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Issue No. 252 18 February 2005  

Wood for the Trees
In the book that may never become a film, ‘Eucalyptus’, a father will not give his daughter away unless her suitor can name every tree on the property.


Economics: Super Seduction
Sharks are circling your super. From July 1, banks and financial planners will have access to the nesteggs of an extra four million workers.

Interview: Bono and Me
ACTU Sharan Burrow lifts the lid on the rock star lifestyle of an international union leader.

Unions: The Eight Hour Day and the Holy Spirit
Rowan Cahill bucks conventional wisdom to argue the eight-hour day began in Sydney.

Economics: OEC-Who?
The OECD calls for more reform. But, Asks Neale Towart, who is really doing the calling?

Technology: From Widgets to Digits
How can unions grow and continue to successfully represent workers when their traditional structures are rooted in an industry, craft or fixed location?

Education: Dumb and Dumber
Unions are leading the fight against a political agenda that does away with smart jobs.

Health: No Place for the Young
The support of union members is required to help get young people out of nursing homes, writes Mark Robinson

History: The Work-In That Changed a Nation
February 17 marks 30-years to the day that sacked coal miners at the NSW Northern District Nymboida Colliery began their historic work-in at the mine.

Review: Dare to Win
The history of the militant and often controversial BLF is as surprising as it is fascinating writes Tim Brunero.

Poetry: Labor's Dreaming
With another change at the helm of the Labor Party, our resident bard, David Peetz, can't help but dreamily drawing on some political history.


 Families On the Rack

 Detention Centre for Darling Harbour

 Transit Officers' Close Shave

 Truckies Drive Mac Attack

 We Have Way of Making You Walk

 Howzat – Murali Spun Out

 Show Me The Money

 Walter’s Mates Pay

 Retailer Sells Out Workers

 Financiers Squash Capital Idea

 Taskforce Stands Over Families

 Big Australian Changes the Rules

 Bodyguards Stabbed In Back

 Big Brother Stirs Up Porridge

 Carr Sees Trees for Wood

 Activist’s What’s On


Titanic Forces
There are book reviewers who have not read the book they have just reviewed and there are critics who have criticised films they have not yet seen. I want to review a novel that has not yet been written.

The Soapbox
Labour and Labor
Grant Bellchamber looks at the relationship between both sides organised labour

Aussie Unions Help Tsunami Victims
The union movement’s aid agency reports back on its relief effort in Asia.

The Locker Room
Game, Set and Yawn
Phil Doyle asks if tennis is evil or just boring

The Westie Wing
As a reshuffle of the State Ministry settles in and the Federal Government throws down the gauntlet, 2005 promises to be a new and vital chapter in the struggle for workers and their families, writes Ian West in Macquarie Street.

 Toxic Talk
 Millstone Revealed
 But Then Again
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Detention Centre for Darling Harbour

The Immigration Department appears to have added ships to its arsenal of detention facilities.

Tonga-registered Capitaine Tasman was branded a "floating detention centre" after 26 crew were barred from setting foot in Australia, this week, in defiance of international conventions.

ITF spokesman, Dean Summers, has been given the brush by the Immigration Department and Minister Amanda Vantstone's office in his bid to have members of the multi-national crew allowed ashore.

"It's the first time I have heard of an entire ship's crew being locked-in in this country," Summers said. "Shore leave is a basic right for seafarers. It is respected around the world and supported by international conventions."

Crew from the flag-of-convenience ship were barred from coming ashore in Brisbane, mid-week, and as Workers Online published they were holed-up at Darling Harbour, in the middle of Sydney's ritzy tourist precinct.

It is understood the banning order was handed down by Brisbane-based Immigration official, Brod Richie, but he was doing a Sgt Shultz impersonation when we sought clarification.

"I am not able to provide you with any information about that," he said.

"I am not going to provide you with any response and I want you to be very clear on that understanding as well."

However, shipping agent, Harlen Gordon, was more forthcoming. He said crew members would have to remain on board the Capitaine Tasman in Melbourne, as well, and there was nothing his company could do about it.

"It's an immigration issue. Our hands are tied," Gordon said.

Gordon said his company understood Immigration had reacted to the flag-of-covenience ship's history. On previous visits, he said, foreign crew had disappeared in Sydney and stowaways had left at Brisbane.

Summers said in light of that history, it was interesting that authorities still allowed the vessel to ply its trade in Australian waters.

"There's no argument about the company," he said, "it refuses to deal with the ITF or sign off on minimum international standards.

"It's a crappy operation but we are concerned about the crew. They still have rights and there are important questions about those rights that need to be answered."


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