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Issue No. 238 17 September 2004  
E D I T O R I A L

Going Gangbusters?
The Prime Minister has put the economy front and centre in this election campaign, asserting - without a hint of irony – that he is the only one to trust with the national economy

F E A T U R E S

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.

N E W S

 Mind Games Off The Rails

 Kodak Blurs Jobs Picture

 Whistleblower Stitched Up

 Ranger Incompetence Saves Lives

 Skelton in Telstra Closet

 Capt Cook Discovers Flexibility

 Optus Opts Out

 Hardie Lemon in Orange County

 One Rule for Qantas

 Mum Takes on Bullies

 Costa’s Train Crash

 TV Clash Using Visual Ammunition

 Mormons In Asbestos Blue

 Apprentices Lose Out

 Activists What's On!

C O L U M N S

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.

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

Postcard
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.

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

L E T T E R S
 The Abbott Youth
 Invest In Dignity!
WHAT YOU CAN DO
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News

Skelton in Telstra Closet


Telstra is refusing compensation to a Brisbane woman forced to sell her home after she suffered ‘acoustic shock’ at its Chermside call centre 18 months ago.

Australia’s largest company, which just recorded a $4.1 billion profit, is holding out on Jackie Skelton, despite getting an improvement notice from Comcare relating to the situation that forced her out of work.

The Comcare notice said the Chernside call centre had to undertake an acoustic shock risk assessment; minimise associated hazards and provide an action plan to implement necessary controls. If followed a February incident when 100 employees were treated for acoustic shock injuries by ambulance officers and paramedics in the call centre car park.

One year earlier, Skelton's life had been turned upside down by a similar incident.

"I got an electrical shock through my head set and felt a burning sensation on my scalp," she recalled. "It cause me severe pain, knocked me back in my chair and made me nauseous."

She was diagnosed with middle ear damage and the resulting loss of balance forced her to leave the job.

Initially, Telstra insurer, GIO, accepted responsibility for medical costs and lost wages but reimbursements were slow and inconsistent.

On December 12, 2003, Telstra said it would table a settlement offer the following month but, CPSU official Paul Ingwersen says, that offer never eventuated.

Since February, 2004, Skelton has received no financial support from Telstra or GIO.

"I have had to sell my home in order to pay medical and living expenses," she said.

Ingwersen welcome the Comcare improvement notice as the "first official acknowledgement of a problem" at Chernside.

"It is implicit proof that Jackie suffered a terrible injury in that call centre," Ingwersen said. "It is high time Telstra spent some of its billion dollar profit on compensating a woman who has suffered injury, lost her job and been through 18 months of dreadful uncertainty."


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