The Official Organ of LaborNET
click here to view the latest edition of Workers Online
The Official Organ of LaborNET
Free home delivery
October 2002   

Interview: The Wet One
NSW Opposition industrial relations spokesman Michael Gallacher stakes out his relationship with the union movement.

Bad Boss: Like A Bastard
Virgin Mobile is sexy and funky, right? Well, only if those terms have become synonyms for dictatorial or downright mean.

Unions: Demolition Derby
Tony Abbott likens industrial relations to warfare and, like a good general should, he is about to shift his point of attack � from building sites to car plants, reports Jim Marr.

Corporate: The Bush Doctrine
For the powerful, consumerism equals freedom, and is all the freedom we need, writes James Goodman

Politics: American Jihad
Let�s get real. The origins of modern Islamic terrorist groups are in Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and Langley, Virginia not Baghdad, argues Noel Hester.

Health: Secret Country
Oral history recordings are an inadequate tool in trying to find out what happened to Aboriginal stockmen and their communities on cattle stations in Northern Australia, writes Neale Towart

Review: Walking On Water
On the 20th anniversary of the first AIDS-related death, Tara de Boehmler witnesses the aftermath of losing a loved one to the illness in Walking On Water.

Culture: TCF
Novelist Anthony Macris captures life on the shop floor in this extract from his upcoming novel, Capital Volume II

Poetry: The UQ Stonewall
The University of Queensland has sought to join the ranks of union-busting companies like Rio Tinto in trying to sack the president of the local union - and made the mistake of thinking they were dealing with an array of acquiescent academics.


The Soapbox
I Walk The Line
American civil rights leader Jesse Jackson has weighed into the Hilton Hotel dispute with this special message to the workforce.

Mekong Daze
Union Aid Abroad's Phil Hazelton fires off a missive from Laos where he is spending a year working with the community.

Month In Review
Bush Whackers
It was a month where the world teetered on the brink of peace, no thanks to the leader of the free world, writes Jim Marr

The Locker Room
The Laws Of Gravity
Phil Doyle goes looking for the fine line that separates sport from an exercise in time-wasting

Snouts in the Trough
It�s AGM season in the corporate world, and deal after shady deal is being exposed as highfliers treat company accounts like the proverbial honey-pot.

Songs of Solidarity
There has been a proud history of pro-worker tunes dating back to the early days of the 20th century, which will be continued in a new CD, writes Dan Buhagiar.


The Legacy of 11/9
From the orgy of righteous indignation that has enveloped the �Free World� this week a more chilling truth is emerging: if the suicide bombers were attacking Liberal-Democracy they have succeeded beyond their wildest dreams.


 �Robbed Generation� Seeks Stolen Wages

 One Year On: Ansett Crash Still Hurts

 Cole Exposed By Immigration Scam

 Car Workers on Howard Hit List

 Mystery Windfall for Hilton Workers

 Shock: Abbott Backs Workers

 Union Billboards Censored

 Track Grab Ignores Lessons of Glenbrook

 Casual Approach to Air Safety

 Bosses Say No Living Wage For NSW Childcarers

 Pastry Workers Tell Boss To Get Puffed

 Injury Toll Mushrooms

 Victorian Zookeepers Down Buckets

 Pride and Safety for Workers Out!

 Activists Notebook

 The CFMEU Race Debate #1
 The CFMEU Race Debate #2
 Keeping it Clean
 Sue the Leaders?

Wrong Way, Go Back
The weekend machinations over the structure of the ALP are in danger of missing the fundamental point: Labor�s current malaise is caused not be an excess of core values but through a deficit.


 Corrigan Fires Shot in Rail Showdown

 Fight Begins For Long Weekends

 Experts to Arrest Drug Test Outbreak

 Jobs Auction Hitting Bank Workers

 Libs Pledge Moderate IR line

 Workers Kick Grand Final Goal

 NSW Screws Down Lid on Funeral Scams

 Hilton Strike Break Plans in Tatters

 Detention Centre Workers Demand Safety Search

 Religious Teachers Win Legal Coverage

 Pressure Builds on Parking Sting

 US Docks Lockout Hits Sea Trade

 Activists Notebook

 Jacks and Jills
 Shame on Murray
 Use or Abuse of Long Term Casuals
 Speaking in Tongues
 Casual Days
About Workers Online
Latest Issue
Print Latest Issue
Previous Issues
Advanced Search

other LaborNET sites

Labor Council of NSW
Vic Trades Hall Council
IT Workers Alliance
Unions on LaborNET
Evatt Foundation

Labor for Refugees



Mekong Daze

Union Aid Abroad's Phil Hazelton fires off a missive from Laos where he is spending a year working with the community.


Hello from soggy Vientiane!!

Yes, it's the middle of the wet season - and a very wet one it has been - sorry all those of you in drought in Australia but the Mekong River recently reached its highest level since 1966. Thanks to very high levy banks around the city, only outer villages were flooded.

Project news

Wow September already!! Since I last wrote things have developed pretty well with all 3 local partners now having commenced their parts of the project.

In Vientiane, the Women's Union branch has completed the first set of 4 month courses in tailoring and hairdressing (27 trainees completing study) and in July opened the next 2 courses.

The evaluation of the first courses suggested some good ideas for improvement for future courses - one being additional support to the trainers. Union Aid Abroad organized with the Ministry of Education a 7 day intensive training of trainers in teaching method to help the new teachers understand better adult learning principles, lesson planning and classroom practice. This was the first of a series of trainings that all trainers in the program will receive over the next 2 years. A great success it was - and trainers have incorporated lessons from this and the Cambodia study tour in this next set of courses.

The construction is also almost complete for the new Hasaifong training centre. We have had to bargain, argue and plead to stretch the funding as far as possible - and we are almost there. So the building is finished but we are still scrounging for additional funds for painting, a perimeter fence and some equipment for the centre. I will let you know how we got on next postcard!! Anyway the Buddhist cleansing ceremony has just happened today and the big formal opening is due in November when training will start.

The Luang Pabang Province Women's Union located in the North of the country is also gearing up. In July we signed their first contract - to build 2 training rooms. They also will open the first tailoring course in November. The Province is putting in 25% of the funding for this first phase which is an indication of the priority they have for this type of project.

The third partner is the Lao Women's Union National Training Centre and they too have been busy re-designing what they want to do given the experience of Cambodia. For them the main interest is food processing - to train women and men in new ways of preserving, processing and cooking foods to both improve nutrition in families and income through selling excess supplies. To help the Training Centre develop its own group of trainers we have supported a series of train the trainer programs bringing in other institutions run through the Ministry if Education to assist. The Thai Embassy is supporting the project next week by bringing 11 trainers from Northern Thailand to conduct a 3 day train the trainer for the Lao Women's Union.

Other project gossip - an Australian TAFE teacher, Ms Shamsa Sadiq arrived last week from Perth to begin work on upgrading curriculum for the tailoring courses and help train teachers. Shamsa will also be assisting the Cambodia program in the same area.

Coming up - October/November is the next trainnig of trainers in teaching method and the opening of the 2 new centres - I'll keep you posted!!

The Union Aid Abroad Lao office (a room within the Vientiane Women's Union Building) now has 3 staff with the commencement in August of the new Project Manager Mr Khampasong. He comes to the project with many years experience as Training Co-ordinator for other international NGOs. Also after a long wait we now have project vehicles - 1 car and 2 motorbikes - just in time for the wet season!

Stop Press - Cultural Highlight

Speaking of the car arriving - a great cultural highlight of recent months was the traditional custom of the blessing of the car at the local Wat here in Vientiane. It's very important here to have a monk or village elder undertake a ceremony (called Baci) on special occasions to wish good luck, protection and safety.

On arrival of the car a lucky day on the calendar was chosen to visit the Wat designated here for vehicle blessings. We brought all those who will be driving the car, offerings in the way of drinks and food for the monk, flowers, a special bowl filled with scented water and special very long thin candles. Upstairs in the wooden hut beside the temple we climbed up to enter his room, deliver the offerings and set to in preparation. This involved taking the long thin pliable candles - and for each person present, measuring the length of their chin to waist, elbow to fingertips, distance around their head - and cutting candles off at exactly those lengths. When this is done for all those present then all candles are rolled together into one - lit - and placed over the bowl with the scented water. At the same time a ball of thick cotton is wound around the offerings, us, the monk and then through the window down around the car!! With all connected then the chanting and general delivering of luck and good will to the new car and all who travel in it begins.

Postscript - seems to be working so far...

Union Aid Abroad-APHEDA's Lao vocational project 2001-2004 is supported by AusAID and matching donations from Australian unions and individual supporters.

You can support this work in Laos by becoming a donor.

For more information please contact Alison Tate on:

(02) 9264 9343 or via Email on [email protected]

+ pic: HIV/AIDS prevention for tailoring trainees - breaking the ice with condoms!


*    Visit APHEDA

email workers to a friend printer-friendly version latest breaking news from labornet

Search All Issues | Latest Issue | Previous Issues | Print Latest Issue

© 1999-2002 Workers Online
Workers Online is a resource for the Labour movement
provided by the Labor Council of NSW
Last Modified: 15 Nov 2005

Powered by APT Solutions
Labor Council of NSW Workers Online