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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

Harbour Sell Off Sparks Occupation


White Bay wharfies are ready to occupy the facility in a bid to force the NSW Labor Government to hold a public inquiry into its shock decision to shut Sydney Harbour as a working port.

"There’s plenty of empty containers for our members to camp in," MUA secretary Robert Coombes warned after the protest vote.

"We suspect the move is just a ploy to get rid of people and until we get some sort of guarantee we won't be going anywhere."

Premier Bob Carr shocked union affiliates by announcing the closure at last week's state conference, prompting calls for his administration to come clean on who would benefit.

Coombes said the decision, which flew in the face of previous assurances from the Premier and Transport Minister, raised four issues the Government had to address ...

- jobs: Coombes says the plan with cost 400-500 direct jobs. The TWU estimates up to 2000 other transport workers will be affected, including owner drivers with hundreds of thousands of dollars tied up in equipment

- consultation: "there has been a huge amount of consultation with employers, particularly Patrick and P&O Ports, but the relevant union, the MUA, seems to have been forgotten," Coombes says.

- Sydney: the city's history is based around more than 200 years of growth around a working port.

- community assets: "people, in general, are sick to death of seeing these valuable pieces of land handed over to the big of town, the few who can afford them, and taken away from the majority."

P&O Ports was the first to pick up on Carr's announcement confirming it would close its White Bay terminal in November.

Watersiders at the site voted to stage a sit-in when closure comes, bunkering down and refusing to move until employment guarantees are given.

Half of the 120-strong White Bay workforce is casual with no job security, or redundancy provisions, to fall back on.

Coombes described the lack of consultation with worker organisations as "appalling".

"Jeez, what do you do with this mob?" he asked NSW Labor Council delegates. "They do some good things but they keep dropping the ball.

"They are a side that needs consistent coaching."


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