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February 2005   

Economics: Super Seduction
Sharks are circling your super. From July 1, banks and financial planners will have access to the nesteggs of an extra four million workers.

Interview: Bono and Me
ACTU Sharan Burrow lifts the lid on the rock star lifestyle of an international union leader.

Unions: The Eight Hour Day and the Holy Spirit
Rowan Cahill bucks conventional wisdom to argue the eight-hour day began in Sydney.

Economics: OEC-Who?
The OECD calls for more reform. But, Asks Neale Towart, who is really doing the calling?

Technology: From Widgets to Digits
How can unions grow and continue to successfully represent workers when their traditional structures are rooted in an industry, craft or fixed location?

Education: Dumb and Dumber
Unions are leading the fight against a political agenda that does away with smart jobs.

Health: No Place for the Young
The support of union members is required to help get young people out of nursing homes, writes Mark Robinson

History: The Work-In That Changed a Nation
February 17 marks 30-years to the day that sacked coal miners at the NSW Northern District Nymboida Colliery began their historic work-in at the mine.

Review: Dare to Win
The history of the militant and often controversial BLF is as surprising as it is fascinating writes Tim Brunero.

Poetry: Labor's Dreaming
With another change at the helm of the Labor Party, our resident bard, David Peetz, can't help but dreamily drawing on some political history.


Titanic Forces
There are book reviewers who have not read the book they have just reviewed and there are critics who have criticised films they have not yet seen. I want to review a novel that has not yet been written.

The Soapbox
Labour and Labor
Grant Bellchamber looks at the relationship between both sides organised labour

Aussie Unions Help Tsunami Victims
The union movement�s aid agency reports back on its relief effort in Asia.

The Locker Room
Game, Set and Yawn
Phil Doyle asks if tennis is evil or just boring

The Westie Wing
As a reshuffle of the State Ministry settles in and the Federal Government throws down the gauntlet, 2005 promises to be a new and vital chapter in the struggle for workers and their families, writes Ian West in Macquarie Street.


Polar Shifts
And so Workers Online makes our belated return to 2005 - and while we may have the same old familiar faces in Federal Parliament, politically, it�s a whole new ball game.


 Plastic Man Crosses the Line

 Taskforce Loses "Payback" Evidence

 Court Out � Again

 Blue Chips Fried in CBD

 Bosses Duck Decapitation

 Computer Driven Posties

 Stalking Horses in Safety Stampede

 Low Blow in Ferry Blue

 Howard "Unbalanced"

 Picketers Chase Millions

 Whistleblower Beats Bullies

 Mateship Shines Through

 Queensland Marks Power Grab

 Vale Laurie Aarons 1917-2005

 Nelson's Double Standard
 Morals Beat Hasty Retreat
 Uncounted Cost Of Asbestos
 Voting Farce Expands
 I Beg To Differ
 Politics Smolitics
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No Place for the Young

The support of union members is required to help get young people out of nursing homes, writes Mark Robinson

Every day on average in Australia a young person with a disability goes to live in an aged care facility.

Its a shocking figure made worse by the fact that some of these people are younger than 10 years of age. The reason they are forced to accept a bed in an aged care facility is due to the lack of alternative accommodation to address their high or complex care needs.

Many of these young people have sustained catastrophic injuries in situations where compensation isn't available. Some have developed degenerative neurological diseases, such as Multiple Sclerosis, Parkinson's Disease and Muscular dystrophy.

At the current rate of entry there will be over 10,000 young people living in aged care facilities by 2007.

One organisation, the National Alliance of Young People in Nursing Homes (YPINH) is leading the fight to stop this flood of people into aged care and to find alternative accommodation and care for them.

But the struggle is made harder by the fact that no records are kept by the Federal Government documenting which facilities these young people are living.

YPINH is calling for union members across the country who know of a young person in an aged care facility or facing the possibility to urge them and their family to get in touch with the alliance. (See contacts below)

Dr Bronwyn Morkham from YPINH explains: "Often people who find themselves trapped in a nursing home do not have the support network that they need to help them get out.

"It is an incredibly difficult job for families and the young people themselves to try and push their case when you have the bureaucratic maze of both the state and federal governments to negotiate in the area.

"One of the problems with aged care is that people who are there tend to get left alone. If no-one is taking up their case the chances of them getting out are very slim.

"These young people deserve to not be hidden away and forgotten but to have a chance to return to the community.

"It is an inappropriate place for young people to be cared for. Staff in many facilities do their absolute best to care for them but the therapy and treatment they often require as well as the social activities are just not available. Nursing homes are for people in the last years of their lives not in the prime of their lives."

The Health Services Union is supporting YPINH in its efforts to get young people out of nursing homes. HSU national secretary Craig Thomson said members working in aged care facilities would like nothing better than to see young people allowed to move to more approriate accommodation.

"It is hard for staff as well because they feel like they don't have the time or the expertise to give these young people they type of care they require," he said.

"It makes no sense and it is deeply concerning that more is not done by the state and federal government to provide alternative accommodation."

Vicky Smith, 34, who lives in a nursing home in Ballarat in Victoria is just one of the thousands of young people who do not want to live in an aged care facility.

She has been in a nursing home since she was 17, a year after she suffered a brain injury in a car accident. It has been a frustrating and at times deeply depressing experience for Vicky, separated from her family and people her own age and surrounded instead by the dying elderly.

Despite the isolation and the obstacles she faces, Vicky has been waging a campaign for a special facility in the area where young disabled people can live together.

"I think that all people that are either mentally or physically handicapped should have their own special accommodation (and) not put into old people's homes," she wrote in her submission to the current Senate inquiry into aged care.

People who have information about a young person living in a nursing home or who want to get in touch with Young People in Nursing Homes can call (03) 94825655 or email Bronwyn Morkham at [email protected]. More information about the alliance can be obtained at


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