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Issue No. 250 21 December 2004  
 
F E A T U R E S

Interview: The King of Comedy
John Robertson looks back on a year when his comic genius was finally realised.

Unions: Ten Simple Rules
Accepted wisdom has unions all but retired as serious players in the Australian game. A glance through the major industrial stories of 2004, however, suggests improved footwork, and a commitment to boxing clever, might herald a comeback, writes Jim Marr.

Politics: Rampant Indivdualism
CFMEU National Secretary John Sutton gives his take on a year when the political debate took a turn to the Right.

International: Global Struggle
Labourstart's Eric Lee looks back on a year when the struggles for labour increasingly crossed international lines.

Economics: Cashing in the Year
Look back in sorrow or look back in anger? By any standards 2004 has been a hell of a year, writes Frank Stilwell.

History: Grass Roots
Worker solidarity in Australia in the first century of invasion can give us inspiration and clues for our upcoming battles, writes Neale Towart.

Review: Cultural Realities
In 2004 popular culture shifted from reality television to reality movies, and swapped last year's light-weight subject matter for the slightly more substantial, writes Tara de Boehmler.

Poetry: Y-U-C-K
Workers Online resident bard David Peetz takes inspiration from The Village People for his latest prose.

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L A T E S T   N E W S

Unions Make Hardie Pay
Unions are on the brink of forcing James Hardie to become the first multi-national in Australian history to hand over billions of dollars on moral rather than legal grounds.

Their campaign - rallying workers, asbestos victims, councils, state governments and plaintiff lawyers - saw the building materials giant agree, this week, to open-ended funding of Australian asbestos compensation claims for at least 50 years. [full story]

Hadgkiss Gives Mourners Grief
The Building Industry Taskforce wants 11 people fined for stopping work to honour a dead colleague.

The Taskforce filed writs after efforts to get its hands on the personal bank accounts of employees at Melbourne’s Concept Blue site were rejected by Justice Marshall, in the Federal Court, as "foreign to the workplace relations of civilised societies, as distinct from undemocratic authoritarian states."  [full story]

Mum Gets "Hopson’s" Choice
A Newcastle woman who worked until three days before giving birth by caesarean section was fired while recovering in hospital.

Maree Cunningham was "horrified" when her policeman husband delivered the Greater Building Society’s version of "congratulations" to her bedside. [full story]

AWAs Crash on Broken Hill
AWAs have been run out of Broken Hill after the boss who tried to foist them on disability workers shot through.

Wayne Nicholas threatened 30 Silverlea Community Care employees with the sack if they didn’t agree to become the state’s lowest paid disability workers. [full story]

No Fun in the Sack
A firm has gone bust three days before Christmas, leaving 200 workers without money to buy presents for their kids.

All State Electrical Contractors went into voluntary liquidation without paying holiday pay, leaving displaced workers no prospect of being paid at all over the holiday period. [full story]

Tax Office Draws Blood
Cost cutting is the leading suspect for an outbreak of blisters, rashes, eye irritations and nausea rocking tax processing centres in two states.

Workers handling foul-smelling tax returns in Penrith raised the alarm and at least one Perth has been reported as coughing up blood. [full story]

ALSO MAKING NEWS

 Origin Prop a Union Hit

 Good Guy Wears Black

 Security Crisis at Sydney Airport

 Biscuit Bosses Crumble

 Ardmona Urged to Can Racism

 Bomber Predicts Big Bang

 Stolen Wages Cut

 Tomorrow the World…

 Bosses Sack WorkCover

 Activists What's On!

email workers to a friend latest breaking news from labornet
"Tony does unionism the same way he played football - hard and up front and no nonsense, but with skills that opponents sometimes underestimate," John Robertson presenting Tony Butterfield with the Labor Council organiser of the year award.

E D I T O R I A L
If you want to give us a little Christmas present give us your vote as international labour website of the year ....

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C O L U M N S

Predictions
The Crystal Ball
Workers Online consults a raft of leading psychics to find out what readers can look forward to in 2005.

The Soapbox
Scrooge Was Right
Christmas has been cancelled this year, writes our US correspondent Brooklyn Phil.

The Locker Room
The Workers Online Sports Awards
Continuing a tradition that dates back to the Twentieth Century, Phil Doyle dishes out the gongs for all things great and small in the world of sport during 2004.

Parliament
The Westie Wing
Our favoutrite MP looks for a positive spin on the year at NSW Parliament


LETTERS to the Editor
 Costa’s Hike Unfare
 Temporary Arrangements
 The Price Of Tea In China
 Goodthink
 Cry For Me, Argentina
 Ho Bloody Ho
 Amen
 Right Is Wrong
 Business As Usual
 All In The Family
 Swing Left Wishful Thinking

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