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Issue No. 320 18 August 2006  
E D I T O R I A L

Fixing the WorkChoices Mess
While the Rights at Work campaign has galvanised opposition to the Howard Government’s WorkChoices legislation, the debate about what sort of system should replace it is just hotting up.

F E A T U R E S

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.

N E W S

 Spin Bowls Fair Pay

 “Battler” Liberal on Safety

 Radio Rentals Launches Hit

 Under the Pump

 Privacy Goes East

 Which Bank Tossed Out of Court

 Mum Lashes Feds

 Sack Boss a Loser

 Let's Fly AWA

 Star City Bangs Wages Drum

 Prof Offers AWA Lesson

 Howard Stands By His Men

 Wife Miscarries After Attack

 Activist's What's On!

C O L U M N S

The Locker Room
Ruled Out
Phil Doyle plays by the rules

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

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

L E T T E R S
 Love Me Slender
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News

Which Bank Tossed Out of Court


Commonwealth Bank efforts to block shareholder activism by employees have been tossed out by the federal court.

The Bank used John Howard’s IR legislation to claim union members had tried to “coerce” financial market figures to intervene in collective bargaining on their behalf.

Justice Madgwick ruled that intent to coerce required "illegality or illegitimacy amounting to unconscionable conduct".

He said there was no such intent in the FSU's move to ask shareholders and other market players to intervene with the employer.

The court had been told the FSU had encouraged 150 of the bank's 36,000 employees to attend its 2004 AGM as shareholders or proxies, when they should have been at work.

Westpac also alleged the FSU breached the Workplace Relations Act by providing inadequate notice of a bargaining period, and including matters that did not relate to the employment relationship.

Justice Madgwick rejected all its claims.

FSU state secretary, Geoff Derrick, said the challenge to shareholder activism should never have come before the court.

He described Justice Madgwick's decision as a "landmark ruling on a right that shouldn't have been in doubt".

"This case means all unions, including ours, have the right to use shareholder activism to pursue legitimate industrial and social objectives," Derrick said.


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