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  Issue No 74 Official Organ of LaborNet 20 October 2000  




.  LaborNET

.  Ask Neale

.  Tool of the Week

*  Interview: Politics Italian Style
Italian journalist's union official Rodolfo Falvo talks to Peter Lewis about Italy's Rupert Murdoch and why Italian politics is so crazy.
*  Unions: A Partnership That Works
Students at Williamstown High in Victoria are benefiting from a creative partnership with TAFE and the Electrical Trades Union. Kevin Peoples reports.
*  International: Fiji Paymasters Fill Their Own Pockets
The Interim Administration imposed on the people of Fiji, as a result of the coup-makers, have voted themselves a hefty pay increase at the same time as they demand public sector workers take a twelve per cent pay cut.
*  Politics: USA Campaign 2000 - On the Road
Michael Gadiel reports on the thrills, spills, highs and lows of the US Presidential Election.
*  Women: Party Girl
'You can take the girl out of the Port, but you can't take the Port out of the girl' - Stephanie Key recounts her life as a feminist in a male bastion, the Transport Workers Union.
*  Satire: Telstra to issue $50,000 Reith Phonecard
CANBERRA, Monday: Telstra have announced Peter Reith-themed phonecard. The phonecard allows friends and family to make $50,000 worth of phone calls on it before you receive a bill. Plus, you only have to pay the bill in total if there is sufficient public outrage, otherwise the card costs just $950.
*  Review: Health, Wealth and Mutual Obligations
Mutual obligation for the poor only, increasing income inequality and a widening health gap. Welcome to the 21st century -or is it the 19th?

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Reith's head where it belongs

Bitter Dispute Ends With Joyful Tidings
The bitter Joy Mining Machinery dispute in Moss Vale is over. The picket-line has been dismantled. After seven-months of lengthy lockouts and strikes, workers voted last week for a return to work beginning Monday, October 23.
[ Full Story » ]

Bodgy Telemarketers Face Union Wrath
The ASU, backed by the Labor Council, is taking on the exploitative practice of companies hiring people for 'training' then requiring them to perform telemarketing duties for free.
[ Full Story » ]

Another Bastard Bank On Rampage
On Tuesday this week the National Australia Bank announced it was about to embark on a program of 100 branch closures, cutting about 250 jobs and increasing fees and charges for a range of services.
[ Full Story » ]

Employers Reject Individual Contracts
An Australian Business Limited survey has found that only 1% of Australian workers in less than 3% of Australian workplaces are covered by Peter Reith's AWAs.
[ Full Story » ]

Time To Come Clean
The Labor Council has called for an inquiry into the Reith Affair (as even the Prime Minister now calls it) and for his resignation following the damaging disclosures by Ingrid Odgers that contradict the Reiths' versions of events.
[ Full Story » ]

Child Care Workers Tell Kim How Howard Nicked Their Money
Child care workers are campaigning hard for Kim Beazley's Labor MPs to commit themselves to returning the $800 million which the Howard Government has taken out of the Federal Budget.
[ Full Story » ]

Reith Must Apologise Say Hotel Workers
Peter Reith should apologise to Hotel workers - especially Hotel Reception staff - for his transparent attempt to shift blame as he squirmed during his self-created Telecard fiasco.
[ Full Story » ]

Telstra Too Smart On Casuals
New evidence on Telstra staffing backs union claims that massive job cuts mean diminished services.
[ Full Story » ]

Primed To Win
Two thousand paint industry workers, in all mainland states, have launched the Paint 2000 Campaign - a national industry-wide campaign to win better pay and conditions for LHMU members.
[ Full Story » ]

Payday Nightmare Follows AFFA Outsourcing
Following the outsourcing of their Human Resources and Payroll functions to Price Waterhouse Coopers in August, around 1,000 staff in Agriculture, Fisheries, Forestry, Australia (AFFA) have been paid incorrectly.
[ Full Story » ]

Palestinian Community Seeks Union Support
Long standing Palestinian representative in Australia Mr Ali Kazak spoke at Labor Council on Thursday. Mr Kazak was in town seeking the support of working Australians for his long suffering people.
[ Full Story » ]

Trade Union Choir Rocks Town Hall
Last Friday, Sydney Town Hall rang to the sound of 400 voices singing John Warner's inspiring song Bring Out the Banners.
[ Full Story » ]

WorkCover Goes For Gold In Paralympics
WorkCover has sponsored three paralympians who were injured in workplace accidents. In turn the athletes will speak about the importance of workplace safety and raise awareness through a number of forums in NSW.
[ Full Story » ]

Letters to the Editor
  • Bullying A Bastardisation Ritual

  • Wild Memories of Melbourne

  • The Great Reformer?

  • Editorial

    A Fishy Smell In Howard's Office

    Revelations in today's Herald that the Federal Government was aware of a fraud on Peter Reith's telecard in July 1998 raises serious questions about the honesty of more than Peter Reith in this breathtaking scandal.

    It demolishes the lie put out by Reith and Howard that they initiated investigations into the Telecard affair and that they acted as soon as they knew.

    Peter Reith's credibility is in tatters. Clear the smokecreen that he has covered the issue with and there is one relevant fact that stands. He gave the card to his son in clear breach of the guidelines and possibly the law. He should be already long gone.

    The role and level of knowledge of other ministers including Fahey and Ellison and most importantly John Howard is now the real issue.

    Over two years ago the Government knew something of the card's use 11,000 times from around 900 different locations by an unknown number of people when only Peter Reith was authorized to use it on ministerial business. Yet Howard says he was only told about it in May this year. Yeah right.

    Yet the only reason it came to light of day at all is due to the diligence of a cadet reporter at the Canberra Times. Otherwise Howard would have kept this buried forever.

    This affair is no longer about a telecard, it's about a cover up. Who knew what when? And why weren't we told about it? And the emphasis should now shift from Reith to Howard. When did he know and why didn't he do something about it.

    This affair involves a serious fraud on a card that belongs to the Australian public. It deserves an urgent and transparent inquiry to get to the truth.

    Noel Hester


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