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Issue No. 248 26 November 2004  

Australian Idols
It was a week for the little people as Casey won Australian Idol and Rebecca beat the railways. In entertainment and politics it was a young woman from the burbs who ran rings around the pros.


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.


 Helicar Fingers Victims ... Again

 Rabbits Sick of Clover

 What a Banker

 Pack Up and Go Home

 Pratt By Name

 Horror at the Hacienda

 Women Wiped for Bush Jobs

 Veteran Fights Bullet

 Tunneler Survives Death Trap

 Bathurst Three Face Court

 Chullora Cuts Struck Out

 Bully Breaks Heart

 Southern Cross Flies High

 Activists What's On!


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.

 Regarding Pee Poles
 Pee Pole Shame
 Latham Is A Scapegoat
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What a Banker

A banker trousering $4.5 million a year is bleating about workers being compensated for successful health and safety prosecutions.

Commonwealth Bank CEO David Murray launched a blistering attack on NSW’s OH&S regime, describing proposed gaol sentences for killer bosses as "absolutely abominable".

He described the existing system that allows successful prosecutors to recoup costs as "corrupt".

Research done by Unions NSW reveals over the last 20 years the 'moiety' paid to all unions combined for successful OH&S actions amounted to less than Murray's salary for one year.

Under state law, unions have been able to charge employers with health and safety offences since the 1940's.

In recent year, the Finance Sector Union has launched a number of successful actions against banks.

Last year the ANZ pleaded guilty to failing to ensure the safety of workers after an armed robbery at its Brookvale branch. The court heard the company had ignored repeated warnings about the risks posed to staff and customers.

Murray's Commonwealth Bank recently pleaded guilty to an OH&S offence and faces at least three other counts.

The NSW government agreed to make employers criminally liable for deaths at their workplaces when it could be proved they were personally culpable.

The proposed law change came in response to widespread agitation over the building industry deaths of teenagers Dean McGoldrick and Joel Exner.

Unions NSW secretary John Robertson says Murray's aggressive attack

on workplace fatality laws only underlines how useful they will be in changing executive behaviour.

"The issue for banks is that there have been several successful prosecutions under safety laws against banks whose failure to invest in security has allowed bank robberies to occur, causing injury to staff," Robertson said.

"In every instance, the union has shown the bank had been warned about security failures but refused to act to make the bank's safer."

"Those fines have been absorbed by banks with little public comment, it is only now that senior executives and directors face criminal charges, that they are kicking up a fuss."

He described Murray's opposition to laws intended to make banks safer for employees and customers as "predictable".

Robertson said he was unaware of a single complaint about any union having abused the right to launch OH&S prosecutions.


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