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Issue No. 286 21 October 2005  

Lord of the Lobster Legs
It was probably only shame that prompted the Prime Minister to drag himself away from a $250 per head fundraiser to meet with a group of emergency workers in Wollongong this week. But, this in itself may be a development.


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.


 Family Grieves an Enterprise Worker

 All Quiet in Dandenong

 Hotline Gets Wires Crossed

 High Flyer Crashes Families

 Bolt Strikes Lecturer

 Good Heavens - Della Plays Santa

 Maori Take Challenge to Canberra

 Drips Fail Water Test

 Hardie Shuts the Door

 Hadgkiss Threatens Protesters

 Army Fires Salvo

 The Munro Doctrine

 IR Sparks Emergency Call

 Tassie Jobs Hit By Truck

 Canberra Coy on Promised Statements

 Inquiry to Speak No Evil

 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.

 Sacking For Dummies
 DIY Tool
 Thus Spake Sydney Uni
 Morgan’s Way
 Vote 1 Dictator
 Howard’s Choice
 Buying peace Of Mind
 Coolies Bullish
 Unfair ads
 Rev Kev Speaks
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Tassie Jobs Hit By Truck

With almost 200 rail jobs facing the axe, workers in Launceston rallied last week to force state and federal governments, and rail operator Pacific National Tasmania (PNT), to sort out the crisis.

Pacific National has held off for a month on closing the rail network while state and federal governments conduct a study into demands by PNT for over $100 million to pay for infrastructure upgrades.

Both governments, which claimed ignorance over threats to the system faced by poor rolling stock and infrastructure, were embarrassed when a leaked AusLink application showed that the Tasmanian Government had asked for $215million last year. AusLink is the federal governments transport funding model.

Over 50 rail workers were joined by local bus drivers and other residents at PNT's Launceston maintenance depot, all expressing anger at the threat and dismayed at the effect that the loss would have on the Tasmanian community.

"Not only does this threaten the livelihoods of almost 200 Tasmanian rail workers and their families, it would also see an extra 2000 trucks a week on the State's roads, which will be a disaster for road safety," said Rail Tram and Bus Union National Organiser Greg Harvey.

"On top of that thousands of other jobs across the state will be hanging by a thread if rail is closed."

The viability of Norska Skogg paper mill and the Zinifex zinc smelter, who between them employ thousands of Tasmanians, has been called into question if the mill shuts down.

"Tasmanian rail workers and their families deserve better than being used as a bargaining chip in a dispute over who is going to pay for much needed infrastructure investment.

"This rally shows the deep level of concern in the community over the threat to shut rail in Tasmania."

The rally marked the beginning of a community campaign against Pacific National's move to close its rail freight operation.

"We are speaking with a wide range of community groups who will be affected if this hair-brained idea goes through," said Harvey.

"Pacific National and State and Federal governments need to come up with a solution that meets the needs of the Tasmanian community.

Following the rally Harvey told a forum in Hobart on the future of Tasmanian rail in Hobart that rail workers were disappointed the Federal Government was not more actively involved.

"We recognise that the State government takes this issue seriously. But we need Pacific National and state and federal governments to fix this problem.

"We don't care who fixes it, just fix it."


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