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Issue No. 231 30 July 2004  

Bright Sparks
Australia is facing a major crisis that could affect all of us in the decades to come, a shortage of skilled apprentices, tomorrow’s tradespeople who are the backbone of the economy.


Interview: Power and the Passion
ALP's star recruit Peter Garrett shares his views on unions, forests and being the Member for Wedding Cake Island

Unions: Tackling the Heavy Hitters
Tony Butterfield became a State of Origin gladiator at the unlikely age of 33. Even that, Jim Marr reports, couldn’t prepare him for the knock-down, drag-em-out world of modern IR.

Industrial: Seeing the Forest For The Wood
Proposals to flog off NSW’s forests have raised eyebrows and temperatures amongst some of the key players reports Phil Doyle.

Housing: Home Truths
CFMEU national secretary John Sutton argues for a radical solution to the housing affordability crisis.

International: Boycott Busters
International unions have issued a new list of corporations breaching ILO sanctions to do business in Burma.

Economics: Ideology and Free Trade
The absurdities of neoclassical economic assumptions has never stood in the way of their being trotted out to justify profiteering and attacks on the rights of citizens. The AUSFTA is the latest rort we are supposed to swallow, writes Neale Towart.

History: Long Shadow of a Forgotten Man
Interest in JC Watson's short time as Labor's first Prime Minister should not detract from his more substantial role as Party leader, writes Mark Hearn

Review: Chewing the Fat
As debate rages in Australia about Fast Food advertising, Julianne Taverner takes a look at a side of the industry that Ronald McDonald won’t tell you about in Supersize Me.

Poetry: Dear John
Workers Online reader Rob Mullen shares some personal correspondence with our glorious leader.


 Goons, Scabs in Desert Showdown

 High Jump for Hardies

 Task Force in Hiding

 Court Cans Radio Bully

 Trade Deal Muddies Water

 Union Saves Kevin’s Bacon

 CFMEU Bowls Howard Model

 Mildura Bans Toxic Avenger

 Breakthrough Saves 87 Positions

 Two Million Jobs Traded

 Death Halts Sydney Tunnel

 Trainees Score $200,000

 Apprentice Crisis Worsens

 Activists What’s On!


The Westie Wing
As the NSW Labor Government sells its first budget deficit in nine years, the real concern for the union movement is the devil in the detail, especially when it comes to procurement agreements, writes Ian West.

The Soapbox
Rubber Bullets
Labor's IR spokesman Craig Emerson launches a few characteristic salvos across the Parliamentary chamber

The Locker Room
Tears After Bedtime
Phil Doyle says that it's all fun and games until someone loses an eye

Postcard from Vietnam
APHEDA's Hoang Thi Le Hang reports from the north of Vietnam on a project being fund by Australian unionists.,

 Left Holding The Baby
 Tom On Alienation
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Activists What’s On!

Boycott and Picket the Safari Restaurant


How can you help?

Boycott the Safari Restaurant

Sign our Supporters Petition

Make a donation to the campaign

Picket nightly from 6.15pm - 28 King Street, Newtown.

Dream on!

National competition for students - term 3

The Australian Council of Trade Unions' Worksite for Schools website ( is currently running a national competition for school, TAFE and RTO students - Your Dream Job.

To enter, students must write about the job of their dreams. There is $100 for the student winner, $50 for 2 runners-up, and $25 for the winner of the special effort category.

The competition will not only give students a chance to win, it's a great way for them to learn about the workforce and get them excited about their working future.

Worksite is a terrific source of information about the workforce, providing statistics, encouraging debate, creativity and analysis.

The competition closes Friday 22nd October 2004. More information and an entry form can be obtained from the Worksite website -

Please call 1800 659 511 (toll free) or email [email protected] if you have any questions.

Strategic Thinking And Planning

An East coast opportunity to work on your campaign or organisation's strategic thinking and planning.

Would you like to be an activist who knows where their campaign is going? Do your current strategies and tactics match the broader social and political context? Would you like to be the kind of community worker who is clear about the aims of their project so that you can clearly evaluate what you are trying to achieve? Many environmental and social justice advocates are flying by the seat of their pants and looking for effective strategies to address the challenges we face. Sometimes we can get stuck in reactive modes, or feel overwhelmed by the challenges of the moment.

The good news is that there are skills and tools for helping us become more pro-active, and creative as an organisation. We can become smarter at strategy!

So would you like to build the skills base in your organisation? How to develop a plan? Strategic analysis? Are you merely being more reactive about your work? This workshop provides you with an opportunity to not only reflect, but to learn new skills in strategic thinking and planning to add to your activist tool kit.

Four seasoned trainers will be facilitating two days of active and experiential learning on strategic campaign analysis and planning.

Workshop goals:

Develop skills in understanding how organisations create smart strategies for change;

Learn new tools for campaign planning;

Increase your skills for accessing creativity and understanding your gifts for strategic thinking;

And apply these skills and tools to your organisation!

When &where:

Sydney :: Monday 2nd & Tuesday 3rd August :: Quakers Meeting House

Melbourne :: Thursday 5th & Friday 6th August :: The Green Building

How much: $220-550 > sliding scale [includes GST unfortunately]

Contact Amy for more details: [email protected]

Work Interrupted

The ACTU will be co-sponsoring a conference on casual and insecure employment in Melbourne on August 2, 2004.

This timely national conference will examine the impact of casual and insecure work on Australian workers, business and the economy.

Casual employment as a proportion of the total workforce has grown from 13% in 1982 to 28% in 2003. It is widespread in many new industries and occupations and is increasingly long-term. Most jobs created in the 1990s were part-time and casual.

This conference will look at:

* the personal experience of casual workers

* international comparisons with Australian casual employment

* the economic impact of casual employment

* policy challenges for legislators, business and unions

This conference brings together some of Australia's leading thinkers and commentators and policy makers from business, unions, academia, politics, and the media to further this important debate.

Union places at the conference will cost $150 per head. To reserve your place download and complete the registration form below and fax it to RMIT University/CASR on 02 9365 6067. Or email your details to [email protected] Or post the registration form with payment to: Work Interrupted, PO Box 7267, Bondi Beach NSW 2026.

Oxfam fundraiser - The Corporation

Oxfam Community Aid Abroad invites you to the screening of The Corporation an award winning documentary film by Michael Achbar.

THE CORPORATION is a film which is resonating with audiences all over the world. Analyzing the very nature of the corporate institution, its impacts on our planet, and what people are doing in response, filmmakers Mark Achbar (co-director of MANUFACTURING CONSENT), Jennifer Abbott and Joel Bakan provide a darkly amusing account of the institution's evolution as a legal "person," and a powerful indictment of the roots of corporate power.

Based on Joel Bakan's book "The Corporation: The Pathological Pursuit of

Profit and Power", the film has been generating popular support from street

level to the boardrooms of the Corporate Social Responsibility movement.

Featuring interviews with CEOs and top-level executives from some of the world's largest corporations and critical thinkers including Noam Chomsky, Peter Drucker, Milton Friedman, Naomi Klein, Howard Zinn, Vandana Shiva, Steve Wilson, Michael Moore, and Jane Akre.

Winner of the AUDIENCE AWARD for DOCUMENTARY in WORLD CINEMA at the 2004

SUNDANCE FILM FESTIVAL and numerous other awards including 7 audience

choice awards.

Special Guest: Mark Achbar, Co-director of The Corporation

will give a brief introduction to the film and will be available for

questions after the film.

When: TUESDAY, 3 AUGUST @ 7:00pm

Where: The Chauvel Cinema

Paddington Town Hall, Cnr Oxford Street & Oatley Road, Paddington

Entry $20 / $15. For bookings phone: 93615398 ($10 to OCAA and ACCA)

Nibblies provided. Drinks at the bar.

hoWARd the arseLIcKEr

-Written by D.B.Valentine - Directed by Mark Cleary

-The Edge Theatre - Cnr King & Bray Sts Newtown

-Advance previews Wed 4th & Thurs 5th August.

-Opening Friday 6th Aug to Sunday 29th Aug.

-Time: 7.30pm (tbc)

-Bookings 9645 1611 or

-More info go to: click on "The Edge"


Friday 6 August, 6.00pm at Town Hall, marching to Archibald Fountain in Hyde Park for a Crane and Candle ceremony.

Information: Hiroshima Day Committee, telephone Bronwyn Marks, 9982 4192.

The Republican Movement and Reconciliation

ARM Sydney Speakers Series #2: author and academic Mark McKenna - Tuesday 10 August 2004

Further details at

Labor and Community Organising in Los Angeles: a popular education approach

12 August Kent Wong seminar - Pop Ed in LA for unions and community organisations

Centre for Popular Education Seminar

Kent Wong Director UCLA Centre for Labor Research and Education

How do unions and community organizations organise in Los Angeles? What role can a University center play as a bridge between the University and the Labor community in Southern California? And how have the dramatic changes in the Southern California economy in recent years shaped this relationship?

Kent Wong, the Centre Director, will talk about the Center and its concentration on working with unions, immigrant worker and other community unions/associations, and how its research - which encourages and draws upon community scholars - provides an important source of information for unions and community organisations. Perhaps this explains why the Center's future has been threatened by Governor Arnold Schwarzennegger's proposed 2004-05 state budget, which aims to dramatically reduce its funds.

When: Thursday 12 August

Where: Centre for Popular Education, UTS

5th Floor Conference Room

235 Jones St, Broadway

Time: 3-5pm followed by drinks

RSVP: [email protected] 9514 3866


Joe Higgins TD (Socialist Party, Dublin West) is to tour Australia in August 2004. Jailed last year for a month for his involvement in the Bin Tax dispute, Higgins - who worked as a construction worker in Sydney in the 1970s - will be speaking at meetings of the Irish Community, workplace meetings, at a National Union of Workers delegates‚ meeting and at public meetings in Newcastle, Sydney, Perth and Melbourne about recent workers‚ and community struggles in Ireland and Europe.

Against an international backdrop of understandable cynicism and distrust of politicians of all political persuasions, Joe Higgins stands out as one politician prepared to back his words with action. Joe is nationally known as a fighter for working class people and for standing for working class unity and socialism, in the South and North of Ireland. Working class people in Ireland know of Joe‚s reputation as a class fighter ˆ they have witnessed him fighting for their communities for years, including being sent to prison, along with Socialist Party Councillor Clare Daly, and other activists, during mass anti-bin charges protests, last year.


NEWCASTLE: 6.30pm on Friday August 13th at the Commonwealth Hotel, 35 Union St, Cooks Hill, Newcastle.

SYDNEY: 3pm on Saturday 14th August at the Gaelic Club, 64 Devonshire St, Sydney (near Central station).

Republican Film Night - Tuesday 31 August 2004

Further details at

Parliamentary Theatresports

Just a quick reminder that this coming weekend's opening night of "Parliamentary Theatresports" at Belvoir Street features guest judge Sen Aden Ridgeway (Democrat NSW Senator in Fed Parliament) as well as Nova FM star Bianca Dye and comic Gabby Millgate (among a cast of super impro comics).

The shtick is mock political, with 'parties' competing for the audience's vote...

There'll be the snouts in the trough section (for bribing the audience... this week with Krispy Kreme Doughnuts!) and ample opportunity for audience suggestions ("questions without notice")!

See the attached press clipping - one of many already... or visit

Films, politics and learning conference

Organization: OVAL Research, Faculty of Education, University of Technology

Dec 6 & 7

These nights aim:

- To bring together radical film-makers, radical film buffs, and radical educators.

- To inspire educators about ways they can use film in their work.

- To inspire film-makers about ways they might facilitate learning about politics.

- To foster discussion and advocacy about this field of practice.

We are seeking videos and films under 2 categories:

1. Agitprop: protest, guerrilla, activist, political, subversive short films /videos.

2. Participatory film-making: community films/videos as social intervention.

The nights will focus on short films and video from artists, activists and educators from the international scene. Your work will be presented to an audience of educators, activists and artists delegates from of the "Education and Social Action" international conference and the general film buffs interested in activism.

The nights are a non-profit event without competition. There are therefore no prizes and no pay involved, but of course you keep the rights.

There is no limitation of geographic origin but speaking Films/Videos must be in English, or subtitled in English. Fiction, documentary, animation or experimental are accepted. Videos must be no more than 10 minutes.

The only format accepted is DVD.

Send copies with entry form to Celina McEwen, The Centre for Popular Education, UTS, PO Box 123, BROADWAY NSW 2007 AUSTRALIA. Entry copies will not be returned, so don't send originals. To confirm receipt your video/film, send a self-addressed stamped postcard.

Deadline for entries is September 30, 2004. Individuals and organisations can submit unlimited number of films, but should complete a separate entry form for each film. All the films may be put on the same tape.

Entry forms can be downloaded from

For further information email Celina on (02) 9514 3847 or [email protected]


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