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Issue No. 319 11 August 2006  

Good Versus Evil
So it's come to this - working women's groups that alert clients to union activities will be denied federal government funding and, effectively, forced to close.


Interview: A Life And Death Matter
Macquarie Street and Canberra are squaring off over safety in the workplace, NSW Minister for Industrial relations, John Della Bosca, explains what's at stake.

Unions: Fighting Back
When John Howard's building industry enforcer started threatening people's homes, one couple hit the road. Jim Marr met them in Sydney.

Industrial: What Cowra Means
The ruling on the Cowra abattoir case highlights the implications of the new IR rules, according to John Howe and Jill Murray

Environment: Scrambling for Energy Security
Howard Government hypocrisy is showcased in its climate change manoeuvring, Stuart Rosewarne writes:

Politics: Page Turner
A new book leaves no doubt about whether the faction came before the ego, Nathan Brown writes.

Economics: The State of Labour
The capacity of the state to shape the political economy and thus improve the social lives of the people must be reasserted, argues Geoff Dow.

International: Workers Blood For Oil
A new book by Abdullah Muhsin and Alan Johnson lifts the lid on the bloody reality of US backed democracy for Iraq's trade unions

History: Liberty in Spain
Worker Self-Management is good management. The proof in Spain was in Catalania, Andalusia and continues in the Basque Country, as Neale Towart explains.

Review: Go Roys, Make A Noise
Phil Doyle thought he'd find nostalgia, but instead Vulgar Press' new book, Maroon & Blue is a penetrating insight into the suburban mind under stress.


 Sprung: Light on Day

 Mal Content to Challenge King

 More Standover Tactics in WA

 Qantas Holidays Delayed 150 Years

 Hockey Wields Stick

 We Have Ways of Cutting Your Pay

 Jihad Johnny Targets Women

 Council Workers Talk The Walk

 Trujillo Slices Millions Off Bottom Line

 Vehicle Jobs on Skids

 Teachers Suspend Selves

 Bishop Damns WorkChoices

 Workers Rights On The Road

 ACTU Backs Business, Germans

 Activist's What's On!


The Locker Room
Ruled Out
Phil Doyle plays by the rules

Tommy's Apprentice
Chapter One - Tommy and "The Boy"

Westie Wing
Ian West wonders what might happen if the NSW Coalition actually did win power next March at the State elections.

 Pimps and Prostitutes
 The Cruellest Cut
 Poll On
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Good Versus Evil

So it's come to this - working women's groups that alert clients to union activities will be denied federal government funding and, effectively, forced to close.

Even if they brush unions, they still won't get their coin unless they start running seminars to promote the federal government's new industrial relations policies.

While, over in the West, the reality of those policies will be on display on August 29 when 147 rank and file workers are dragged before the federal court.

Howard supporters at the Building Industry Commission, and amongst employers, are seeking fines of up to $28,600 from each person and, in at least 40 cases, unlimited damages.

Back when this jihad was launched with Tony Abbott's discredited Cole Royal Commission, a disbelieving journalist, from the Financial Review no less, hit the nail on the head.

It's about criminalising union activity, he said, and he was right.

We expect John Howard and Peter Costello to back business against workers, as a matter of course. Quite likely it's why they decided to join the Liberal Party.

What few expected was the extraordinary lengths, and the levels of repression they would use, to try and impose their will on a clearly resistant electorate.

The Australian workplace has become a mirror for a world in which a new breed of power-wielder is driven by a take-no-prisoners ideology.

The born-to-rule attitude of 'we're right and you can go to hell' is turning our world into a very dangerous place.

It is driven by a certitude that sees no room for debate, compromise or, even, commonsense.

George Bush is, perhaps, its foremost practitioner. He follows a line in which the world is, essentially, broken into two mutually exclusive camps - good and evil.

Millions of American workers, unionised and unionised, know what that means for their families but, for most, the evidence is starkest in his foreign policy.

Christians are good, Muslims are bad.

The US is pure, the UN is peurile.

Oil is great, global warming is rubbish.

Free trade, on our terms.

Nukes are terrific, but not for you buddy.

The upshot is a Middle East in turmoil; generations of new recruits to carry the terrorist flame; global warming out of control; an upsurge in rogue nuclear states; cripping Third World debt. And that's just for starters.

Hopefully, for all our sakes, Bush's successor will accept that dialogue, discussion and a level, at least, of respect are preconditions for a successful foreign policy.

Those virtues wouldn't go astray, as starting points, for a new-look Australian workplace regime, either.

- Jim Marr


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