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Issue No. 238 17 September 2004  

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


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.


 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!


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.

 The Abbott Youth
 Invest In Dignity!
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TV Clash Using Visual Ammunition

A television version of Triple J could debut on Australian screens under a radical plan to shake-up the national broadcaster.

The development was flagged in a far-reaching ALP policy statement that promised to deliver the ABC an extra $100 million in funding and pull it out of the political firing line.

Shadow Communications Minister, Lindsay Tanner, said while funding would not be tied, the ABC's own policies suggested it would like to translate the ground-breaking Triple J project - birthplace of Roy and HG, Midnight Oil, Cold Chisel, ACDC, Frenzel Rhomb, Killing Heidi etc - to the small screen.

ABC staffers have complained about under-resourcing, creeping commercialisation and sustained political attacks since the Howard Government took office in 1996.

Soon after being elected the Howard Government slashed ABC funding by $66 million and exposed the broadcaster to the disastrous Jonathan Shier experiment.

Former Coalition Communications Minister, Richard Alston, personified his Government's undermining of ABC news and current affairs with an attack on workers and standards that went on for years.

Tanner and Shadow Arts Minister, Kate Lundy, say increased funding will be spread over four years.

In a bid to stop any Government stacking the future boards they will move to arms-length appointments to be overseen by the Communications Department.

Under Labor policy, vacancies would be advertised and the Minister would be presented with a shortlist after interviews by an independent panel, including departmental chiefs and the Public Service's Merit Protection Commissioner.

Under the policy, if a Minister went outside the panel's shortlist, he or she would be required to table a formal explanation.

CPSU spokesman Graeme Thomson predicted much of the Tanner-Lundy blueprint would win a thumbs-up from the workforce.

He said it would "go some way" towards redressing "chronic underfunding".

The underfunding has forced many creative and dedicated people out," Thomson said. "Any move to reverse this trend and support our talented broadcasters and program-makers is to be applauded.

Thomson said Government stacking of the broadcaster's board had lessened the organisation's independence and community standing. Moves towards wider public consultation, detailed criteria and an arms-length selection panel should be welcomed.

The "acid test" of a new Government's would come, he warned, when two board vacancies arose immediately after next month's federal election.


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