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Issue No. 288 04 November 2005  

Terror Laws
It was poetic really, the WorkChoices legislation, all 1,000 plus pages of it, introduced into Federal Parliament this week under the cloak of terror.


Interview: Public Defender
The CPSU's Stephen Jones has confronted the Howard Government's IR agenda at close quarters.

Legal: Craig's Story
An inquest in western NSW is a cautionary tale of the use of AWAs, writes Ian Latham

Unions: Wrong Way, Go Back
The WorkChoice legislation sends Australia down the wrong economic road by smashing the instittutions that have made it strong, argues Greg Combet.

Industrial: WhatChoice?
The Howard Government has shown itself to be the master of illusion, writes Dr Anthony Forsyth

Politics: Queue Jumping
The changes to industrial laws, betray a new vision of Australian society, writes James Gallaway.

History: Iron Heel
Conservative governments using laws to take away basic civil rights. It's nothing new, writes Rowan Cahill

Economics: Waging War
When was the last time you heard an Australian politician talk about incomes policy, asks Matt Thistlethwaite

International: Under Pressure
The push for UN intervention in Burma is intensifying, following a report by Vaclav Havel and Bishop Desmond Tutu into slave labour.

Poetry: Billy Negotiates An AWA
More and more people are meeting Billy, the hero of page 15 of the WorkChoices booklet, including our resident bard, David Peetz

Review: A Pertinent Proposition
Nick Cave's "Australian western" touches on some themes still relevant today, Julianne Taverner writes.


 D-Day For Political Rights

 Bosses In Sack Race

 “Choice” By Decree

 Howard Barges Into Workplace

 Della Grounds Boeing

 Wal-Mart Sees the Light

 Libs Chicken Out

 Shame Ships Filch Fish

 Multis Line Up to Cheer

 Feds in Dock

 Santoro Waves Red Rag

 Activist's What's On!


The Soapbox
Men and Women of Australia
What makes a perfect speech? Michael Fullilove has scoured Australian history to find out.

The Locker Room
The Hungry Years
Phil Doyle gets the feeling we’ve been here before

From Little Things
Paul Kelly's song about the battle for land rights misses one important character, writes Graham Ring

The Westie Wing
Ian West takes a look at Public Private Partnerships, and wonders if we should all just drink rum…

 We're Next
 Australia, 2005
 Truth in Advertising
 Investment Advice
 What a Woman!
 It's Not Pretty
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D-Day For Political Rights

November 15 looms as the day industrial action becomes a criminal act, after the Prime Minister confirmed building workers would be jailed if they refuse to pay fines for attending the national protest day.

With ACTU secretary Greg Combet warning a trade unionist would be Australia's next political prisoners, 100,000 CFMEU members plan to stare down $22,000 fines for attending the national action.

Any prosecution of CFMEU members attending the rally would spark a legal show down, with Combet adamant that unionists would not be paying politically motivated fines.

Under specific laws that are designed to target the construction industry, building workers specifically face fines of $22,000 for attending meeting without their employer's permission. Union officials also face fines for merely mentioning pay equity with other construction sites or union training during negotiations.

"You know, and we're not going to be intimidated and when some of us ... some of us will go to jail under these laws," Combet told the Press Club on Wednesday. "No, it's not a joke. Some people will go to jail," he said.

Speaking on Melbourne radio, the Prime Minister confirmed jail was an option: "If you don't pay fines ... if you don't pay a fine, theoretically you can go to jail," he said.

CFMEU national construction secretary John Sutton has written to the new anti-worker building industry police force seeking clarification on how the harsh new laws would be applied to his members.

If, as is likely, workers can not afford or refuse to pay the fines on principle, then there will not be enough prisons in Australia to accommodate these political prisoners," Sutton says

"The government appears hell bent on criminalizing `industrial action and is heading for a major crisis in the administration of justice," he said.

John Lloyd, Commissioner with the Australian Building and Construction Commission has confirmed that under Section 38 of the Building and Construction Industry Improvement Act "a person must not engage in unlawful industrial action." as "The Act provides for a fine only (up to a maximum of $22,000 for an individual)"

"There is no provision for a term of imprisonment to be imposed for engaging in unlawful industrial action," he said, and would not be drawn on what would happen to a person who did not pay the fines.

Numbers Swell for Protest

Hundreds of thousands of Australians are expected to challenge draconian new workplace regulations at November 15 protests around the country.

Participants at hundreds of locations around Australia will be linked to Melbourne in the nation's biggest-ever video link-up.

The Sky Channel broadcast will be beamed into workplaces, clubs and community venues in every state and territory.

Workers and their supporters will be campaigning against federal government laws that promote secret individual contracts; sideline the IRC; threaten minimum wage increases; strip their rights to contest unfair dismissals, slash minimum standards and introduce big fines and prison terms for unionists who resist that agenda.

Previous protests, during the first week of July, drew 120,000 people onto the streets of Melbourne and more than 150,000 to 250 venues around NSW.

Organisers expect next week's turnouts to better those numbers.

Capital city focal points for the November 15 day of action include:

Federation Square, Melbourne, 9am.

Martin Place and Belmore Park, Sydney, at 9am.

Turf Club, Fannie Bay, Darwin, 8.30.

Southbank, Brisbane, 9am.

Princes Wharf, Shed 1, Hobart, 8.30.

The Esplanade, Perth, 12 noon.

Elder Park, King William St, Adelaide, 8am.

Betting Hall, Canberra Racecourse, Canberra, 8.30.

For more details of the Day of Action go to


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