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Issue No. 247 19 November 2004  

In Defence of Jeff
Those of us who know and have worked with Jeff Shaw over the years have found the unfolding spectacle of his very public fall from grace profoundly distressing. Surely they have the wrong guy.


Interview: The Reich Stuff
Robert Reich has led the debate on the future of work – both as an academic and politician. Now he’s on his way to Australia to help NSW unions push the envelope.

Economics: Crime and Punishment
Mark Findlay argues that the present psychological approach to prison programs is increasing the likelihood of re-offending and the threat to community safety.

Environment: Beyond The Wedge
Whether the great forestry divide can ever be overcome or whether it is best sidestepped for the sake of unity and sustainability in other areas is up for debate, writes Tara de Boehmler.

International: The End Of The Lucky Country
Linda Weiss, Elizabeth Thurbon and John Mathews show us How To Kill A Country

Safety: Tests Fail Tests
Nick Lewocki from the RTBU lifts the lid on the shonky science behind RailCorp testing

Politics: Labo(u)r Day
John Robertson lets fly at this years Labor Day dinner

Human Rights: Arabian Lights
Tim Brunero reports on how a Sydney sparky took on the Taliban and lived to tell the tale.

History: Labour's Titan
Percy Brookfield was a big man who was at the heart of the trade union struggles that made Broken Hill a quintessential union town writes Neale Towart.

Review: Foxy Fiasco
To find out who is outfoxing who, read Tara de Boehmler's biased review of a subjective documentary about corrupt journalism.

Poetry: Then I Saw The Light
Brothers and sisters! Praise the Lord! Brother George has saved the White House from an invasion by infidels, writes resident bard David Peetz.


 Activists What's On!

 Union Baiter on Charges

 Commuter Champ Backs Workers

 Late Night Threats in Perth

 Corporates Gobble Apprentices

 Fleas Get Thumbs-Up

 Packer Perishes in Blue

 $5000 Bill for Teen

 Miners Plunge Before The Beak

 Cops Raid Press

 Christmas Sack at Broken Hill

 Admin Staff Exposed

 Teachers Swallow Lolly


The Locker Room
In Naming Rights Only
Phil Doyle has Gone to Gowings

The Soapbox
Homeland Insecurity
Rowan Cahill tells us how the Howard Government’s appointment of Major-General Duncan Lewis to head up the national security division of the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet has received little critical comment, until now.

The Westie Wing
New proposed legislation in NSW provides a vital window of opportunity for unions to ensure they achieve convictions for workplace deaths, writes Ian West.

 Backbone Derail Causes Paralysis
 Shawly we’ve heard enough
 Decline of The American Empire
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Commuter Champ Backs Workers

The architect of this week’s fare free day on NSW trains is throwing her weight behind workers.

On the eve of the state government’s capitulation to people power, Carlingford legal secretary, Rebecca Turner, "thanked God" for the trade union movement.

"Unions are there to protect workers and if management and the government are not going to stick up for us then thank God the union movement is," Turner said.

She was speaking after winning enthusiastic support from 500 building workers for her civil disobedience campaign that would have seen commuters refuse to pay fares on Monday, November 22.

Turner's comments pulled the final plank from the state government's strategy of trying to blame rail workers for the system's chronic unreliability.

The day after she spoke, Premier Bob Carr tried to trump her campaign, by announcing fares would be abolished for the day.

NSW rail workers had taken to platforms across Sydney, Wollongong and the Central Coast to hand out 50,000 fliers explaining they weren't to blame for the city's train woes.

Unions NSW said some commuters stopped to help the workers hand out the leaflets, which blamed RailCorp management for poor train services.

"If you think it's bad being a rail commuter, try being a rail worker - we are all in this together," the fliers read.

Transport Minister Micheal Costa had threatened to fine commuters who failed to buy tickets on the day of action.

Before the government's announcement over 20,000 unionists from the CFMEU and FSU had pledged their support for the Turner's action, with the offering legal advice to members if they were fined..

Turner, who meet with Unions NSW secretary John Robertson last week began her campaign on the 11th of November, and was dubbed "Captain Commuter" by Sydney media.

"What are they going to do if thousands of people turn up at Town Hall and demand to be let out? They can't fine everyone," she said.

"Imagine what we as commuters can do if we threaten to cost the Government millions of dollars in lost revenue."

Turner has set up an e-mail account - [email protected] - to gather support for the cause.

Other angry commuters have begun a protest website at


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