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Issue No. 240 01 October 2004  

The Premiership Quarter
After spending the past month with a decidedly sinking feeling, there’s a whiff of hope and expectation that the Howard era could actually be coming to an end.


Interview: The Last Bastian
AMWU state secretary Paul Bastian has been at the centre of the three year battle to bring James Hardie to account.

Unions: High and Dry
Jim Marr unpacks the recent High Court Electrolux decision to test whether the ruling matches the media hype.

Security: Liquid Borders
The Howard Government loves to trumpet its national security credentials but a close look at its record in shipping sinks the myth argues MUA’s Zoe Reynolds.

Industrial: No Bully For You
Phil Doyle reports on how bringing dignity and respect to the workplace is undermining bullies.

History: Radical Brisbane
Radical Brisbane extends the 'Radical City' series into the Red North. Two experienced activists, academics and writers turn South East Queensland history on its head.

International: No Vacancies
More than 1400 hotel union workers, members of UNITE HERE Local 2, are on strike at four major hotels in San Francisco, California, writes Andrew Casey.

Economics: Life After Capitalism
A situation that all anarchists dream of? Michael Albert has been more than dreaming., writes Neale Towart

Technology: Cyber Winners
Labourstart's Eric Lee looks at a good news story of global online campaigning that has delivered a victory.

Poetry: Do It Yourself Poetry
Teaser: Wondering why the polls are all over the place? Ask our resident bard and psephologist.

Review: Hard Labo(u)r
The Voice of Southern Labor highlights the role music played in the 1930's US textile strikes, but more than that it provides a lucid insight into the roots of modern capitalism and some truly organic organising, writes Tara de Boehmler.


 Kev Cooks the Books

 Black Hole In Libs Kids Plan

 Xerox Copies Waterfront Tactics

 Hardies Asbestos Woes "Snowballs"

 Air Fleet Grounded By Job Cuts

 Musos Lung For Better

 Customs Officers Declare

 Dumbing Down The Trades

 Pacific National Sidetracks Hunter Jobs

 Witch Hunt For Whistleblower

 Black Diamond Deaths Spark Mining Inquiry

 Pensioners Strip Over Pension Strip

 Activists What's On!


True Lies
Labor Council secretary John Robertson argues It’s Time – for an IR reality check.

The Westie Wing
Much work has been done in the past to ease the plight of clothing outworkers in New South Wales. It's time to step up the pressure, as sweatshops and clothing contract work are thriving stronger than ever, writes Ian West.

The Soapbox
Who Started the Class War?
Evan Jones looks across the Australian political landscape and asks who are the real class warriors?

The Locker Room
First Past The Post
Phil Doyle is coming up in class and is all the better for recent racing

Westie Wing
Our favourite state MP returns for his monthly Macquarie Street wrap.

Positive Action
Australian unionists are helping give hope to Filipino workers living with HIV/AIDS.

 Donkey Vote
 Problem Solved
 How To Run Society
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Letters to the Editor

How To Run Society

As most of us know trust represents the result of contributing action and simply cannot be attained by its mere expression.

You have to earn trust in Government through accountability and inclusiveness. If you are not accountable for your actions and do not take the electorate into your confidence by releasing pertinent information by which the electorate can derive an informed decision, how can you take on the mantle of the trusted one?

Whatever our political leanings we hope to elect fellow citizens to power based on their commitment to ideals to which we espouse. If the politician's self-interest means more to them than their ideals we vote them out. But how are we to judge if this has occurred, and do we care anyway?

Democracies are invariably based on ancient tribalism: various tribes claim the other is striving to exploit and hamper the well being of their particular tribe. We all want our tribe to win and it would seem at times at

any cost. We tend to overlook the occasional excess and at times obvious failings which in our own immediate lives we would never excuse.

I believe its time we moved past the tribalism to a Democracy based on advancing ethics and accountability first - pragmatism and self interest

second. Not only in Government but also in the broader community institutions.

If we can better shape the process and institutions by which decisions are made and implemented the greater chance we have for shaping better outcomes whatever tribe we put in charge.

We simply need to realise we are employing administrators with certain leanings to posts in Government, and as the employer we should have the

ability to make the employee accountable at any time or way of our choosing.

To achieve change, the first objective is to examine the process by which Governments and community institutions make decisions and are subsequently held accountable for them.

Secondly, we must turn minister's servants into actual public servants, to serve public good. Thirdly, empower individuals within the electorates with the ancient notion good critics do not need to be experts as experts can make bad judgements. Believe in your own capacity to contribute to complex issues relating to society.

Ethics and accountability would thereby become a basis by which decisions are made and not simply an afterthought.

Mark Smith


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