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September 2004   

Interview: True Matilda
Former senior bureaucrat John Menadue coordinated the group of 43 calling for truth in government; and now he has bigger fish to fry.

Politics: State of Play
Are all political parties the same? Workers Online tries to cut through the jargon to compare the major parties' approaches to key policy areas.

Industrial: Capital Dilemmas
Public Private Partnerships amount to privatisation by stealth. Or do they? Jim Marr investigates.

Unions: Rhodes Scholars
Tim Brunero discovers how the Electrical Trades Union is doing its best to ease the national apprentice crisis.

National Focus: Rennovating the Lodge
Noel Hester previews how unions will be fighting the federal election - on the ground and online.

International: People Power
Over the next four years there is a real potential a major struggle will take place for workers´┐Ż rights and the creation of truly democratic unions in China., writes Andrew Casey

Economics: A Bit Rich
Who Gets What? Why? And So What?, Frank Stilwell reviews the BRW's Rich List

History: Mine Shafts
It's 25 years since Nymboida passed the baton to United, writes Peter Murray

Safety: Sick Of Fighting
Former RAAF engineers could be sitting on a health time bomb, Tim Brunero reports.

Organising: Building a Wave
Community groups, unions and social movements all practice organising, wrties Tony Brown and Amanda Tattersall.

Poetry: Anger In The Bush(es)
How dare any Liberal suggest that the Prime Minister is a lying rodent! Resident bard David Peetz reports on the outrage that this slur has justifiably caused.

Review: The Battle Of Algiers
Tim Brunero writes The Battle of Algiers is a coldly objective, almost scientific anatomy of revolution.

Culture: The Word On The Street
Phil Doyle reports on how the Australian working class experience lives on through the words of the remarkable Geoff Goodfellow.


The Soapbox
Hail to the Metro-Sexual!
If the cultural shift required in the workplace to give greater security to working families was broadly accepted the ACTU would not be locked in an adversarial Work and Family test case argues Sharan Burrow.

The Westie Wing
In his latest missive from Macquarie Street our resident Parliamentary commentator, Ian West, walks us through issues around the PBS.

How Bush Lost His Wings
Tracking the National Guard Career of the Fatuous Flyboy from New Haven, Jeffrey St Clair.

The Locker Room
The Name of the Game
Phil Doyle wonders whether we are barracking for the sponsor or the team.

Women to Women
APHEDA-Union Aid Abroad is working to create opportunities for Palestinian women living in Lebanese refugee camps.


Interest Overboard
A tired, ageing government tries to scare the electorate into re-electing it on the basis of a lie. Sound familiar? Yep, John Howard is going to the polls again.


 Sprung: Howard Liberal with Truth

 Yanks Demand Racism

 The Greening of Labour

 Mums Move to Ease Squeeze

 Flying Kangaroo Goes to Water

 Health Warning for Bank Robbers

 Heritage Goes to Waste

 Freespirit in Hiding

 Offensive Toilets Threaten Pupils

 Telstra Dials Workplace Acquiescence

 P-Plate Nightmare for Young

 Free Loaders on Notice

 Funny Money Raises Interest

 Privatisation Debate Energised

 Activists What's On!

 Gold Gold Gold for Neolibs
 Co-operating At All Costs
 Fan Mail
 All Good Except You
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National Focus

Rennovating the Lodge

Noel Hester previews how unions will be fighting the federal election - on the ground and online.

Do you want to drive a political stake into the part of John Howard's body where most people have a heart? Come and get the pointy wood and mallet off the ACTU Election website and get on the phones and talk to our members.

Anecdotal evidence from unions and public polling suggests that a very high proportion of union members are undecided or swinging voters.

The last general election was decided by only 7,000 voters in the key marginals. At the election before that 3,500 voters in the marginals determined the final result.

So this Federal Election campaign the ACTU and many unions are targeting contact with union members in marginal seats as an election priority. There are approximately 17,000 union members in each marginal seat. If you count union households it's closer to 30,000 voters.

Talking to our members

The ACTU's Chris Walton, who is coordinating a Member Contact program, says the challenge is to cut through the cynicism and to get union members thinking about issues that impact on them directly.

'This involves phoning members, listening and identifying their main issue and then forwarding them further information,' he says.

'In this election there is an air war - the electioneering from above through advertising and TV. Then there is the ground war in the marginal electorates. This is what wins elections.'

'It was on this terrain that the Liberals won the last two elections. But we should be killing them on this ground when we have an army of organisers, delegates and members with the capacity for direct contact with the public.'

The ACTU has produced a series of Federal Election Union Marginal Seat Kits to aid this type of union campaigning during the election.

Workplace Kit one outlines the techniques of member phoning. The second emphasises workplace campaigning and the third direct mail.

'When we are phoning members we are getting 90% of respondents agreeing to participate because we have a direct relationship with them. Members welcome the call. They're rapt to hear from the union and they confirm that the burning issues out there are health and education and work,' says Chris Walton.

'On average 24% are swinging voters which provide us with an opportunity to make a difference.'

The ACTU Federal Election Union Marginal Seat Kit kits are available from:

Greg Iverson

03 9664 7359

[email protected]

Chris Walton

03 9664 7362

[email protected]

Online Election Resources

The ACTU has set up an election website that will serve as a resource centre for any unionist and activist who would like to see regime change in Australia in the coming election.

Among many other things you will find fact sheets on Work, Education, Health, and Work and Family that can be downloaded off the site for distribution and discussion.

The site contains a tools and resources area with a good quality leaflets, posters, stickers, postcards and facts sheets from unions that have experience and credibility on issues that are pivotal in this election particularly education and health.

There is also background information for those who like to know all the nitty gritty on the big issues, the latest election news in the union movement and valuable links to other election sites.

In the next week or so we'll also be starting up a Target Talkback with some ideas about how to get union issues on the airwaves and some direct emails with sharp questions to be sent to the pollies.

ACTU Election Hotline and Childcare Phone-in

The ACTU has also launched an Election Hotline on 1300 362 223. This phone poll will hear union members' views on the critical issues affecting working people and their families. The ACTU call centre is also conducting a Childcare Phone-in 1300 362 223 - to gauge public opinion on the key childcare issues resonating in the community.

For More Information

For more information about getting involved in the Member Contact program or about general election information contact the State Union Coordinators:

ACTU - Noel Hester 03 96647327 [email protected]

Chris Walton 03 96647362 [email protected]

VIC - Chris Clarke 0407 307 007 [email protected]

NSW- Mark Lennon 02 92641691 [email protected]

QLD-Chris Barrett 07 38462468 [email protected]

WA-Jim Mellor 08 9228 5904 [email protected]

SA-Janet Giles 08 82123155 [email protected]

TAS -Lynne Fitzgerald 03 62349553 [email protected]


*    Visit the ACTU

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