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Issue No. 305 05 May 2006  

Contract With Australia
If WorkChoices is the legislative expression of the Howard Government’s ideological hatred of unions, the Independent Contractors Act is the product of an altogether more dangerous form of ideological zealotry.


Interview: Out of the Bedroom
Reverend Jim Wallis is leading a crusade to take the moral debate into the public arena.

Industrial: Cloak and Dagger
The Howard Government has begun a series of workshops to sell its WorkChoice vsision. Sean Ambrose sneaked through the doors for Workers Online.

Unions: Lockout!
Jim Comerford’s eyewitness account of the 15-month Lockout of 10,000 New South Wales miners in1929-1930 records the inside story of Australia’s most bloody and bitter industrial conflict

Legal: The Fantasy of Choice
Professor Ron McCallum argues the WorkChoices laws are built on a fundamental fiction.

Politics: Labor Pains
Labor has dealt itself out of the crucial workplace relations debate by failing to articulate a credible policy alternative to Howard’s new WorkChoices legislation, argues Mark Heearn and Grant Michelson

Economics: Economics and the Public Purpose
Evan Jones pays tribute to John Kenneth Galbraith, a big man who never stopped arguing that economics should serve the public good, not create public squalor.

Corporate: House of Horrors
Anthony Keenan takes a tour of Sydney’s notorious, Asbestos House, courtesy of Gideon Haig.

History: Clash Of Cultures
Neale Towart with a new take on Mayday through the words of a punk icon

International: Childs Play
An ILO report into Child Labour shows some progress is being made to curb this gobal scurge .

Culture: Folk You Mate!
Phil Doyle dodges Morris Dancers to find signs of Working Life at the National Folk Festival in Canberra over the Easter Weekend.

Review: Last Holeproof Hero
Finally, a superhero who has worked out how to wear his underpants. Nathan Brown ogles V for Vendetta


 Andrews Axes Safety

 Plant Fission for Cost Savings

 Spotless Bosses Blame Howard

 Aussie Bushman Pronounced Dead

 Who's Smirking Now?

 Yellow Bosses See Red

 Amber Light on Howard's Way

 Secret Police Spook Mum

 Wally Pollies Set for Cracker

 Qantas to Parachute In Pilots

 Unmask the Puppeteers, Union Demands

 Cleaners Mop Up

 Cane Toads Hop Into Johnny

 King of Onkaparinga Cries Poor

 Activist's What's On!


The Soapbox
Albo's Meltdown
Labor's environment spokesman Antony Albanese argues that Chrernobyl is one reason why the ALP should stand firm on nuclear.

The Locker Room
A Sort Of Homecoming
Phil Doyle plays to the whistle.

The Westie Wing
Our favourite MP, Ian West reports from Macquarie Street on some strange collective acction.

 Restaurant a Rip Off
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Yellow Bosses See Red

Aussie workers are rallying around 1000 sacked Indonesian colleagues and six of their imprisoned union leaders.

Unions NSW secretary, John Robertson, has urged affiliates to provide practical support to Sumatra palm oil workers who were fired en masse and had their children expelled from schools for attempting to form an independent union.

"In an era of globalisation, this fight is our fight," Robertson said. "We must stand alongside people, everywhere, who want to improve their lives through strong, independent unions.

Send off an e-mail protest today with the LabourStart Justice for Palm Oil Workers - Free the Musim Mas Six campaign

"Australians can no longer pretend Indonesia is a long way away. They are being subjected to the same pressures that we are facing and it is in our own interests to lift the wages and conditions of workers everywhere."

IUF regional secretary, Ma Wei Pin, said Indonesia's largest palm oil exporter, Musim Mas took action after employees refused to join the "yellow union" it had established.

"They were met with ferocious repression," he said. "Despite being ordered by the Department of Labour to pay going rates and conditions, management simply focused on getting rid of the union," he reported.

More than 1000 workers voted to strike in support of their demands for core Indonesian labour standards including maternity leave, social security registration for daily workers and the availability of copies of their employment agreement.

Ma Wei Pin said, last September, management got local police to arrest six union leaders who have imprisoned ever since.

Meanwhile, 700 permanent employees and 300 contract workers who backed the union were sacked. They were evicted from company-owned homes and their children were expelled from schools within the plantation.

"With the emergence of WorkChoices it is even more important for workers all over the world to stand together," Ma Wei Pin said. "Or pro-employer governments will take advantage of the differences between countries and drive standards down in a race to the bottom."

Unions NSW agreed to endorse a global campaign on behalf of Sumatra palm oil workers. The first step in the campaign is putting the heat on trans-nationals that use palm oil not to be associated with such exploitative practices.

More information on the Musim Mas campaign is available at: IUF website


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