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Issue No. 198 03 October 2003  

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.


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!


 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


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.

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.

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.

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

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.

 A Hard Act To Follow
 Which Boss?
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Activists Notebook

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]


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


Bankstown City Radio is seeking to establish a weekly program to be produced and presented by NSW workers and unionists that addresses issues and concerns surrounding workers rights.

Such a program would provide an opportunity to examine work and industrial issues from the perspective of those who know this area best - working people and our unions.

It will allow workers to have a say about current disputes, government proposals and industry attacks and most importantly educate the wider community about workers rights.

We are looking for volunteer producers and presenters with a solid background in workers rights who could spearhead this exciting new broadcasting project.


Good communication, presentation and interpersonal skills

Sound program and editorial judgement

Knowledge and experience of work and industrial issues and NSW unions

Demonstrated ability to work well in a team environment

Commitment to contributing to the program on a weekly basis


On-air experience

Ability to operate broadcasting equipment

Understanding of media law requirements

For more information contact

Mary Ellen Hall, Station Manager, on 9771 2846 during office hours

or email: [email protected]


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