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Issue No. 214 26 March 2004  

The Security Shift
As the War on Terror spirals out of control, the political dynamics of security are starting to shift – and those banging thee drums of war may become the unlikely casualties.


Interview: Baby Bust
Labor's Wayne Swan argues that the plight of our aging workforce is only one side of our demographic dilemma.

Safety: Dust To Dust
Failure by authorities to police safety in the asbestos removal industry is threatening the lives of members of the public, writes Phil Doyle.

Bad Boss: Shaming in Print
Delegates from print shops around Sydney will publicly shame this month’s Bad Boss nominee with a rally outside his new Alexandria operation next Thursday.

National Focus: Work's Cripplin' Us
Noel Hester reports on a spin doctors' talkfest, workplace pain, stroppy teachers and IWD party time in the national wrap.

International: Bulk Bullies
An extraordinary five month struggle over affordable health care, by nearly 70,000 Californian supermarket workers, has just come to an end, writes Andrew Casey.

History: The Battle for Kelly's Bush
Green Bans saved a piece of bush before they saved much of the Sydney’s built environment, writes Neale Towart

Economics: Aid, Trade And Oil
Tim Anderson reveals Australia’s second betrayal Of East Timor is playing out before our eyes.

Review: The Art Of Work
Workers and westies are being celebrated as the cultural icons they are thanks to two Sydney exhibitions reminding us there is a world of art in the everyday, writes Tara de Boehmler.

Poetry: Sew His Lips Together
Wondering where the next porkie is going to come from? Resident bard David Peetz knows.


 Terrorism: Workers In Front Line

 ‘Racist Throwback’ on Rail Project

 Green Light for Council Code

 Underground Mines a Time Bomb

 Teachers Delete Email

 Bush Uses Burma Sweatshops

 Family Mourns Dead Worker

 Call Centre Shocker

 Bosses Touched Up With Wet Lettuce

 Andrews Throws Last Dice at CFMEU

 Smelter Contractors Clear Air

 Activists What’s On!


The Soapbox
Iraq and Your Mortgage
How high interest rates go will be a key issue in 2004 and if you are looking for a clue, there's no better place to look than the war in Iraq, writes Michael Rafferty.

Hang Onto the Day Job
Show someone else the money, says Phil Doyle.

Westie Wing
Ian West shows why Eveleigh Street’s not so far away from Macquarie Street

Don’t Give Up the Fight
Get Up, Stand Up is the logo of choice on a popular range of subversive condoms. Ken Davis from Union Aid Abroad reports from Zimbabwe’s second city

 More On Green Bans
 But Will He Get the Trains To Run On Time?
 Uniting For Peace
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Terrorism: Workers In Front Line

A Flag of Convenience bulk carrier bound for Victoria loaded "one of the most dangerous cargoes" out of NSW on the day the Federal government moved to crack down on maritime terrorism.

Maritime workers have questioned whether the Federal government’s changes to shipping laws are undermining the nation’s efforts in the war on terror.

On the same day on which the Maritime Security Bill was introduced to parliament the flag of convenience bulk carrier the Henry Oldendorf, with a compliment of 21 men from seven different nationalities, loaded a coastal cargo of fertiliser from NSW bound for Victoria.

Until very recently this cargo was carried exclusively by Australian flagged and crewed ships.

"While this is by no means an isolated event it serves to demonstrate how the government's assault on the Australian industry opens the gates to terrorist opportunities," says Dean Summers from the International Transport Federation (ITF).

Unions have warned that using flag of convenience shipping on coastal trade at the expense of Australian shipping exposes Australia to a significant terrorist risk.

The ITF has warned that flag of convenience shipping means that in most cases the true owner of the ships can never be traced. Crews made up of mixed nationalities from the poorest nations ensure that they cannot organise among themselves

Many crews on flag of convenience vessels are sourced from developing countries - described by the Federal Government as being a part of "the arc of instability". Fraudulent crew papers are also widespread, making it easy for terrorists to infiltrate ships

"The Howard Government is right to review maritime security but it must consider security in the context of some of its other objectives," says Summers. "It should weigh up whether attacking the Australian shipping industry is worth exposing all Australians to a very real threat of terrorism from foreign shipping into the hearts of our capital cities."

"While our newly enacted Maritime Security Act addresses some important issues there are other federal government transport policies that negate security measures and actually create obvious opportunities to breach national maritime security."

According to the ITF Australian ships and crews for our domestic trade equates to maritime security.

Perth Guards Unguarded

Meanwhile Western Australian rail workers are concerned about the possibility of terrorist attacks following the events in Madrid.

Local Rail Tram and Bus Union (RTBU) secretary Bob Christison dismissed claims from the Western Australian Premier's Office that transit guards on Perth's rail system were trained in counter terrorism.

"What that means is that they [the transit guards] have been advised that if they see an unattended package, they are to view it as dangerous and contact the appropriate authorities."

Christison labelled the WA Government's approach as a 'fingers-crossed' strategy.

"They are hoping that nothing happens," says Christison. "They wouldn't have a clue what they're dealing with."

The RTBU is calling for security on the Perth rail system to be beefed up across the board.


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