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Issue No. 263 13 May 2005  

A Fistful of Dollars
And so the great political debate of our time has become who gets the money and how quickly they can pocket it – the Howard Government’s latest application of the base art of wedge politics.


Interview: Fortress NSW
NSW IR Minister John Della Bosca on how to win the battle for workers rights - and save the state system.

Unions: Fashions Afield
With new anti-sweatshop creations being paraded at this year's Australian Fashion Week, is equity the new black and are sweatshops the new fur? asks Tara de Boehmler.

Industrial: Pay Dirt
John Burgess argues that the flow-on effect from changing the minimum wage could be more than we bargained for.

Politics: Infrastructure Blues
With much attention given belatedly to the shortage of infrastructure, little attention has been given to the structure of infrastructure, writes Evan Jones

History: Big Day Out
Neale Towart looks back on the events that created the May Day heritage.

International: Making History
Hundreds of aid organisations, charities, trade unions and religious groups have formed a global alliance called “ Make Poverty History”.

Economics: The Fear Factor
The solution to skill shortages is intelligent planning, argues John Spoehr

Review: The Robots Revolt
New kids flick Robot uses our electronic friends to teach audiences that inbuilt obsolescence is just a state of mind, writes Tara de Boehmler

Poetry: The Corporation's Power
The idea of a corporations power that could cure any ill has inspired our resident bard, David Peetz, to verse.


 Bikies Needle Heroines

 Bosses Play China Card

 Giant Collapses on Ankle

 NAB Cuts More Than Jobs

 Left Footers Kick Back

 Oh Brother, Tim Plays House

 WA on the Block

 Patrick Fails to Hide Asbestos

 Budget Hits Civil Rights

 Combet Launches Shark Attack

 Childcare Wage Grows Up

 US To Drain More Aussie Brains

 Dictators Beg Eric To Stop


The Soapbox
May Spray
Unions NSW secretary John Robertson delivered the annual May Day Toast - and warned it is no time to be comfortable and relaxed.

The Locker Room
A Rucking Good Time
Phil Doyle reveals many things, some of them useful

The Westie Wing
Our favourite MP, Ian West, is back to regale us with inside goss and intrigue from the Bearpit.

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Patrick Fails to Hide Asbestos

Patrick Stevedores tried to use John Howard’s new industrial laws to block inspection of a Port Botany site subsequently found to be riddled with asbestos.

When CFMEU organiser, Alan Blevin, arrived at the extension project in response to OH&S inquiries, he was denied access by a Patrick security guard briefed on federal government proposals to run trade unionists off building sites.

"The guard knew all about the new legislation," CFMEU assistant secretary, Brian Parker, said.

"When I asked him what it said about safety, he said 'nothing'. I told him to go to the top of the class because it doesn't.

"He wouldn't accept Alan had right of entry under NSW law."

When CFMEU officials eventually got through the gate, they alerted Workcover to concrete slabs all over the site that hadn't been tested for contaminants, and found plant and machinery that didn't meet licensing regulations or comply with manufacturers' standards.

Testing of the concrete, at a Petersham recycling yard, revealed it had been contaminated with asbestos.

Parker said there was also asbestos in pipes found across the extension.

Workcover, today, slapped exclusion zones on over half the site in a bid to protect workers, and others, from deadly asbestos fibres.

Parker said it was "disappointing" that Chris Corrigan-owned Patrick was still prepared to be used as federal government "attack dog".

"Patrick has been in bed with the federal government for years on its agenda to roll back workers' rights," Parker said. "You would have thought they would have learned their lesson years ago, but here they are ignoring our legal rights to protect the health and safety of members."


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