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November 2002   

Interview: Life After Keating
Labor's foreign affairs spokesman Kevin Rudd looks at the world and wonders what might have been ...

Industrial: That Friday Feeling
Anthony Stavropoulos has been working six days a week for the last eight years and now he wants his weekends back. �Remember that Friday feeling?� he asks. �You just don�t get that anymore.�

Bad Boss: Begging to Work
They may put themselves about as the Saints of the Fourth Estate, but bosses at the Big Issue Magazine have been nominated by their own vendors for this month�s Tony award.

Organising: Project Pilbara
Sydney University�s Bradon Ellem reports on how unions are bouncing back in Rio territory

Unions: Off the Rails
The Federal Government is attempting to turn NSW Railways into a political football with a proposal that threatens the safety of freight and passenger trains in NSW and life in our rail Towns, writes Phil Doyle.

International: Brazil Turns Left
Union stalwarts throughout the American hemisphere are cheering the election of Lula � the peanut seller and shoeshine boy, turned union leader - who has been elected as the first working-class President of Brazil.

Environment: Brown Wash
Stuart Rosewarn argues the Johannesburg Sunmmit was a gripping showcase of Australia�s lack of a strategic vision.

History Special: Learning from the Past
Ray Markey looks at union membership growth in the 1880s & 1900s to argue that today�s unions must engage to grow.

Corporate: Will the Bullying Backfire?
Job insecurity, unemployment, a growing gap between rich and poor, massive global poverty and environmental danger are the big issues for the protests at the World Trade Organisation meeting in Sydney.

Technology: Danger Lurks For The Passive
If unions fail to exploit opportunities on the web to gain members, other organisations are likely to fill the void and provide services to workers on the internet.

History: In Labour�s Image
Neale Towart looks at a long-overdue initiative to around NSW through the eyes of the workers.

Politics: Without Power Or Glory
South Coast contributor Rowan Cahill gives his take on the Cunningham by-election result.

History Special: A 'Cosy Relationship'
Barbara Webster looks at Rockhampton between 1916 � 1957 to debunk the �dependence� theory of trade union growth.

Culture: Blood Stains the Wattle
Former Queensland Treasurer Keith De Lacey has turned up in print with a rollicking tale of life during the famous Mt Isa strike of the 60s.

Satire: Iraq Pre-empts Pre-emptive Strike
Saddam Hussein has launched a pre-emptive strike on the United States to prevent it from pre-emptively striking Iraq first.

Poetry: The Executive Pay Cut
Executives accepting pay freezes, or even pay cuts? This outrageous proposal has been put on the table by some capitalists themselves, and taken up by our bard.

Review: Time Out
When a family man invents a new life after losing his steady job, Tara de Boehmler watches his charade escalate until there is no turning back.


Month In Review
War and Pieces of Work
The Bali Tragedy dominated the news this month, leaving many questioning the motive and wondering if this is fallout from Australia�s unquestioning support of George Dubya�s �War On Terror�.

The Soapbox
Beware of Greeks Bearing Historical Allusions
Roland Stephens argues that the current popular line that the USA is a modern day version of the Roman Empire is flawed.

The Locker Room
Over The Fence Is Out
Phil Doyle warms up for another season of hard hitting and fast bowling in the park, making the rules up as he goes along.

The Sea of Hands
Australians for Native Title and Reconciliation are five years old. Spokeswoman Dameeli Coates addressed labor Council to mark the event.

Tokyo Youth Call
Tokyo unions are relying on young organisers to infiltrate workplaces as part of a major organising campaign, which focuses on non-unionised companies, reports Mary Yaager.

Still Crazy After All These Years
With new research suggests CEO carry similar personality traits to psycho-paths, the AGM season is proving that there�s little room for logic in our nation�s board rooms.


Why The User Should Pay
Unions have often been the victims of the user-pays ethos � the pointy end of the assault on the State by the Top End of Town that has left our public sector looking like the poor relation to the corporates.


 Bargaining Fees In the Dock

 Deadly �Slave Labour� Racket Exposed

 Zoo Workers Buck Indecent Proposal

 Cabinet Takes Stick To Abbott's Carrot

 Cyber Action Behind Hilton Win

 Aussies Back On Board

 City Workers To Help Country Cousins

 Sour Taste for Wine Workers

 Government Grounds Ansett Levy

 TAB Workers Winners as Cup Strike Averted

 Aussie Post Gets Mail On Sick Leave

 Council Backs Community Radio Venture

 First Steps to Compo Clean-Up

 Workers Out! Conference Opens In Sydney

 Aussie Union Rep Power, Yes Please: TUC

 New Burma Shame File

 Activists Notebook

 Trashing the Siren Theory
 More Bali Feed Back
 Clean Election Laws Now!
 And Now, Some Fan Mail!
 Policy Vacuum
 Tom's Postscript
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Still Crazy After All These Years

With new research suggests CEO carry similar personality traits to psycho-paths, the AGM season is proving that there�s little room for logic in our nation�s board rooms.

When Psychos Go To Work

Psychologists probing the wave of corporate crime in America have noticed a trend that may not surprise many workers: the boss could well be a psychopath.

Researchers say psychopaths and chief executives tend to share many personality traits - in particular an ability to appear plausible and attract followers while at the same time hiding low self-esteem. Robert Hare, of the University of British Columbia, one of the leading experts on psychopathic behaviour, thinks boardrooms are full of people who have what he calls "charisma without conscience". "If I couldn't study psychopaths in prison, I would go down to the stock exchange," he says. Along with Paul Babiak, he is working on a book with the tentative title, Snakes in suits: When psychos go to work. Dr Babiak and Dr Hare say some of the traits most admired by corporations suit the profile of the average psychopath. "They tend to have a facade of charm that is very effective in ingratiating themselves with people in power and which hides their anti-social tendencies," says Dr Babiak. Psychopaths tend to be arrogant, short-tempered, manipulative, deceitful, lacking in empathy and remorse, and with a need for self-aggrandisement while apparently being "rational"(Source: London Telegraph)

Harvey Norman Boss Takes Pay Cut

Well, his peers probably label him as mad, but retail king Gerry Harvey took a $100,000 pay cut last financial year, preferring to give money to charity. The Harvey Norman Holdings Ltd chairman cut his pay to just $149,904 in 2001/02 compared with $250,400 the previous year, according to the company's annual report. The 62-year-old quipped the reason was because he's "friggin hopeless". "I take about a quarter, to a fifth, to an eighth of what everyone else in my position in the country pays themselves," he said. "Surely I'm the shining light here of what should happen. "I'm pretty unique I think." (Source: AAP).

Millions Rain on Coles's Top Dogs

Over at Coles, as the board and CEO threaten to delve into all out warfare, at least they can reach agreement on their own remuneration. Coles Myer paid its top seven executives just over $13 million in salary and other benefits last year and doled out a further $5.5 million when it cut ties with former chief executive Dennis Eck. As well, three new executives who were headhunted from North American retailers and now run the Kmart, Target and Myer Grace Bros businesses, were granted options valued at more than $8.4 million. One of the Americans, Dawn Robertson, who started at Myer Grace Bros in May, received $1.46 million for less than two months work. (Source: SMH)

ANZ Bucks Trend on Executive Options

ANZ Bank will continue issuing options to its executives, in contrast to the stampede of companies abandoning them as a form of remuneration. ANZ will, however, amend its options policy to ensure rewards are distributed only if the bank outperforms peer bank stocks, not a general market rally. "The stock price has to go up and we have to outperform for these to have value," chief executive John McFarlane says. The bank also disclosed the cost to shareholders from its options and share grant schemes to executives and employees at $44 million, including $7 million for its top executives. However, it stopped short of expensing the cost against its record $2.322 billion annual net profit because of the lack of accounting guidance. (Source: SMH)

DVT Options Need Proxy Support

Meanwhile, DVT, previously known as Davnet, encountered a few more bumps on the road to fiscal recovery, with shareholders taking exception to executive options packages resulting from its merger with Utility Services Corporation (USC). DVT, an online storage provider, held the meeting to pass the final resolutions concerning its $65 million merger with USC, a solutions provider with interests in the utilities and e-business area. The new company will be called UXC.

Gratitude for the directors' role in pulling DVT from the brink of liquidation, and turning it into what is forecast to be a profitable merged entity with $150 million in annual revenues, did not extend to agreement on performance hurdles on the option plan for UXC's directors. Giles Edwards, from the Australian Shareholders Association, applauded the directors for "pulling some chestnuts out of the fire instead of liquidating" but said the options plans did not pass the test for transparency and clarity. The majority of shareholders at the meeting voted against the resolution, but it was passed on proxy votes. (Source: SMH)

Execs Lose $2.7b in Value of Options

Some justice though in revelations that shaky sharemarket conditions have slashed about $2.7 billion from the value of executive option packages over the past 15 months, according to a newspaper survey. The survey, by the Australian Financial Review, found half of the 705 million options issued by 24 of the nation's biggest companies were under water by $1.1 billion in mid-September. The AFR said the survey underlined the uncertain future for options packages. Options packages had a total exercise cost of $7 billion, which was the price executives would pay to convert them into full paid shares with the current value of $7.6 billion, the report said. These prices were a far cry from June 2001, when the market value of the same options was $9.4 billion, it said.

APRA Doubles Probes

Evidence that the craziness is spreading? The Australian Prudential Regulation Authority stepped up its enforcement in 2001-02, investigating twice as many financial institutions as it had in the previous financial year. The number of financial institutions - including banks, general insurers and super funds - investigated for fraud, tax avoidance or as a result of general business failure rose from 96 in 2000-01 to 199 in 2001-02, APRA's annual report showed. APRA's improved vigilance follows sharp criticism of its performance in the previous year when it failed to prevent the collapse of HIH Insurance, the biggest crash in Australia's corporate history. It was also criticised for failing to detect the corporate misbehaviour that saw thousands of retirees lose their retirement nest eggs with the demise of Commercial Nominees Australia Limited. (Source: SMH)

Argentina Considers Taking Our Nuclear Waste

But if we think we're crazy, look across the Pacific to Argentina, which has moved a step closer to accepting spent nuclear fuel from the new Sydney research reactor, after a political committee voted in favour of the plan. It has taken almost a year, but overnight the foreign affairs committee of the Argentine Congress voted in favour of accepting Australian spent nuclear fuel. By a margin of two to one, the committee approved the nuclear treaty with Australia that has been stalled since last November. The decision paves the way for a final vote in the coming weeks by the 256-member Chamber of Deputies. If passed, the treaty will allow the Australian Government to ask Argentina to oversee treatment of spent fuel from the new reactor, before waste is returned to Australia for long-term storage. (Source: ABC)


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