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Issue No. 266 03 June 2005  

An Act of Faith
After a week of watching the Howard Government attempt to explain their vision of work relations we have a clearer picture of what the social safety net will be in the future � an act of faith


Interview: The Baby Drought
Social ethicist Leslie Cannold has delved into why women - and men - are having fewer children. And it all comes back to the workplace.

Industrial: Lies, AWAs and Statistics
David Peetz uncovers the truth behind the latest statistics on earnings under Australian Workplace Agreements.

Workplace: The Invisible Parents
Current government policies about work and family do not reflect the realities of either family life or the modern workplace. writes Don Edgar.

History: Bruce�s Big Blunder
The Big Fella, Jack Lang, gives an eyewitness account of the last time Conservatives tried to dismantle Australia�s industrial relations system.

Politics: All God's Children
The battle for morality is not confined to Australian polittics. Michael Walzer writes on the American perspective

Economics: Spun Out
The business groups are feeling cocky. The feds have announced their IR changes, business says they don't go far enough. What a surprise, writes Neale Towart

International: Shakey Trials
Lyndy McIntyre argues the New Zealnd IR experiment provides warnings - and hope - for the Australian union movement.

Legal: Civil Distrubance
Tom Roberts argues that there is more at stake than an attack on building workers in the looming legsilation.

Review: Crash Course In Racism
Paul Haggis flick Crash suggests that when cars collide the extent of people's prejudices are revealed sans the usual veil of political correctness, writes Tara de Boehmler.

Poetry: You're Fired
New laws will leave bosses holding the whip and workers with a Raw Hide, writes resident bard David Peetz


 Beattie Dares Job Vandals

 Broken Hill Confronts "Choice"

 BHP Faces Losses

 Howard Threatens Babies

 Working Between the Flags

 Hadgkiss Makes History

 Bob The Organiser

 Johnny Packs Toothbrush

 Security Blunders to the Max

 EDI Court Out

 Feds: Do As I Say �

 Soaring Mercury Sparks Walk Off

 Unions Offer to Play Libs

 Education Stands Up To Howard Assault

 Dodgy Bosses Get a Tick

 Weight Watchers Raise Scales

 Hyundai Showdown a Riot

 Activists' What's On!


The Locker Room
Ashes to Dust
In which Phil Doyle travels to distant lands in search of a meat pie, and prepares for the joys of sleep deprivation

The Westie Wing
Ian West lists the Top Ten reasons why workers in NSW can gain some solace from having the Labor Party sitting on the Treasury benches�

The Soapbox
Dear John
In response to this year�s Federal Budget, Bishop Kevin Manning wrote an open letter to the Prime Minister, Mr John Howard

 Patriot Doug
 Remembering Workers In Cairns
 Bad Law
 Fair Go For Injured Workers
 A Question Of Choice
 Galahs Up The Cross
 National Solution
 Bomber�s Classic
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BHP Faces Losses

A mining company that used AWAs to boost production faces courtroom showdowns with safety authorities and two bereaved women.

Western Australian authorities confirmed, last week, they would lay four charges against BHP Billiton over the death of AMWU member, James Wadley, in a horrific gas explosion.

Since then, the fiance of AMWU delegate, Corey Bentley, killed at BHP's Nelson Point iron ore facility has filed papers suing Australia's largest company for negligence, and Jasmine Rose Bailey has launched a damages claim arising from the death of apprentice, Ross McKinnon.

Bentley asked Tracey Appleyard to marry him just weeks before he was crushed in an early morning incident at Nelson Point, on May 2, last year.

Bailey has filed papers on behalf of her four-month-old daughter, Cheree, against contractor, Westrac, who operated at BHP's Ore Body 25, near Newman.

Workers Online understands Bailey was pregnant when McKinnon lost his life.

The flurry of court action follows a damning report into mine safety in the Pilbara by Perth-based lawyer, Mark Ritter. The state government ordered the Ritter Inquiry in response to a campaign led by the AMWU and Pilbara Mineworkers Union.

Ritter found BHP's aggressive use of AWAs, at the centre of Prime Minister John Howard's workplace change agenda, had contributed to serious health and safety shortcomings.

It's use of individual contracts, he said, was a "factor which has impacted and continues to impact on the successful implementation of safety systems".

Ritter made 32 recommendations for improved health and safety procedures to the state government.

Last week, Workers Online revealed BHP had recorded a staggering 32 "near fatalities" in the 10 months since Wadley, Bentley and McKinnon lost their lives.

BHP described the situations, all from the Pilbara, as "potential level four incidents".


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