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Issue No. 259 15 April 2005  

Roosting Chooks
It wasnít 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.


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.


 Freedom From Choice

 Hostile Takeover - Can Howard Do It?

 Premier Sues Miners

 Vanstone Shows Brickieís 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

 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.

 Adler Should Be Hung
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Activistís Whatís On

Union Aid Abroad APHEDA raffle

The annual Union Aid Abroad APHEDA raffle is on again. There are wonderful prizes including an around the world trip for two and the proceeds go to UAA-APHEDA's work to help build human rights, workers' rights and justice in developing countries. If you can sell a book of tickets to friends, family and workmates please contact UAA - APHEDA on tel. 1800 888 674 or by email [email protected]

The raffle closes on June 2nd with the winner drawn on June 16th.

Amnesty International Australia (AIA) presents a public forum on Directions in Corporate Responsibility with Professor Timothy Devinney (Director, Centre for Corporate Change, AGSM) and Mavis Robertson (former CEO of CBUS one of Australia's largest industry Superannuation funds).

When; 6pm to 7.30pm on Thursday 21st April

Where: Level 2, Bowlers Club of NSW, 95-99 York St, Sydney

Cost: Free (but donations to AIA to cover the cost of room hire would be appreciated)

RSVP: [email protected]

Representatives from the NSW Business Group of AIA will also give Amnesty's perspective on the development of the UN Human Rights Norms for Business and will examine the story of Bhopal, 20 years after one of the world's worst industrial disasters.

For more info on this event and other AIA campaigns call 1300 300 920 or visit the website

2. Amnesty International Australia (AIA) NSW trade union group

Alison Peters is keen to establish a AIA trade union group in NSW. The group would work on campaigns where people have suffered human rights abuses for establishing, joining or belonging to trade unions and also to involve NSW unions more broadly in AIA's campaigns. If you are interested give her a call on 0425 231 814 or email her at [email protected]

Could Chifley win Preselection Today?

Getting better Labor candidates.

Does Labor have a problem with preselections? Do the factions have too much control? What about the local branches? the trade unions? And who should be getting preselected?

The NSW Fabian Society is conducting a seminar with

John Button (Former federal Minister)

Tim Gartrell (ALP National Secretary)

Rodney Cavalier (former State Minister)

When: Weds 20th April, 6pm - 7.30pm

Where : Gleebooks, 49 Glebe Point Road, Glebe

Cost: Free

Evatt Breakfast Seminar 21 April: John Edwards will speak to his new book on John Curtin: "Curtin's Gift".

7.30am for 8 am Thursday 21st April, at the new venue: The Sydney Mechanics' School of Arts, 280 Pitt Street, near Town Hall Station.

The controversy of one man - Kisch in Australia

When Czech journalist and peace campaigner Egon Erwin Kisch (1885-1948), came to Australia in November 1934, he challenged a conservative Lyons government, caused a media sensation and won the hearts of many


The renowned political activist will be remembered in a new exhibition - Kisch in Australia - opening at the State Library of NSW on 14 February 2005.

The exhibition tells the story of the man who publicly defied the government's ban on his entry to Australia by jumping overboard at Port Melbourne (breaking his leg) in his determination to reach the Australian public with his message of anti-Fascism.

According to State Librarian & Chief Executive Dagmar Schmidmaier AM: "The fascinating story of this extraordinary man will be brought to life through original items from the Library's renowned collection, including Kisch's hand-written notes used in his public speeches."

The exhibition panels also include newspaper reports of the controversy surrounding his arrival, rare protest posters campaigning for Kisch's release and letters written in defence of Kisch's freedom.

Dr Heidi Zogbaum, author of the recently published Kisch in Australia: The untold story (Scribe, 2004) said, "Kisch had the ability to give rousing speeches with limited English and drew enthusiastic crowds wherever he went."

"Kisch was convinced that his ban was the result of Nazi pressure on the Australian government," said Dr Zogbaum, "but he was quite wrong. The newly appointed Attorney-General, Robert Gordon Menzies had staked his reputation on keeping Kisch out of Australia."

After his return to Paris, Kisch worked tirelessly on behalf of his fellow writers who had fallen victim to the Nazi regime. Upon the fall of France in 1940, Kisch managed to escape to Mexico. He returned to Prague in 1946 and died of a massive heart attack in 1948.

"The memory of Kisch is kept alive in Germany through the renowned Egon Erwin Kisch Prize for journalism, which honours the "reporter of truth" in a most fitting way," said Dr Roland Goll, Director of the Goethe-Institut, Sydney, who initiated and is supporting the exhibition.

Kisch in Australia is a free exhibition in the State Library's Picture Gallery from 14 February - 24 April 2005. It will then travel to the Migration Museum in Adelaide.

Justice for Jack film screening -- 'The President versus David Hicks'

[please circulate]

Jack Thomas currently face 55 years in jail under the Howard governments anti-terror laws. Thomas - regularly referred to as "Jihad Jack" by the media - is being prosecuted using evidence obtained in Pakistan where he was held and tortured for five months without charge in 2003. As concern grows over the ongoing erosion of basic human rights in the "war on terror", Jack's case represents an important test on the use of evidence obtained under torture without access to legal counsel.

Come along to this special screening on the closely related story of David Hicks and help support basic human rights and civil liberties in Australia. All proceeds will go to Jack's defence fund.

The President Versus David Hicks

Directed by Curtis Levy and Bentley Dean

"This is a documentary which every concerned Australian should see." David Stratton - The Movie Show

Plus a short documentary on the Jack Thomas case.

$12 full price

$8 concession

7pm, Tuesday April 26 at the Kaliede Theatre - RMIT, Street Level, Building 8, 360 Swanston Street, Melbourne

Phone bookings 9662 3744

Tickets available from the New International Bookshop - Trades Hall, 54 Victoria Street, Carlton.

Organised by the Justice for Jack Campaign


7pm Thursday 28th April at the South Sydney Leagues Club, 256 Chalmers St, Sydney. Cost is $20 each and bookings/inquiries can be made to Jaime Midson on 9265 8438.


Unionists are asked to assemble from 11am on Sunday 1st May in Hyde Park North with the march starting at 12 noon. Speakers are John Robertson (Unions NSW), Maree O'Halloran (NSW Teachers' Federation), Senator Kerry Nettle and Hannah Middleton (peace activist)


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