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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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Veteran Fights Bullet

A 25-year union activist refused leave after the death of her father was sacked for not being "contrite enough".

Linda Schofield-Olsen, who worked at Westpac, will fight for her job in the AIRC this week, after an argument with a team leader led to her sacking.

The workplace delegate has since been diagnosed with depression. The sacking followed the death, through cancer, of her father and during the prolonged illness of her mother. She has nursed both parents for five years.

Having been denied immediate leave, Schofield-Olsen was four weeks away from taking up an annual leave entitlement when the incident occurred during a fire drill.

She has offered both a written and verbal apology over the incident, but Westpac has refused to budge. It told the union her apologies had not been "contrite" enough.

Schofield-Olsen believes she is being victimised due to her union involvement.

"I can be a thorn in the side of management and have a long memory," she said. "I know where the bodies are buried.

"They are having another restructure and it will be a little bit easier if I'm not there."

Schofield-Olsen has been a member elected trustee of the staff super scheme, holding the record for the largest number of votes ever gained by any candidate for the position.

She is the lead union delegate for the bank's NSW Service Centre at Concord where over 1000 employees are based.

In a 24 hour period over 300 of her colleagues signed a petition calling for her reinstatement.

FSU secretary Geoff Derrick says management claims Schofield-Olsen is aggressive are nonsense.

"Her sacking has everything to do with the fact she has been a strong vocal advocate for workers rights against absolute management prerogative in that workplace," says Derrick.

"Unfortunately management does not understand the difference between someone who is prepared to stand up for themselves and someone who is aggressive."


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