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Issue No. 247 19 November 2004  
E D I T O R I A L

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.

F E A T U R E S

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.

N E W S

 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

C O L U M N S

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.

Parliament
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.

L E T T E R S
 Backbone Derail Causes Paralysis
 Shawly we’ve heard enough
 Decline of The American Empire
WHAT YOU CAN DO
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News

Fleas Get Thumbs-Up


The Industrial Relation Commission is green-lighting flea-infested work camps, built alongside sewage pits.

The AMWU is seeking regulatory control over standards in central Queensland mining camps after the IRC ordered protesting maintenance staff back to work at Maronbah and Biloela.

State assistant secretary, Peter Lees, said McKay-based workers had been accommodated in drop-in dongas at a Maronbah camp over-run by feral cats and fleas. They are there for a 12-week shutdown at the nearby BHP pit.

Another 180 workers had been put up in similar dongas at Biloela for an Anglo Coal dragline shutdown. They complained about the standard of accommodation and food.

Both groups walked out in a bid to have facilities upgraded but the coal companies won Section 127 orders against them.

Lees exonerates the sub-contractors who employ maintenance staff, laying the blame at the feet of the minerals giants.

"These companies have got rid of their facilities and expect sub-contractors and workers, alike, to live for periods of up to 12 weeks in unsatisfactory conditions," Lees said.

"Unfortunately, the industrial relations system doesn't allow workers to pressure companies over living standards so tightening the regulations appears to be the only way ahead."

Lees says accommodation problems are standard through central Queensland.

The AMWU has launched an Acceptable Coal Contractors Campsites campaign by writing to Premier Peter Beattie, demanding legislative action.

The AMWU stance won support from state and local authority figures, last week.

Speaking in Belyando, Beattie vowed to address the issue, describing infrastructure in booming mining towns as a "problem".

Belyando mayor, Peter Freeleagues, pledged the Moranbah camp would be moved from its present location by March, next year.

He said the onus for improved living conditions should be on the mining companies.


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