The Hard Yards
Two hundred issues of Australia’s first and only online workers’ magazine is due reason to celebrate. It is also a good time to look at what we’ve achieved over the past five years and consider where we need to go.
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!
Workers Rally For ‘Joel’s Law’
It’s Official: Courts Weak on Safety
Cole Insider Highlights "Agenda"
"Racism" as Pacific Islanders Rorted
Academics Appeal to International Umpire
Conroy Crashes Boral Bash
Poll Points to Hospital Overload
Aussie Icon Set To Head Overseas
China Gaols Union Activists
Victory in Dili
AWU Rejects Bid to Fleece Shearers
People’s Bank to Hear From People
Unions Put Students in Picture
Memo ALP Members: Think About Unions
New Face in the Hunter
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 $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.
Advance Australia Where?
God Save Us All
US Seeking Aussie Info
Call The Doctor
Bring Back Gough
Bring Back Social Democracy
Look East, Look West
|other LaborNET sites
Labor Council of NSW
Vic Trades Hall Council
IT Workers Alliance
Unions on LaborNET
It’s Official: Courts Weak on Safety
The Carr Government’s legal adviser has backed the need for tougher workplace safety penalties stating there is ‘evidence of excessive leniency’ in the way courts deal with workplace deaths.
According to the Crown Advocate, the state government’s senior criminal law barrister, 75 per cent of workplace deaths have attracted penalties of less
than 20 per cent of the statutory minimum.
"The overwhelming majority of penalties imposed have been one fifth or less of the maximum," the Crown Advocate says. "There is quantitative evidence of a pattern of excessive leniency."
The analysis, included in advice to the NSW Labor Council by Commerce Minister John Della Bosca adds fuel to the push for industrial manslaughter laws.
The comments are based on statistics provided by the NSW Judicial Commission to WorkCover regarding prosecutions for fatalities, finding that:
- 23 per cent of cases led to fines of five per cent of the maximum penalty
- 48 per cent of cases led to fines 10 per cent of the maximum
- 75 per cent of cases led t fines of 20 per cent of the maximum.
- only nine per cent of fines attracted 50 per cent of the maximum
- and there were no cases which attracted 80 per cent or above the maximum.
Labor Council secretary John Robertson says the statistics show that the tough penalties under the OHS Act - $55,000 for individuals and $550,000 for companies are not being recognised by the courts.
"There is a clear intention from the Parliament for tough penalties, but it seems that employers who are responsible for workplace deaths are getting soft treatment," Robertson says.
Existing Laws Fall Short
The Della Bosca advice also details how existing manslaughter laws have failed to lead to any prosecutions for workplace deaths.
In recent times, three cases have seen manslaughter charges laid: two were rejected by the DPP on the basis that there was no reasonable prospect of conviction by a jury; the third matter went to trial but the Judge directed the jury to find the defendant not guilty.
In light of the statistics Della Bosca has established a Ministerial Taskforce to be chaired by George Thompson, with representatives of Workplace, the Police Service, the DPP and the Coroner to develop a protocol too apply to the investigations of all workplace fatalities. Labor Council will have input into the review.
Robertson welcomed the establishment of the task force as a positive interim measure but stressed that this does not reduce the need for a new criminal offence.
Della Bosca has also undertaken to review the current legislation and introduce amendment to Parliament in early 2004.
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Issue 200 contents