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Issue No. 207 22 December 2003  
E D I T O R I A L

Backs to the Wall
How does one judge a year like 2003, when on the surface the powers of darkness – read Bush and Howard and union-busting bosses - can point to the scoreboard and claim ‘we won!’?

F E A T U R E S

Interview: Robbo’s Rules
Labor Council secretary John Robertson rules the line through 2003 and looks forward to a bigger and better year to come.

Unions: Fightback 2003
Tony Abbott, no less, summed up the tone of 2003 when he complained workers were frustrating his agenda, as Jim Marr reports.

Bad Boss: Madame Lash Whips Tony
Jim Marr explains how a local can manufacturer knocked off a quality field, including a notorious American call centre operator, in the race for Bad Boss honours.

Politics: United Front
Facing a new leader and new rules, Jim Marr speaks to key union players about the hot issues at January’s ALP National Conference.

Economics: Looking Back - Looking Forward
The year ends with the thought that 2004 must be better, writes Frank Stilwell in his annual review of all things economic.

International: Net Benefits
International editor Andrew Casey looks back on a year where workers stood up globally for services we once took for granted.

History: The New Guard
Who were Australia’s fascists in the 1930s and was John Howard’s father in the New Guard? Labour historian, Andrew Moore, uncovers some surprising information about Australia’s fascist past.

Poetry: What is the PM singing this Christmas?
Our Kirribilli spies, led by resident bard David Peetz, have been listening in on the PM's preparations for Christmas, and have recorded the Howard family rehearsing this new Christmas carol.

Review: Culture That Was
2003 saw the Howard Government signal its readiness to swap culture for agriculture in a free trade deal with the US and film maker George Miller lament that Aussie's had run out of stories to tell anyway, writes Tara de Boehmler.

N E W S

 No Joy for ANZ - This Time

 Nurses, Teachers Win Big

 Govt Coy on Sackings Threat

 NSW: State of Discomfort

 Fashion Police Collar Moe

 Telstra Picks Up Union Signal

 E-Missiles Strike White House

 STOP PRESS: Doubts Over Driver Test

 Juggler Catches Union Gong

 Chubb Beats Up On Own Guards

 Commuters Face Long, Hot Summer

 MUA Members Play Santa

 Bennelong Grinch Strikes Again

 G’day To Union Made Wines

 Activists Notebook

C O L U M N S

Predictions
The Guessing Game
We have consulted our regular list of mystics and gnostics to offer these throughts for the future.

Culture
Folk You Mate
Jan Nary looks at the role of workers songs in the upcoming National Folk Festival.

Culture
Shane Maloney – Crime Writer
For a crime writer whose books are set against a backdrop of unions and Labor Party politics, Shane Maloney confesses to little direct experience of either.

The Locker Room
Workers Online Sports Awards
Noel Hester and Peter Moss give their annual rundown of the good, the bad and the ugly in the world of sport.

Technology
The Web We Weave
Social Change Online's Mark McGrath's annual review of how unions are using the web to grow.

L E T T E R S
 Tom On Mark
 Looking The Otherway At Christmas
WHAT YOU CAN DO
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News

E-Missiles Strike White House


Thousands of emails protesting the vandalising of Iraqi trade union headquarters by US troops are flooding into the White House.

The email campaign is being co-ordinated by European trade unions in response to this month’s raid in which troops from 10 armoured cars smashed windows, seized documents and tore anti-terrorism posters from the walls of the Iraqi Free Trade Union’s temporary headquarters.

The IFTU is demanding a presidential investigation and assurances from George Bush that there will be no repeat of the attack by his troops.

"The United States must respect the right of workers, under international law, to have free and independent trade unions," the IFTU said in a statement.

The issue was was raised in the British Parliament by Labor MP, Harry Barnes.

British trade union sources said the White House received "several thousand messages" in the first week after the raid, and supporters had also registered protests with the US State Department, the US Central Command, and the Coalition Provisional Authority in Baghdad.

Formal protests have also been lodge by major international unions, including South Africa's peak body COSATU; Britain's RMT, the Scottish TUC, and Italian metalworkers.

The largest union international, the ICFTU, has asked British and US affiliates to take up the Baghdad attack with their respective governments.

Meanwhile, ICFTU (International Confederation of Free Trade Unions) secretary, Guy Ryder, headed an international delegation that met with Iraqi union reps in Amman, Jordan, this week.

They discussed workers rights in Iraq, ongoing violence and the reconstruction effort.

Ryder said the meeting was an important step in assisting the establishment of a genuine Iraqi trade union movement.

"The country has serious problems and helping build a free and democratic trade union movement is a priority for the ICFTU," Ryder said.

To add your voice to the protest about the military attack on Iraqi workers click here

http://www.labourstart.org/cgi-bin/solidarityforever/ show_campaign.cgi?c=22


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