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Issue No. 219 07 May 2004  

The Mouse That Roars
A number of campaigns this week show how web campaigning is reaching a level of sophistication that is transforming it from a gee-whiz fad to a potent industrial tool.


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.


 Casual Affair Costs Family

 Dob a Driver Strikes Out

 Crash LAME’s Smoking Gun

 Axe To Fall On Skippy

 Internet Replaces Crayons

 Young Lives Crushed

 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!


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.

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

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

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

 Justice For Victims Denied
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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.

ALAEA federal secretary David Kemp says the ongoing crash investigation into China Airlines Flight 611, a Boeing 747 which disappeared from radar screens on 25 May 2002 on a scheduled regular public transport flight over the Straits of Taiwan raises issues consistent with the Jestafe campaign.

An 'Aviation Week and Space Technology' report into that crash finds that: "Despite the potential difficulty of finding the cracks in the bilge inspection there may have been other more obvious signs visible to an alert ramp worker.'

Kemp says these findings, into a crash that claimed the lives of all those on board, is sobering.

"In my experience, ramp workers who are not trained Engineers are totally indifferent to the condition of the aircraft," Kemp says.

"Their only real concern is to load, unload and to handle their turnaround activities, hopefully without delay or inflicting damaging to the aircraft.

Cyber-Campaign a Hit

The JetSafe campaign has received widespread national media coverage this week, attracting more than 20,000 visits to the campaign site.

The campaign utilises the web, billboards and a Google advertising campaign that displays Jetsafe whenever the words Jet Star or Virgin Blue are entered.

JetStar was planning to operate without pre-flight safety inspections by licensed engineers. Instead, pilots will be asked to carry out the external safety checks.

ALAEA federal secretary David Kemp said that when Virgin Blue pursued a similar agenda 18 months ago, significant safety breaches slipped through the net.

"By applying public pressure on Virgin Blue we convinced them to maintain pre-flight safety checks by LAMEs. Now we are making the same arguments to Jet Star."

Mr Kemp said while the public would be supportive of low cost airlines, they would be wary of flying on carriers that down-graded safety.

"Our members have a minimum eight years training before being licensed, ensuring they have intimate knowledge of all aspects of an aircraft.

"To ask a pilot to take on this job is akin to asking a motorist to conduct their own Pink Slip inspection on their car.


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