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Issue No. 215 02 April 2004  
E D I T O R I A L

Something Smells
There is something just a little too cute about the NSW government’s discovery of a budget crisis on the eve of public sector wage talks.

F E A T U R E S

Interview: Terror Australis
The Howard Government has just discovered the nation's ports are a terrorist target. The International Transport Federation's Dean Summers has been warning them for years.

Unions: Graeme Beard's Second Dig
Hidden in the Australian Workers Union Sydney office is a mild-mannered industrial officer who once strutted the international cricket stage, writes Jim Marr.

Industrial: The Hell of Troy
On the basis of a couple of hours in the witness box, Building Industry Royal Commissioner Terence Cole described Troy Stratti as "credible". Six men who, together, have known the company director for the best part of 50 years beg to differ.

Organising: Miners Strike Gold
Traditional unions are rediscovering the power of grassroots organising. Paddy Gorman reports from the coal face.

Economics: The Accepted Wisdom
Evan Jones argues that economic policy making has been narrowed and rendered mechanistic and antiseptic.

History: Vicious Old Lady
Despite its Liberal leanings, the Sydney Morning Herald has never been shy of bashing unions, writes Neale Towart.

International: Out of Sight, Out of Mind
Thailand must end its crackdown on Burmese fleeing rights abuses in their military-ruled homeland, according to a Human Rights Watch report.

Review: War Unfogged
Want to go to war but not sure where to start? Look no further than Errol Morris' latest doco-drama for the definitive 11-step lesson plan, writes Tara de Boehmler.

Poetry: TAFE
A TAFE student struggling under the weight of fees shares his wordly wisdom

N E W S

 Gong Points Death Bone at Iemma

 Strip – Howard’s Order to Shoppies

 Workers Victory - We’re Legal!

 Compo Family Exiled to Peru

 Patrick Faces Million Dollar Fines

 Water Quality in Budget Back-Wash

 Feds Dodge Death

 Hard Men Melt Away

 Three Cheers for 36-Hour Week

 Dili Death "Down to Dollars"

 Builder Pleads Guilty

 Maternity Plan: Hard Labor?

 Life – Cambodia’s Grand Raffle

 Thumbs Up for Union Code

 Activists What’s On!

C O L U M N S

Postcard
A Voice for Peace
Palestinian trade union leader calls on militants to lay down their arms while the ICFTU protests harassment of Palestinian union leader.

The Soapbox
The Double Standard Bearers
Nicholas Way argues that when it comes to collective action, the Howard Government has different views depending on whether you are a unionist or a small business.

The Locker Room
The Fine Print
While the result mightn’t be everything, it does make the back of the newspaper more interesting, as Phil Doyle reports.

Politics
The Westie Wing
Ian West crunches the numbers in Macquarie Street and finds virtue in deficit.

L E T T E R S
 War And Peace
 Getting Away With Murder
 Terrorism
WHAT YOU CAN DO
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News

Gong Points Death Bone at Iemma


The gruesome death of a concrete renderer in a Port Kembla trench has bolstered claims Illawarra workers are at risk because the NSW Government denies the region its own medical retrieval unit.

South Coast Labor Council secretary, Arthur Rorris, highlighted three recent accidents to urge the Government to base a medical retrieval unit, similar to those operating out of Sydney, Newcastle, Tamworth and Lismore, at Wollongong Hospital.

He says the resistance of Health Minister, Maurice Iemma, may be costing lives on the South Coast.

Concrete renderer Ron Tabak died before he could be reached by a doctor dispatched from Sydney two and a half hours after witnesses say he fell into a trench.

Rorris cannot comment on specifics of the case because it is before a coroner but alleges that, from the time of finally being called, it took a Sydney-based doctor 35 minutes to reach Port Kembla by helicopter.

"We should have a doctor available in 10 minutes, not 35," he argues. "There is a hospital up the road but there is no retrieval unit based there.

"People on the South Coast are sick of this Minister's intransigence. From here on we will be holding him, and local politicians, responsible every time one of our workmates dies on the job."

Rorris said the Tabak death came within days of the lid being blown off the Port Kembla ethanol plant in an explosion, and a worker falling into a deep ditch at the nearby Sydney Water Treatment Works.

"We have a lifesaver helicopter and we have paramedics but these services don't come with a Wollongong-based doctor. In cases of serious injury, the first 20 minutes can be vital," Rorris said.

The Labor Council secretary says his organisation's fears have been highlighted by this week's leak of an internal review conducted by pilots at Life Saver Rescue Helicopter Service.

That review lists six case studies, since June last year, in which "tasking" of the helicopter was overlooked or delayed within the South Coast region.

"The commitment of the Medical Retrieval Unit to serving the community and the professionalism of the Unit's officers is not in question," report authors say. "This review document shoud not and is not designed to detract from the positive relationship that the Life Saver Rescue Helicopter Service and the Medical Retrieval Unit share.

"It is, however, apparent that a number of barriers to performance need to be overcome for the unit and the aeromedical network to perform as well as it would wish."


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