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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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Monk Aims Muscle at Unis

Eleventh-hour Federal government intervention has scuttled a deal for staff at Australia’s oldest university provoking workers into direct action to protect their pay and conditions.

Workplace Relations Minister Tony Abbott has threatened to deprive universities of $404 million in additional funding unless they sign up to thirteen hardline industrial conditions.

Abbott announced the move as Sydney University Vice-Chancellor Gavin Brown was set to sign off on an Enterprise Bargaining Agreement negotiated with the National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU).

Sydney University management reneged on the new pay deal after initially agreeing to sign off on the EBA, with a formal signing ceremony between Sydney University management and the National Tertiary Education Union already scheduled.

A meeting of over 300 University of Sydney staff condemned the decision, unanimously endorsing a two-week campaign of industrial action unless the decision is reversed.

The attempt to interfere in the universities affairs has been rejected by the Australian Vice Chancellor's Committee and a number of Senate Independents.

"Staff at the University of Sydney are understandably very angry with management's reversal on the proposed agreement, the product of year-long cooperative negotiations, because it does not conform with the Government's interventionist industrial requirements, particularly the inclusion of individual contracts," says National Tertiary Education Union General Secretary Grahame McCulloch.

"These requirements are nothing more than an ideological vendetta on the part of the Government, and will do nothing to improve the quality of the teaching and research carried out at the institution."

The two week campaign of industrial action will culminate in a 24-hour strike on October 7 at which staff will effectively close down the university."

Abbott's proposals are expected to result in industrial turmoil in the wake of the Sydney University decision.

Negotiations have been under way at Sydney University since October 2002, part of a sector wide enterprise bargaining round presently under way at all 38 of Australia's public universities.

"The NTEU is concerned that the turmoil at Sydney University is just a taste of what we can expect to see occur at other campuses as a result of the Government's proposals," said McCulloch.


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