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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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Activist’s What’s 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) 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]

Timor Sea Justice Picket

To coincide with the negotiations between Canberra and Dili and to back up the television advertisements campaign, the Sydney Timor Sea Justice Campaign is calling a picket for 12 noon on Tuesday 26th April, at the corner of Martin Place and Pitt St, then march at 1pm to DFAT corner of Angel Place and Pitt St. Demand a fair maritime boundaryy and that Australia gives East Timor back it's proper sharer of the wealth in the Timor Sea.

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

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


will be shown in Sydney Fri 29 April, Sat 30 Apr and Sun 1 May.


Pabrikproductions in association with Mediaworld present a three night screening of


A film by Tahir Cambis and Helen Newman

Anthem is a quest for nothing less than Australia‚s soul and maybe our most important film ever." Encore magazine

In 2000 Emmy Award winning filmmaker, Tahir Cambis and Helen Newman embarked on a personal quest spanning four years and five continents. The result: Anthem, a controversial documentary movie that is a dramatic, intimate witness to people‚s lives caught up in the age of the War on Terror.

Including commentators and characters such as Julian Burnside QC, Tony Kevin, Paul McGeough, Tim Page, Phillip Ruddock and John Howard Anthem combines live action with on-the-spot reportage as it presents the viewer with the devastating consequences and acts of resistance to the "War on Terror‚" From a bounty hunter in Kabul to 9/11 families in New York; from war correspondents in Baghdad to refugees in Australia; the filmmakers take the viewer to the frontline of history.

Anthem explores the very stories and issues that constantly dominant our news: detention centres, the war on terror, our relationship with America.

Funded by the Australian people through the Australian Film Commission and Film Victoria, Anthem is a timely opportunity to review the course of our recent history and the costs of the path we have chosen. Yet apart from emotionally charged screenings at film festivals Anthem has been ignored by distributors and broadcasters. "Never has a film been so fatheadly neglected by the ABC and SBS, its natural homes." Bob Ellis

Screened in 2004 at the Sydney Film Festival to a standing ovation Anthem can now be seen at

The Screening Room on April 29th, 30th and May 1st.

Accompanying each session will be special guest speakers followed by a lively post film discussion with the filmmakers. The Friday night opening will be focused on the role of filmmakers and independent media producers as critical tools in shaping vital public discourse.

"Anthem doesn't just shake the fence, it completely destroys it." Sydney Film Festival

Anthem places itself within the frame, aiming a critical lens on the role and responsibility of filmmakers and wider media in generating public discourse and maintaining strong convictions in the face of creeping censorship across the industry. Independent media producers and filmmakers are encouraged to attend and be part of this much needed debate. Each evening will commence at 7pm for a 7.30pm screening and cost $10 entry donation.


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)

May Day Lunch with Eric Aarons

Produced by Casula Powerhouse Arts centre

Our annual May Day lecture explores how we might instigate change in a vastly different world from that in which May Day demonstrations were first born. In 2005, Eric Aarons will present a discussion about our value systems, global economies, religion, environment and egalitarianism.

Author and sculpture, Eric Aarons, has lived in China and travelled to the Soviet Union, Cuba, Chile and Vietnam. Eric has held some of the highest positions in the Australian Communist Party. His unique perspective is retold in his body of writing and critical thought, including Philosophy for an Exploding World, What's left? and What's Right?

"Perhaps more than any other time, there is today an essential role for rational thought; there is reality to study and grapple with; there are worthwhile, indeed essential things that can be done. Our values tell us what is worthwhile, and the passion with which we hold to them provides the motivation to tackle the tasks involved."

- Eric Aarons, What's Left?, Penguin, 1993.

Neale Towart from Unions NSW will facilitate the program. Join Eric and Neale afterwards, over lunch, for further discussion of his ideas and the role of May Day in contemporary Australia.

WHERE Liverpool Regional Museum

Cnr Hume Hwy and Congressional Drive Liverpool

WHEN Monday, 2 May 2005

11am - 2pm

COST $10 per head (includes lunch)

RSVP Please RSVP by Wednesday, 27 April 2005.

Union Aid Abroad - APHEDA Study Tour

Union Aid Abroad - APHEDA is inviting applications for of East Timor a study tour between July 17th and 24th. The ideal participant will be active in the Australian trade union movement, deeply committed to international solidarity, and keen to investigate the effectiveness of APHEDA projects in East Timor. An ability to have fun and enjoy warm weather is also a must!

The cost of the study tour is $2,050 which includes airfare ex-Darwin, accommodation, in-country transport, interpreter services, breakfasts and the study tour itself. For more information about contact Thomas Michel (02) 9264 9343, 0410 814 360


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