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Issue No. 197 26 September 2003  

Coming to the Party
The coming NSW ALP State Conference marks an important moment in the changing relationship between the political and industrial wings of the Party.


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.


 Violence: Rail Workers' Hot Spray

 Corporate "Branch Stack" in Court

 Entitlements: Ball in Carr’s Court

 Asbestos Prospect for Home Buyers

 "Stand Over" Claims at Hilton

 US: Iraq on the Block

 Sheeps Of Shame

 Teachers Applaud TAFE Backdown

 Council Delays Sweat Shop Action

 Monk Aims Muscle at Unis

 Cobar Beats Off CBH Assault

 Sign Here For Reconciliation

 Workers Denied Home Loans

 Casual Approach No Holiday

 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.

 The Clown and the Magician.
 Shorter Hours
 A Sick War
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Entitlements: Ball in Carr’s Court

NSW unions will call on the State Labor Government to establish an entitlements scheme to protect workers whose companies go bust as a template for national regulation.

The resolution to end support for a Commonwealth solution, is one of a raft of reforms to improve job security that will carry cross-factional union support at next weekend’s State ALP Conference.

NSW Labor Council secretary John Robertson says workers entitlements is an issue that has been allowed to drift for too long.

"I think it is true that it has been convenient for the NSW Government to shift the responsibility to Canberra," Robertson says.

"But as long as the Liberal Party holds power, working people know that this is only rehtoric and that the only governments that will come to their aid are State Labor Governments."

Under the joint union proposal the Carr Government would pick up the issue and work with other state Labor Government to develop a national model of state-based protection.

Such a scheme would provide full protection for redundancy, accrued leave and time in leiu, ensuring when a company collapses, workers are at the head of the queue.

Transport Workers Union state secretary Tony Sheldon is backing the motion, which he says will provide relief for the 19,000 Australian workers and their families lose $500 million every year.

"The NSW Labor Government and State Labor Governments around the country have to end this theft," Sheldon says. "It is our expectation that the NSAW Government will lead the way."

Working Together

The common agenda for NSW unions introduces a new dynamic into the ALP Conference, which has been traditionally split along factional lines.

Robertson says its just an other step in building the political strength of a trade union movement that is becoming increasingly frustrated by its Parliamentary wing.

"These resolutions are all about core Labor values and will provide an interesting yardstick about how much we still have in common," he says.

Among the other agreed resolutions:

- purchasing policy: a commitment from the NSW Government to only give government contracts or funding to companies that treat their workers decently

- industrial manslaughter: criminal sanctions against employers and directors whose negligence leads to the death of a worker.

- job security: government support for the Labor Council's Secure Employment Test Case to increase the rights of casuals and stem the growth in labour hire and contracting out.

- family friendly policies: including support for paid maternity leave for all Australian families

- and support for the manufacturing sector, struggling under the neglect of the Howard Government.

Electrical Trades Union state secretary Bernie Roirdan says he wants to see ALP politicians take the Conference and the resolutions seriously.


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