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Issue No. 244 29 October 2004  

Raking Over The Tea Leaves
Prepare yourselves; you are about to enter the Twilight Zone, a strange world where logic collapses in on itself, where enemies are new friends and assets become liabilities.


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 MUAís 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.


 Cameron Flags Fightback

 Latham on Union Mat

 Union Shelters WA Roofers

 Bosses Trip on Electrolux

 Drivers Derail Game Boy

 Asses Get Carrot

 Families Pay More For Homes

 Commonwealth Banks on Sackings

 Back Gong Back in Gong

 "Joke" Fine Death Boss

 Division Over Hardie Laws

 Activists What's On!


True Lies
Labor Council secretary John Robertson argues Itís Time Ė 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.

 Honesty Is the best Policy
 Nothing To Stand On
 Itís The End Of the World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine)
 Dear Mark letter
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Cameron Flags Fightback

AMWU national secretary, Doug Cameron, has exploded the theory that unions will keep their heads down and wear workplace attacks planned by the re-elected Howard Government.

"We will fight for the wages and conditions of our members," Cameron pledged in a Melbourne speech to the Industrial Relations Society.

"We will fight to ensure that our members have respect from their employers. We will fight on behalf of working people and we will fight on behalf of democracy in Australia.

"Our members and our union know that fighting back makes a difference."

Cameron took the argument up to Howard and his supporters in a clear statement that further moves against workers' rights will be resisted.

He argued that the philosophy behind the Federal Government's legislative plan - that trade unions were third parties interfering in workplaces - was a "myth" aimed at denying workers their right to freedom of association.

"It is based on the false premise that the interests and aspirations of employers and employees are as one and differences are non-existent," Cameron said.

"Proposals by John Howard to further constrain trade union activity are a fundamental attack on the democratic rights of working people in this country."

Cameron, also a member of the ACTU's national executive, used the Electrolux ruling to argue that federal government and High Court were colluding in the destruction of Australian democracy.

He contrasted their approach with that of Canadian judges who recently held the right to not associate was "antithetical" to its duty to protect the right to associate.

That Court unanimously concluded freedom of association was mean to protect the collective pursuit of common goals.

Cameron also had a shot at political Labor leaders for their failure to confront the Coalition's IR agenda.

"Unlike Bob Carr and Mark Latham, I do not believe the Howard Government has any political mandate to destroy core labour standards in this country," Cameron said.

"It is about time that Labor politicians stood up for working families and their unions. History will judge the silence of Labor in this debate as on of the great betrayals of democracy in Australia's history."

Cameron said the planned legislative assault on workers' rights was a reaction against the success unions had had in challenging the right of business to dominate, control and "in some cases destroy" the lives of workers.

Workplace Relations Minister Kevin Andrews this week flagged that at least three IR bills, including legalising unfair sackings, would be reintroduced to the House before Christmas.


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