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Issue No. 279 02 September 2005  

Middle Australia
The Prime Minister rarely responds directly to criticism, so when he rushed out a media release rebutting an ACIRRT analysis of wages data this week, it was clear that they had a hit a raw nerve.


Interview: Polar Eclipse
Academic David McKnight challenges some sacred cows in his new book "Beyond Left and Right".

Industrial: Wrong Turn
Radical labour reform is on the horizon but some workers, like Sydney bus driver Yvonne Carson, have seen it all before, writes Jim Marr.

Unions: Star Support
It wasn't just families who backed workers' rights at The Last Weekend, but a bunch of musicians who set the tone, writes Chrissy Layton.

Workplace: Checked Out
Glenda Kwek asks you to consider the plight of the retail worker, and shares some of her experiences

Economics: Sold Out
The Future Fund and industrial relations reform are favourite projects of the PM and the Treasurer. Both are speculations on the future and the only guarantee with them is that you will be worse off, writes Neale Towart.

Politics: Green Banned
The impact of new building industry laws wonít be confined to one industry, writes CFMEU national secretary John Sutton.

History: Potted History
Lithgow is a place with a proud history as a union town. The origins of broader community solidarity lie in the early industrial development of the town and the development of unions. The Lithgow Pottery dispute of 1890 was a key event.

International: Curtain Call
The curtains have opened for East Timorís young theatre performers, thanks to a Union Aid Abroad-APHEDA project.

Review: Little Fish
At last! An Aussie film with substance, suspense and a serious dose of reality, writes Lucy Muirhead

Poetry: Slug A Worker
In a shock development, the Federal Treasurer, Peter Costello, gave a ringing endorsement to the poetry pages of Workers Online, writes resident bard David Peetz.


 Trucks Run Down Mums

 Boom! Biff! Itís Howard Unplugged

 Fun Guy Spreads Fertiliser

 Doors Close on Battered Mums

 Bing Lee Peddles Rubbish

 Bless This Bus

 High Court: Ads Do Kremlin Proud

 Families Water Win

 Tesltra Cuts Get Poor Reception

 Vegetable Campaign Sprouts

 Check Work/Family Balance Here

 Tim Wins For Union Aid Abroad-APHEDA

 Activists Whatís On!


The Soapbox
Families First
New Senator Stephen Fielding turned a few heads with his Maiden Speech to Parliament.

The Locker Room
The New World Order
Phil Doyle declares himself unavailable for the fifth and deciding test.

The Westie Wing
Our favourite MP, Ian West, reports from the NSW Government's Safety Summit

On The Bus
A bright orange bus travelling the state has become the focus of the campaign against federal IR changes. Nathan Brown was on board.

 Care Confusion
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Vegetable Campaign Sprouts

Tasmanian food workers are calling on the Federal Government to show leadership over food labeling guidelines in an effort to save hundreds of jobs.

The workers have been joined by other industry stakeholders including farmers, local companies and the Tasmanian Government on a Vegetable Taskforce to ensure that food products are labeled accurately.

Over 400 jobs at the McCain's plant in Smithton are under threat because of a flood of imported food products. Last month food workers joined rallies in northern Tasmania after fast food giant McDonalds announced that it would no longer source french fries from Tassie.

"At the end of the day it's regional jobs and regional communities that are on the line here," says Anne Urquhart, Tasmanian AMWU secretary. "We want clear and unambiguous food labelling that clearly identifies the contents of a packaged product and where it is from."

Urquhart praised the Tasmanian government's work in establishing the Vegetable Taskforce and said that it was a measure of how seriously this issue was being taken that the Minister was personally involved in the deliberations of the taskforce.

The taskforce has also heard from stakeholders of how imported food products are having a negative effect on other jobs and businesses in the food industry.

"The Tasmanian government is on side in a big way," says Urquhart. "We need to the Federal Government to show some leadership here and ensure there is accurate country of origin labelling."

Product labelling is administered by a body known as the Foods Standards Australia and New Zealand (FSANZ).

Food workers fear that ambiguous or vague food labelling means consumers may believe they are buying Australian produce when in fact it is imported.

They want the Federal Government to ensure FSANZ moves to implement accurate food labelling.


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