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Issue No. 309 02 June 2006  

When the Truth Hurts
Some rare moments of candour this week have vindicated all we’ve been saying about WorkChoices and more.


Interview: Rock Solid
Bill Shorten gives the inside story on the Australian Workers Union's involvement in the Beaconsfield rescue.

Industrial: Eight Simple Rules for Employing My Teenage Daughter
Phil Oswald bought up his kids to believe in their rights; so when his 16-year old daughter was told to cop a pay cut she was never going to take it quietly.

Politics: The Johnnie Code
WorkChoices is encrypted deep in the PM's political DNA, writes Evan Jones

Energy: Fission Fantasies
Adam Ma’anit looks at the big business push behind the 'clean nuclear' debate that is sweeping the globe.

History: All The Way With Clarrie O'Shea
The WorkChoices Penal Powers are the latest in a long line of penal sanctions against trade unions, writes Neale Towart

International: Closer to Home
If Australia can forgive its debt to Iraq, why not to Indonesia and the Philippines, write Luke Fletcher and Karen Iles

Economics: Taking the Fizz
While the Treasurer has been popping the post-Budget champers, Frank Stilwell gives a more sober assessment.

Unions: Stronger Together
Amanada Tattersall looks at the possibilities of strengthening alliances between unions, environmental and community organisations

Review: Montezuma's Revenge
Tommy Lee Jones directs and stars in a film about racism and retribution, writes James Gallaway.

Poetry: Fair Go Gone
Employers in the land rejoice, for we are girt by greed.


 Howard's Advocate Fesses Up

 Cowra - Work Slaughter Legal

 You're Killing Us - BHP Charged Again

 Revealed: Beaconsfield Led AWA Charge

 Warehouse Pushes the Envelope

 Independent Schools Push Class Warfare

 Spotlight on Howard’s Porkies

 PM Backs Visa Buster

 Sutton Wants Middle Men Probed

 ATO Recruiting for WorkChoices

 Taxpayers to Fund Ad Orgy

 New Deal on Canberra Menu

 Appeal for East Timor

 Activist's What's On!


The Soapbox
The Beaconsfield Declaration
As the Prime Minister feted Brant Webb and Todd Russell, their colleagues were outside with a message to the rest of Australia.

The Locker Room
Run Like You Stole Something
Phil Doyle observes that there are some tough bastards out there.

The Westie Wing
That fun-loving friend of the workers, Ian West, reports from the red leather of the Bear Pit.

Class Action
Phil Bradley draws the lines between education funding and the current skills crisis.

 Free Kick
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Revealed: Beaconsfield Led AWA Charge

The Beaconsfield mine, where Larry Knight lost his life, spent years running the Minerals Council of Australia’s anti-union agenda.

In an interview with Workers Online, AWU national secretary, Bill Shorten, revealed the co-operation that transfixed a nation, last month, was a relatively new phenomenon.

Beaconsfield Gold, operated by Allstate Explorations, had sung off the Minerals Council song sheet, pushing AWAs and endeavouring to remain union-free.

It wasn't until last year that a negotiating team, including rescued miner Brant Webb, nailed the first collective contract in the operation's history.

Beaconsfield entered productive life in 1998 using take-it-or-leave-it AWAs as a condition of employment.

John Howard only invented the individual non-union contracts in 1996 and it was mining companies that first embraced them as a means of de-unionising their sites.

At times, Shorten said, the management-union relationship at Beaconsfield had been "aggressively antagonistic".

"By about 2001, there were all sort of promises being made and men started to join the union," he said.

"It took about three years of our Tasmanian branch, led by Ian Wakefield, turning up in the snow and bad weather and speaking to the blokes.

"Even then, we had to fight in the Industrial Relations Commission to try and get the company to talk to us."

Shorten said it hadn't been until last month's rescue operation was underway that some members of the management team began to change their tunes.

More than 30 underground miners wore Your Rights At Work insignia to last week's reception at federal parliament.

Webb took to the stage wearing an AWU delegate's pin.

Before the reception, miners signed the Beaconsfield declaration, thanking the public for its support and urging the Prime Minister to lift his ban on union occupational health and safety training.


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