||Issue No. 314||07 July 2006|
The Power of Ones
Interview: The Month Of Living Dangerously
Unions: Staying Mum
Economics: Precious Metals
Industrial: The Cold 100
History: The Vinegar Hill Mob
Legal: Free Agents
Politics: Under The Influence
International: How Swede It Was
Review: Keating's Men Slam Dance on Howard
The Locker Room
The Power of Ones
Lorissa is the latest face of Rights at work campaign, denied her dream off a job in the mining industry because she refused to sign an AWA which would have penalised her $200 for calling in sick to work.
Perhaps it was the combination of grit and confidence that is part of being an elite athlete that prompted Lorissa to stare the bullies down, but she is one of a growing legion of ordinary Australians refusing to be cowed into submission by a government gone too far.
Next in line could well be the 107 building workers on the Perth to Mandurah rail project, all facing personal fines of $28,000 for walking off the job in support of their sacked delegates.
Were these guys angles? Probably not. They certainly defied an order from the Australian Industrial Relations Commission not to strike, seems they acted contrary to their union's advice too.
But does this mean they deserve to lose their homes? That's where the witch hunt against the construction union has taken us, working families losing their homes because the Howard government hates unions.
Even the employers wants to drop the issue, the project is back on t rack and there has been industrial piece for some time - but the government insists on punishing workers individually for standing up for what they believe.
These are not the powerful vested interests that the conservatives have for so long attempted to portray organised labour as; they are battlers, simple union members who always believed that if you work hard you get ahead.
These are the sort of Australians who have never seen a conflict between being a union member and voting for Howard, especially when Labor seemed to have been hijacked by minorities whose issues had nothing to do with their day to day realities.
One in three of them voted for Howard last time, concerned about interest rates, but comfortable with the Liberals' apparent ethos of rewarding effort and respecting individual rights.
How ironic that at the point of the Liberals' greatest power since Menzies, the pursuit of an ideological obsession has left the Liberal Party's original mission - the protection of individual rights - in tatters.
How fitting, that it is this excess that has driven the Labor Party back to its historic base, rendering its leader more focussed and cogent than many of us ever thought possible.
These are the dynamic now at play - a government adrift and an Opposition on song; but this is not to say the game is over,
It all comes down to the people - their courage to take stands; speak out, stare down abuse and, ultimately, make the most decisive contribution than have to make in their capacity as citizens - their vote.
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