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Issue No. 219 07 May 2004  
 
F E A T U R E S

Interview: Machine Man
It’s regarded as the most powerful job in the Party, but new NSW ALP general secretary Mark Arbib wants to build a bridge with the union movement.

Unions: Testing Times
Unions are not opposed to drug and alcohol testing, but they do want to see real safety issues addressed, writes Phil Doyle.

Bad Boss: Freespirit Haunts Internet
FreeSpirit forked out a motza for a whiz bang internet presence then disappeared right off the radar – once it was nominated as our Bad Boss for May.

Unions: Badge of Honour
Surry Hills is home to one of the world’s finest displays of union badges thanks to Bill "The Bear" Pirie and a supporting cast headed by Joe Strummer, Mark Knopfler, George Benson, Annie Lennox and other seriously big noises.

National Focus: Noel's World
Shrill bosses bleat over minimum wage rise, union spinmeisters congregate in Melbourne and Tassie’s nurses take the baton from their mob in Victoria reports Noel Hester in this national round up.

Economics: Safe Refuge
A humanitarian approach to refugees and an economically rational one?? I’d like to see that. Frank Stilwell did, when he went to Young in NSW to look into the impact of the Afghan refugees on temporary protection visas who came to work for the local abattoir

International: Global Abuse
Amnesty International have joined the chorus against the violation of trade union rights in the former Soviet republic of Belarus.

History: The Honeypot
To the Honeypot come those individuals anxious to get their hands on instant wealth. So it was in the early days of Broken Hill, wrties Grace Hawes in this homage to the mining town.

Review: Death And The Barbarians
This new take on coming of age films focuses on the coming of death and the dignity and maturity it can inspire among those touched by it - though not always easily in the overcrowded Canadian public health system, writes Tara de Boehmler.

Poetry: Who Wants to be a Millionaire?
Resident Bard David Peetz uncovers some of the unfolding mysteries of talk back radio.

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L A T E S T   N E W S

Casual Affair Costs Family
When Michelle Wood’s daughter was diagnosed with two brain tumours her boss told her to take as much time off as she needed – but she wouldn’t get paid.

Last October, Wood took a month away from her Bonds post to be at the hospital bedside of 16-year-old daughter, Bobby-Lee, but had to forfeit $2000 in wages. [full story]

Dob a Driver Strikes Out
Sydneysiders nearly faced another day of gridlock when it was revealed disgruntled commuters could cost bus drivers their jobs for the price of a local phone call.

State Transit back-flipped over the dismissal of a Brookvale bus operator when workmates across the city, and Newcastle, announced they would walk out in response to an "unfair" disciplinary system. [full story]

Crash LAME’s Smoking Gun
Licensed Aircraft Maintenance Engineers have cited the crash of a China Airlines aircraft in 2002 to back its campaign for pre-flight inspections on domestic Australian flights.

The Australian Licensed Aircraft Engineers Association this week launched ‘JetSafe’ – an innovative campaign to inform the public about the risks in allowing low cost domestic airlines to dispense with their members’ services on the tarmac. [full story]

Axe To Fall On Skippy
The NSW bush is set to be ravaged by mini-budget cuts, according to Department of Environment and Conservation (DEC) Field Officers.

The department has targeted approximately 300 jobs for the axe in the wake of the state government slashing its budget by $20 million.  [full story]

Internet Replaces Crayons
Childcare workers have annexed internet cafes around the continent to bombard Treasurer Peter Costello with thousands of fair-go pleas.

Qualified child carers, earning as little as $12 an hour, co-ordinated demands for wage justice in next week’s budget from sites in Perth, Sydney, Canberra and Adelaide, last Wednesday. [full story]

Young Lives Crushed
Three weeks ago Cory Bentley asked his girlfriend to marry him. Last Wednesday afternoon she joined friends, family and workmates to say good bye at a Memorial Service that shut down Pt Hedland.

Bentley, 26, was crushed when air gates shut on his head while he was inside a chute at BHP Billiton’s Nelson Point iron ore facility in the early hours of last Sunday morning. [full story]

ALSO MAKING NEWS

 Feds Move Goal Posts

 Telstra Baulks at Two Percent

 Crane Death Brings Fine

 Worker Breaks Unwritten Law

 Private Nurses Short Changed

 RailCorp Wrecks Weekend

 Thunderbirds Are Stop

 Activists What’s On!

email workers to a friend latest breaking news from labornet
"You give your heart and soul and you apply for permanency and they don't get back to you," says Michelle Wood, one of the many casual workers speaking out at this week's Secure Employment Test Case

E D I T O R I A L
All evidence that while the web and internet campaigning is in no way some panacea to the problems of workers worldwide – it is more than a fad; it is becoming an increasingly valuable campaigning tool.

DR STRANGE-TOOL

C O L U M N S

The Soapbox
Rethinking Left and Right Part 1
Dr David McKnight, from the University of Technology, Sydney presents a new frame for looking at the competing ideas within Social Democracy.

The Soapbox
Rethinking Left and Right Part 2
David McKnight concludes the paper he presented to the ‘Rethinking Social Democracy’ conference, in London, April 15-17, 2004.

Sport
Out On A Limb
Phil Doyle becomes the first Australian journalist to state that the Olympics will be called off.

Politics
The Westie Wing
In the latest episode, Ian West explores what Disraeli called "Lies, damn lies and statistics".

Postcard
Message from America
Searing snapshots from a landscape of uncertainty have plunged the Bush Administration into deeper crisis, writes WorkingForChange's Bill Berkowitz.


LETTERS to the Editor
 Reprehensible?
 Justice For Victims Denied

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