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Issue No. 217 23 April 2004  

Textor Messaging
Those responsible for communicating the union movement’s message to the public met in Melbourne this week and invited none other than John Howard’s master pollster to give his perspective. The spooky thing was his message to unions was an optimistic one.


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


 "Slave Labour" in WA Revolt

 Vaile Orange – 200 Punted

 Right Turn Ends in Court

 Premier on Track to Nowhere

 Bosses Unite Against Holidays

 Miners Stand Up to "Bullies"

 All Out in the Gong

 Zoo Poo Stink

 Feared Beard in Shipping Scare

 Mayday … Footy Player Celebrates

 Teachers Roll Up for Discipline

 De-Skilling Australia

 Activists What’s On!


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.

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

 More Than Cricket
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Premier on Track to Nowhere

Southern Highlands residents will have hours added to travel times and Murwillimbah will lose rail services altogether after the NSW Government reneged on a no-cuts promise.

The about-face came in Treasurer Michael Egan’s mini-budget, sparking angry communities to book a "protest train" that will arrive in Sydney on Thursday morning.

At least three Shire mayors booked seats after hundreds of angry residents packed out protest meetings around the South Coast. Organisers say400 people turned up to the Mittagong RSL, while Picton (120), Moss Vale (108) and Bowral (96) also sent strong messages to Sydney.

Passengers from the protest train will march through Sydney to a rally outside Governor Macquarie Towers.

"The problem is that Bob Carr came out and told these people there would be no cutbacks in XPT country services for at least 12 months," RTBU secretary, Nick Lewocki said.

"But the mini-budget changed all that. These towns will lose services and, very likely, jobs as well."

Rail services between Casino and Murwillumbah will be replaced by buses later in the year, while Southern Highlands and South Coast services will be significantly pruned.

Lewocki estimates people from the Southern Highlands, who will lose all direct services, will be able to add 30-40 minutes to each leg of their journey, courtesy of waits at Campbelltown and the fact that connections will not be express.

That, he warns, would be on a good day. If their trains aren't in synch with connections they will be forced to spend an additional hour on the platform.

Lewocki said RTBU members supported the communities who were protesting over the cutbacks.


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