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Issue No. 204 21 November 2003  

Holes in the Net
The Medicare debate may be clouded by the minutae of the health delivery system, but it really boils down to an old-fashioned ideological battle between user-pays and state responsibility.


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.


 US Giant Attacks Aussies

 Exposed – OEA in Kids Scandal

 Left-Right Flattens Abigroup

 ANZ Cops Fine Over Robbers

 Classroom Stoush Gets Personal

 Seven Workers Pass "Intelligence" Test

 Stop Press: Coal Strike

 Nurses: MedicarePlus Points to America

 ‘Joel’s Law’ Gathers Momentum

 Skilled Picketers Confront Patrick’s

 Yahoo Censors Union Ad

 Labor’s Cotter Court ‘Faking’ It

 TAFE Puts Best Foot Forward

 Wharfies, Actors, Seafarers Unite

 Debus Gives Up On Lawyers Picnic

 Nelson Backdown Not Enough

 Online Pay Check



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.

 Jack Lives Here
 Saving Jobs
 Public Transport A Bit Rich
 The Smirker
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Joel Exner Fundraiser

A fundraiser is being held this Sunday, November 23 for the family of Joel Exner -the 16 year old who died last month from a fall on his 3rd day working construction in Western Sydney

The fundraiser runs from 4pm Sunday arvo at the Gaelic Club (just near central) and features some great bands (five in all!) all for just $10

Trade union futures - Sydney symposium

Thursday 27 November, 2:00 to 5:00pm Darlington Centre

A symposium to examine contemporary problems faced by the trade union movement and to discuss a number of key questions about future directions: Partnership or organising; What future for the factions; What of the link with Labor; What visions are there for regulating wages and work; How do unions speak to and for new constituencies.

Speakers include:

· Greg Combet, Secretary, Australian Council of Trade Unions

· John Robertson, Secretary, NSW Labor Council

· Kristyn Thomson, Secretary, NSW Branch, Australian Services Union

Convenors: Dr Rae Cooper & Dr Bradon Ellem

To register for this free symposium please complete the following and

return to Vera Differding by email([email protected]) or

fax (02 9351 4729) or go to and download the faxback.

Australian Writers' Muster Update

Less than a month to go until The Australian Writers' Muster in Sydney on

5-7 December.

Check out the latest additions to our illustrious list of speakers and


SUE WOOLFE author of the enthusiastically reviewed "The Secret Cure" (and

previously "Leaning Towards Infinity") is joining PETER GOLDSWORTHY on the

Arts & Science = Great Leaps of the Imagination panel.

TONY McNAMARA playwright ("The Virgin Mim", "The Unlikely Prospect of

Happiness" which is in the 2004 STC Season) and screenwriter ("The Rage in

Placid Lake") is taking the Playwrights' Master class and is a panelist on

the Global/Local discussion.

TIM PYE Deputy Commissioning Editor ABC TV Drama 1999-2001, Executive

Producer "Changi" and whose credits include "White Collar Blue", "Water

Rats", "Wildside", "Seachange" to name a few and winner of a handful of AFI,

AWGIE and LOGIE awards joins the Pushing the Envelope panel.

Actor AARON PEDERSEN (Water Rats, Wildside, Floodhouse) who has played an

active role in pushing writers and producers to create story-lines that more

accurately reflect our times (especially issues of urban aborigines) also

joins the Pushing the Envelope panel.


Due to the length of the film 'MASTER AND COMMANDER - The Far Side of the

World' this session will now start at 6.30pm which means the previous

session 'Billy Sind - a Week on West Wing' will now start 30 minutes earlier

at 4.30pm Saturday, 6 December.

There are a number of really terrific writers still to be confirmed in the

next few days, so WATCH THIS SPACE!



To register go to to download a brochure or call us at the national office on (02) 9281 1554.


With Special Guest Senator Natasha Stott Despoja, Australian Democrats'

Spokesperson on the Republic

Date: Friday 12 December 2003

Time: 5:30-7:30pm

Venue: The Glover Cottages

Address: 124 Kent Street Sydney

Tickets: $15 / $10 concession (finger food provided; drinks to be purchased

on day)

RSVP: Friday 5 December 2003

Further details and booking form at Christmas drinks


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