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Issue No. 278 26 August 2005  

A Secret Country
Beyond the obvious shift in the Australian political landscape, we are currently witnessing major changes in our political culture – personified in the two Herald Sun journalists currently facing jail.


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


 Busted: Howard's 14 Percent Fudge

 Emperor Stripped on Wages

 Witch Hunt Targets Priest

 No Malice in Pregnancy Termination, Court

 Building Boss Risks Lives

 Cleric Preaches Murder

 Bus Rams Home IR Message

 Contractors Get Run Of “The Mill”

 BHP Mining Cheap Labour

 Toll Bells For Corrigan

 Lorikeet Folds Wings

 Safety Is Apples In Orange

 IR Ads Dubious

 Striking Tongans Serenade Princess

 Activist's What's On!


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.

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

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.

 Rodent Knows Best
 Godspeed LHMU
 Help Wanted
 Proof in the Pudding
 Safeguards Already There
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BHP Mining Cheap Labour

Operators of the world's largest uranium mine are importing Filipino trades people and blocking unions from their heavily-guarded site.

The AMWU has announced a campaign to win collective bargaining rights for more than 1000 people at the Olympic Dam site, in the South Australian wilderness, north of Woomera.

It followed last month's death of a 30-year-old worker in an underground explosion.

Last month's fatality at the BHP Billiton operation added to concerns over the impact of secret, individual contracts on workplace safety.

Seventeen deaths were recorded at BHP sites, last year, and a Western Australian government inquiry into three Pilbara fatalities was critical of the role played by AWAs.

National president, Julius Roe, says the AMWU wants to contact employees at Olympic Dam, 560 km north of Adelaide, especially newly-recruited foreign workers.

"We have little idea of what these people earn or their conditions because unions are aggressively kept out of Olympic Dam," Roe said.

"What we do know is the Filipinos are brought here on four year visas under which they are tied to their employers. Without oversight, it is a recipe for exploitation."

Roe said Olympic Dam was run "like an army camp", surrounded by wire and patrolled by guards, and management had made it clear unions were unwelcome.

"Then they complain that they can't get skilled workers. One of the reasons for that is it is an especially unattractive place to work when people don't have the protections of a collective agreement," Roe said.

"Everyone would benefit from a collective agreement that properly addressed safety and skills training."

AMWU South Australian representative, John Gresty, confirmed another foray into Roxby Downs was being planned.

Uranium is a touchy issue for the AMWU whose predecessor organisations were at the forefront of 1970s-80s opposition to exploitation of a resource that is a cornerstone of the nuclear industry.

The union accepts the reality of Australia's three mines policy but is strongly opposed to Howard Government moves for the wholesale mining and export of uranium.

"Given that the three mines are established, we have a responsibility to represent those workers," Roe said.


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