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Issue No. 291 25 November 2005  

International Relations
Globalisation drags up all sorts of contradictions, none the least the attitude of nation states to international law, as show by events in Australia this week.


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.


 Senators Back Rorters' Charter

 Families Last in WorkChoices

 Howard Loses Poll Position

 Printers Stamp on Low Paid

 Tough Men Back CFMEU

 Kiwis Fly into Starbucks

 Vale John Ducker

 Iemma Drives Hardie Bargain

 Memberships on the increase

 Uni Union Shown The Door

 In a Flap Over Flu

 Job Cuts Threaten CBA's Bottom Line

 Blackouts as Bosses Cut Deep

 Barnaby's Choice

 Wal-Mart Exposed

 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…

 Demonise the Laws
 Name and Shame
 Unite and Fight
 The Worker's Best Friend
 What Choices?
 Stop the Corporate Rot
 The Telemarketeers
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Iemma Drives Hardie Bargain

The NSW Government is poised introduce legislation to force James Hardie to come good on its promise to compensate victims of its asbestos products.

A spokesman for Premier Morris Iemma said laws concerning compensation would be introduced this week.

But he said the nature would vary depending on a voluntary agreement from Hardies.

NSW Premier Morris Iemma gave Hardies a deadline of the end of last week for a compensation deal.

"Our conclusion is that if we can't reach an agreement we'll legislate to provide justice to the victims," he said.

But James Hardie has refused to commit to a deadline.

"We're not going to work to a detrimental deadline that may have been set arbitrarily, which is unnecessary while both sides are continuing to make progress," spokesman James Rickards told the ABC.

The chorus of groups calling for Hardies to finalise compensation is growing, with a Canadian union warning the company faces a ban in North America ahead of the Vancouver Winter Olympics.

"There's $86 billion dollars worth of work coming up in the next six years and if they're interested in any of it they'd better compensate the victims," Canadian construction union chief Wayne Peppard said.

Australian Manufacturing Workers Union NSW Secretary Paul Bastion said the deadline for a commitment by Hardies was long overdue.

Bastion called on Hardies to sign a compensation agreement immediately and appoint an asbestosis sufferer to its board.

Asbestosis campaigner and sufferer Bernie Banton said at a protest last week the company had shown contempt for its victims.

"They haven't brought one cent to the table yet and it's time for Hardies to cough up," he said.

Victims are still yet to see any money despite Hardies' chairwoman Meredith Hellicar agreeing 16 months ago to pay billions of dollars in compensation over the coming decades.

James Hardie knowingly exposed workers to asbestos-containing products until the mid-1980s.

Up to 18,000 Australians are expected to die from asbestos-related diseases by 2020.


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