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Issue No. 198 03 October 2003  
E D I T O R I A L

The Monk Off Our Back
It should come as no surprise that Tony Abbott has been dragged from his workplace relations portfolio just as his $60 million assault on the CFMEU finally unravels.

F E A T U R E S

Interview: No Ifs, No Butts
Rugby League Professionals Association president Tony Butterfield on his battle to deliver a collective agreement for NRL players.

Unions: National Focus
In this month’s national wrap: Noel Hester meets a heavy hitter talking up open source unionism, truckies front the suits at Boral’s AGM, tales of corporate bastardry and Medicare birthday revelry.

Industrial: Fools Gold
Unions have thrashed out a string of protocols with the NSW Labor Government. Some, now, are questioning whether they are worth the cheap, imported paper they are written on, reports Jim Marr.

Bad Boss: Bones of Contention
Byron Bay chicken boners have nominated thier boss for a Tony after seeing their entitlements plucked.

History: The Gong Show
In late September the South Coast Labour Council (SCLC) celebrated 75 unbroken years championing the rights of workers in the coastal Illawarra region 80 kilometres south of Sydney, writes Rowan Cahill.

Politics: The Hawke Legacy
The election of the Hawke Labor government twenty years ago holds some salient lessons for today’s Labor Party, writes Troy Bramston.

International: Sick Nation
As Australia celebrates 20 years of Medicare’s universal health coverage the crisis facing American workers in need of medical care is a useful reminder of what we’ve got – and what we stand, writes Andrew Casey.

Economics: Closed Minds
Philip Mendes looks at the political influence of right-wing think tanks, their financial backing and asks why the left hasn’t been able to get its ideas out there.

Review: Mixing Pop and Politics
He's had relations, with girls from many nations... but Billy Bragg seems to like us Aussies as much or even more than any of the others, writes Pádraig Collins.

Poetry: One Size Fits All
There once was a man from the Lodge - Who tried hard, our poems, to dodge... Resident bard David Peetz is back!

N E W S

 Concrete Boot for Democracy

 Picketers Get Blue Ribbon Result

 ICAC Call at Mudgee Abattoir

 Telstra on Charges

 Unis Walk Over Federal Bullying

 IRC Shoots Rooster that Quacked

 Ugly Australian Riles Timorese

 Medicare Gets Abbott For Birthday

 Business Council Opposes Salary Vote

 Rail Workers Call For Self Defence

 ACT Leads On Industrial Manslaughter

 Thumbs-Up for Awards Binding Subbies

 Entitlements Crash into Hangar

 Blackouts on NSW Horizon

 State Govt Told To Clean Up Contracts

 Would-be Presidents Face Union Probe

 Activists Notebook

C O L U M N S

Postcard
North By Northwest
Phil Doyle returns from up north, where he survived on nothing but goodwill, good people and a great big orange bus.

The Soapbox
The $140 Million Patriot
It would be hard to imagine a steeper slide from hero to zero than the experience of Richard Grasso, the now-deposed head of the New York Stock Exchange. writes Jim Stanford.

Media
Bush's Bad News Blues
The Bush Administration is cooking up a new campaign 'to shine light on progress made in Iraq', writes Bill Berkowitz.

The Locker Room
A Tale Of One City
Phil Doyle gazes into the crystal ball for signs of life, and finds that somewhere the horses are running in the wrong direction.

Culture
With Banners Furled
There is no better account of the glory that was the annual Labour Day marches than that given by Kylie Tennant in Foveaux, her fictional account of life in inner Sydney in 1912, the year she was born.

Politics
The Westie Wing
Our favourite Macquarie Street MP, Ian West MLC, reports on the world of NSW politics.

Postcard
The Cancun Wash-Up
The dramatic collapse of the World Trade Organisation Ministerial Meeting in Cancun, Mexico, last month has been followed by a deafening quiet from Geneva, Brussels and Washington, writes Peter Murphy.

L E T T E R S
 A Hard Act To Follow
 Which Boss?
WHAT YOU CAN DO
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News

Unis Walk Over Federal Bullying


University staff across the country will walk off the job in response to Federal Government "bullying" that will see 8000 student positions disappear.

Academic and non teaching staff will strike at Sydney University on October 7 in the lead up to a national NTEU stoppage at all 38 of Australia’s public universities on October 16.

"This is bullying by the Federal Government to withhold funding while they get the university sector to do their dirty work," says Mark Dolahenty of the National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU). "Parents shouldn't have to take out a second mortgage to give their kids a first degree.

Dolahenty said the reforms would lead to an "explosion in casual teaching, a decline in standards and research, and an increase in the number of people getting into uni based on how much money they've got".

Staff at the University of Sydney will strike on October 7 over Sydney University's last minute decision to renege on signing a new workplace agreement.

"Staff are angry about the University's decision to renege on signing the agreement, and today's stop work will be calling on management to sign it immediately," said Michael Thomson, Acting NTEU Branch President at Sydney University.

Members of the Community and Public Sector Union, the main union covering non-teaching university staff, will also strike at Sydney University on October 7.

"We expect Sydney University to reject the Government's attempt to bludgeon their industrial agenda into universities, if they don't then we will have no choice but to strike on October 7." Says David Carey, CPSU Federal Secretary

"Our members at the University of Sydney are frustrated at the University's willingness to comply with the government's requirements for the extra money," says Carey. "In recent years this Government has brought Universities to its knees by slashing government funding for badly needed programs"

CPSU Members at Sydney University are not alone.

"Our members across the country will strike on October 16, 2003 if

Universities don't reject this Government's attempt at industrial blackmail," says Carey.

"While the NTEU does not welcome industrial strife, the Sydney University stop work is only the opening round unless the Government abandons its interventionist plans for universities." said Grahame McCulloch NTEU General Secretary.

"University staff have done the hard yards in maintaining the quality of our public higher education system amid a sharp decline in government funding. This has come at a cost - sky rocketing student to staff ratios, increasing casualisation, job insecurity, increasing hours of work and mounting stress levels for staff."

"While today's decision is not taken lightly, the strike signals our determination to maintain not only the pay and working conditions of staff, but to preserve the quality of education our members provide to students," said McCulloch.

"The depth of feeling against these proposed changes among our members is overwhelming and the Union expects that our university system will effectively shut down for the duration of this nationwide action."

The Federal Government's Higher Education Workplace Relations Requirements link $404 million worth of funding to the implementation of extreme anti worker industrial reforms.

University staff have called on incoming Workplace Relations Minister, Kevin Andrews, to abandon the divisive policy.

Giving evidence before a Senate enquiry the deputy vice-chancellor of the University of Western Australia, Alan Robson, said there would be a net fall of 8000 places as a result of the so-called reforms.


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