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Issue No. 280 09 September 2005  

The Perfect Storm
The mayhem and misery engulfing New Orleans and its surrounds is more than a human tragedy of mammoth proportions, it is the product of a convergence of events that could shift our worldview every bit as much as the attacks on September 11, 2001.


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 won’t 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 Timor’s 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.


 Telstra Cuts Off Sick Mum

 CFMEU Pulls $3M Bank Job

 Life Imitates Ad

 Equal Pay Unlawful

 AWA Threatens Kids

 Howard’s Porky Exposed

 STOP PRESS: Bank Pinged

 Thongs Flap Into IR War

 Dad Sacked Over Safety Fears

 News Leader in Advertising Stink

 PM’s Spin Hit for Six

 Daffy Ducks Dud Deal

 Canada Shamed

 Combet Stars At Rooty Hill

 Vanstone Backs Ciggie Salaries for Detainees

 Flicking the Super Switch

 Activists What's 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.

 Telstra Trauma
 Telstra’s Calling
 What Poor People?
 The Day
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Dad Sacked Over Safety Fears

Carter Holt Harvey punted an Oberon Dad who wouldn’t pot a workmate out of fears for his family’s safety.

Karl Safranek was shocked when the company gave him the bullet after he reported a health and safety breach but refused to name the person who had hitched a lift on the prongs of his forklift.

"I reported the incident but I didn't want to name the person," he explained.

"I have been told he has a reputation but I don't know if that is right or wrong.

"What I do know is that I have a wife and a six-year-old daughter and we live in an isolated place. It's not suburbia, we are 60 acres from the nearest house.

"I'm not saying anything about the person involved because I don't know but I had real and genuine concerns about pushing the guy into a corner.

"I discussed it with my wife and she thought I was doing the right thing."

Safranek said he didn't even know he had anyone on the forks of his machine until he looked over his shoulder.

Unions NSW and the CFMEU are fighting Safranek's dismissal in the NSW IRC, in a test case about the breadth of health and safety obligations.

The CFMEU's Brad Parker said it was a "unique case" that deserved "unique consideration".

The union, he said, had put three practical alternatives to Carter Holt Harvey that would have dealt with Safranek's concerns. It suggested either:

- organising a meeting of all employees to outline the dangers inherent in clambering aboard moving forklifts

- that Karl would outline the specifics to the chair of the site safety committee who could then take it up with the offender privately

- that health and safety authority, Workcover, be called in to deal with the issue

Carter Holt Harvey rejected all those avenues and fired the employee of three years.

"I thought I did the right thing and never expected to lose my job as a result," Safranek said.

"They took a hard line. There was no consideration of my concerns because they wanted to be seen running the show."


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