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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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Latham on Union Mat

Unions are closing ranks to prevent federal ALP leader Mark Latham walking away from millions of working Australians under the guise of backing industry.

NSW Labor Council secretary, John Robertson, predicted that would be the outcome of Lathamís decision to join IR to Industry and Infrastructure in a super ministry under the control of shadow cabinet dry, Stephen Smith.

Latham has split traditional IR responsibilities amongst Smith and shadow cabinet rookies, Tanya Plibersek who will take on work, family and community; and Penny Wong who picks up employment and workforce participation.

Robertson predicts when the Left women, who have both supported workers in the past, try to stick up for traditional labour values they will be "squeezed' by Latham's desire to cosy up to big business.

"It is going to be played out factionally when it shouldn't be," Robertson warned. "The women will be portrayed as the loony left so the industry element of the portfolio can hold sway.

"Unions can't afford to be divided by factional warlords. We have to develop a united trade union position based on core labour principles and take it to the party.

"It is quite disturbing and, frankly, alarming that IR and the union movement are being used by the federal leader to justify his defeat.

"The fact is that IR flew under the radar during the election campaign but Mark Latham is falling for the same trick as Simon Crean by allowing the Liberal Party to set his agenda.

"If he doesn't improve his position he will go the same way as his predecesor.

"The Labor Party will never succeed as a pale imitation of the conservatives. It is a Labor Party founded by trade unionists to look after the interests of working men and women and their families.

"It's our party and that's something the federal leader needs to understand."

Robertson was strongly supported by TWU secretary, Tony Sheldon, who also called on unionists to ditch factional alliances in favour of a united position.

Sheldon predicted Latham's first test would come when the Coalition tried to strip collective protections from contractors. He pointed out that one third of TWU members were owner operators and that both the ETU and CFMEU had made recent breakthroughs on behalf of contactor members.

Robertson and Sheldon, both members of the NSW Right, echoed sentiments expressed by national Left union leader, Doug Cameron.

Cameron called Latham's promise to consult business over a rewrite of its industrial relations policy a "cowardly scapegoating exercise".

The AMWU national secretary wrote to Latham expressing concern about his plan to begin talks with business about policy changes.

"That the party has identified industrial relations as a key weakness, and a reason it lost the election, is, to say the very least, astounding," Cameron wrote.

He invited to set up a meeting for Latham, Smith and shadow treasurer Wayne Swan with workers whose employers had tried to block their access to union representation.


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