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Issue No. 322 01 September 2006  

Justice, Applied Liberally
To think, Phillip Ruddock used to be a liberal.


Interview: Australia’s Most Wanted
The ACCC is the latest state agency to turn its guns on the construction union. National official, Dave Noonan, discusses the implications.

Industrial: The Fox and the Contractor
With new laws looming for “independent contractors”, Foxtel subbies have had the carpet pulled from under their feet, writes Nathan Brown.

Unions: Industrial Wasteland
A group of inner-Sydney veterans appear to be working to strip their families of retirement incomes. Jim Marr records their desperation.

International: Two Bob's Worth
German and British workers are participating in business decisions while WorkChoices locks Australians out of the conversation, writes Anthony Forsyth.

Economics: National Interest
John Howard claimed that interest rates would always be lower under a Coalition government than under Labor, Neale Towart crunchess the numbers.

Environment: The Real Dinosaur
Economic ignorance remains at the top and the critics are oblivious says Sol Power

History: Only In Spain?
The experiences of self management during the Civil War have been the one positive factor to come from that tragic event, and the Mondragon Cooperative Corporation thrives today.

Review: Clerk Off
Nathan Brown draws solace from some fellow social misfits.


 Boss Gives Dad the Finger

 Amber's Law Pulps WorkChoices

 Westfield Flogs Good Deal

 Building Workers Spooked

 Bankers to Train Assassins

 Astroboy Blasts Off

 First Global Deal Docks in Germany

 Bans Stop the Press

 Deportation for Pay-To-Work Tradesman

 Telstra in Bush Bloodbath

 Boss Punts Assaulted Teen

 Ballots Stuffed By WorkChoices

 Howard in a Spin

 Extras – The Waterfront.

 Activist's What's On!


Westie Wing
MLC Ian West ventures beyond Macquarie St and into the desert of the eco rats.

The Soapbox
Testing Times
Former RLPA secretary and Newcastle Knights prop, Tony Butterfield, fires up over dawn raids.

Dare to Win
The union movement has lost an inspirational leader of working men and women, writes Jeana Vithoulkas

Tommy's Apprentice
Chapter Two - Tommy’s Tale.

 Please Don’t Go
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Justice, Applied Liberally

To think, Phillip Ruddock used to be a liberal.

It's incredible that this husk of a human once passed himself off as a supporter of human rights and, quite possibly, even meant it when he took the decision to join Amnesty International.

Now Ruddock is the public face of ruthless state control. There he was again, last week, attempting to square off his government's decision to override the legal system and impose a control order on a citizen whose conviction had been quashed in a court of law.

The fact the control order, severely proscribing Jack Thomas' human rights, had been gained in secrecy, without Thomas or his representatives even being aware of the move or the claims behind it, only added to the abuse involved.

Ruddock made his name, at federal level, as the face of an inhumane immigration regime that blatantly violated Australia's international obligations.

Abuse of law, and fundamental human rights, also inform his pronouncements on terror suspect, David Hicks, the Australian who has been held for nearly five years in the legal limbo that is Gauntanamo Bay. American psychologists say it is a place where torture is routine.

Ruddock, on the other hand, supports the incarceration enthusiastically, without a bow to civil rights, due process, or international law.

Workers Online does not seek to glorify, or justify, the actions, alleged or admitted, of Thomas or Hicks. Far from it. It does, however, suggest that as human beings, and Australian citizens, they are entitled to core legal protections.

To deny them, so blatantly, is, arguably, a success for terrorism. After all, if we have a final response to terrorists, rogue states and their ilk it must be that, unlike them, we hold process and human rights paramount. We do not incarcerate, torture or kill just because we don't like, or disagree, with someone.

A potential terrorist, listening to Phillip Ruddock, is entitled to think "bollocks to that".

But it's not just Ruddock, he's simply the ugliest face in a gallery of lawyers who don't, at essence, respect the law.

Look at the top dogs in Canberra - John Howard, Peter Costello, Kevin Andrews and Ruddock - the leaders of this "Liberal" regime are all lawyers.

Ruddock is their front man on these issues but they're all in it up to their scaly necks.

And now we've got another advocate for torture, incarceration without trial, and other trappings of "democracy" stalking our land.

George Bush's new point man arrived in Canberra, last week, and lost no time in mimicking his master's voice, with a rousing defence of Guantanamo Bay and assurances that Hicks would enjoy a fair trial, even thought his own country's Supreme Court has a somewhat different view.

And, guess what? He's another lawyer.

The worrying thing is that abuse of process and civil rights don't end with terror suspects. Think global - the invasion of Iraq - or, think local, about the war on building workers - in both instances respect for evidence is non-existent, while process is cynically abused.

That's what happens when fundamental principles are jettisoned. The rot sets in.

It's no wonder the Liberal lawyers who dominate federal parliament get so worked up at the prospect of trade unionists joining them in Canberra.

They must be gob-smacked that some people won't sell out their beliefs, training and professional values for a seat at the cabinet table.

Jim Marr


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