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Issue No. 253 25 February 2005  

And The Battle Begins
After months of skirmishing and waiting for the first shots to be fired, we finally have a picture of the Howard Government’s agenda to tear down 100 years of industrial relations.


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.


 Signs of the Times

 Fungal Growth Blights AWA’s

 Andrews Apes Big End

 Telstra Charge Reversed

 Good GEERS Hard to Find

 More Pulp Fiction

 For Sale - Goulburn

 Bosses Admit Pay Too Low

 Yachtie Sinks in Bog

 Albrechtsen Merits Questions

 New Eateries On Menu

 Fungal Growth Blights AWA’s

 Markets Cheer Pattern Bargains

 Mine Managers in Denial

 No Interest In Costello

 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.

 Boycott Bunnings
 Just One Thing
 No Dosh For Rupert
 Executions Not Fines
 Howard Needs To Know
 Disability Disgrace
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More Pulp Fiction

Mel Gibson’s bid to turn union pin-up boy, Bernie Banton, into an Australian Erin Brokovich has set tongues wagging on the arts scene.

Banton, who won Unions NSW’s prestigious Frank Belan award for his role in staring down corporate villain, James Hardie, is discreet about an approach from Gibson’s production house, Icon Shanahan, to put his life story on the silver screen.

The former union delegate at the company's Rosehill factory, said he had been told to stay quiet about the project.

"They (Icon Shanahan) rang me and said 'don't say anything about it, we'd like to talk to you first'. They're coming to see me in a few weeks," Banton told the Australian media, this week.

But industry talk already centres on who the Americans will cast in a story, driven by a relentless trade union campaign that pushed NSW Premier Bob Carr into instigating a public inquiry.

Australian icon, Jack Thompson, is a warm favourite to play Banton while Nicole Kidman shapes up nicely for the role of his activist wife, Karen.

Industry insiders say Pulp's Jarvis Cocker would make a 'fantastic" Greg Combet while Russell Crowe's any-time, any-place attitude to a scrap give him the inside running as hard-hitting AMWU secretary, Paul Bastian.

In playing Ghandi to popular acclaim, Ben Kingsley, would appear to have the John Robertson role sewn-up.

One left-field suggestion has the production company seeking the services of Elton John as a bespectacled state premier with vocal authority.

Theatrical agents spoken to by Workers Online say company roles will be difficult to fill in Australia, especially if "other commitments" prevent Roger Rogerson being cast as CEO, Peter Macdonald.

They were split on whether Icon Shanahan would see Dustin Hoffman or Farrah Fawcett as its first-choice Meredith Helicar.

Nobody from the production company was available to comment on the final make-up of the cast.


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