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Issue No. 197 26 September 2003  
E D I T O R I A L

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.

F E A T U R E S

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.

N E W S

 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

C O L U M N S

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.

Housing
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.

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

Postcard
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.

L E T T E R S
 The Clown and the Magician.
 Shorter Hours
 A Sick War
 Taxi!
WHAT YOU CAN DO
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News

Council Delays Sweat Shop Action


NSW clothing industry stakeholders, including retailers and manufacturers, are backing mandatory protections for vulnerable outworkers but the necessary legislation is being thwarted by an overdue report from the state’s Ethical Clothing Trades Council.

If NSW moves on a mandatory code, endorsed by five of the six stakeholders represented on its ethical clothing council, the law is expected to be picked up by Labor administrations across all states and territories.

Retailers have made it clear they need one compliance regime, and TCFUA secretary, Barry Tubner, says informal discussions suggest other jurisdictions will follow NSW's lead.

However, Tubner is concerned that the key council recommendation to turn its voluntary code into a mandatory one, is being undermined.

Under the state's Ethical Clothing Trades Act the Industrial Relations Minister has the power to make proclaim a mandatory code for the supply of clothing but not until he receives the inaugural report of his Ethical Clothing Trades Council.

"We are seriously concerned about the delay in providing the 12-month report," Tubner said. "After all, the 12-month period formally expired on February 1.

He said industry and worker representatives had built a consensus on the need to halt outworker exploitation which pays home-based women workers as little as $2 an hour.

"The overwhelming majority of stakeholders has come out in favour of mandatory legal obligations upon irresponsible retailers who try to profit from exploitation," he said.

"It is generally agreed that the time has come for the disinfecting power of sunlight to be shone on the murky, fetid dealings of irresponsible profiteers put pressure on every other industry operator."

Tubner said he was confident Industrial Relations Minister, John Della Bosca, would act when he received the Council report.

He pointed out that in establishing the Council it had been Della Bosca who said tackling the scandal of outworker exploitation was not only morally right but had the added benefit of being politically advantageous.

Meanwhile, Workers Online understands Rugby Union World Cup organisers have been pressured into negotiations on a clothing suppliers code of conduct.

The code is expected to mirror that signed off on by the NRL last year, giving the TCFUA access to the names, addresses and records of suppliers so their compliance with the Clothing Industry Award can be monitored.

The negotiations represent a backflip for Rah Rah authorities who initially resisted signing off on a similar undertaking.


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