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  Issue No 29 Official Organ of LaborNet 03 September 1999  

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Letters to the Editor

The Republican Soapbox


Yes and - More

Michael Purvis advocated a NO for the republic referendum on November 6, purely on the basis that "it's the wrong question" and "maybe we don't need a President".

The first point represents a victory for John Howard who strove hard to muddy the waters. The second point is just dealing ourselves out of the debate. Another victory for Howard, who says the present Constitution is the best.

Worse, Michael did not indicate any view about the potential to change to Constitution into a document that expresses our citizen rights, including workers rights.

This debate calls for determination and imagination. Voting NO will put a republic off to a never-never "inevitable future" that the next generation will have to achieve.

Voting YES and MORE will help change our constituional landscape for the better.

Peter Murphy

What About the Workers?

An Australian Republic - What will it do for workers?

I think we need to keep the republic debate in some perspective. For working people, Reith's proposed new laws have far more effect than whether Australia becomes a republic or not under whatever model.

Getting rid of the last vestiges of colonial ceremony is perhaps worthwhile but has little tangible meaning to working people being forced back into nineteenth century working conditions.

Late last century there was a similar debate before Federation. Melbourne Union pioneer, Chummy Fleming, raised the same issue: "When the movement for an Australian Republic prompted meetings in Melbourne, in 1888, at which even Monty Miller spoke in support, 'Chummy' asked the question, 'What will it do for the workers?' dampening the enthusiasm of quite a few.

Nevertheless in 1892, he was quite prepared to support an anti-Royalty resolution before 4,000 people on the Yarra Bank, where his 'stand' was already recognised as an institution."

From 'CHUMMY FLEMING (1863-1950): A BRIEF BIOGRAPHY' on the Radical Tradition website: http://members.xoom.com/takver/history/chummy.htm

in solidarity, Takver


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*    Visit Takver's Soapbox

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*   Issue 29 contents

In this issue
Features
*  Activists: Virtually Here - Eric Lee
From the Kibbutz to cyberspace, Andrew Casey profiles the work of an Internet class warrior.
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*  Interview: Net Benefits
Sean Kidney has been combining business savvy with social justice for more than a decade. He gives us his take on unions and the Net.
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*  International: Dateline Dili
As the United Nations attempts to begin counting the votes from East Timorís independence referendum, the capital Dili is rapidly spiralling out of control.
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*  Unions: Secret Herbs and Spices
Read KFC worker Claire Hamilton's speech to last week's Second Wave Rally.
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*  Politics: Loosening Laborís Links?
Is Labor under Kim Beazley fundamentally changing its social appeal and turning itself into the Australian equivalent of Bill Clintonís Democrats?
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*  Labour Review: What's New at the Information Centre
Our regular update on papers and articles for union officials and students.
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*  History: Immigration, Racism and the Labour Movement
An upcoming conference asks some hard questions about the politics of immigration.
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*  Satire: Crime Figures Down: NSW Elections Postponed
The release of statistics showing decreasing crime rates has threatened to delay the next NSW election.
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*  Review: Trains of Treasure
A new CD of poems and songs pays tribute to our rich locomotive history.
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News
»  Workersí Savings to Bankroll Vizard Plan
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»  Dress Nazis: Undies, Jewellery in Uniform Code
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»  Clothing Farce: Only the Smalls are Home Grown
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»  Overseas Trip for Organiser of the Year
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»  State Transit Lodges Claim on Bus Drivers
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»  Compo Stats Donít Justify Slash and Burn
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»  Second Wave on Misos Menu
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»  Workers Rally To Protect Disabled Homes
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»  Carr Ministersí New Years Eve Betrayal
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»  Telstra Execs Doing Quite Well, Thank You
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»  Award Breach. Did Nike Just Do It?
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»  Unions Back League Class Struggle
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»  STOP PRESS: Images of Burma
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»  Musos, Authors in Joint Fundraiser
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Columns
»  Guest Report
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»  Sport
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»  Trades Hall
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»  Piers Watch
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Letters to the editor
»  Is Bevis a Butthead?
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»  More Vizard Feedback
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»  The Republican Soapbox
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»  Pensioners' Plea
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