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Issue No. 300 24 March 2006  
E D I T O R I A L

Of Milestones and Millstones
Three hundred issues ago, in February 1999, Workers Online published its first edition, with the following promise: “to bring you news and views in the traditions of the workers press of yesteryear, but with our eyes firmly on the future.”

F E A T U R E S

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 Post’s dodgy Faculty Nominated Doctor system is leaving sick workers feeling worse.

History: Right Turn, Clyde
Bob Gould believes news of Clyde Cameron’s 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: Howard’s 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 ‘cultural museum’.

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.

N E W S

 Coonan Practises Her ABC

 Mr Andrews Decrees

 Year Zero Set for Monday

 Secret Police Visit Workers

 PacNat Back On Track

 Print Bosses Finger the Bush

 Whinger Draws Fire

 National IT Win

 RailCorp Shtum On Asbestos Stations

 Deaf Bank Pinged $145,000

 Phantom AWA of the Opera

 Crane Company Hooks Workers

 Umpire: Dump Contractors Now

 Lift Companies Promote Falls

 Activists What's On!

C O L U M N S

The Soapbox
Australian Fascism
Rowan Cahill critiques Gerard Henderson’s unique take on history

Parliament
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

L E T T E R S
 Bully for Us
 Onya, Pete!
 Blind Johnny
WHAT YOU CAN DO
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News

Coonan Practises Her ABC


Canberra has fired another shot in its cultural war against the ABC by stripping the board of its only member with hands-on experience.

Communications Minister, Helen Coonan, has announced that the Corporation will lose its staff-elected director, after 23 years.

The decision has provoked ABC staff representatives to renew their calls for independent governance.

"It's about time Government addressed the real problems with the Board. It's political stacking must cease and it should introduce a process based on merit," CPSU representative Graeme Thomson said.

"We need a system like the UK's Nolen Rules that assure the broadcaster can work at arms-length from the government."

Since its election in 1996, the Howard Government has consistently attacked the national broadcaster, egged on by extremists like Piers Ackerman, Ron Brunton and Janet Albrechtsen.

The last two have been rewarded with seats on the ABC Board.

Canberra has starved the broadcaster of the resources needed to fulfil its statutory role but the biggest assault its credibility was the controversial appointment of Jonathan Shier, a lightweight with Liberal credentials, as its chief executive.

Shier's reign was a disaster that embarrassed his sponsors to the point that when he resigned they were unwilling to appoint an ideologically-driven replacement.

Thomson said the staff-elected representative had played an important role in decision-making.

"Over its 23 years, the position ensured that real knowledge and understanding of program-making and journalism got a hearing at the board table," he said.

"This decision is all about the federal government's cultural war. It continues to stack the board with political hacks and supporters because it wants the ABC silenced."


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