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Issue No. 241 08 October 2004  

That’s All Folks!
Perhaps the most depressing part of this federal election campaign has been the Howard Government’s success, with the willing assistance of the media, of typecasting the union movement as some sort of cartoon bogeyman.


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.


 Telstra Dogs on Injured Woman

 Strike Three and We’re Out

 Boxall Beats Hasty Retreat

 Ashfield Moves on Home Truths

 Pratt in Warwick Farm Plunge

 Robert Reich's 2020 Vision

 Numbers Racket at Yandi

 Executive Pay Blue Looms

 Crazy Mike’s Fire Sale

 Kids Remember Kids

 DIY Security For Child Care

 Canada’s Asbestos Outrage

 Aussie Kids Thrown Overboard


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.

 Invest In Dignity - Part II
 No Credit
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Boxall Beats Hasty Retreat

CPSU members have rolled an attempt by hardline Department of Workplace Relations boss, Peter Boxall, to curtail their rights to participate in tomorrow’s federal election.

In a shock midweek move, Boxall demanded by memo, that staff wanting to hand out how to vote cards for election candidates obtain written permission from their employer.

The CPSU was "flooded" by complaints from angry members and rushed the department before an urgent Industrial Relations Commission hearing where one of Boxall's underlings said the unambiguous written demand had, in fact, been a "misunderstanding".

The department agreed to email all staff saying, specifically, it had no interest in whether or not employees intended to engage in polling day activities.

"Our members were alarmed by a blatant attempt at political intimidation," the CPSU's Jenness Gardner said. "The department was forced to admit it had made a mistake but this was not an isolated incident.

"What people need to realise is that this sort of political interference is all too common. Today was a good opportunity to challenge this publicly, in front of an independent umpire."

Boxall is a key figure in the Howard Government's politicisation of the public service.

He has used his position to aggressively advocate some of the government's most contentious policies.

Boxall attracted criticism for the way he tried to prise departmental staffers away from union agreements and have them sign non-union AWAs. Then he attempted to thwart the CPSU by advocating a non-union collective agreement.

Staffers registered complaints with MPs and the Australian Electoral Commission about the way their boss ran the latter campaign.

He raised the LHMU's hackles as a board member of one of Canberra's most elite private schools, Church of England Grammar, where he advocated dumping long-serving domestic, catering and maintenance workers in favour of catering giant Spotless.

"Employees have private lives and employers, even Peter Boxall, do not have an unfettered right to judge their private activities," Gardner said.

"The Commission made it very clear that staff had every right to be upset about this issue."


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