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Issue No. 259 15 April 2005  
E D I T O R I A L

Roosting Chooks
It wasn’t that long ago that John Howard was the great Conservative leader who wanted to remake Australia in his own image, defending the monarchy, beating up gay mums and attacking the ABC.

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 …

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

 Freedom From Choice

 Hostile Takeover - Can Howard Do It?

 Premier Sues Miners

 Vanstone Shows Brickie’s Cleavage

 Sparkies Refine Safety Tactics

 Ten Cent Deal Cuts Beards

 Kiwis Vote for Flight

 Death Penalty No Deterrent

 Costa Railroads Jobs

 Greystanes Soiled

 Aussies in Ivy league Battle

 Drivers Shake the Cage

 Employers Come Clean

 Big Call in Newcastle

 Bosses Back Gaol for Cowboys

 Activist’s What’s 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 aren’t 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
 Adler Should Be Hung
WHAT YOU CAN DO
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News

Death Penalty No Deterrent


A building worker’s life is worth $55,000, according to a Queensland Court.

The penalty, arising from the death of Trevor Kelly on the Gold Coast Convention Centre, last year, has thrust industrial manslaughter back into the political spotlight.

Brisbane-based Mulherin Rigging and Cranes Pty Ltd was fined $55,000 in the Southport Magistrate's Court after pleading guilty to breaching workplace safety laws.

Kelly had been working without a harness and had had no site induction, when he fell to his death.

AMWU state secretary, Andrew Dettmer, said the sentence reflected the "complete inadequacy" of Queensland health and safety laws.

"It's time courts were given the power they need to act as a deterrent," he said. "Queensland courts need more serious options, including a charge of industrial manslaughter against company directors or business owners guilty of negligence that leads to the death of an employee.

"The only way business will take this matter seriously is if Parliament starts to take it seriously."

Queensland Workplace Health and Safety laws work on a system of penalty units. A breach, causing death, carries a maximum fine of $60,000 and the possibility of two years in gaol.

Prison terms have rarely, if ever, been handed out but Dettmer says industrial manslaughter laws could rectify that.

"Trevor Kelly's family has lost immeasurably more than $60,000, in personal and financial terms," Dettmer said.

He pledged the AMWU would raise industrial manslaughter, again, at the next ALP state conference.

Meanwhile, Queensland bosses will no longer be able to snoop on job applicants' workers compensation history following state government law changes.

"Unions have been concerned for some time that employers and employment agencies had required workers to provide workers' compensation histories as

part of the pre-employment process," said QCU General Secretary, Grace Grace.

"The practice was clearly discriminatory against workers who had the misfortune of being injured at work."


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