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Issue No. 221 21 May 2004  

Wage Fixing
The Premier’s attempt to cajole the NSW Industrial Relations Commission - and his subsequent eleventh hour bid to reopen wage negotiations - is about a lot more than the teachers' pay claim.


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.


 Chalkies Draw Line In Sand

 Porkies Leave Shearers In Tents

 Dust Flies In Asbestos Blue

 Joel’s Law One Step Closer

 BHP In Hedland Horror

 Occupation Focuses Anglo Minds

 STOP PRESS - Mitsubishi Carves Up SA

 Ties That Bind

 Fair Play At The Olympics

 Rally Demands Boss’ Head

 Nurses Stake Aged Claim

 Labor To Roll Up Sleeves

 Feds Take Axe To Safety

 AWU Remembers 9-11 Victim

 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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Joel’s Law One Step Closer

The Carr Government is under pressure to gaol killer bosses in the wake of a Legislative Council committee recommendation that corporate manslaughter should be written into the Crimes Act.

The cross-party committee, including three Labor members, also wants to give courts the power to make delinquent employers face up to bereaved family members.

Welcoming this week's release of the report into workplace deaths and injury, Labor Council secretary John Robertson called on the Government to extend the same support to families of dead workers it had pledged to other victims of crime.

"This Government went up and down the state promising to be tough on crime before the last election. This is its chance to prove its credentials on workplace crime," Robertson said.

"We don't want gaols overflowing with employers but we do want every employer to know that if they deliberately thumb their noses at safety requirements they can be held accountable.

"You can go to gaol in this state for seven years for spraying graffiti on the Opera House but not for gross negligence that takes the life of an employee. It's ridiculous."

The committee launched its inquiry after 10,000 workers marched on Macquarrie St following last year's death of 16-year-old building worker Joel Exner.

His mother, Sue Baxter, was amongst a dozen people from bereaved families who joined Labor Council, AMWU and CFMEU representatives in applauding the findings.

Key recommendations in the 246-page report include

- "urgent" introduction of a new offence under the Crimes Act, corporate manslaughter

- companies to have their safety performances rated and published.

- courts to consider "victim impact statements" from bereaved family members and to have the ability to direct negligent employers into face-to-face meetings .

- that Workcover reform its liason with victims of workplace accidents and/or their families because its "current and recent practices are inadequate".

- That Workcover commit additional resources to prevention, and that this include launching more prosecutions

The report was released at state parliament, on Monday, by standing committee chairman and Christian Democrat MLC, Rev Fred Nile. Its findings and recommendations were endorsed by Nile, Labor representatives Peter Primrose, Kayee Griffin and Jan Burnswoods along with the Greens Lee Rhiannon

Liberal committee members Catherine Cusack and David Clarke dissented.

Political observers suggest Carr and his IR Minister, John Della Bosca, are likely to support the Liberals on corporate manslaughter.


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