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Issue No. 225 18 June 2004  
E D I T O R I A L

No Place Like Home
Little by little, the truth is seeping out; a judicial inquiry into James Hardies Industries corporate restructure is exposing a scandal of dramatic proportions.

F E A T U R E S

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!".

N E W S

 Multi Bets on China Card

 Community Flags Reconciliation Push

 Nigel’s Ad Values Questioned

 Medal for "Jobs Vandal"

 Schoolies Earn Thousands

 Westbus Drives Over Entitlements

 Circus Owners Cut Up Rough

 Fireys Slam Adelaide "Death Traps"

 Job Slasher Faces Spam

 Sixty Stations Face Axe

 "Sickies" to Join Dinosaurs

 Mr One Percent on Notice

 Stink Over DJ’s Bogs

 Aussie Kids Die on the Job

 Activists What’s On!

C O L U M N S

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?

Politics
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

L E T T E R S
 Flexed To Death
WHAT YOU CAN DO
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News

Aussie Kids Die on the Job


An average of 30 children aged under 14 years are killed each year on Australian farms, prompting calls from unions for more action to protect children in the workplace.

The call comes as a new report reveals that almost half of all young workers in the fast food industry have suffered an injury or illness and that children as young as eight are known to work for families engaged as outworkers in Australia's clothing industry.

Research shows that a child is killed on an average of one every 13 days -- and 575 are injured and require treatment in a hospital. A significant proportion of these deaths and injuries occur while the child is working.

"The use of child labour on farms varies from offensive slavery to something trivial and simple, such as getting a child to bring in firewood," says Yossi Berger from the Australian Workers Union, who represent workers in the rural sector.

"On one end of the scale you get outright mongrels, who are a minority, to average people under pressure using whatever pairs of hands they can," says Berger.

Berger says that eight out of ten farms he conducts inspections of have life threatening risks, often associated with the mobile nature of the work and the use of chemicals, and that the use of child labour can increase those risks tenfold.

"While the exploitation of children is not as widespread here as overseas, more action is still needed to protect children and young people in Australian workplaces," says ACTU President Sharan Burrow

A recent Jobwatch survey of young people working in fast food outlets in Australia showed almost half had suffered an injury or illness at the workplace and nearly one third said they had inadequate health and safety supervision.

WorkCover NSW statistics show that, at least four children under 18 are killed, 377 suffer permanent injury, and more than 1300 suffer temporary disabilities each year from work in NSW alone.

Almost a quarter of a billion children are child labourers world-wide with around 22,000 children die in work-related incidents Every year.

The ACTU has accused the Australian Government of dragging its heels on ratifying important international conventions that ban the worst forms of child labour and require a minimum age for child labour.


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