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Issue No. 256 18 March 2005  

Planet Common Cents
The current debate around the federal government’s move to ban compulsory university service fees exposes more than a pathological hatred of all things ‘union’.


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


 MaxiRort in Ballarat

 Beer Boss’ Want Froth

 Facts Ruin Costello’s Story

 Uni Burns Book Man

 Strong Pulls Pianist

 Terminator Runs Away

 No Choice for Small Business

 Scully On Run from Cops

 Picketer Wins $190,000

 Wheat Board on Sea of Shame

 School Raids Condemned

 Tangled Web Weaved

 CASA Cans Safety

 Radioactive Relay Race

 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.

 Poor Prose Praised
 Fabulous Fan Mail
 Skilled Tools
 Nelson ‘Solves’ Skills Crisis
 Loyalty Nonsense
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Terminator Runs Away

Hollywood tough guy Arnold Schwarzenegger is running scared of nurses and teachers.

Schwarzenegger was forced into an embarrassing exit through a hotel side door in an attempt to dodge protesting workers in Washington DC, last week.

Nurses, teachers and fire fighters were amongst Californian workers protesting retirement cuts who followed Governor Schwarzenegger across the country to a high-flyers' fundraiser.

"When you're a governor 3000 miles from home, raising millions of special interest dollars to attack working people, it's easy to get homesick," said a spokesperson from the International Association of Fire Fighters. "So a group of California firefighters arranged a welcoming committee."

They were joined by hundreds of union employees from the IAFF, AFL-CIO, Nurses, Labourers, SEIU and others who braved freezing conditions in front of the St. Regis Hotel to protest Schwarzenegger's plan to eliminate public employee pensions.

"We wanted Arnold to know that he can run, but he can't hide," said Andy Doyle, a Los Angeles County firefighter who led the Local 1014 delegation.

"The governor needs to know that front line firefighters are going to stand with all working people in defence of retirement security for our families," Doyle said.

The previous day Los Angeles County fire fighters chased Schwarzenegger through New York with the help of local fire fighters' unions.

The Governor had no defence against the protestors as he ran from his car and ducked in a side door.

Schwarzenegger was on a fundraising campaign for his re-election and to raise money for a ballot initiative that would torpedo state workers' guaranteed pension plan.

The initiative would not only force all new public servants into a lower-tier privatised retirement plan, it also would eliminate death and disability benefits for firefighters and law enforcement workers.

Schwarzenegger's corporate friends paid from $5,000 to as much as $23,300 for lunch with the governor. The $23,300 also bought photos with the actor-turned-politician.


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