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Issue No. 224 11 June 2004  

The Passion For Power
Arguably Midnight Oils’ greatest ever song ‘Powderworks’ starts off with the apocalyptic warning "there’s a shit storm a-coming."

The Passion for Power
Arguably Midnight Oils’ greatest ever song ‘Powderworks’ starts off with the apocalyptic warning "there’s a shit storm a-coming."


Interview: The New Democrat
Canadian activist Judy Rebick explains how she's using lessons from Brazil to rebuild the labour movement.

Bad Boss: The Ugly Australian
Prime Minister John Howard is in California spruiking the "merits" of this month’s Bad Boss nomination …

Unions: Free Spirits and Slaves
International capital demands guest labour – legal or illegal – as a way of beating down wages and conditions and, as Jim Marr discovers, the Australian Government seems happy to oblige.

Industrial: National Focus
Noel Hester reports on another workplace death (we-will-not-RIP NOHSC), heartburn for the Canberra consensus and all the action from around the states in our national wrap.

History: A Class Act
The problem of forgetting the primacy of class in favour of other ideas of community is highlighted in a new book, writes Neale Towart

International: Across the Ditch
NZ Nurses Union leader, Laila Harré, is in Sydney this week, comparing notes with the Australian Nurses Federation and seeking transTasman support for New Zealand’s highest profile industrial campaign.

Economics: Home Truths
Sydney University's Frank Stilwell argues that tax policy is driving the housing boom.

Review: No Time Like Tomorrow
The Day After Tomorrow is one part Grim Reaper of the environmental movement and two parts fictitious fable dramatically window dressed with extreme special effects, writes Tara de Boehmler.

Poetry: Silent Note
Resident Bard David Peetz uncovers the current public service motto – "Don't tell the Minister!".


 Making Plans For Nigel

 People Importer Wants Indemnity

 Desperate Ambos Turn to Copper

 Victims Dusted in Asbestos Row

 Delos Bang Victory Gong

 Teaching 12 Percent Tougher

 Now Carr Faces Medical Bill

 Officers Hurt in Transit

 Support Unit Makes Canberra Debut

 Winter Beds Breakthrough

 Workers Wait For Bread

 HoWARd the A**sLIcKEer

 Activists What’s On!


The Soapbox
The Pursuit of Happiness Part I
The Australia Institute's Clive Hamilton questions the assumptions underlying a society that defines happiness in dollar terms.

The Soapbox
The Pursuit of Happiness Part II
Clive Hamilton concludes his analysis, looking at how more and more Australians are pulling back from a marketplace that is no longer providing the goods.

The Locker Room
Sack ‘Em All!
Phil Doyle puts his job on the line, but doesn’t everyone these days?

The Westie Wing
The NSW Government has an agenda on the table but the test is finding innovative ways to finance it, writes Ian West

 Godbotherers Descend On Poor
 Sick Of This Job
 Office Junior’s Secrets
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Victims Dusted in Asbestos Row

Asbestos victims could be forced to bail out of the James Hardie inquiry because the NSW state government won’t grant them legal aid.

In the absence of direct communcations from Macquarrie St, the AMWU is still trying to confirm the validity of this week’s news media reports.

Secretary, Paul Bastian, said it would be "shameful" if James Hardie's "million dollar legal team" wasn't counterbalanced at the Jackson Inquiry by advocates for people dying of mesothelioma and lung cancers.

The inquiry was established to examine James Hardie's actions in hiving off asbestos liabilities to a trust fund that actuaries say will be left more than a billion dollars of shy of being able to compensate sufferers.

"Evidence to the Jackson Inquiry has been nothing short of scandalous," Bastian said. "A lot of very well paid, respected people have made a lot of money out of asbestos. Now they're going to a lot of trouble to avoid paying compensation to ordinary people whose lives have been destroyed."

Bastian said there had been a "fleet" or corporate lawyers defending Hardies and its associates while victims had been represented, without payment to this point, by a counsel and two lawyers.

He said, if legal aid was denied, there would no further representation of victims at the inquiry.

Already, commissioner David Jackson has foreshadowed the possibility of legal action being canvassed in closing submissions.

Sensational evidence by a range of current and former Hardies directors has suggested the company put out misleading press releases; failed to supply actuaries with relevant information; and misled the Supreme Court before restructuring to distance the parent company from asbestos liabilities.

Hardies boss, Peter McDonald, claims the company has no further legal or moral obligations to sufferers of asbestos-related diseases.


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