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Issue No. 209 20 February 2004  

Regions To Be Cheerful
Rule changes endorsed by this week’s NSW Labor Council Annual General Meeting reorganising the South Coast Labor Council into as a regional branch council should not be under-estimated.


Interview: Trading in Principle
AMWU national secretary, Doug Cameron, a key figure in the Labor movement, discusses the big issues - from Mark Latham to Pavlov’s Dogs.

Unions: While We Were Away
While Workers Online was washing sand from between its toes and enjoying an Indian summer at the cricket, there was a reality show chugging relentlessly away in the background, Jim Marr reports.

Politics: Follow the Leader
Worker’s Online tool man, Phil Doyle, dives into the ALP’s Darling Harbour love-in and nearly drowns in treacle.

Bad Boss: Safety Recidivist Fingered
The CFMEU has come up with a killer nomination to kick off our 2004 hunt for Australia’s worst employer.

Economics: Casualisation Shrouded In Myths
British academic, Kevin Doogan, sets the record straight on casualisation and warns unionists about the dangers of scoring an own goal

History: Worker Control Harco Style
Drew Cottle and Angela Keys ask if it's worth rememberinng the 1971 Harco work-in.

Review: Other Side Of The Harbour
The 1998 maritime dispute threatened to tear many a family apart but Katherine Thomson's Harbour tells the tale of at least one that it brought back together - albeit reluctantly, writes Tara de Boehmler.


 Trains Go Backwards

 Mum Can’t Bank on Westpac

 Andrews Up for Hanke Panky

 Riot Raises Safety Probe

 ABC of Solidarity

 "Shameful" Action Pays Dividends

 Bum Rap for Bump Caps

 Strikers Tie Down Gas Project

 Heat Rises at Uni

 TeleTech's Dead Heart

 Tired Drivers Fight Hypocrisy

 Seven Days on a Leaking Boat

 Families Back Safety Calls

 Howard Pushes Pay Cut

 Activist's Notebook


The Soapbox
Dog Whistlers, Spin Doctor and Us
John Menadue argues the "better angels" of the Australian character are having their wings ripped off by an ever-expanding group dedicating to keeping the public at arms length from our decision-makers.

Something Fishy In Laos
Phillip Hazelton fishes around in Vientiane, Laos, and looks at the impact of Bird Flu on those relying on feathered friends for survival.

Magic Realism
Phil Doyle discovers that literature and sport may have more in common than you would think

The Westie Wing
Trickle, flood or drought? Workers friend Ian West, MLC, is wet, wet, wet on the issue of bilateral Free Trade.

 On the Road
 A Casual Affair
 Latham Is A Bad Man
 Congrats Johnny
 Tom’s Bit
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Andrews Up for Hanke Panky

The man who spun us into the 1998 Waterfront crisis has resurfaced as press flak to the Coalition’s lowest profile Workplace Relations Minister, Kevin Andrews.

Peter Reith’s former press secretary, Ian Hanke, has bobbed up on the payroll of Andrews, who is shepherding at least a dozen Bills, regarded as anti-worker by trade unionists, through Federal Parliament.

Experienced Parliamentary observers have noted a sudden change in tone since Hanke was welcomed on board by the previously mild-mannered Member for Menzies.

The following is from a 2000 Reith press release: "Labor's policy to abolish individual agreement-making reflects an ideological crusade against the rights of individual workers ...Only the unions back Mr Beazley's policy to abolish individual agreements in the regulated system. That is because union officials wrote the policy for him earlier this year."

That Reith release, which went over Hanke's name, bore an interesting comparison to a recent missive fired from Andrews Canberra office: "The Labor Party is a wholly owned subsidiary of the union bosses ... Are these the same union bosses the Labor leader now takes his marching orders from?" Andrews asked.

Another Reith special accused Simon Crean of "trying to walk both sides of the street by saying one thing to the business community and another to his militant union mates."

Andrews, of late, seems like a man possessed. Just a fortnight ago one of his pressers asked of new ALP leader Mark Latham - "Why didn't he tell his union mates that he wanted to create jobs and achieve full employment?"

Andrews' office then informed the press that half of the delegates to this year's ALP national conference had a union background.

Hanke admitted to Workers Online he was back on the IR beat, working as an adviser to Andrews on Workplace Relations. He also confirmed he had had a hand in "some" recent press releases.

The news that the Government has attempted to put a bit of mongrel into their meek and mild Workplace Relations minister came to light in the newsletter published by Crikey's political commentator Hillary Bray described several bizarre releases earlier this year as "pretty damned undergraduate".

"He won't even be giving boys and girls of the Gallery a laugh. Piles of sanctimonious twaddle are no fun to sort through,' says Bray on the Crikey site.


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