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Issue No. 226 25 June 2004  

US Forces
The concerted and increasingly personal campaign by the Howard Government to portray Mark Latham as anti-American is built on some dodgy premises.


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!".


 Hadgkiss Sinks Boot into Safety

 Put a Job in Your Trolley

 Della Puts Cleaners Through Schools

 Freespirit Severs "Slavery" Link

 Luna Fringe Targets Fun

 Labour Warriors Fall

 Canberra Six in Dock

 Lobbyists Look for ALP Spine

 Tree Plan Faces Axe

 Sydney Water to Drip Feed Public

 Safety Nosedives At JetStar

 Irritable Desks on March

 Howard Backs Union Model

 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

 Lest We Forget
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Canberra Six in Dock

Six individuals and four firms charged over the ACT’s "worst ever industrial accident" appeared in court last week as tough new safety laws came into force.

Lawyers for the four companies concerned have asked for more time to respond to charges over the collapse of a jet hangar at Canberra Airport last year - a hanger that was used to house the Prime Minister's VIP jet.

The companies that have been charged face fines of several hundred thousand dollars for what the Canberra Times reported as the territory's "worst ever industrial accident".

Unions have welcomed the investigation into the hangar collapse, which could have been much worse. Many lives were saved only because many of the workers on the site were at lunch when the accident happened.

"We welcome an inquiry to get to the bottom of what happened," says CFMEU ACT Assistant Secretary Glenn Parry. "Not necessarily to see people get pinged but to find out why it happened so that it doesn't happen again.

Stronger OHS Laws

The news comes as new occupational health and safety laws came into effect in the ACT despite a loud campaign by local businesses and the territory's Liberal opposition.

The new laws give unions 'right of entry' into workplaces to ensure that safety conditions are up to scratch.

Even as the laws were being passed ACT unions came across a building site that has been labelled "an accident waiting to happen".

Scaffolding had been erected within centimetres of live powerlines and a complete absence of harnesses was accompanied by "fall traps everywhere".

Even the scaffolding had been erected with gaps in the planks.

"It highlights the need for unions to have access to these jobs," says Parry. "It makes you wonder if [employers] are paying any notice to the new laws."

The CFMEU has welcomed the new laws, coming on the back of the ACT Government enacting industrial manslaughter legislation.

"There's been more discussion of safety issues since the industrial manslaughter laws came in than in the previous 30 years I've been in the ACT," says Parry.

ACT WorkCover issued three prohibition notices for serious safety breaches at the site and seven improvement notices.

The trial of those charged in relation to the Canberra Airport hangar collapse is continuing.


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