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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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Activists Notebook

Everybody's getting ready for the Union Aid Abroad APHEDA Spring Feast

Wednesday October 1

6.30 for 7pm

Marigold Restaurant 5th Floor , 683 George Street Sydney

$50 each or $450 per table of ten

For bookings please contact Sally on 02 9264 9343 [email protected]

Debbie Spillane is MC and there will be live music, raffles with fabulous prizes, a seven-course banquet, an auction, wine, lucky door prizes, games & free parking!

The night will be a testimonial dinner for Tas Bull with proceeds to the Cuban Children's Fund and Union Aid Abroad APHEDA

Meet the candidates for ALP National President!

On Sunday 28 September

4-6pm at GLEBE TOWN HALL 160 St John's Rd, Glebe

All candidates for the ALP National Presidency are invited to speak to the rank and file. Confirmed so far are:

Duncan Kerr

Carmen Lawrence

Michael Samaras

Warren Mundine

The forum will be chaired by Former Senator Bruce Childs

RSVP to 9357 6366 (Please leave a message AFTER 5PM) or email: [email protected]

Proudly organised by the FECs of Sydney, Grayndler,

Wentworth & Kingsford Smith.


Please note: 470 Lilyfield bus departs Railway Square (George St Stand D) every 20 mins on Sundays & stops outside Glebe Town Hall. Departure Times: 3:13pm, 3:33pm & 3:53pm.

Australia's Pacific Solution

In conjunction with ChilOut, the NSW Nurses' Association is proud to host a free screening of this important documentary.

What drove well-known Melbourne artist, Kate Durham, to Nauru in June 2002 in the company of an English journalist and an illicit video camera? Find out on Wednesday 1st October, when the NSW Nurses' Association hosts a free screening of the end product, the (never screened on Australian TV) BBC documentary, "Australia's Pacific Solution." At 43 Australia Street, Camperdown

Kate, the founder of Spare Rooms for Refugees, will give an address on the conditions in which she found asylum seekers detained on Nauru. 1,228 asylum seekers were originally ensconced there, many transferred after the infamous Tampa episode 2 years ago. Now their numbers are down to 400. They include 5 unaccompanied minors, and 9 women and 14 children whose husbands or fathers are living in Australia on Temporary Protection Visas. These women and children have to prove their own case for asylum. They are not automatically allowed to be reunited with their menfolk. Instead, they are languishing at a cost of millions of our taxpayers dollars in camps on Nauru where conditions are hard and mental health problems rife.

Kate, together with her well-known barrister and human rights advocate, Julian Burnside, will field questions before the 45-minute film is screened.

This event is being hosted in conjunction with ChilOut, Children Out of Detention, a mums and dads and caring citizens' group which has been campaigning for the release of Children -and their families - from immigration detention. ChilOut came into being in August two years ago after the screening of a 4 Corners Program on the psychological breakdown of 6-year-old, Shayan Badrai, then detained in Villawood. They are aghast that two years later children, including ones with mental and physical disabilities, are still treated in this way.

breakfast briefing - fixed term contracts or ongoing employment? Choices and pitfalls

Presented by ACIRRT, University of Sydney and law firm Cutler Hughes & Harris

These briefings aim to give participants a focussed and detailed analysis of latest trends combined with an assessment of the current legal issues relating to topics.

Date: Thursday 2 October 2003

Time: 8.30 - 11.00am

Venue: Quality Hotel SC Sydney (formerly the Southern Cross Hotel), cnr Castlereagh & Goulburn Streets, Sydney

Cost: $155 inc gst, continental breakfast and notes

Alternatives to the traditional model of the permanent or ongoing employee have become increasingly popular over recent years. Casual employment has been growing, but so has the use of fixed-term contracts. However, the number of fixed-term employees in Australia remains relatively low by some international standards. This situation may change dramatically if proposed limitations on casual employment proceed. This briefing is designed to explore issues including:

What will happen if restrictions on casual employment are introduced?

What are the pros and cons of various forms of employment, permanent, casual and fixed term?

What are the key legal issues with fixed term contracts?

What do workers think?

Why is the fixed term contract model of employment most popular and why?

What are the legal remedies for employees dismissed during the course of a fixed term contract?

Free to be Australian meeting - 6 October 2003

It is 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. So we need to make a bit of noise before they do, rumoured to be either 7 or 13 October.

We will be holding a rally at the Studio at Sydney Opera House on Monday 6 October at 11am - make room on your dance cards this one's important! This is the Monday of a long weekend in Sydney. Confirmed speakers so far include Geoff Morell, Simon Burke, Margo Kingston and Quentin Dempster.

Please come along and bring everyone you can think of, it is a serious issue - but we can promise that the rally will be a bit of fun as well.

Workers' Control Conference

University of Technology, Sydney

10th-12th October

Register for the "Workers' Control Conference", which will be held from the 10th to 12th October, 2003.

The conference will be a dynamic weekend of talks, discussion and workshops on past experiences of workers control and the current strategies of militant unionism.


Keynote speakers confirmed to date include:

* Michael Crosby (Co-director, ACTU Organising Centre)

* Joan Doyle (newly elected Secretary, Victorian Postal Union)

* Martin Kingham (Victorian State Secretary, Construction Division of the CFMEU)

Humphrey McQueen (Author, historian)

* Paul True (Special Projects Officer, CFMEU. Speaking on the NSW Builders' Labourers Federation and the Green Bans. Author of "Tales of the BLF - Rolling the Right!")

* Hall Greenland (Author of 'Red Hot: The Life and Times of Nick Origlass').

Topics to be covered by plenaries and workshops include:

* Reforming the Union Movement Today

* The Organising Model: Successes and Limitations

* The NSW Builders Labourers Federation and the Green Bans

* The Ability of Militants within Unions to Achieve Change.

* The Possibilities and Limitations of Direct Action Today

* The Harco Work-in

* The Experience of the Melbourne Tram Workers

* Unorthodox Leninism: Gramsci and Workers' Control

* The Student-Worker Uprising in France in May 1968.

* The Workers' Revolt Against Stalinism in Hungary in 1956

* The Australian Experience of Workers' Self-Management

* The Social Responsibility of Trade Unions: the 1938 Port Kembla Pig-iron dispute and the NSW Builders Labourers Federation Green Bans.

* The Opera House Work-In

* Revolutionary Reforms and Andre Gorz.

* Creating a Workplace Newsletter

* Workers' Self-Management and the Upsurge of the 1960s and 70s

* Workers' Control in Australia in the 1960s and 70s: successes and failures

* The idea of self-management in Marxist revolutionary theory.

* Workers' Self-Management and the Allende Government in Chile 1970-3


To view a complete agenda for the conference visit the conference website:

Education Activism & Organising

Friday 10 October between 9am and 11am in the old Fairfax Building at 235 Jones St Broadway. The meeting will be in Room 5.455 on the 5th floor.

the Centre for Popular Education's proposed 2004 - 2005 program Education, Activism and Organising. We have invited a select number of people from unions and academic centres to participate in the meeting to discuss the project and its strands.

The meeting will be held on Friday 10 October between 9am and 11am in the old Fairfax Building at 235 Jones St Broadway. The meeting will be in Room 5.455 on the 5th floor. If you arrive early there is a good café on the 7th floor.

I hope you will be able to attend, or if not to encourage one of your colleagues to attend in your place. Your input would be an important contribution to shaping the project over the next two years.

It will help with our planning if you could let me know if you will be able to come. My email address is [email protected] and my phone number is 02 9514 3866.

Tony Brown

Research Fellow

Centre for Popular Education, UTS

02 9514 3866

WE'RE BEING BUSHWACKED: Give George the Welcome he Deserves - Sun Oct 19, national day of ridicule.

Muster at Prince Alfred Park (walk south from Central down Chalmers St)

Sunday 19th October, 2-4pm

Comics, music, world's first protest "line dance. Creative Ridicule competition - rewards for best placard and best display. Costume competition, come as the best red-necked Texan!

Organised by the Sydney Peace and Justice Coalition, more info call Hannah 0418 668 098, [email protected]


Pick up leaflets and posters from Labor Council of NSW Offices from next Wednesday 23rd September.

the next meeting of Labor for Refugees is schedulled as follows:-

Date: Thursday 2 October 2003

Time: 5pm (it is at this time because Labor Council is at 6pm)

Venue: NSW Labor Council Building

Ground Floor Training Room

377 Sussex St Sydney

2003 Public Policy Lectures

The Hon Dr Carmen Lawrence MP, Federal Member for Fremantle, will deliver the next CofFEE Public Policy Lecture. Dr Lawrence's presentation is entitled Inequality: are we losing our identity?. The presentation, including question-time, will be held on Friday 17 October from 6 - 7.30pm at The Conservatorium, Cnr Auckland and Gibson Streets, Newcastle. All are welcome and there is no charge for entry.

Participants are asked to register for organisational purposes either by email to [email protected], by phone

(02) 4921 7283 or on-line at

2003 National Conference on Unemployment - early-bird registration until 30 September

The 10th National Conference on Unemployment, in conjunction with CofFEE's 5th Path to Full Employment Conference, will be held from the 10th - 12th December 2003 at the University of Newcastle.

Keynote speakers :

Professor Barry Bluestone, the Stearns Trustee Professor of Political Economy and director of the Center for Urban and Regional Policy at Northeastern University in Boston, Massachusetts; and

The Rev Tim Costello, a leading voice on issues such as urban poverty, homelessness, problem gambling, unemployment and reconciliation, Minister at Collins St Baptist Church Melbourne and the Director of Urban Seed.

Other key speakers at special workshop sessions addressing employment policy, regional development and macroeconomic issues will shortly be announced at the conference homepage:

Reminder that conference registration is possible through the Conference homepage and that early bird registration is available until 30 September.

ME NAM : Rivers photo exhibition

2003 international Year of Fresh Water

ME NAM : Rivers is an exciting photography exhibition to celebrate waterways and communities activism to protect them, in Australia and in the Asia Pacific Region.

Through the immediacy and realism of some of Australasia's most renowned artists and the fresh photography of environmental and human rights activists, ME NAM : Rivers provides an intimate glimpse of life evolving around rivers, while leading the viewer into a journey that explores political and corporate efforts to commodify and control our water resources.

ME NAM : Rivers, to be held at NSW Parliament House in October, will be opened by former lead singer of Midnight Oil and renowned environmental activist Peter Garrett.

Artists include: Paul Blackmore, Gordon Undy, Peter Solness, Ruby Davies, Vince Lovecchio, Maylei Hunt Guerra, Japan's Yoshiaki Murayama and Taiwan's Hong Tien-Jun.

Inspirational and at times confronting, ME NAM : Rivers will leave you with a desire for action, environmental righteousness, and understanding of the politics and controversy behind the world's fresh water crisis.

PUBLIC LAUNCH: host speaker Peter Garrett, President of the Australian Conservation Foundation

WHERE: NSW Parliament House, Jubilee Room, Macquarie St, Sydney

WHEN: Tuesday, October 14 - 2003

TIME: 7.00 pm


Exhibition will run October 7 - 17, 2003. Weekdays 9.00 am - 4.30 pm





6pm Wednesday

1ST October 2003

Main speakers: John Robertson, Sec NSW Trades Labor Council

Karen Iles: Convenor, Young Unionists Movement

Refreshments, entertainment provided, bar available

To RSVP contact: Jodie 9749 0400 or John 9955 0065


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