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  Issue No 35 Official Organ of LaborNet 15 October 1999  




*  Interview: Strategic Responses
NSW Police Association president Mark Burgess has worked in the coal mines and the waterfront - now he’s the public face of NSW police
*  Republic: Negative Campaigning
If the Republic fails, one of the main complaints which should be leveled against the ARM is its refusal to play dirty.
*  Unions: Interpreter smooths the way for Kosovar Refugees
“The people really appreciate what Australia has done for them but they still want to go home," said Ariana Biba, a HREA member who has been worked recently as an interpreter assisting newly arrived refugees from Kosovo.
*  Education: Count Yorga's Evil Plot
NTEU president Carolyn Allport looks at Kemp's brazen attack on univestities and warns the battle is not won yet.
*  Safety: Death in the Snowy
Beyond the engineering achievements of the Snowy Mountains Scheme, there is the tragic story of those workers killed or seriously injured in the construction of the project.
*  International: Why Is the WTO So Anti-Labour?
Driving the cost of labour down appears to be the main priority of the World Trade Organisation
*  History: The Importance of Tradition
Historical documents bring us into closer contact with the past and its concerns as this 1945 extract from the NSW Nurses Association journal, The Lamp, shows.
*  Review: McLibel - The Mice That Roared
This documentary is the classic tale of the little guys against the system, a battle for the right to dissent.
*  Satire: Government Privatises Numbers
Prime Minister John Howard released a new policy on numerals yesterday, to bring them in in line with the Liberal Party's plan to privatise “Pretty much everything before we lose office.”

Dangerous Days - Snowy Mountain construction work

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The CPSU's latest Second Wave shot

Telstra Workers Turn Reith on his Head
In a bold industrial play, Telstra workers are using Peter Reith’s Australian Workplace Agreements to give them the right to strike in support of their New Years Eve pay claim.
[ Full Story » ]

Revenge of the Working Sick
In a vivid illustration of Peter Reith’s brave new workplace, Telstra call centre workers are being harassed into turning up for work while they are sick or risk being targeted as poor performers.
[ Full Story » ]

McPickets To Hit Centennial Park
Developers of a proposed McDonalds franchise in the middle of Sydney public parkland face union Green Bans after unions answered the call from concerned local residents.
[ Full Story » ]

AFL-CIO Computer Deal Keeps Union in Control
America’s peak union body has secured a deal for low-cost computers and Internet access - while maintaining full control of web content - unlike the ACTU’s proposed deal with Virtual Communities.
[ Full Story » ]

Four Pillars Behind Westpac Cuts
The Finance Sector Union has called on the Federal Government to categorically rule out big bank mergers following reports that Westpac’s decision to slash job and branch numbers was motivated by big bank merger speculation.
[ Full Story » ]

Labor MPs Asked to Stand Up and Be Counted
Labor Members of Parliament have been asked to actively assist trade union organising drives through their electorate offices under a Transport Workers Union proposal to enhance grassroots activism.
[ Full Story » ]

Reith’s Second Wave Smokescreen
The ACTU has accused Workplace Relations Minister Peter Reith of trying to divert attention from the Senate hearings on his second wave by releasing a paper calling for radical changes to trade union administration.
[ Full Story » ]

Reith to Legalise Gay and Lesbian Discrimination
GLAM, Gay and Lesbian union members, is taking the message out to the Victoria gay and lesbian community that the Second Wave will make it legal for bosses to discriminate against gays and lesbians in the workplace.
[ Full Story » ]

Denham or Lace - Libs to Ravage Public Sector
The State Opposition has made a bizarre pitch to claw back from its record low opinion rating by branding the NSW Bureaucracy as “public sector welfare” and threatening to axe 5000 jobs if it ever manages to win power.
[ Full Story » ]

The Big Australian Swiftie - $19 Mill Entitlements at Risk
BHP is planning a deal with a multinational to hand over up to $19 million in employee entitlements to fund new business ventures in Australia, prompting warnings of another Oakdale in the making.
[ Full Story » ]

Real Sweatshops: Ice Cubes To Cool Down
Workers in enclosed areas have been given ice cubes to cool down sparking calls for new guidelines for indoor workplaces.
[ Full Story » ]

Xanana Endorses APHEDA
East Timorese independence leader Xanana Gusmao has formally thanked the Australian union movement for its support and endorsed the work of the union aid agency APHEDA.
[ Full Story » ]

Tales from the Gender Battlefield
A female worker was asked to wear skimpy clothes and red lip-stick because the boss said it “looked sexy”, confirming sexual harassment is alive and well in the Australian workplace.
[ Full Story » ]

It’s Time! Republic Goes Funky
A roll-call of Australian contemporary musicians have backed the Republican cause, recording an updated version of the Labor anthem “It’s Time”.
[ Full Story » ]

STOP PRESS: Combet Elected ACTU Secretary Unopposed
Greg Combet has been elected ACTU secretary today after no other nominations were lodged for the union movement’s top job.
[ Full Story » ]

Letters to the Editor
  • The Very Broad Picture

  • Second Wave - Are We Playing To Win

  • Don't Let Howard Take The Human Out Of Human Rights

  • Tax Ideas Not in the Hunt

  • Desperately Seeking Trevor Melksham

  • Editorial

    Vale: Clever Country

    In hosing down David Kemp's mad education experiment this week, John Howard betrayed his own dearth of vision on education and Australia's place in a global world.

    Here's what he said: "You can't expect those who have never been to university and whose children have no aspiration or no capacity to go to a university, to feel happy about paying ever higher taxes in order to finance the aspirations of those who do."

    On one level it is another example of the wedge politics Howard has perfected - pit sections of society against each other and capitalise on the fall-out.

    But it's a misplaced wedge - ignoring the fact that a strong education sector benefits the whole society, that a Clever Country is not just about individuals, it's about the development of collective skills to allow the nation to better build common wealth in the global economy.

    If the comments betray Howard's obsession with the individual over the communal good, it also betrays a profound blind spot when it comes to access to education.

    The fact is that under the current HECS scheme, all Australians can aspire to a TAFE or university education, whereas under the Kemp plan education would revert to the rich - in which case, his analysis could perhaps be justified..

    For all its faults, the deferred payments achieved equality of access by creating a funding base to provide for the rapid expansion of eduction that policy makers recognised as an essential step in the transformation to a global economy.

    But it also recognised that this is about maximising the opportunity for people in society to pursue learning, regardless of thier financial state.

    It's as though the Liberals really want to recreate a class-based system - where everyone knows their place in hte pecking orfer and guards it jealously (the sort of place where a hereditary peer would hold ultimate power?).

    The prompt repudiation of Kemp's reforms this week show most of Australia's society has moved on from this outmoded way of organising society. Even the Telegraph. Which just leaves Howard and his henchmen looking like dinosaurs.

    Peter Lewis


    Soapbox Lockerroom From Trades Hall Toolshed
    Soapbox lockerroom trades hall Toolshed
    John Passant on the Class Struggle in France World Cup Rugby Balls - Child Labour Scandal Superman on Choice of Fund Piers on the Women's Dinner



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