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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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Activists

Activists What's On!


The South Coast Labour Council has launched its web site at www.sclc.com.au One for the bookmarks!

Louise Markus wants a rally

Dear Fellow Greenway Activists,

Louise Markus is organising a rally with special guest NSW Opposition Leader Peter Debnam to attend. Her rally is about land valuations, yes another State Issue.

She states in her letter "But we need your support to force Government to make these changes for our community." Well lets give her support for the rally but I am sure we want to known where Peter Debnam stands on WorkChoices and hear Louise Markus justify her stance.

She won't come to our meetings so lets go to her rally.

Rally details:

Saturday 25 March 2006

3 pm

Riverstone Bowling Club located on Riverstone Parade, Riverstone

Please let your friends know and it would be great to fill the club.

Regards

Stephen Bali

0414 525 007

Workers' breakfast

Wednesday 29 March Brisbane

To mark the passing into law of the Howard Government's IR laws, the QCU will be holding a workers' breakfast in King George Square on Wednesday 29 March from 7:00am. Guest speaker will be Tim Brunero (Tim from "Big Brother").

"GOOD NIGHT, AND GOOD LUCK"

The Katoomba Branch of the ALP presents the Oscar-nominated story of CBS journalist Edward R Murrow, who took on the malevolent power of muckrating Senator Joseph McCarty. In a climate of fear, Murrow and his dedicated staff defied corporate and sponsorship pressure to examine the lies and scaremongering tactics perpetrated by McCarthy during his communist 'witch-hunts'.

Newsweek has called it 'a passionate, serious, impeccably crafted move tackling a subject Clooney cares about deeply: the duty of journalism to speak the truth to power.'

Written and Directed by George Cloonet. Starring David Strathairn, Patricia Clarkson, george clooney, Jeff Daniles, Robert Downey Jr and Frank Lagella.

Introduced by Roger Milliss with champagne supper and discussion.

At MT VIC FLICKS

7.30 pm - Thursday 30 March

Bookings essential - Tickets $20/$15 concession

Available from Megalong Books & Mt Vic Flicks

Or phone 0401 369 935 or 4782 3429

Email: [email protected]

A fundraiser for Katoomba ALP

"We cannot defence freedom abroad by deserting it at home." Edward R Murrow

APHEDA VICTORIAN ACTIVISTS MEETING

Tue 4th April, 6.30 PM.

The first meeting of the Victorian Activist Group will be held 6.30 PM,

Tuesday 4th April 2006. Meeting Room 9, Community & Public Sector Union

(CPSU), 11th Floor, 575 Bourke Street, Melbourne. Light refreshments will be

provided. RSVP to [email protected] by Monday 3rd April.

The Activist network enables members and supporters to meet and share

recourses locally as they support Union Aid Abroad-APHEDA's overseas

projects and campaigns.

Saving Medicare

Politics in the Pub

2.00 pm Saturday April 8th, 2006

Hotel Gearin 273 Great Western Highway, Katoomba

Speakers:

Bruce Childs

ex Senator and Save Medicare Alliance

Dr. Con Costa

Doctors Reform Group

Call on the Federal Government to use the record budget surplus to

restore Medicare to world-class standards.

While the big end of town clamber for yet another tax cut, federal

government under-funding continues to threaten our healthcare system,

in particular Medicare.

With almost daily revelations about poor staffing levels at hospitals,

declining bulk billing rates and escalating costs of medicine,

thousands of hard-working Australians face ever-increasing health

costs in the family budget.

Those that try to ensure high quality healthcare by joining private

funds face a rat race of spiralling costs that bear no resemblance to

wage growth.

Palm Sunday

Ecumenical service March and Rally

Sunday 9th April, 1pm at Prince Albert Park Parramatta, finishing at Parramatta Town Square

Organised by the Sydney Peace and Justice Coalition

More info at www.nswpeace.org

APHEDA MELBOURNE MOVIE FUNDRAISER

Thu 20th April, 6.30 PM

Make it a date to remember!

Join Melbourne members and supporters at the Cinema Nova for a night of film

and fundraising. Raising much needed dollars for Union Aid Abroad-APEHDA's

overseas projects, tickets are just $20/$15 to see the Academy Award

nominated film Tsotsi in it's first week of release (see below for movie

blurb). Thursday 20th April 6.30 PM at the Cinema Nova, 380 Lygon Street

Carlton.

Contact Steve Mullins for bookings (payment MUST be made before the night)

Mobile: 0413021412 [email protected]

Tsotsi - (m) nominated for Academy Best Foreign Language Film

Set amidst the sprawling Johannesburg township of Soweto - where survival is

the primary objective - Tsotsi traces six days in the life of a ruthless

young gang leader who ends up caring for a baby accidentally kidnapped

during a car-jacking. Tsotsi is a gritty and moving portrait of an angry

young man living in a state of extreme urban deprivation. His world pumps

with the raw energy of Kwaito Music - the modern beat of the ghetto that

reflects his troubled state of mind.

The film is a psychological thriller in which the protagonist is compelled

to confront his own brutal nature and face the consequences of his actions.

It puts a human face on both the victims and the perpetrators of violent

crime and is ultimately a story of hope and a triumph of love over rage.

Winner, 2005 Toronto Film Festival, People's Choice Award

STRUGGLES, SCABS + SCHOONERS is BACK

29th April 2006 from 1:30pm.

This year it is all about the history - and ongoing battles - of working class women. Join us for stories, memories, hope, singing and beer.

Tickets are $30, which includes dinner.

If you wanna get on board the bus (walkers are welcome & free), please let us know ASAP - you'll have a confirmed seat if you get us the money before the day - please make cheques payable to the PROUD TO BE UNION COMMITTEE INC (send to Struggles, Scabs & Schooners - c/- FSU, PO Box A2442 Sydney South 1235).

RSVP to Chris ([email protected] or 0438 898 198) or Sian ([email protected]man.com.au or 8222 3346) for more information.

POLITICAL FICTION

With the country on the edge, what can one person do?

A new Australian play crashes through at the Old Fitzroy in April with a story of

intrigue and crisis in personal and public life. Political Fiction, by Geoffrey

Sykes, is a parable of Australia now, in which hope and despair are pitted

against each other... with surprising results.

A disgruntled member of the government, a young singer and a free thinking staffer in

Foreign Affairs. Their journey, through sex, power, intrigue, betrayal and - finally - clear

vision, is a graphic exploration of what faces us all in our fallible attempts to relate to the

wider world.

Political Fiction plays and replays with the myths that control our public world ˆ when the

country is on the brink, what can one person do?

Playwright, documentary-maker and academic, Geoffrey Sykes has put words in the mouths

of some of Australia's finest actors and has written for some of our most provocative

exhibitions and theatre events including those at the National Gallery, Art Gallery of NSW,

MCA and the Powerhouse Museum.

Directed by Robina Beard (NAISDA, Ausdance, Belvoir, Adelaide Festival) and starring

Sarah Doyle, Alan Popely, Karen Cobban and Marc Kay, Political Fiction moves at pace

from Australia to South America and back as conspiracy brings people together, then blows

them apart...

POLITICAL FICTION by Geoffrey Sykes

April 18 to May 6

THE OLD FITZROY THEATRE

Cnr Cathedral and Dowling Streets, Woolloomooloo

Tues-Sat 8pm, Sun 5pm

Tickets $27 ($19 concession)

Book (02) 9294 4296 or online at www.oldfitzroy.com.au

Beer Laksa and Show deal (from 7pm) $33

Cheap Tuesdays and Previews (April 18 and 19)

Presented by Southview Projects

May Day Toast

Monday, 1st May at 6pm at Souths Leagues Club

Tickets cost $30 each and are available from Jaime Midson on 02 9264 5024

May Day March and Rally

Sunday 7th May at 11am at Hyde Park North

More info from Warren Smith on 02 9264 5024

Dave Peetz in conversation with Jennie George

Brave New Workplace: how Individual Contracts are Changing our Jobs

By David Peetz

The federal government's new industrial relations laws were passed just before Christmas: will the High Court challenge from the NSW state government overturn them? If they remain, how much is going to change anyway? Foremost IR expert David Peetz peels away the claims and counterclaims to examine the 'big picture' and explain who benefits and who loses under the new system.

Once employees knew they would be paid properly for working nights and overtime and that they couldn't be dismissed on a whim. Now employees are being asked to do their own bargaining, one on one. Employers and government claim this will lead to higher productivity, while unions and church groups cry foul. What's really going on?

The push for individual contracts for employees overturns a century of collective efforts to create basic rights and a 'fair go' in Australian workplaces. David Peetz closely examines the corporate and government doublespeak to uncover what's really happening in relations between employers and employees. Explaining who benefits from individual contracts and who doesn't, and how this is already changing the way we work, Peetz locates individual workplace contracts in a wider debate about whether we are moving away from collective ideals towards individualistic values.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

David Peetz is Professor of Industrial Relations at Griffith University. He worked for ten years in the former Commonwealth Department of Industrial Relations, and is author of Unions in a Contrary World.

Thursday 23rd March

Cost: $9/$6 conc. gleeclub welcome

Venue: Upstairs @ 49, gleebooks, 49 Glebe Point Rd, Glebe

To book: 9660 2333 or [email protected]


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