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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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Striking Tongans Serenade Princess

Tongan royalty appears to be acceding to demands by striking civil servants following a meeting between the Tongan Princess Regent, HM Pilolevu, and workers inNuku'alofa, last week.

The Princess, acting Regent for the South Pacific Monarchy in the absence of the King and her brother, is taking the strikers demands directly to the Tongan Privy Council as Workers Online goes to press.

The move that could see pay increases of up to 80%.

"She was asked to please assist with our plea for a increase in salary," said a statement issued by the Tongan Public Service Association (TPSA). "She replied with words of encouragement urging us not to give up hope as she will do her best to meet our needs.

"It was an emotional moment for the us as we responded in kind by singing the national anthem."

Reports from Tonga on Friday indicated overwhelming public support for the strikers, who have been out for more than six weeks over a raft of industrial and political issues.

The strike has seen tensions over democratic reform inflamed in the island monarchy, where executive government authority is held by the royal family.

Civil servants are asking for pay rises of 60, 70 and 80 percent to bring incomes up to a living wage, with lowest paid workers set to receive the highest increases.

"There is very broad public support for the striking workers," says New Zealand Council of Trade Unions secretary, Ross Wilson, in Tonga as part of a delegation of New Zealand government officials and unions accompanying retired employment court judge Tom Goddard, who are assisting the parties set up processes to mediate the dispute.

Meanwhile, pro-democracy MP, Akilisi Pohiva, says the strike shows a need for political and, possibly, constitutional changes.

There have also been protests outside the home of King Taufa'ahau Tupou IV in Auckland, where he is receiving medical treatment.

The Tongan government has sought assistance from Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat to deal with the strike.

While a New Zealand mediator flew to Nuku'alofa yesterday, Australia and Tonga have yet to agree on what help Canberra can provide.

"We are watching the law and order situation closely," a spokeswoman for Alexander Downer said.


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