal MP Pat Farmer in Campbelltown. On Thursday the focus moves to Lindsay MP Jackie Kelly's office in Penrith where a rally will be held at 12.30pm.

The NSW Labor Council has endorsed the peaceful rallies and interested members of the public are encouraged to attend.


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