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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

Drivers Shake the Cage


A passenger took 28 seconds to tear down a ‘safety screen’, meant to protect bus drivers, before leaving the driver with injuries that kept him off work for several days.

Drivers have criticised the welded mesh screens, saying they leave them open to being spat on, abused, stoned, poked and assaulted.

Three hundred drivers responded to a survey on the safety screens by the Transport Workers Union (TWU), many complaining about their lack of effectiveness.

The TWU, representing the drivers, is calling for a summit to thrash out the issues surrounding bus driver safety in WA.

The union has approached the minister responsible for workplace safety, John Kobelke; the workplace safety authority, WorkSafe; the WA Public Transport Authority; and the three provaite bus operators in Perth to join the summit.

"We're hoping to get a consensus on a cage design," says Mick Knowles from the TWU. "The stress these drivers are under is immense."

"With keeping to running times, timetables, and then something happens and these drivers snap."

Figures provided by Perth's three private bus companies to the media show more than 400 incidents involving anti-social behavior by passengers or projectiles being thrown at buses in the past six months.

Drivers Robbed, Pelted with Stubbies

Meanwhile bus drivers in Sydney's southwest have faced further violence with a driver doing a Claymore route having beer bottles thrown at his vehicle, and a bus driver at Airds being threatened at knifepoint, robbed and assaulted in the last month.

Campbelltown Busways TWU delegate Paul Tucker told media he would ensure the safety issue was on the agenda for a meeting with Busways.


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