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Issue No. 199 10 October 2003  
E D I T O R I A L

Bush-Whacking
Those of us preparing to protest US President George W Bush’s visit to Australia must tread a fine line – between condemning the policies of an illegitimate president with a dangerous agenda and damning an entire nation.

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

 Rail Whistleblower Attacked - Again

 Royal Con on Tape

 Call Centre Stumps Umpire

 Breakthrough for Email Privacy

 Harbour Sell Off Sparks Occupation

 Harvey World Travel Locks Up Tour

 STOP PRESS: Telstra Drops Out

 Workers Voice Gets Hard Edge

 Employees Disable Hard-Ball Bosses

 Canberra Eyes Crash Windfall

 Bush Whacker - Dubya Fingered

 Assault Costs Education Department

 Uni Workers Stand Up To Feds

 Thousands Say No to Cole

 The Town that Struck

 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
 On The Waterfront
 An Honest Job
 Letter From America
WHAT YOU CAN DO
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News

Rail Whistleblower Attacked - Again


A woman who blew the whistle on escalating violence against railway workers has had her workers comp claim knocked back by State Rail.

Isabelle Wilks who told Workers Online of being urinated on, spat on and physically assaulted in the course of her job, blamed the knock back on her decision to go public.

"All the front line workers for State Rail have had enough. We're going to take a stand against this," says Isabelle Wilks, who refuses to be silenced on the issue.

Mills, a State Rail train guard, was assaulted again at Maitland on the Monday of the October long weekend when she was attacked by a passenger.

"We pulled up and there was a guy running from the train. He was drunk and I told him he couldn't bring his alcohol onto the train. He pushed me back into the train so I called to the driver for assistance," explained Wilks. "The driver came out to assist me, and then this guy came flying off the train and, for whatever reason, started attacking the first passenger."

Mills and the driver were then forced to witness a brutal and savage attack that left the initial passenger unconscious.

After a previous attack Wilks tried in vain to access a doctor in the semi-rural part of the Hunter valley where she lives.

"It took me about twenty calls to ring around and try to get a doctor," said Wilks. "It's basically the country here. We simply don't have the doctors."

Wilks' claim for workers compensation, arising out of injuries sustained in an earlier attack, was then knocked back, with the rejection citing "insufficient medical information" and the "insignificant" nature of her injuries.

Wilks was astonished by the response, but attributes it to her outspoken stance.

"I have never had a letter like this in my life,' she said.

Wilks is angry that State Rail management has done nothing to improve the security situation for rail workers.

NSW Public Transport Workers are conducting a campaign to improve safety and protect all workers in the industry from violence.

Stop Press

A State Rail Authority spokeswoman has contacted Workers Online and assures us that Isabelle's claim has not yet been rejected.

"We are awaiting a receipt of the required medical paperwork to allow how claim to be determined," she said.


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