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Issue No. 232 06 August 2004  

Tarnished Rings
As our athletes approach the starting line in Athens, it is interesting to reflect on how the world has changed since Sydney was the centre of a global group hug just four years ago.


Interview: Trading Places
New ACTU International Officer Alison Tate cut her teeth delivering aid to developing nations through APHEDA. Now she is helping chart the global union agenda.

Safety: Snow Job
James Hardie has been drilled into our collective consciousness as a story of power, greed and immorality. It is also, as Jim Marr reports, a tale of human tragedy.

Politics: In the Vanguard
Damien Cahill reveals how neo-liberal think tanks have been at the forefront of the corporate assault upon trade unions and social movements in Australia.

Unions: Gentle Giant Goes For Gold
Don�t get between Sydney sparkie Semir Pepic and a gold medal in a dimly lit alley, writes Tim Brunero.

Bad Boss: 'Porker' Chases Blue Ribbon
Perfect Porker, Darren Vincent, brings a history of meat worker shafting to this month�s Bad Boss nomination.

International: Cruising For A Bruising
Europe�s big unions are bruised as they watch companies roll over some of their best-organised unionised workplaces demanding longer work hours � without any recompense, reports Andrew Casey.

History: Under the Influence
Was John Kerr drunk when he wrote and signed the letter dismissing Edward Gough Whitlam from the Prime Ministership in 1975? Geraldine Willissee investigates.

Economics: Working Capital
Where superannuation fits, where it fails and what we should we do about it. Neale Towart gives the tough answers.

Review: Fahrenheit 9/11
There's many a must see moment in Mike Moore's new flick but beating the propaganda machine at its own game wreaks havoc with wearied bullshit detectors, writes Tara de Boehmler.

Poetry: Bad Intelligence Rap
When Flood washed away the PM's sins, the truth was once again left high and dry.

Satire: Osama Bin Manchu
During a recent visit to an elderly relative in a nursing home, I was waylaid by an ancient gentleman who insisted I listen to what he had to say, writes Rowan Cahill.


 Stink Rises from Hamberger

 ALP Embraces Collectivism

 Bully Drives Deckhand into Drink

 Fighter in Cancer Link

 Tunnellers Dig in for Safety

 Seconds Out in Newcastle

 Vale Josh Heuchan

 "Betrayal" Sparks Election Rethink

 Councils Wedge James Hardie

 Great Southern Death Rattler

 Libs Desert "War Criminal"

 Casuals Take Over

 ALP Star Hits The Waterfront

 Activists What�s On!


The Westie Wing
The Labor Governments in each State must take the lead to stop the abuse of corporate law in Australia in the absence of action from the Federal Government, as the Inquiry into James Hardie�s has highlighted, writes Ian West.

The Soapbox
Cleaners Deserve Our Support
It's time the state's cleaners were given some support, loyalty and long service leave, writes Chris Christodoulou.

The Locker Room
Half Time At The Football
Phil Doyle wants to have his pie and eat it too.

Faithful Servant
Frank Mossfield was one of the labour movement�s quiet achievers. Former Labor Council secretary Michael Easson pays tribute.

Lessons From East Timor
Just back from a study tour to East Timor, National Reserach Officer with the Construction division of the CFMEU, Ben Stirling, writes about the experience for Workers Online.

 An Officer And A Teacher
 Tom Goes Asexual
 Road Rage At Work
 Democracy In Action
 Asbestos Bastadry
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Fighter in Cancer Link

Nine hundred Air Force engineers who did "the worst job ever" are 50 percent more likely to develop cancer than other Australians, a university study has found.

ALAEA national secretary, David Kemp, is urging government to fully compensate affected personnel, many of whom went into civilian life as members of his organisation.

"These are men who worked to protect our country by keeping a technical advantage over potential aggressors and now it looks like the government is prepared to abandon them," Kemp said.

The engineers performed fuel tank maintenance on F-111 fighter-bomber aircraft over the past 30 years.

Maintenance workers were required to enter the cupboard sized tanks and break down chemical seals with highly toxic solvents like SR51.

Half-faced respirators and light cotton overalls were issued to workers during this process.

Dr John Attia, from Newcastle University, says the combination of organic solvents, cramped working space, lack of protective equipment and hot temperatures may have led to the high rate of cancer..

Ian Fraser, who worked on the tanks at Queensland's Amberly Air Force base, says some servicemen spent up to two years cramped in tiny spaces scratching sealant off thousands of tiny rivets.

"It was shocking work in itself, but you couldn't just quit because you were in the service, " he says.

Fraser, who maintained the tanks in the early 80's, says he knew at the time the chemicals were harmful because of mood swings and the constant stench of chemicals he was unable to wash off

"You basically became a social leper for a year, I went from being a normal person to a very angry young man," says Fraser.

Fraser who now runs a support group for F111 workers says many have suffered from cancers, skin conditions, lung complaints, memory problems and mood swings.

"There are any number of my colleagues now who have passed away, some were in their late 20's and mid 30's," says Fraser.

Fraser says the government should compensate ex-servicemen fully for their loss of quality of life as well as pay their medical expenses.

"I am frustrated and angry because the government isn't moving fast enough to look at the needs of desealers," says Fraser.

Engineers who worked on Air Force Hercules and Orion aircraft have also begun reporting similar symptoms to those suffered by their F111 colleagues.

Another University study looking at other health complaints of the F111 engineers such as neurological and cardio-vascular ailments will be submitted to the chief of the Air Force this month.


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