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Issue No. 203 14 November 2003  

Beyond the Workplace
The NSW union movement’s intervention this week into the debate over the future of public transport is an important step in redefining what unions are all about.


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.


 Hamberger Bad for Kids

 BHP Faces UN Sanction

 Hardie Shareholders Face Death

 Road Workers Swing Left-Right Blows

 Joy Battles Goode at ANZ

 Developers To Kick Transport Can

 ACTU Names Its Price

 Death By A Thousand Cuts

 Ban Holes Water Police Deal

 Cleaners Mop Up Contracts Mess

 Workers Entitlements Dumped

 Overtime Goes Bush

 Libs Push Lawyers Picnic

 Unions Set To Stand Up To Bullies

 Jack Thompson Headlines Launch

 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.

 Burma Up In Smoke
 Super Solidarity
 Perils Of Pauline
 Put A PM On The Barbie
 Tom Holds Water
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Tool Shed


Employment Advocate Jonathan Hamberger spruiks a stint in the Tool Shed after getting caught pushing junk food to school children.


Every good bully understands that there is no point in hitting a strong target when you can beat up on the vulnerable and the weak. That's why this week's revelations that the Office of the Employment Advocate (which strangely doesn't seem to be interested in doing much advocacy that helps people in employment) has set it sights on pushing school leavers on to individual employment contracts.

Jonathan Hamberger, who must be confused as to why people don't want to beg for a living, wrote to 2,500 schools across Australia touting non-union individual contracts to students.

It's a pity the Federal government can't adequately fund the very sector it's using to push its narrow agenda.

No doubt the OEA looks forward to a happy day when a whole pile of school leavers present themselves to employers with a begging bowl, saying "Please sir, can I have some more?"

The bottom line is that negotiating as an individual didn't help Oliver, and it won't help young people.

It was also revealed this week that Hamberger's little office suggests that the boss might be a good person to consult with when working out your employment conditions.

Which is a bit like asking a loan shark for financial advice.

Of course this all makes sense if we view our fellow Australians as merely units of production that can be picked up and put down like a shovel. It must come as a relief to them that these young people aren't human beings who need stability, financial security or who may aspire to the sorts of working conditions their parent's generation enjoyed.

Luckily Jonathan Hamberger is there to assist this headlong plunge into third world working conditions.

To assist in this process Hamberger's little office has a website to explain the wonders of the Australian Workplace Agreement. There is some nice wallpaper and a heartwarming little story about a young Australian who has embraced AWAs. The unfortunate truth is that young Australian has lost his AWA job and is "unsure" about his redundancy entitlements.

Nothing should really surprise us from an administration that is throwing pensioners into the street, but Hamberger's foray into the education sector is a wonderful insight into the depths this mob will go. School leavers are obviously a nice soft touch for this clown, and leaving a sixteen-year-old to get stood over by a boss is obviously a fair thing in his eyes.

It's also refreshing to see the independence of the public service raising its ugly head, with Hamberger able to present a range of options for young people, and not just a narrow, ideologically driven agenda that works for a narrow section of the population.

One can only assume it will be a bloody cold day in hell the day that Hamberger wakes up to the fact that the reason why many Australians enjoy a reasonable standard of living is because of decades of collective effort by trade union members.

No doubt a stint in the Tool Shed will do wonders for the Employment McAdvocate Jonathan Hamberger. Who knows, maybe he might even get to sleep at night, because a person would be stuffed to know how he can after this last little exercise.


The most inspiring interpretation of this week's tool get's a souvenir edition of Ship of Tools. Deface the Tool of the Week, click the button above to post your artwork, fill out the form and send your entry in and we'll post the winners next week in the Tool of the Week Gallery.


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