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Issue No. 287 28 October 2005  

A Sick Set of Laws
The Howard Government’s inexorable push to strip workers’ rights continues; despite the warnings of unions, churches, community groups, labour market economists and now, epidemiologists.


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.


 Howard's Fatal Laws

 Saving Private Buy-In

 PM Scoffs at Wollongong

 Commo Bank in Denial

 Family Values

 Johnny Fails Comprehension Test

 Dole Bludgeoning - Andrews Comes Clean

 Jason Turns Leave into Leave!

 Halfback Puts the Boot In

 Business, As Usual

 Terror Laws Strike Fear

 Asbestos Giants Claw Back Compo

 Staff Told to Take a Hike

 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.

 Rung Out
 PM's Fatal Flush
 Sign of the Times
 Labor's Love Lost
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Terror Laws Strike Fear

Unions NSW is warning proposed terror laws could be used against people involved in industrial action.

"The very civil liberties we're trying to protect are being eroded by these laws," secretary, John Robertson, said.

Robertson said it was not inconceivable that the Government could use draconian anti-terrorism laws, especially sedition provisions, to intervene in industrial disputes.

He encouraged all unions to put out material on the implications of the terrorism laws for democracy and workplace rights.

"It's like the WorkChoices legislation - what you see before you is not what it seems," he warned.

The terror laws will be introduced to parliament in the same week that draconian anti-building worker legislation, to be policed by a special standing Commission, becomes effective.

The "Building Industry Improvement Act" laws make all forms of industrial action unlawful, including safety and political campaigns, and green bans that have saved large blocks of urban environment.

The Act gives an industry police force the power to interrogate workers about industrial meetings and denies workers the right to silence.

Workers can be jailed or fined up to $33,000 if they fail to produce documents, answer questions.

In striking similarity to anti-terrorism laws, John Howard's Building Industry Commission can instruct workers not to divulge the contents of any interrogation session to family or friends.

CFMEU National Secretary John Sutton said contracting provisions amounted to enforcing the government's ideological agenda through blackmail.

"Companies with established standards, companies who meet with their workforce, will be blacklisted by this crude policy," he said.

"There's no doubt that this is becoming a neo-fascist government - some of this stuff is a straight denial of civil liberties and civil rights.


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