The Official Organ of LaborNET
click here to view the latest edition of Workers Online
The Official Organ of LaborNET
Free home delivery
October 2005   

Interview: Under Fire
Michael Crosby outlines his agenda to save the movement � and explains why Australians have nothing to fear from the SEIU.

Politics: And the Winners Are ...
Wal King, Allan Moss, Roger Corbett, Chip Goodyear, Michael Chaney and David Murray have lots in common, writes Jim Marr.

Industrial: Un-Australian
Labour lawyer Clive Thompson argues the changes to IR are fundamentally at odds with the national tradition of consesensus.

Economics: The Common Wealth
As the policy wonks debate the future of our cities, Neale Towart mounts a simple argument: It�s the real people in a society, stupid

History: Walking for Justice
The Eight Hour Day, a very Australian celebration, had its origins in New Zealand it seems, writes Neale Towart.

International: Deja Vu
A group of trade unions have walked away from America's peak council, again. Labourstart's Eric Lee was there.

Legal: The Rights Stuff
Terror laws have sparked a fresh debate on a Bill of Rights - and workers have a bigger stake than ever before, writes Rachael Osman-Chin.

Review: That Cinderella Fella
Russell trades the phone for mitts in an inspiring cinematic slug-fest. Nathan Brown is ringside

Poetry: Is Howard Kidding?
Mel Cheal asks who Howard thinks he is kidding to the tune of the �Dad�s Army� theme song.


The Soapbox
No Place For A Woman!
Doreen Borrow spoke to the Public Service Association�s women�s conference in September about her experiences of working life that span seven decades.

North By Northwest
Phil Doyle returns from up north, where he survived on nothing but goodwill, good people and a great big orange bus.

The Locker Room
In which Whatsisname slams the recent poor form of Thingummyjig.

The Westie Wing
Our favourite MP, Ian West MLC, gets all casual in his latest missive from the Bear Pit.


Age of Consent
After more than five years of debating, cajoling and at times pleading, NSW workers have secured a set of cyber work rights worth celebrating.


 Secret Policemen's Balls-Up

 Centrelink Breaches Cyber Law

 Examiner Pulps Cadet

 Food Truck Flattens Woman

 Will They Know It's Christmas?

 Death By Nestle

 Taskforce On Safety Charges

 Archbishop Preaches End Of Civilisation

 Union Drives Tassie Train

 PM Cold on Lunch Date

 Seafarers Scupper Sell Off

 Fraser Terror-fied

 Tribute to HT Lee

 Activist's What's On!

 Rat�s Army
 Kev's Confusion
 Make Ads Not Law
 Nice One, Workers!
 Dog Eat Dog
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



The Rights Stuff

Terror laws have sparked a fresh debate on a Bill of Rights - and workers have a bigger stake than ever before, writes Rachael Osman-Chin.


Unless you had forty of your rudest mates over to watch the Bathurst 1000 on telly, odds are the police didn't knock on your door last weekend.

And unless you have turned your kitchen into a drug lab, odds are the police didn't search your house. Or track your movements for the last year.

And even if you have been running a major credit card scam from your spare room, you are allowed to have a lawyer present and tell your mum where you are when the police drag you in for questioning.

And unless you are... well, absolutely no one in Australia has ever been lawfully detained for two weeks with out being charged with anything.

But all of this is about to change.

The Government has asked the Australian public to trust it with police powers of the type never seen before in this country, even though observers say they are reminiscent of police powers in Apartheid South Africa.

No one in their right mind wants murderous fanatics on the loose. While bombs go off and Jemaah Islamiah is free to flourish in Jakarta, things are not great.

Bespectacled types talking about the civil liberties of those suspected of terrorism may irritate those who choose to see life for themselves rather than read about it in a book.

But if you think the Government's new laws will preserve your way of life, think again.

People who just happen to work on construction sites are already subject to secret interrogations due to new laws introduced by the Government in August. These are ordinary Australians who the union hating Government have already pushed out of the normal justice system.

And there is nothing to suggest that even more average Australians won't be sucked into Howard's police state due to the new terrorism laws.

The problem is, no one knows what a terrorist looks like. Is it someone who has a beard and wears robes or is it someone who has blond hair and wears a flanny, like David Hicks?

The cleverest terrorists, like any successful criminal, are the ones who don't draw attention to themselves. Letting a bomb off in a shopping centre is a lot easier if you look like an average shopper.

Under the new terrorism laws police will be able to detain terror suspects as young as 16 for up to a fortnight without charge and control their movements through court orders. Police will also be able to keep suspects under house arrest and given stronger powers to stop and search people in transport hubs and mass gatherings such as sporting events and rallies. These are in addition to very broad detention powers given to ASIO in 2003.

But as more bombs go off and people die, as they almost certainly will, what happens next?

When the busy body down the street dobs you in to police for keeping strange hours or having too many bags of fertilizer, civil rights mean there is no way police can lock you up for a fortnight on no grounds whatsoever while they work their way through the tens, hundreds or even thousands of tips from an increasing paranoid public.

But the Government is going to let that happen.

It doesn't take an encyclopaedic knowledge of Robert Mugabe's or Pinochet's regimes to know that the ability for police to question people the government doesn't like without anyone else, including family, knowing where that person is must be very, very strictly controlled if a society is to remain free. Even without the latest set of terrorism laws, ASIO already has that power.

It will be a sad day when civil liberties are no longer a hot topic for history buffs alone.


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