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Issue No. 298 10 March 2006  

Home Truths
The truth has been breaking out in all sorts of strange places this week.


Interview: Organising In Cyberspace
Workers Online speaks to the ACTU's Union Organiser of the Year, Greg Harvey from the RTBU, who has been using cutting edge ways to communicate with a blue-collar workforce spread across five states.

Industrial: How Low Is Low
Neale Towart looks at the much hyped link between minimum wages and employment

Industrial: Cloak and Dagger
The Howard Govwernment has begun rolling out workshops to inform employers on how to use WorkChoices. Sean Ambrose sneaked through the doors for Workers Online.

Unions: Bad Medicine
Nathan Brown reports on how Australia Postís dodgy Faculty Nominated Doctor system is leaving sick workers feeling worse.

History: Right Turn, Clyde
Bob Gould believes news of Clyde Cameronís demise may be premature

Economics: Long Division
Kenneth Davidson looks at a successful political strategy

International: Union Proud
A University of California librarian calls for union labels to increase worker visibility

Politics: Howardís Sick Joke
Phil Doyle looks at an attack on one of the great achievements of the union movement

Indigenous: The year of living dangerously
That mob in parliament house seems to be hopelessly out of touch with Indigenous Australia. So much so, that Graham Ring wonders if the House on the Hill is becoming a Ďcultural museumí.

Review: Lights, Camera, Strike!
Mandrake the Electrician has been down to the video store over the summer and rounded up the Top Ten Union Movies of all time.

Culture: News Front
If the owners are selling off papers, perhaps the unions should buy them says Mark Dobbie.


 Wipeout: Minchin Surfs New Wave

 Scoop-idity: How The Truth Was Nicked

 Howard's Bastard Under Lock and Key

 Bank Shops Skilled Workers

 Debnam Dogs on Libs

 Jacko: "I'm Bad"

 Computer Strike Could Crash System

 Builders' Cleavage Strikes Gold

 Andrews Cops Legal Buffeting

 Brough Love for Women

 CFMEU Aids Escape

 Hunt on for Asbestos Crims

 Unions Counsel Queen

 Guests Get Pizza Topping

 Download a Pollie

 Activist's What's On!


The Soapbox
Australian Fascism
Rowan Cahill critiques Gerard Hendersonís unique take on history

Westie Wing
Will Westie's Wings be clipped, or will the Hills Angels repent and deliver?

The Locker Room
The Heart Of The Matter
Phil Doyle rolls up the red carpet and celebrates the death of an old foe

 Howard, My Part In His Downfall
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Scoop-idity: How The Truth Was Nicked

Nick Minchin's 'secret' revelation that he wanted another wave of industrial reforms was delivered to an open session of the HR Nicholls Society with a reporter's tape recorder in clear view.

The journalist who broke the story, David Vincent, told Workers Online the forum was even advertised on the Workplace Express website that he edits.

Vincent said he had been attending the HR Nichols Society since 2001 and was well know to the organisers, who were aware he was attending the conference and that he was present for Minchin's Friday evening after-dinner speech.

"There was nothing clandestine about my being there -my digital recorder was sitting on the table in front of me and was not concealed in any way," Vincent says.

While senior government ministers are no strangers to HR Nichols Society events, Minchin candour was out of the ordinary.

"Usually minister turn up with the message 'you guys are a bit out there, but we are glad you are out there pushing the envelope'," Vincent says.

What was different about Minchin's speech was that he had admitted what few Ministers would do in an open forum - sign up to the need for more extreme change.

Vincent immediately knew the speech was dynamite and had no qualms about publishing the story. "He's a big boy - he knows the rules - there was nothing said about it being off the record."

While the speech was a revelation, nearly as surprising was what happened after the story was posted. Nothing. Despite an extensive subscriber base of union, political and media, no one picked the story up for three days.

"I think this says a bit about the mainstream industrial relations round - as well as the fact that the ALP is not on its game," Vincent says

If it wasn't for a conversation with ABC's Stephen Long, a long-term colleague of Vincent's, the story could still be sitting there. But once he had the tape, Long ran the story on Wednesday's AM show and the bushfire gathered momentum - gaining national coverage and a mealy-mouthed, qualified over-ride from the PM, at the time in India.

While not all in the HR Nichols have welcomed the media attention, Vincent says credit should be given to them for making their sessions open to the media - although he conceded this may change following the Minchin Tapes.

"For a mob that are on about all sorts of freedoms, you'd hope they continue to respect the freedom of the press," he says.


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