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Issue No. 216 16 April 2004  
E D I T O R I A L

Joining the Dots
At first blush there appears little connection between the Howard Government’s handling of the War on the union movement and the War on Iraq – until you realise the key players come from the same team.

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

 Weekend Warrior Outed

 Dick’s Got Form

 Mum Burned By "Barbecue Stopper"

 RSL Bombs Vets

 Sweetener for Sugar Pills

 Death Highlights Risky Business

 Casual Affair On The Buses

 Athens Update: Dying Games

 Nuns Run Amok in Cessnock

 Roving Commission for Safety Reps

 Workers Order Ziggy on Toast

 Divers Down

 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
 Sick Pay
 Tom’s A Furphy
 Rolling in Clover
 More War And Peace
 Invisible Workers
WHAT YOU CAN DO
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News

Roving Commission for Safety Reps


A review of Victorian safety laws has flagged the possibility of roving union safety inspectors having the right to shut down non-union workplaces.

The proposal is part of a review of Victoria's occupational health and safety laws by Chris Maxwell, QC, which also urges tougher penalties for workplace safety breaches, jail terms for serious first-time offenders and a code of conduct for company officers.

Maxwell said only half of Victorian workplaces had safety officers. Workplaces that did not elect safety officers because of ignorance or hostility from managers needed to be able to rely on "roving" union safety officers for their welfare.

Victorian unions have welcomed the report.

"This report covers everything from the obligations of duty holders, the role of inspectors, the role of information and employer incentives [and] ways to improve consultation within workplaces," says Victorian Trades Hall Council secretary Leigh Hubbard. "On first reading, we welcome many of the recommendations made by Chris Maxwell but will need to understand how they will work in practice before we can comment in any detail."

Hubbard said that the trade union movement was very disappointed that the review did not deal with the issue of industrial manslaughter but understood that the government had made commitments not to amend the Crimes Act to create such an offence.

Victorian unions have also called for union officials to have rights under the Health & Safety Act to visit workplaces to investigate health and safety breaches.


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