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Issue No. 282 23 September 2005  

Highway To Help
After five weeks, five and half thousand kilometres, and 40 regional town meetings attended by thousands of regional workers, the bright orange Rights at Work bus has finally come to rest.


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.


 AWA Threat - Soy You Later

 'Drama Queen' Court Out ... Again

 Work Law Refugee Turns On Howard

 Police Force Choice

 Low Blow in Ňd Wars

 Free Lunches to Cost Wal-Mart

 Robbo in Swan Song

 Howard Mines Pockets

 Star Chamber Faces Eclipse

 Mums Teach School a Lesson

 Sleepless In Seattle

 Safety Blitz After Accident

 Mushroom Mum Gets Satisfaction

 Builders Skirt Apprentice Claim

 Howard Threatens Wage Umpire

 Gunns Trained on Free Speech

 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.

 Fair Play
 Latham Lament
 Missed the Mark
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Human Rights

Gunns Trained on Free Speech

New laws to guarantee free speech must be introduced to protect the community from intimidation and the irresponsible use of the legal system to silence public debate, community leaders and civil liberties advocates said this week.

The Council for Civil Liberties joined with the Asbestos Diseases Foundation and Tasmanian forests campaigners at NSW Parliament on Wednesday to call for a Bill of Rights that would protect free speech.

"The removal of peace campaigner Scott Parkin and the $6.8 million civil lawsuit Gunns Limited, the Tasmanian woodchip company, has taken against 20 campaigners raises huge concerns for the future of free speech in Australia, Secretary of NSW Council for Civil Liberties Stephen Blanks said.

"Tough national security laws and the threat of legal action over speaking publicly about issues that impact on the community are intimidating and laws to uphold freedom of speech are urgently needed to restore public confidence.

"In may parts of the United States, anti-SLAPP legislation has been introduced to protect people's rights to free speech and to petition government, but this has not happened in Australia despite their being an obvious and urgent need for it."

SLAPP suits (Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation) are often used by a corporation or developer to sue an organisation in an attempt to scare it into dropping protests against a corporate initiative.

"Community campaigns in Sydney and across NSW, such as the ones to prevent a charcoal plant at Mogo on the south coast and lifting the lid on the terrible impact of asbestos, would no longer be possible if the legal action Gunns Limited is taking now is successful," Gunns 20 defendant Louise Morris said.

Standing up for free speech and the rising national awareness of Tasmania's forests are also the focus of the Forest and Free Speech National Tour, which held a public meeting of more than 100 people on Thursday night at the University of Technology, involving Federal Labor MP Attorney General Duncan Kerr and Greens Senator Kerry Nettle.

"Gunns Limited is suing 20 defendants, claiming damages for media statements, disruption to its logging operation and what they claim is unlawful lobbying of shareholders, customers and governments. This is a landmark case, which may forever change the face of free speech in Australia," Morris said.


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