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Issue No. 255 11 March 2005  

A Skillful Ruse
If you ever wanted a case study into the adage that big business is all about ‘privatising the profits and socialising the losses’ then look no further than the current skills crisis.


Interview: Dot.Com
Evan Thornley was a labour activist. Then he rode the tech wave. Now he's home with new ideas on how Labor can win the economic debate.

Workplace: Dirt Cheap
In her new book, Elizabeth Wynhausen learns how hard it is to live on the minimum wage.

Industrial: Daddy Doesn’t Live With Us Anymore
Andreia Viegas’ tells the story of the loss her young family has felt since her husband was killed at work, and the need for justice for families who fall victim to industrial manslaughter.

Economics: Who's Afraid of the BCA?
Big Business's agenda for Australia has gone from loopy to mainstream at the speed of light, writes Neale Towart

International: From the Wreckage
Working people across Iraq are struggling to build their own independent unions – and are successfully organising industrial action on the vital oil fields as well as in hotels, transport outlets and factories, Writes Andrew Casey

Politics: Infrastructure Blues
With much attention given belatedly to the shortage of infrastructure, little attention has been given to the structure of infrastructure, writes Evan Jones

History: Meat and Three Veg
A new book recounts the impact of the Depression on women workers, writes Neale Towart,

Savings: 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, writes Jim Marr.

Politics: Popping the 'E-Word'
Federal shadow treasurer Wayne Swan unveils Labor's new economic doctrine.

Poetry: To Know Somebody
This week saw an appointment to the ABC Board that was even more breathtaking than that of Liberal Party figure Michael Kroger. Resident Bard David Peetz celebrates the occasion with a reworking of an old Bee Gees hit.

Review: Off the Rails
A new play on the impact of rail privatisation in Britain has a poignant message for Sydney commuters, writes Alex Mitchell


 Killer Company Sent Down

 Once Upon a Time in Bexley

 Defence Contractor at War

 Steeple Takes a Tumble

 Tribunal Goes the Bash

 Nurses On Top

 Uni Rolled on Casuals

 Howard Strips GEERS

 Septics Dump On Aussie Jobs

 Banks Safety Interest

 Feds Should Help Kids

 Safety Stars at Opera House

 Three Dollars Free For Readers

 Toast the Days Of Old

 Clinton Boycotts Hotel

 Activist’s What’s On


The Soapbox
The Big Picture
Think about this: It takes 150 tonnes of iron ore to buy a plasma TV, writes Doug Cameron.

The Locker Room
Reducto Ad Absurdo
Phil Doyle offers advice for the lovelorn, and finds that things are getting smaller

New Matilda
Work is In
The rise and fall of the working hours debate in france is relevent to Australian workers, writes Daniel Donahoo and Tim Martyn

The Westie Wing
Our favourite MP surveys the upcoming conservative centralist collective attack.

Postcard from Harvard
Australian union officials making the annual pilgrimage to the Harvard Trade Union Program learnt that, at least, they are not alone, says Natalie Bradbury.

 The Auld Mug
 Banks Are Great
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Tribunal Goes the Bash

A tribunal used "stereotyping of the worst kind" to deny compensation to a union delegate who went to the aid of an outnumbered security guard in a Narrandera pub brawl, the Supreme Court has found.

AMWU delegate, Antony Muilwyk, 57, needed 10 stitches in facial wounds after helping the guard escape assailants but the Victims Compensation Tribunal ruled his injuries would "not be unheard of in the robust pursuit of union endeavours".

It awarded him $3600 for scarring but rejected his claim for shock because such experiences "should not cause a person of firm resolve, such as a union representative in the metal industry, too much psychological distress".

Stunned AMWU secretary, Paul Bastian, said Muilwyk's union activities had consisted of "doing a really good job for his workmates over a number of years".

That a statutory tribunal had felt comfortable to discriminate against him so openly, Bastian said, was the result of prejudices being spread and fostered for political purposes.

"The tribunal's reasoning was outrageous because it undermined this man's standing and rights because he was a union delegate. It fostered a prejudice aimed at undermining the legitimate role of union delegates," Bastian said.

He praised this week's NSW Supreme Court ruling that the tribunal had been "irrational, unreasonable and arbitrary" as well as wrong at law.

Justice Roderick Howie called it a "case of stereotyping of the worst kind".

He said a "clear error of law" ran through reasoning that rejected a psychiatrist's report, the testimony of Muilwyk's wife, and trivialised his injury as a "black eye".

The court had heard the fitter and turner tried to help the bouncer by holding a door open to facilitate his escape. Muilwyk, himself, was then assaulted by as many 10 men suffering bruising, scarring, lacerations and what he claimed was was post traumatic stress disorder.


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