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Issue No. 218 30 April 2004  
E D I T O R I A L

End of the Casual Affair
The Secure Employment Test Case that kicks off in the coming week in the NSW Industrial Relations Commission will be an important test of how far down the path of labour market deregulation we have travelled.

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

 WA Bosses Duck for Cover

 Static Hits Digital Revolution

 Rising Sun Sets on Costello

 Terror Telegraphs New Era

 Dust Storm Greets Hardie

 Psych Nurses Seek Safety

 Work Bad for Your Health

 Govt Lays Death Track

 Howard Slugs Battlers

 APHEDA Wins Award

 Feds: Freedom Is Slavery

 Free Trade Fun Day

 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
 Tom is UN-Amazed
 Organ’s Manslaughter Pics
WHAT YOU CAN DO
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News

Psych Nurses Seek Safety


Victoria’s Psychiatric Nurses and Mental Health Professionals are threatening industrial action over unsafe staffing levels, claiming mental health services are in "crisis".

The move comes a month after a Western Australian Psychiatric Nurse was severely bashed by a patient.

70 psychiatric nurses and mental health professionals walked off the job last week to consider escalating their industrial action as part of their ongoing campaign for a new agreement with the Bracks government.

Workers believe that their safety, and the safety of people suffering from mental illness, is being jeopardised by a lack of adequate training in the sector.

As well as safety the Psychiatric Nurses and Mental Health Professionals are asking for specialist training, manageable community caseloads and decent career opportunities as well as a wage increase of up to 8%.

Rolling stoppages are expected to affect all of Victoria's mental health services. A range of admission bans, as well as bans on picking up excessive community caseloads, has also been implemented.

Health and Community Services Union (HACSU) members have joined other community groups to lobby the state's politicians to put "Mental Health First" in an effort to win better outcomes for mental health services in Victoria.

"It's time the Bracks government honoured its commitment to Victorians, in particular those suffering from mental illness and their families," says HACSU State Secretary, Lloyd Williams. "I call on Premier Bracks and Health Minister Pike to intervene and show some leadership for one of Victoria's most vulnerable groups. With one in five Victorians experiencing a mental illness, all Victorians deserve peace of mind."

"Our members are asking for no more than the promises the Bracks government gave to Victorians at the last state election. The Bracks government is not delivering on those promises."

"This stoppage is part of a statewide campaign to force the Bracks government to sit up and take notice of the crisis in Victoria's mental health services,"

A statewide stop work meeting for members of the (HACSU) has been called for the 6th of May.


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