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Issue No. 235 27 August 2004  

Gold Fever
So this is our most successful Olympics ever. Our athletes will return from Athens with their biggest ever haul of medals, more winners per capita than anywhere on earth. If all this is true, why does it all feel so empty?


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.


 Crane Topples at Death Probe

 Treasury�s "Scary" Power Play

 Aussie Idol on the Farm

 Email Volley Defends Delegate

 Hardie Slow on the Uptake

 Meatworkers Go Full Monty

 Sydney or the Bush

 Delta Blues

 Badge of Honour Signals Row

 Libs to Trump Court

 Project Champions Working Poor

 Jobs Victory on the Border

 Scabs in the Valley

 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.

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Crane Topples at Death Probe

A crane toppled over at a remote BHP mine as workers were lining up to give evidence about safety standards in the Pilbara.

The crane and a light vehicle came to grief at BHP Billiton�s Yandi mine in the same week that barrister, Mark Ritter, took evidence from 36 employees in three days.

Another 20 Yandi mineworkers have indicated they will tell the safety investigator their stories when he returns to the north east Pilbara.

Yandi hit the national headlines when contractor, Henry Walker Eltin, locked 120 workers into the camp, sparking "deprivation of liberty" claims to police at Newman, more than 120km away.

Henry Walker Eltin is running an aggressive campaign to lure workers onto AWAs, and is forcing newcomers to sign individual, non-union agreements.

That issue was highlighted when three workers lost their lives at BHP Billiton Pilbara operations in May.

ACTU organiser, Will Tracey, said incentive-based AWAs, pushed by the minerals giant, had produced a culture of productivity over safety.

Union demands for an independent inquiry into BHP safety standards led to Ritter being appointed by the WA Government.

More than 30 workers were scheduled to give evidence when the investigator arrived in Newman, this week. An apprentice was crushed at nearby Ore Body 25, also operated by Henry Walker Eltin, earlier this year.

Ritter moves to Port Hedland, next week, where he will hear from former workmates of former AMWU delegate, Cory Bentley, who was killed at the company's Port Nelson iron ore facility.

At Port Hedland, he is also expected to take statements from workers at the nearby Boodarie hot briquetted plant, where a massive explosion killed one man and left three others fighting for their lives in a Perth burns unit.

BHP Billiton has yet to resume production at Boodarie, where around 750 people were employed prior to the shutdown, and, last week, expressed interest in a new iron ore plant to be built in India.

The world's largest mining company has just announced a record profit of $3.38 billion for its international operations.

"That's not surprising," Tracey told Workers Online, "our experience is that BHP is about profit, profit and more profit, with very little regard for safety in the workplace."


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