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Issue No. 250 21 December 2004  

Beyond The Law
Despite the all-engulfing gloom emenating from our political wing right now, 2004 comes to an end on a strangely upbeat note for the trade union movement.


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.


 Unions Make Hardie Pay

 Hadgkiss Gives Mourners Grief

 Mum Gets "Hopson’s" Choice

 AWAs Crash on Broken Hill

 No Fun in the Sack

 Tax Office Draws Blood

 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!


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.

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

 Costa’s Hike Unfare
 Temporary Arrangements
 The Price Of Tea In China
 Cry For Me, Argentina
 Ho Bloody Ho
 Right Is Wrong
 Business As Usual
 All In The Family
 Swing Left Wishful Thinking
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Stolen Wages Cut

The NSW government is asking Aboriginals, dudded for decades on wages, to cop as little as one percent of their missing money as compensation.

An Aboriginal leader has labeled "absolutely disgusting" the Government's announcement it will set aside $15 million to compensate Aborigines who had wages stolen by the state early last century.

Cabinet minutes from earlier this year show accounting firm Ernst & Young estimated the 11,000 aborigines could be eligible for a total payout of up to $70 million.

A government committee recommended a three member panel be set up to take evidence and determine payments which were likely to average about $3000.

From 1900 to 1968 many Aborigines were forced to put wages, pensions, family endowments, inheritances and lump-sum compensation payments into trust funds administered by successive NSW state governments.

Many were farm servants and members of the stolen generation.

Marjorie Woodrow, who was stolen, worked on a rural property for five years from the age of 16 washing clothes, mustering sheep and cleaning the house.

She undertook the work in the late 1930's and early 1940's.

The Aboriginal leader lived in a tent for seven years with her husband and family while waiting for wages that were meant to be returned to her when she turned 21.

Now in her 80's Woodrow estimates she is owed $250,000 for her 18 hour days worked seven days a week.

Woodrow has vowed not to accept anything less than the true value of her stolen wages.

"I promised six of my best friends, as a last dying wish, to see their wages were paid to their children as a legacy," said Woodrow.

"Now they want to meet up with me and my lawyer on the 30th and make me an offer to shut me up.

"I want to see them pay all the money up.

"After Christmas is we don't get the wages we will march in every state and show we mean business."


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