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Issue No. 258 08 April 2005  
E D I T O R I A L

Be My Guest
Is anyone else confused about the current behaviour of our Prime Minister? In just a few short years heís transformed himself from National Door Bitch to Regional Street Spruiker.

F E A T U R E S

Interview: [email protected]
Labor's Penny Wong has the job of getting more people into the workplace and keeping companies honest. In her spare time ....

Unions: State of the Union
Unions NSW secretary John Robertson unveils the annual survey of attitudes of workers to their jobs, thier lives and the union.

Industrial: Fashion Accessories
Jim Marr unpacks the unlikely claim of a suburban house to be considered the New Mecca of the New Right Ö

Legal: Leg Before Picket
Chris White looks at how the federal industrial changes will impact on the basic right to strike.

Politics: Business Welfare Brats
Neale Towart asks why the only form of legitmate welfare seems to be going to the top end of town.

Health: Cannabis Controversy
Zoe Reynolds looks at how drug and alcohol testing is leading to some addled outcomes.

Economics: Debt, Deficit, Downturn
As the indicators head south, Frank Stilwell wonders whether it is the way we do economics that is to blame.

History: Politics In The Pubs
Phil Doyle reports on the increasingly-popular Struggles, Scabs and Schooners day out.

Review: Three Bob's Worth
Doing their best Margaret and David, Tara de Boehmler and Tim Brunero have different takes on the new Australian flick Three Dollars.

Poetry: Do The Slowly Chokie
Workers Online bard David Peetz teaches how workers to dance to Howard's industrial laws.

N E W S

 Cash Grab Targets Families

 Wattyl Lacks Colour

 Censors Ban Workers Online

 Stink Over Water

 Cole Slurs Slide

 Table Hands Stuffed

 Sweat Shop Taxes MLCís Patience

 Cops Strengthen Thin Blue Line

 Buses Drive Commuters Crazy

 Guards Win Rail War

 Building Families Pocket $15 Million

 Students Mark Lecturers

 Activistís Whatís On

C O L U M N S

The Soapbox
Notes From a Laneway
Mental Health Workers Alliance member Toby Raeburn shares a week on the frontline.

The Locker Room
War, Plus The Shooting
The Socceroos arenít their own worst enemy after all, or so says Phil Doyle

Culture
Life Imitates Art
The jokes have been around for some time about the economic rationalist's approach to the orchestra, writes Evan Jones.

Parliament
The Westie Wing
Ian West takes the secret passage out of Macquarie Street to deliver his take on NSW Parliamentary Committees and other goings on.

L E T T E R S
 Out-of-sight, out-of-your-mind
WHAT YOU CAN DO
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News

Censors Ban Workers Online


Finance company SunCorp is using an email and internet firewall to block access to Workers Online.

"This is about freedom of speech," says Geoff Derrick from the Financial Sector Union (FSU). "Workers Online is one of the only independent worker oriented industrial news services available to white collar private sector employees."

Workers Online is on a banned list of union publications which Suncorp staff are barred from accessing.

The FSU is concerned about ongoing delays in introducing the proposed NSW Workplace Surveillance Bill, which would make it illegal for employers to play big brother and snoop on employee emails.

The Attorney-General's Department has now advised that it expects the Bill to be tabled in the parliamentary session commencing early May. 2005.

SunCorp has previously been implicated in an alleged 'dirty tricks campaign' including a controversial ballot surrounding EBA approval and a campaign against the FSU during a merger between SunCorp and GIO.

"SunCorp for years has been automatically blocking emails fro the FSU to their workforce, which would be illegal under the proposed legislation," says Derrick. "There are a number of employers that are using electronic blocking of emails."

"What this case shows is that action is needed urgently; the states need to work together and with the Commonwealth to prevent this sort of management bullying,' says Unions NSW secretary John Robertson.

In a dispute before the Industrial Relations Commission over the rights of workplace representatives at Suncorp to engage in union activities, Vice President Lawler said that it would be "no skin off Suncorp's nose" for email to be sent to employees.

In a related incident a delegate at a Westpac branch in southwestern Sydney was cautioned for using work email for union communication.


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