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Issue No. 256 18 March 2005  
E D I T O R I A L

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’.

F E A T U R E S

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

N E W S

 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!

C O L U M N S

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

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

Postcard
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.

L E T T E R S
 Poor Prose Praised
 Fabulous Fan Mail
 Skilled Tools
 Nelson ‘Solves’ Skills Crisis
 Loyalty Nonsense
WHAT YOU CAN DO
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News

CASA Cans Safety


The travelling public will be in danger if licensed aircraft engineers are directed to stop pre-flight safety checks, according to maintenance staff.

Engineers will be ordered to cease inspections if regulations proposed by the Civil Aviation Safety Authority are passed by parliament.

Australian Licensed Aircraft Engineers Association president Michael O'Rance said the public had every cause to be concern about the impact of the changes.

"We are going to have the bizarre situation where trained engineers will be directed to stand aside and do nothing when a plane is preparing for take-off," says O'Rance.

The changes to maintenance regulations, being pushed by industry representatives, remove the requirement licensed engineers conduct safety checks on domestic flights before take-off.

Currently experienced engineers at major airlines check for 'bird strike', slashed tyres, leaks, and damage from ground equipment.

Under the changes the only safety check carried out by a Licensed Aircraft Engineer would occur at the start of the day, with pilots carrying out visual checks before other flights.

Pilots are not trained to carry out detailed safety inspections. The Australian and International Pilots Association supports the continuation of safety pre-flight inspections by engineers.

"Where individual carriers have done away with pre-flight inspections and replaced them with pilots in the past, serious risks were missed," Mr O'Rance said.

The regulations were re-opened for industry alteration as new CASA honcho Bruce Byron ordered a total review of all regulations.

Negotiations had finished last November. Byron wants to ensure regulations focus on "safety outcomes", rather than being "too prescriptive".

The ALAEA today called on the federal transport minister John Anderson to direct CASA to require the continuation of pre-flight safety checks.

"This is one of those moments where the government has the opportunity to step in and prevent a tragedy before it occurs.

"If it fails to do so, it will be responsible for the diminution of air safety in Australia."

For more details go to the JetSafe website - http://www.jetsafe.com.au


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