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Issue No. 260 22 April 2005  

Praying Mantras
The election of a new Pontiff is a moment of cultural significance, a point where the world’s moral compass comes under scrutiny, and not just for the world’s billion-odd Catholics.


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.


 Pope Backs Rights At Work

 Trade Deal Built On Corpses

 AWAs Go – So Do Long Hours

 Sunday Too Far Away

 True Lies at RailCorp

 Mushrooms Mums Fed Bull

 Sewage In The Streets

 Taskforce Stands Over Vet

 Engineers in Driving Seat

 Backyard Funerals Targeted

 Work Deaths Get Permanent Reflection

 Yanks Brawl With Mall

 Activist’s What’s 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 aren’t 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.

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Trade Deal Built On Corpses

Australian workers have "no faith" in a free trade deal built on the bodies of 14,000 Chinese workers.

Australian Manufacturing Workers Union National Secretary Doug Cameron says John Howard's proposed free trade agreement with China was based on the "fundamental lie" that China had a market economy.

"The Chinese Government controls and intervenes in every aspect of its economy," Cameron says.

"They have a suite of national and provincial non-tariff barriers to protect and promote their industries. Workers have no bargaining rights. "

"The country has no human rights, poor environmental standards and a diabolical health and safety system."

Last year, 14,595 Chinese people died in workplace accidents, according to the US State Department.

"The Prime Minister is asking Australian manufacturing workers to compete directly with that system. It will be a disaster for Australian jobs."

Cameron says both the EU and US had refused to accord China market economy status.

He described Howard's call for Australians to "have faith" in his bargaining prowess as "laughable", given the results of the recent US free trade agreement.

"Australia was comprehensively out-negotiated by the Americans. The facts undermine any right for John Howard to ask for our faith in regard to trade negotiations.

Cameron says China represents a threat to living standards and jobs security around the world.

"It has become a haven for multi-national corporations who want to slash wages, environmental and safety standards.

"China is the base from which they want to drive new, lower standards across the globe and John Howard is helping them achieve that."

"We call on John Howard and the state Premiers to immediately convene a meeting of manufacturing industry stakeholders to commence the process of developing a long- term vision and strategy for Australian manufacturing."

"Australia must ensure increased investment, improved technology, innovation, improved skills and exports. These are the key issues we should be looking at."


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