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  Issue No 83 Official Organ of LaborNet 09 February 2001  

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Letters to the Editor

Volunteering a Modest Proposal


With the windfall tax from the recently introduced G.S.T! Why is it not possible to channel some of these funds, and emulate a recent initiative by New Labour in the United Kingdom.

The Blair Socialist government recently announced a 300 million-pound funding for community volunteering in its efforts to create a society based on mutuality. Our recent experience with the Olympics and Para-Olympics revealed a reservoir of willing participants in this altruistic behavior. Included in the U.K. venture was a "National Experience Corps" for the over fifties. This is in recognition of the losses suffered by society through the discarding of the knowledge of this generation, and of its messengers. This funding could also be used, to provide mentoring and perhaps modernize the crumbling infrastructure of our community organizations.

Local government, already under threat for its reluctance to deal with entrenched incompetence, inefficiency, mismanagement, mal-administration and largess handed out freely to its unrepresentative party hacks, would surely grasp at an opportunity such as this. Even if the initial intent was to increase the already overflowing "Salad Bowl", of political patronage.

Hospitals, unable to provide a service beyond that of a third world country, and under threat from closure through budgetary constraints would definitely be grateful recipients of these volunteers, through them accepting some of the more menial tasks from the already overworked nursing staff.

Public Schools could save hundreds of thousands through volunteers assisting with ancillary activities like cleaning and ground maintenance, the savings could be redirected to other activities to enhance achievement of the "Knowledge Nation".

There is absolutely no end to the positive possibilities emanating from the adoption of a scheme such as this, and it could possibly work as an adjunct to "work for the dole". Particularly those over fifties who feel they have been abandoned by society and still wish to fully participate in the community

Tom Collins


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*   Issue 83 contents

In this issue
Features
*  Interview: Dispatch from Davos
ACTU President Shahran Burrow reports back on the trade union movement’s presence at last week’s meeting of the heavyweights of global capital.
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*  Unions: After the Gold Rush
Recent mass sackings at high-profile e-businesses are beginning to expose the flimsiness of the ‘jobs for all’ predictions made on behalf of the sector.
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*  Economics: The Other Davos
While the world’s business leaders met in Davos, a very different gathering was taking place in Porto Alegre, Brazil. Pat Ranald was there.
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*  Politics: While We Were Snoozing
As we lay in our banana chair through summer the political world kept turning with a new man in the White House. Here’s what we missed while we were off the air.
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*  History: Federation Day, 1901
One hundred years after Australia became a nation, Ralph Sawyer relives the original Federation Day through the eyes of Billy Hughes.
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*  International: Burma: The Struggle Continues
As the internatinal community moves to bring Burma to account, APHEDA - Union Aid Abroad is working on the ground.
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*  Review: Inside the Journopolis
In his new book, Rob Johnson brings the infamous Cash for Comment Affair to life.
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*  Satire: Families Demand Longer Work Hours
A new report confirms the long held suspicion that employees who reduce their workload to spend more time with their spouse and children just end up annoying their families even more.
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News
»  Union Busters Target Call Centres
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»  Workers Take Message to World Bank
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»  Korean Worker Bashed for Questioning Wages
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»  Steelworkers Draw The Line
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»  Sartor Thanks Workers for Games by Outsourcing Jobs
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»  Outworkers Still Waiting for Action of Sweatshops
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»  Workers Casualties in Wentworth Fire Sale
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»  Fantastic Win for Furniture Workers
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»  Billions Spent on Mine Takeovers
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»  No Guarantees on Orange Jobs
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»  M5 Project- Worker Pays the Price
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»  Forum: Organising Youth in a Hostile Workplace
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»  Western Sahara Marks 25 Years of Waiting
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»  Action as Australia Considers WTO Ties
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Columns
»  The Soapbox
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»  Sport
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»  Trades Hall
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»  Tool Shed
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Letters to the editor
»  Cavalier Attitude to Cricketers
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»  Unions and the WEF: How should unions bridge the divide?
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»  Botsman's Ivory Tower
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»  Volunteering a Modest Proposal
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»  Well Done, Workers Online
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