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Issue No. 249 03 December 2004  

Moral Majority
Unions NSW is currently hosting one of the world�s great thinkers in Robert Reich; academic, commentator and Clinton labour secretary; a man with a mind as big as the dilemmas progressive politics face right now.


Interview: Minority Report
New federal ALP industrial relations spokesman Stephen Smith on the hostilities in store for the labour movement.

Industrial: Girl Power
Tim Brunero looks at how women are making their mark in a once-male dominated trade.

Unions: Made in NZ
Jim Marr looks behind the rhetoric to uncover what the Howard Government has in store for Australian workers.

History: Spirit for a Fair Go
Paddy Gorman looks at the importance of Eureka on the Australian political psyche.

Economics: Fool's Gold
Tom Bramble identifies some contradictions in Howard's economic miracle.

Politics: Worth Fighting For
One of the Left's most influential figures of the last 40 years gives his theory of power ...

Health: The Force Behind Medibank
Public health has always been a core activity for the union movement, writes Neale Towart

Legal: Robust Justice
Former ACTU executive member and textile union leader Anna Booth argues that Alternate Dispute Resolution is one way around the looming assault on union rights.

International: After the Revolution
Has China entered a post-revolutionary phase - and where will it take the world, asks James Goodman

Poetry: The Sound of Unions
Ah, the hills are alive, with The Sound of Unions, muses resident bard, David Peetz

Review: Bad Santa
Billy Bob Thornton's newest role puts the 'nick' in Saint Nicholas and reveals the Satan in Santa, writes Tara de Boehmler.


 Moral Crusade to Save Family

 20 Dead � Stockmarket Applauds

 Karen Gives Howard a Paint Job

 Buckeridge Bill Blocks Entry

 Casual Beach Closures

 Railworkers Scull Costa

 Racism in the Dock

 Go Home Alone � And Other Survival Tips

 Vet Beats Bullet

 Cleaners Clean Up

 Weekend Work Wiped

 Miners Go to the Movies

 Feds Attack Low Paid

 Activists What's On!


New Matilda
How Labor Lost the Plot
In his contribution to Australia's new political zine 'New Matilda' , Father Michael kelly argues the ALP is in search of a soul.

The Soapbox
Outside the Tent
Labor exile Lindsay Tanner is warning the ALP to be careful who it gets into bed with.

The Locker Room
Sons Of Beaches
Phil Doyle gets the perfect wave, and waves back

The Westie Wing
150 years since the struggle at Eureka, the fight to achieve social justice, equality and responsible government is just as vital as ever in the neo-conservative Australia, writes Ian West.

Postcard from Harare
Ken Davis, from Union Aid Abroad, on how unions are at the forefront in the battle for democracy in Zimbabwe

 Leadership Skills
 Not A Casey Fan
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Moral Crusade to Save Family

Unions will seek an alliance with the Religious Right to show how industrial deregulation destroys families and ruins communities.

The new moral crusade will be driven a one million dollar think tank, Working NSW, funded by Unions NSW and launched by Clinton Administration member Robert Reich this week.

Reich, one of America's leading academics and a former secretary of Labour, says the challenge for unions and progressive political parties is to chart a new positive agenda that takes morals out of the bedroom and into the boardroom.

Reich says that while the Religious Right in America has rallied around symbolic issues like gay marriages, corporations tear away at the fabric of society with little comment.

Reich told Unions NSW delegates that the challenge for unions was to outflank the Right by following the implications of labour market deregulation through to family life.

Reich says profound moral issues flow from the economic choices we make.

"We face three choices," he says. "We can go back to the 1950's, but I don't think that is going to happen.

"We can go toward a free market where everyone is on their own; a situation that undermines a lot of families and communities; where there is no security of employment and wage levels are set purely by market forces; where people are continually fearful and anxious.

"Or we can have a strong organised labour movement that embraces the future; that enables people to adapt to that future and provides economic security."

Reich says unions need to get people connected to politics. "We need a grass roots politics, not just through media and advertising."

A 2020 Family Vision

One part of the jigsaw is Working NSW, the union movement's answer to the HR Nichols Society.

Unions NSW secretary John Robertson said the first project would focus on the impact of the way we work on the family and community, throwing forward to 2020.

Working NSW's mission is to contribute to building a strategic plan for Unions NSW to campaign for a better life for working families over a sustained period of time.

Working NSW aims to tap into the work being undertaken by the academic community to establish clear policy frameworks for future campaigns, backed by rigorous economic costings,

Mr Robertson says Working NSW it was an opportunity for the labour movement to enter the moral debate.

"While the Right claims a mortgage on moral issues like gay marriages and abortion, the real moral crisis is the breakdown in family and community caused by the way we work.

"It is our challenge as a progressive movement, to reclaim the moral high ground and hold the Prime Minister to account for policies that undermine the family and community.

"To this end Unions NSW will be seeking to open a dialogue with the churches and encourage organizations like Family First and other faith-based organisations.

Working NSW will be chaired by former NSW Premier Barry Unsworth and include representatives from academia, the business community and religion. It will call for expressions of interest for its first research project in early 2005.


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