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Issue No. 265 27 May 2005  

Hit and Myth
John Howard came to power on the back of a myth about the sort of Australia we had once been; now he is creating a new myth about the sort of Australia we want to become.


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.


 Sign or You're Gone

 Unions Back a Winner

 Howard Chases Nurses

 Victims Champ Joins Resistance

 Red and Green Blue

 Usual Suspects Lead Cheer Squad

 Ugly Australian On Charges

 Aussies Longer and Harder

 Guard Attached, Then Sacked

 Doh – Homero Loses Voice

 Bunbury Families Win Payouts

 Double Standards For Dads

 Libs Back 'Illegal' Rally

 TAFE Teaches A Lesson On Winning

 Activist’s What’s On!


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.

 One Hell Of A Job
 US Fan Mail
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Red and Green Blue

Building workers have thrown a "red and green" ban on Redfern Oval in an effort to bolster South Sydney’s dream of returning to its spiritual home.

The move, blocking Sydney Lord Mayor Clover Moore’s plan to turn the historic footy ground into a "passive recreational space" tackles new laws that forbid building workers from participating in political campaigns.

Workplace Relations Minister, Kevin Andrews, has announced that when special building industry legislation is passed in federal parliament, penalty provisions, including prison sentences and massive fines, will be imposed retrospectively.

Key features of construction industry legislation, introduced to parliament this week, include ...

- making it illegal to backdate wage agreements, even if the parties agree

- making political or industrial stop work meetings or strikes illegal, except after an EBA has expired

- making it illegal for workers to campaign for equal pay for equal work

- declaring legal strikes illegal after 14 days

- making legal strikes dependent on time-consuming secret ballots to be run by an outside agency

- $22,000 fines for rank and file workers who breach the legislation

- $110,000 fines for unions who breach the legislation

- allowing courts to order unlimited damages against unions

- allowing third parties to sue unions, and workers, for losses

These laws will be enforced by the Building Industry Commission, a special industry police force, which will have the power to prosecute unions and their members on behalf of employers and third parties.

Building workers can be compelled to appear before the taxpayer-funded commission and may be forced to give evidence under oath. The commission can order them to hand over personal documents.

They can be ordered not to divulge what transpired during interrogations to anyone but their lawyer, and, unlike criminals, will be stripped of the right to silence and protections against self-incrimination.

Failure to comply with any of these provisions will make building workers liable to $3300 fines or six months in prison.

CFMEU assistant secretary, Brian Parker, said the red and green ban had been imposed to win time for community involvement before Redfern Oval was lost as a recreational facility.

The union supports George Piggins' proposal for the NRL club to return to a revamped Oval that would double as a base for indigenous, youth, aged and welfare organisations servicing the inner city.

Parker said to focus solely on top-level footy was a mistake as Redfern Oval was a base for the South Sydney Junior Rugby League which catered for 10,000 local players.

Every year it attracts thousands of fans for Junior League semis and finals.

Parker made it clear building workers would picket the site in an effort to prevent the ground being lost.

"Our members are trying to protect the oval's heritage and make sure that inner-city youth have adequate recreational facilities," Parker said.


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