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Issue No. 277 19 August 2005  
E D I T O R I A L

Weasel Words
We are living in an era where words are not always as they seem, and where language is used to shape the world rather than just describe it.

F E A T U R E S

Interview: On Holiday
Historian Richard White looks back on the Aussie vacation - and finds a way of life is under threat.,

Unions: One Day Longer
Nathan Brown travels to the Boeing picket line and find a group of workers with a steely determination to stick together.

Industrial: Never Mind the Bollocks
Jim Marr plays the Howard Government's industrial relations spin job on its merits.

Politics: Spun Out
Canberra’s latest campaign underlines the need for controls over government advertising, according to Graeme Orr and Joo-Cheong Tham

Economics: If the Grog Don't Get You ....
Evan Jones explains how the way we purchase alcolohol reflects the type of economy we live in.

History: Taking a Stand
Neale Towart looks at two books that chronicle how to build community support against social injustice.

International: The Split
Amanda Tattersal outsider's account of an insider's shake-out at the AFL-CIO Convention 2005

Legal: Pushing the Friendship
George Williams argues that the federal government’s constitutional powers are not sufficient to enact a comprehensive national industrial relations scheme

Poetry: Simple Subtractions
The latest blitz of taxpayer-funded advertising has revealed a crisis of arithmetic in government ranks has moved resident bard David Peetz to prose.

Review: Sydney Trashed
Sydney band SC Trash are on a mission to give new life to folk and country music – and the politics of common sense. Nathan Brown had a beer with them

N E W S

 AWAs Bully the Sisters

 Busted: Howard's 14 Percent Furphy

 Top End of Town to Write IR Laws

 New Laws Make Green Bans History

 Hardies Dodges Responsibility

 Blokes Wouldn’t Cop Child Care Wages

 MPs Duck As Unions Hit the Road

 Profits Do Not Mean Security

 Dodgy Wagons Rolling In

 Telstra: Death By 1,000 Cuts

 Andrews Shafts Employee Safety

 Indon Rail Workers Roll Paycut Plan

 Activist's What's On!

C O L U M N S

Parliament
The Westie Wing
Our favourite MP, Ian West, goes away for a couple of weeks and look what happens…

The Soapbox
The Last Weekend
Unions NSW secretary John Robertson's speech to the Last Weekend - how the Howard government laws will undermine the Ausrtalian way of life.

The Locker Room
A Concept Is Born
In which Phil Doyle helps the proponents of the vision thing across the road.

International
Workers Blood For Oil
A new book by Abdullah Muhsin and Alan Johnson lifts the lid on the bloody reality of US backed democracy for Iraq's trade unions

Postcard
London Post
During his recent stay in London IEU industrial officer John Shapiro was living only a few hundred metres from the site of one of the bomb blasts.

L E T T E R S
 Capital Terror
 Think of the Kids
 Let’s Talk
 Stupid Sale
 The Meal
 Stand Your Ground
 Convenient Flagellation
WHAT YOU CAN DO
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News

New Laws Make Green Bans History


Community campaigns to save heritage icons like the Rocks and Centennial Park from development could be a thing of the past after the Senate passed harsh anti-worker laws for the building industry this week.

The laws, based on the discredited $60 million Cole Royal Commission leave workers exposed to fines and even jailing over industrial and political protests.

Union legal advisers fear that under the new regime actions to support the community against developments will just be too risky to undertake.

CFMEU construction secretary John Sutton said the laws are the most extreme anti-worker laws ever considered by an Australian parliament.

The Building Industry Improvement Act:

- makes almost all forms of industrial action illegal, including safety and political campaigns, for instance for Green Bans;

- imposes huge fines on individual workers and unions, including unlimited compensation for damages, to stop industrial actions

- gives government officials the power to interrogate workers about industrial meetings

- suspends workers' right to silence, meaning they can be jailed if they refuse to answer questions.

"These laws represent a significant reduction in the rights of Australian workers, Sutton says.

"And the government has already signalled that it intends applying these laws beyond the building industry.

Another Case Falls Over

Meanwhile, the courts have thrown out yet another vexatious prosecution brought by the Howard Government's Building Industry taskforce.

The Taskforce failed in a bid to revoke the right of entry permit of CFMEU organiser Tom Mitchell, over a visit to a Harbord building site in June 2004.

CFMEU NSW secretary Andrew Ferguson says it was the latest in a series of unfounded claims aimed at "drowning the union in paperwork and preventing the full investigation of safety breaches on a building site".

"Tom Mitchell was going about his duty to the workers, he was investigating serious safety concerns, and he was meeting with workers to inform them of the risks," Ferguson says.

"The Taskforce's claims were unfounded, they lacked merit and they have wasted tens of thousands of dollars of taxpayer money as part of the government's extreme ideological agenda to attack the work of trade unions in defending the rights and safety of Australian workers."

In his findings Deputy Registrar McCarroll refused the Taskforce's request to revoke Mitchell's right of entry and said legitimate safety concerns were being investigated.


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