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Issue No. 284 07 October 2005  

Age of Consent
After more than five years of debating, cajoling and at times pleading, NSW workers have secured a set of cyber work rights worth celebrating.


Interview: Under Fire
Michael Crosby outlines his agenda to save the movement � and explains why Australians have nothing to fear from the SEIU.

Politics: And the Winners Are ...
Wal King, Allan Moss, Roger Corbett, Chip Goodyear, Michael Chaney and David Murray have lots in common, writes Jim Marr.

Industrial: Un-Australian
Labour lawyer Clive Thompson argues the changes to IR are fundamentally at odds with the national tradition of consesensus.

Economics: The Common Wealth
As the policy wonks debate the future of our cities, Neale Towart mounts a simple argument: It�s the real people in a society, stupid

History: Walking for Justice
The Eight Hour Day, a very Australian celebration, had its origins in New Zealand it seems, writes Neale Towart.

International: Deja Vu
A group of trade unions have walked away from America's peak council, again. Labourstart's Eric Lee was there.

Legal: The Rights Stuff
Terror laws have sparked a fresh debate on a Bill of Rights - and workers have a bigger stake than ever before, writes Rachael Osman-Chin.

Review: That Cinderella Fella
Russell trades the phone for mitts in an inspiring cinematic slug-fest. Nathan Brown is ringside

Poetry: Is Howard Kidding?
Mel Cheal asks who Howard thinks he is kidding to the tune of the �Dad�s Army� theme song.


 Secret Policemen's Balls-Up

 Centrelink Breaches Cyber Law

 Examiner Pulps Cadet

 Food Truck Flattens Woman

 Will They Know It's Christmas?

 Death By Nestle

 Taskforce On Safety Charges

 Archbishop Preaches End Of Civilisation

 Union Drives Tassie Train

 PM Cold on Lunch Date

 Seafarers Scupper Sell Off

 Fraser Terror-fied

 Tribute to HT Lee

 Activist's What's On!


The Soapbox
No Place For A Woman!
Doreen Borrow spoke to the Public Service Association�s women�s conference in September about her experiences of working life that span seven decades.

North By Northwest
Phil Doyle returns from up north, where he survived on nothing but goodwill, good people and a great big orange bus.

The Locker Room
In which Whatsisname slams the recent poor form of Thingummyjig.

The Westie Wing
Our favourite MP, Ian West MLC, gets all casual in his latest missive from the Bear Pit.

 Rat�s Army
 Kev's Confusion
 Make Ads Not Law
 Nice One, Workers!
 Dog Eat Dog
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Fraser Terror-fied

The Federal Government�s plan to subject workers, along with terror suspects, to secret interrogations has drawn sharp criticism from ex Liberal Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser.

Fraser says John Howard, who has a long history of hostility towards trade unions, has shown a willingness to deny a fair trials to Australian citizens.

"It is something our Government has said is alright, and I don't think that's good enough," says Fraser, who went on to describe the new terrorism laws as something out of apartheid South Africa.

"Many people share my concern that tolerance, compassion and fairness have been diminished by the actions of the Government," says ACTU Secretary Greg Combet, adding new powers that allow secret interrogations of construction workers and unionists are an "attack on the civil rights of ordinary Australian workers".

Fraser and Combet have joined a push for an Australian Human Rights Act, like the ones in the UK and New Zealand.

"The Constitution does not protect Australians, the common law does not protect Australians," says Fraser, adding the new terrorism laws "are the types of powers you would expect to see in a tyranny, not in a democracy like Australia".

The new laws, which state Governments support, allow police to track and restrict the movements of "terror suspects," detain people for up to two weeks without charge and extend police powers to stop and search suspects.

But while the Government says such laws are designed to stop terrorism, the government's suspension of normal human rights in relation to they way workers in the building industry are treated has lead many public figures to worry about how far these new powers will reach into mainstream Australia.

"It's not good enough to suggest it won't happen to people like us," says Fraser in relation to people disappearing to answer police questions.

"The new construction industry laws demonstrate how a diminution in civil rights in one area of the law can lead to attacks in others," says Combet.


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