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Issue No. 258 08 April 2005  

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.


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.


 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


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

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

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.

 Out-of-sight, out-of-your-mind
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Stink Over Water

Raw sewage pumped into the Harbour, massive increases in household bills, foul-smelling air, and multinationals being paid squillions to leave town.

Thatís the vision of privatised water that Sydney Water staff will take to the public this week.

They will rally, outside the utility on Tuesday, in an effort to head off the massive price increases, system breakdowns and job cuts privatisation has ushered in elsewhere.

ASU co-ordinator, Col Lynch, invited Sydneysiders to join in.

"We're all in this together," he warned. "The track record of water privatisation should concern everybody.

"The federal government has opened up the prospect of a sell-off by supporting the definition of water services as traded goods, covered by GATS.

"Water should be a national treasure, held in trust for all Australians."

The rally, to be addressed by ACTU president Sharan Burrow, and AFTINET representative, Pat Reynalds, is part of an international mobilisation for Trade Justice.

Both organisations contend that the inclusion of water in GATS (the General Agreement on Trade in Services), and free trade, open up the possibility of privatisation.

A quick sniff around the world of water privatisation, unearths ...

- Adelaide's notorious Big Pong, so-called because of the stench that descended on the city's northern suburbs following the knocking off of Adelaide's water and sewage

- Suez, the world's largest water multinational being driven out of Bolivia after mass public demonstrations against a cost structure that denied at least 200,000 El Alto residents access to supplies

- American giant, Bechtel, being paid millions a year to do nothing after it was driven out of Cochabamba, another Bolivian city, following massive price hikes

Britain's Thames Water regularly appearing in lists of the country's worst polluters. Since privatisation, complaints about service and quality have increased, while magistrates and tribunals have found Thames Water was aware of failures that led to raw sewage discharges and could have prevented them.


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