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Issue No. 202 10 November 2003  

Governing the Corporates
Suburban branch manager Joy Buckland’s bid for a position on the ANZ Board raises important questions about the way our major companies are governed.


Interview: Union for the Dispossessed
The Welfare Rights Centre's Michael Raper on 20 years of activism, the politics of punishment and how to make Australia egalitarian again.

Unions: Joel's Law
Building Workers have overcome powerful forces to push workplace safety back up the national agenda. But, Jim Marr writes, their "success" has come at an unacceptable cost.

National Focus: Spring Carnival
It must be spring: punting in Victoria, singing in South Australia, fighting in America. It’s all there in the national wrap from Noel Hester plus an Australian union movement rugby world cup class consciousness poll.

Bad Boss: Fina and Fiends
They sacked the job delegate, reinstated him after an IRC hearing, and sacked him again two weeks later. But that was just the beginning.

Industrial: The Price of War
Mass industrial action is brewing in Israel as the policies of the right-wing Sharon Government come home to roost, writes Andrew Casey.

Economics: Who's Got What
Frank Stilwell pours over the latest BRW Rich List to build a picture of the increasing gap between the haves and have-nots.

History: Containing Discontent
Racism against minorities has always been a stock in trade of politicans, writes Phil Griffiths

Review: An Honourable Wally
Most Australians probably look at our politicians and feel they could do a better job but when redundant meatworker Wally Norman gets the chance to find out he realises getting elected is a major hurdle, writes Tara de Boehmler.

Poetry: The Colours of Discontent
A thousand blossoms bloomed during the US President's spring-time colonial visit last month.


 Taskforce Sleeps As Cranes Crash

 Scabies, Filth in Upmarket Annandale

 ANZ Jumps For Joy

 Race That Couldn’t Stop Nangwarry

 Mandarins in $120m Disappearing Act

 BAT Stubs Out Junta

 Millions on Entitlements Line

 Workcover in Hold-Ups Gun

 Phoenix Rises … Again

 TAFE Takes To Thong Slapping

 Casual Work Is Health Hazard

 Activists Notebook


The Soapbox
Bush's Faith-Filled Life
The President's conversion, 'sense of divine calling' and struggle with sobriety are subjects of a forthcoming book, writes Bill Berkowitz

The Not So Smart Money
Phil Doyle is sick of big money ruining grass roots sport, and he’s taking his bat and going home.

The Westie Wing
The ongoing challenge for Labor members of parliament is to make what the Premier calls the ‘creative partnership’ between the Government and the union movement a reality, writes our favourite MP Ian West.

Behind the Junta
Saw Min Lwin, Secretary for Trade Union Rights/ Human Rights for the Federation of Trade Unions Burma (FTUB), outlines the struggle for workers in his country.

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Taskforce Sleeps As Cranes Crash

Tony Abbott’s controversial Building Industry Taskforce has been accused of "washing its hands of safety" in the wake of a spate of accidents that left at least six workers recuperating in Sydney hospitals.

Members of the multi-million dollar taskforce, set up to police building and construction, were nowhere to be seen when two cranes collapsed and at least three workers suffered falls in the space of five days.

"The Taskforce is very keen to prosecute unionists and try to bankrupt the union but, when it comes to safety, they're invisible," CFMEU organiser Phil Davey said.

"Safety prosecutions, over some of these incidents, would be a lay-down mizere but they don't seem interested."

The horror week on Sydney building sites began less than seven days after 10,000 building workers rallied to demand industrial manslaughter legislation after 16-year-old Joel Exner fell to his death on an Eastern Creek site.

CFMEU officials said workers on the death site had not been protected by safety harnesses or scaffolding.

Last week's incidents included:

- a crane collapsing and toppling into Darling Harbour. The operator leapt clear and was admitted to Royal Prince Alfred Hospital with bruising and fractures.

- a crane falling across four lanes of traffic in Parramatta. The boom crashed into two parked trucks. The operator jumped and was admitted to a Sydney hospital

- a building worker falling from a multi-level development in downtown George St. He was admitted to hospital with his injuries.

- a building worker being admitted to hospital after being knocked unconscious by an excavator at beachside Maroubra.

- a painter being hospitalised after a fall from a Carlingford site.

- a building worker being admitted to Westmead Hospital after a 4m fall from a west Sydney construction job

The CFMEU says is has no expectation of safety action from the Interim Building Industry Taskforce, set up after the Cole Royal Commission. But it is demanding greater preventative action from state health and safety authority, Workcover.

A central, and repetitive, claim of evidence placed before the Cole Royal Commission was that building industry union's use workplace safety as a "ruse" to further industrial agendas.

Meanwhile, a traffic controller lost his life in a road works accident in North East Victoria last week. Neville Charles Creighton, 56, died after being struck in the head by a rock during blasting.

Both the AWU and WorkSafe have launched investigations into the death.


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