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Issue No. 237 10 September 2004  

Bully Busting
No one likes a bully � and if the response to Labor Council�s bullying conference is anything to go by, there are more of these irritating creatures in Australian workplaces than ever before.


Interview: True Matilda
Former senior bureaucrat John Menadue coordinated the group of 43 calling for truth in government; and now he has bigger fish to fry.

Politics: State of Play
Are all political parties the same? Workers Online tries to cut through the jargon to compare the major parties' approaches to key policy areas.

Industrial: Capital Dilemmas
Public Private Partnerships amount to privatisation by stealth. Or do they? Jim Marr investigates.

Unions: Rhodes Scholars
Tim Brunero discovers how the Electrical Trades Union is doing its best to ease the national apprentice crisis.

National Focus: Rennovating the Lodge
Noel Hester previews how unions will be fighting the federal election - on the ground and online.

International: People Power
Over the next four years there is a real potential a major struggle will take place for workers� rights and the creation of truly democratic unions in China., writes Andrew Casey

Economics: A Bit Rich
Who Gets What? Why? And So What?, Frank Stilwell reviews the BRW's Rich List

History: Mine Shafts
It's 25 years since Nymboida passed the baton to United, writes Peter Murray

Safety: Sick Of Fighting
Former RAAF engineers could be sitting on a health time bomb, Tim Brunero reports.

Organising: Building a Wave
Community groups, unions and social movements all practice organising, wrties Tony Brown and Amanda Tattersall.

Poetry: Anger In The Bush(es)
How dare any Liberal suggest that the Prime Minister is a lying rodent! Resident bard David Peetz reports on the outrage that this slur has justifiably caused.

Review: The Battle Of Algiers
Tim Brunero writes The Battle of Algiers is a coldly objective, almost scientific anatomy of revolution.

Culture: The Word On The Street
Phil Doyle reports on how the Australian working class experience lives on through the words of the remarkable Geoff Goodfellow.


 Position Vacant for Bully

 Reality Dawns on Delta

 Stink Rises from Dunnies

 Girl Power Slays Oil Giants

 CFMEU on Highway to Hell

 Super Deal for Mums

 Millionaires Pay Peppercorn Wages

 Hardie Fighters Go Dutch

 Exporting Your Bank Details

 Teachers In Crossfire

 Strikers Unplug Western Power Play

 Health Changes Shift Barrier

 Meredith and Me

 Activists What's On!


The Soapbox
Hail to the Metro-Sexual!
If the cultural shift required in the workplace to give greater security to working families was broadly accepted the ACTU would not be locked in an adversarial Work and Family test case argues Sharan Burrow.

The Westie Wing
In his latest missive from Macquarie Street our resident Parliamentary commentator, Ian West, walks us through issues around the PBS.

How Bush Lost His Wings
Tracking the National Guard Career of the Fatuous Flyboy from New Haven, Jeffrey St Clair.

The Locker Room
The Name of the Game
Phil Doyle wonders whether we are barracking for the sponsor or the team.

Women to Women
APHEDA-Union Aid Abroad is working to create opportunities for Palestinian women living in Lebanese refugee camps.

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Hardie Fighters Go Dutch

Beneficiaries of James Hardie�s international operations will face representatives of dying Australians at a showdown in Amsterdam, this week.

Asbestos Diseases Foundation of Australia member, Ella Sweeney, will join trade unionists Paul Bastian (AMWU) and Lindsay Fraser (CFMEU), in urging shareholders to dump CEO, Peter Macdonald, and come clean with people dying from contact with James Hardie's products.

"We are going to stare down the board and shareholders, face to face, over the injustices their representatives tried to get away with," Bastian said.

"In light of the board's conduct, and failings, we will be saying they shouldn't be given any discretion whatsoever. Their plans and schemes must be fully disclosed at an open shareholders' meeting."

Specifically, the trio will seek Macdonald's dismissal; rejection of annual accounts that have no contingency for the compensation of asbestos disease sufferers; and the thumbs-down for a planned share buy back.

Their organisations have bought James Hardie shares so the voices of lung disease sufferers can be heard in Holland.

They will demand accountability from executives, including Macdonald and Peter Shaffron, who were subject to adverse evidence in the NSW Commission of Inquiry into how a James Hardie trust fell more than a billion dollars short of being able to compensate people dying from contact with its products.

At the time of its creation, Macdonald dismissed union and victim concerns about the trust.

"It is fully funded. Of course it is fully funded," he insisted.

Shortly after the company parked its asbestos-associated subsidiaries in that foundation, the parent company got the green light from the NSW Supreme Court to move its head office to the Netherlands.

James Hardie assured the Supreme Court, in 2001, it would leave behind $1.9 billion worth of partly-paid shares for the benefit of creditors, including asbestos victims. However, at a secret meeting in 2003, board members cancelled that arrangement without informing the court, state government, victims or unions.

Senior counsel assisting the NSW Inquiry, John Sheahen, SC, has called for adverse findings against the company, key executives and advisers. He has suggested Macdonald and Shaffron could be prosecuted for fraud.

James Hardie's September 17 annual general meeting will take place four days before Commissioner David Jackson, QC reports his findings to the NSW Government.

Bastian said that timing was another matter of concern. He, Fraser and Sweeney will call on the board to commit to an Australian Shareholders Information Meeting and a Special Emergency General Meeting after the Jackson report is published.


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