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  Issue No 77 Official Organ of LaborNet 10 November 2000  

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Features
*  US Election: Democracy Version 1.0: Time for an Upgrade America
This week the world's greatest democracy is looking pretty rickety. Michael Gadiel reports from the front line.
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*  Interview: Crikey! A Corporate Commando
He may be a lapsed Lib, but Stephen Mayne is making life hell in the boardrooms of corporate Australia. And he might have some clues for unions too.
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*  Unions: Class of 2000 Hit Redfern
They're just out of acting school and straight into the union. Tomorrow's stars and today's union members.
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*  International: US Cleaners Fast for Justice
Talks between striking janitors and the cleaning contractors who employ them resumed on Tuesday at the Sheraton Hotel in Stamford, Connecticut.
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*  History: Racing Radio
The Cup is over, but the races go on, and so does Labor council's radio station, 2KY, as it celebrates its 75th Anniversary.
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*  Legal: A Pandora's In-Box
Screening of employee's emails could be in breach of telecommunications laws, according to Minter Ellison lawyer Megan Dixon.
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*  Satire: Our Snobs Are Tops
Tony Moore on why the lucky country has always been a tosserís paradise.
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*  Review: Brassed Off With a Tutu
Billy Elliott, currently a hit at the box office, gives a new twist to the working class rags to riches story.
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The Bore or the Schmuck?


Games Workers Still Waiting on Closing Ceremony
More than one month after the close of the Sydney 2000 Olympics, dozens of workers are still waiting to receive their final pay packets and will take formal action next week.
[ Full Story » ]

Showdown: Howard Faces Court Over Rail Sell-Off
The NSW Labor Council will investigate a legal challenge to the Federal Government's decision to exclude State-owned rail freight operators bidding for National Rail Corporation.
[ Full Story » ]

World Awaits Landmark Slave Labour Decision
The ACTU has called on the Howard Government to support groundbreaking international sanctions against the Burmese Government over its tolerance of slave labour.
[ Full Story » ]

American Voters Reject Vouchers
As the Australian Senate debates the States Grants Bill, voters in California and Michigan have defeated proposals for private school vouchers by a two to one margin.
[ Full Story » ]

Illawarra Fights The Big Bastard
4000 steelworkers at BHP's Port Kembla plant walked off the job yesterday firing the first salvo in a campaign against the company's plans to contract out maintenance and other services.
[ Full Story » ]

Retailers Rethink FairWear Retreat
After announcing it would dump an agreement to end sweat shop labour, the peak retail body is having second thoughts in the wake of a groundswell of community anger.
[ Full Story » ]

Killer Holidays: Activist Fired for Taking Vacation
In the wake of a survey showing many Australian workers are too scared to take vacations, a call center worker has been sacked after her boss interpreted an approved five day break as an abandonment of employment.
[ Full Story » ]

ANZ Faces Contracts Challenge
Fresh from its win against the Commonwelath Back's AWAs, the Finance Sector Union is looking into the legality of plans by the ANZ bank to offer individual contracts to its 4,500 middle managers.
[ Full Story » ]

Cup Workers Score Heady Brew
Victorian IT workers with Primus were celebrating on Melbourne Cup regardless of their tip after joining up to the union and scoring a Cup-Day pay bonus.
[ Full Story » ]

Meals on Wheels Turns Mean
Launceston Country Club Casino's plans to restructure their kitchens are a recipe for disaster, leading to job losses, department closures and contracting out of other jobs.
[ Full Story » ]

Wild Horses Get Maurie's Goat
Public Service Association general secretary Maurie O'Sullivan has launched an passionate defence of National Park & Wildlife Service members who have been under fire for the culling of feral horses.
[ Full Story » ]

Labor Council backs Souths Rally
The union movement will be out in force on Sunday to support South Sydney's battle to be reinstated in the National Rugby League competition.
[ Full Story » ]

Sisters Celebrate Four Years
EMILY's List invites all members and supporters to celebrate with Sharan Burrow, President of the ACTU "The 4th Birthday of EMILY's List" on Thursday 23 November 2000.
[ Full Story » ]

Reith to Face the Music
Embattled Workplace Relations Minister Peter Reith will face angry hospitality workers in Sydney next week when he hands out government-sponsored Work and Family Awards.
[ Full Story » ]


Letters to the Editor
  • Nader no Fels

  • Sartor's Veladrome

  • Editorial

    The American Way

    So here we are waiting for a US Presidential result that looks like seeing a man regarded as the most qualified US Presidential candidate in history beaten by an opponent seen by many as the least.

    Progressive types across the Free World might be scratching their heads and asking 'what went wrong?', but maybe the result is merely the product of a political system that has finally eaten itself.

    A race dominated by big money, spin doctors and personality politics looks like serving up a President dominated by big money, spin doctors and personality politics.

    Democrats may rightly blame maverick Green Ralph Nader's spoiling tactics for tilting a tight election in favour of Bush; but the contest should never have come down to this.

    At the end of the day, Gore failed to engage the electorate with a vision. Instead he spent his time being mind-fucked by his own spin-doctors who had him veering between a bull and a sparrow.

    And the media, which so badly misread the initial polls, also has to face the fact that the outcome was largely shaped by its coverage of politics as soap opera.

    The long, expensive and verbose campaign can't mask the deep divisions in American society. The strongest message to emerge was from the 50 per cent of disengaged citizens who didn't vote at all.

    The whole sorry saga is a sobering warning to those in Australia who would have us believe our future lies as a province of America.

    In culture, media, even industrial relations America has been put forward as the panacea to the world's problems; this week it has shown that Democracy - which was meant to have conquered the world - is itself in crisis.

    In this light, our interview with corporate terrorist Stepehn Mayne should be compulsory reading for all unionists. If capital is now king, it is our job to tame it before it tames us.

    Because the warning signs are there. From Seasame Street to McDonalds to Entertainment Tonight to Ally McBeal to George W Bush - we are on a slippery slide. As they say in the Land of the Free: 'the American people have spoken'. Let's take it as a warning.

    Peter Lewis
    Editor


    Columns

    Soapbox Lockerroom From Trades Hall Toolshed
    Soapbox lockerroom trades hall Toolshed
    Kim Beazley: Debarking the Chihuahua Noel Hester on Tarnished Gold Neale Towart's Labour Review Ralph Nader: The Soiled Saint

     


    
    

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