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Issue No. 220 14 May 2004  

Motherhood Statements
There is a term for political statements that are so bland they have lost their meaning – terms that no one could disagree with, designed to win the support of all people at all times.


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.


 Big Bribe Misses Battlers

 West in Great Leap Backwards

 Cheques in the Mail

 Bullets Foul Childcare

 Thanks Bob - Lawyers Tuck In

 Watchdog Barks for Workers

 Budget Brushes Elderly Blueprint

 John Sutton’s Fine Idea

 Teachers Unified in Out(r)age

 Qantas Hits Panic Button

 Lights Out At MCG

 Richs to Rags Warning

 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.

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Activists What’s On!

Pig On a Spit - Safari Picket

The famous CFMEU safari restaurant picket is now a nightly picket!

The CFMEU are conducting a picket of the Safari restaurant to get the owners to pay entitlements owed to workers (the owners are also builders). The Safari restaurant is in King Street Newtown. Picket is nightly (and every night until they pay up!). From 6pm. All welcome.


An exhibition of banners, badges and posters produced by trade unions, and original artworks by Jeff Rigby highlighting the strong historical role unions have played in the creation and conservation of our built environment, whilst May Day materials emphasise the workers' achievements in gaining and maintaining the rights and conditions of those who built it. From: 1st May to 16th May 2003 at Braemar Gallery, 104 Macquarie Rd, Springwood Friday, Saturday, Sunday 10.00am to 4.00pm

"Every Step Counts" - Landmine Action Week

14th to 23rd May 2004 NSW Launch of Landmine Action Week Where: Martin Place Sydney Date: May 14th When 11.15am Show your support by * placing a shoe on the shoe pyramid * sign the postcard petition * learn how we can eliminate landmines * see a landmine detection demonstration * listen to music Lets eliminate Landmines - every step counts Visit the website contact the campaigner [email protected] phone 0407 463 779

Under The Gums: Australian Stories For Our Kids

Celebrating Australian Children's Television

Sunday, 16 May 2004

Parramatta Park, The Amphitheatre

11.00am to 2.00pm

"Under The Gums" is a free, family day in the park to celebrate our precious cultural resource - local Australian children's television.

Cast members of The Saddle Club and Play School will be performing live together with other stars of Australian TV. There will be appearances and the opportunity to meet cast members of All Saints, Home and Away, McLeod's Daughters, Neighbours, The Big Arvo and more.

Families will be treated to an array of activities including storytelling, face painting, clowns, stilt walkers, puppets, a jumping castle, an animal farm, sack races, tug-of-war, live music, and a sausage sizzle. Entertainment on the main stage will begin at 12.00pm.

"The Warfies Film Unit"

The NSW Branch of the Australian Society for the Study of Labour History has a wonderful afternoon coming up:

"The Warfies Film Unit"

Sunday May 16, 2-4 pm

Carslaw lecture Theatre (room 173), University of Sydney

For over 10 years from 1953 the Sydney Branch of the Waterside Workers Federation supported a film unit that brought together filmmakers artists and wharfies themselves to make a wonderful series of films about the lives of wharfies and other workers. This was the era of 'intense conservatism and anti communist feeling' that was also fought out within the union movement.

The seminar will be led by Lisa Milner an independent writer and academic whose excellent book, "Fighting Films: A History of the Waterside Workers' Federation Film Unit", was published by Pluto Press last year.

The event will be of interest to AMWU members because one of the films was made for the Boilermakers and Blacksmiths Union to alert it's members to the hazards of welding.

Julie Kimber - 02 95579231 / [email protected]

Rowan Cahill - 02 48612323 / [email protected]

Feminism in a neo-liberal age


Research Initiative on International Activism

'Women around the world are organizing in a common effort to end poverty and violence against women. What could be more important?' Judy Rebick, Canada.

Public Lecture: 'Feminism in a neo-liberal age', Judy Rebick

Respondent: Eva Cox, UTS

When: 19 May, 6pm

Where: Gallery Function Centre, Level 6, Tower Building, UTS Broadway

Access: Entry by donation, disabled access

Information: 9514 2714,

Judy Rebick is in Australia to attend the Brisbane Social Forum. Her visit to Sydney is supported by the Research Initiative on International Activism at UTS.

After the budget: Howard Out!

A discussion on the significance of the Budget and the way forward to defeat the Howard government


Tanya Plibersek MP

ALP Member for Sydney

John Kaye

Greens Senate Candidate

Saturday 22 May

3.00 pm

Room 2532

University of Technology

Tower Building


Sponsored by Workers League, Solidarity and Socialist Democracy

For further information:

Phil Sandford, 9635 9276, [email protected]

Mark Goodkamp 0422 078 376


a roundtable discussion Friday 21 May 2004

Join Overland, the VWC and special guests as we discuss the role that think tanks play in influencing media discussion, politics and public opinion.

Partake in the conversation as we seek to discover the objectives of various think tanks and the ways in which they work. Are they objective analysts of policy or guns-for-hire? Who do they employ and by whom are they employed? Why do they have such a prominent media presence?

This roundtable will feature Gary Hughes from the Age, Tim

Thornton from Monash University and representatives from think- tanks, including Tim Watts (OzProspect) and Andrew Norton (Centre for Independent Studies).

6.30ˆ8.30 pm | $7 or FREE for VWC members & Overland subscribers | refreshments provided

VWC, 1st floor, Nicholas Building, 37 Swanston Street, Melbourne | phone: 9654 9068

Redfern at the Block - Open Day

Whanau Iwi Inc invites you to attend an open day at "the block' in Redfern (between Everleigh Street and Louis street) on Sunday May 30 - 10am to 5pm.





Face painting


Kapa Haka


Powhiri and Karakia starts at 10.00am sharp

This will be an alcohol and drug free open day.

Labor for Refugees meeting with Carmen Lawrence

Date: Friday 4 June 2004 Time: 5.30 - 7pm. Place: Meredith Burgmann's Office President's Dining Room Parliament House Sydney Aim: Debriefing after ALP National Conference Please advise [email protected] if you wish to attend so that we can organise numbers for the alcohol and nibbles which will be supplied.

Is Australian Democracy Working for Women?

The Women's Electoral Lobby (WEL) are holding their national conference in Sydney on the 12th and 13th June. Sessions will cover

* legislation as a way to protect women's rights

* measuring the quality of women's lives

* creating a culture for work and family reform

* what women want

Speakers include Elain Thompson, Pru Goward, Reg Graycar, Eva Cox and Mary Crooks

To register and for further information contact WEL on 9212 4374 or logon to the website at

Popular Education Activism & Organising

Education is a key to developing activists and active members of organisations. The new activist educator is an organiser, teacher, consultant and theorist. What methods are being used today to equip activists to build social movements? Does activist education reflect a democratic agenda or is it largely instrumental? How do we know if educational practices are working? Are new theories of learning be utilised? This is the second of a three forum series looking at different education, organising and activist strategies being used by movements and organizations pursuing social justice and change agendas. Union activists, environmental campaigners, community advocates, educators and grassroots campaigners are participating in the forums. The forum will actively engage participants in discussing and analysing different experiences. Case Studies Date: Friday, 18 June 2004 Time: 9am - 1.30pm Location: Centre for Popular Education University of Technology, Sydney Jones St, Broadway (Old Fairfax Building) FEES - $30 for one forum; $50 for two forums For further details contact Lee Malone (02) 9514 3861, Daniel Ng (02) 9514 3843 or Tony Brown (02) 9514 3866 email: [email protected] For updates go the Centre for Popular Education website


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