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Issue No. 199 10 October 2003  

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.


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!


 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


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.

 On The Waterfront
 An Honest Job
 Letter From America
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Uni Workers Stand Up To Feds

The Federal Government has amassed a war chest of $55 million in an attempt to crush the National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU) as workers across the university sector step up a campaign against moves to undermine conditions at Australia’s public universities.

Seven unions covering university staff across Australia will be supporting the October 16th higher education strike to protest the Government's proposal to deny universities access to $404 million in funding unless they adopt a series of hard line industrial conditions.

"The decision represents an unprecedented level of cooperation on the part of trade unions in the university sector," says Grahame McCulloch, NTEU General Secretary. "[It] demonstrates to the Government and university management the determination of academic and general staff to resist Commonwealth meddling and protect the independence of our public university system."

The defiant note was echoed by the Community and Public Sector Union (CPSU), who represent the general staff that work in universities.

"The Government's industrial requirements, including forcing staff onto Australian Workplace Agreements (AWAs), would leave nonacademic staff without many of the protections union negotiated agreements provide such as maternity leave, overtime and penalty rates," says David Carey, CPSU Federal Secretary.

"The Government's requirements do not deal with the real workplace issues facing academic and general staff," says McCulloch. "Forcing university staff onto AWAs and lifting limits on casual employment, will make the situation worse and erode the quality of education provided by our public university system."

The strike comes on the heels of Sydney University staff shutting down their campus on October 7 in response to management buckling to pressure from the Federal Government. In September Sydney University management were set to sign off on a new EBA but backed out at the eleventh hour in response to the reforms announced by the then Workplace Relations Minister Tony Abbott and Education Minister Brendan Nelson.

In addition to the NTEU and the CPSU, the trade unions that have officially indicated that they will be supporting the October 16 strike are the Australian Manufacturing Workers Union; Liquor, Hospitality and Miscellaneous Workers Union; Australian Education Union; Australian Services Union; and the Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union.

In Sydney the Higher Education Unions and their supporters will be rallying in Belmore Park at 1pm on October 16.

Meanwhile the NSW Teachers Federation has slammed the NSW ALP Government for ignoring Labor Party policy on TAFE.

Despite a recent backflip from the NSW Government over fee hikes for some of the most disadvantaged people in the community, many thousands of people will still be unable to access TAFE courses. ALP Policy is that TAFE courses should be free.

The Teachers Federation also called on the NSW Government to reverse a proposal to slash 1000 jobs from the Department of Education and training and TAFE.


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