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December 2005   
F E A T U R E S

Interview: The Binds That Tie
Dr Don Edgar has demolished the Prime Minister's credentials as a family man.

Unions: Worth Cycling For
Pedal power joined the Your Rights At Work campaign on a 350km journey to take a message to Canberra’s politicians, wrties Phil Doyle.

Industrial: The Elephant in the Corner
Jim Marr takes a look at what the government has secreted away in the WorkChoices package, revealing what is really at stake - and what can be done about it.

Legal: A Law Unto Themselves
In this extract from the Evatt Foundation's 'State of the States' Jeff Shaw & Monika Ciolek look at the constitutional issues rasied by WorkChoices.

Politics: Ethically Lonely
At a forum in the Australian Stock Exchange sponsored by big end of town solicitors, you would expect at least one person to be in favour of John Howard’s industrial relations laws, wrties Rachael Osman-Chin.

History: Women, Unions, Banners and Parades
Trade union banners reveal more about union history than their male designers and makers intended, writes Neale Towart.

Women: Relaxed and Comfortable?
Suzanne Hammond from WEL argues there are many hidden nasties in WorkChoices for working women.

International: The Last Social Democrat
A trade union leader's victory marks beginning of class politics in Israel, wrties Eric Lee

Review: The Corpse Bride
Come to a world where decay, loss and broken dreams are everywhere - and it's not the Federal Senate.

Culture: Tony Moore Holds His Own
In his new book, Tony Moore argues that today's generation of political leaders has much to learn from Bazza McKenzie.

C O L U M N S

The Soapbox
Whitefellas - You Just Can’t Trust ‘Em.
Racial stereotyping is a bad business. That said, Graham Ring has discovered a segment of society that drinks too much, behaves unreliably and can’t seem to adapt to change. Sadly, the conclusion is inescapable…

The Locker Room
Fore!
Phil Doyle slices one into the car park.

Parliament
The Westie Wing
Ian West makes a midnight dash to Workers Online, slides his State political report under the door, then heads back to the Macquarie Street Chamber of Horrors…

E D I T O R I A L

A Free Vote
This week’s charade of the Senate amending the Howard Government’s workplace laws raises fundamental questions about the sort of democracy Australia has become.

N E W S

 Read His Lips: WorkChoices Too Much

 Joyce A Christmas Goose

 Workers Leave Boss in Tool Shed

 Costello Chokes On Asbestos Compo

 Telstra Hangs Up on Former Staff

 Bank Check on Bras

 Bill of Work Rights on Agenda

 Funny Film - Scary Message

 Sign Of the Times

 Unions Chip In for Lauren

 Company Raids Own Ship

 Activist's What's On!

L E T T E R S
 Million Mum March
 Pension Pinching
 John Bares All
 Radicalising Yoof
 Tom A World Away
WHAT YOU CAN DO
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Worth Cycling For


Pedal power joined the Your Rights At Work campaign on a 350km journey to take a message to Canberra’s politicians, wrties Phil Doyle.

Sydney bus driver Narelle Sinclair was so worried about the Howard Government's industrial relations reforms that she got on her bike and rode from Sydney to Canberra.

She was joined by over fifty other riders on the road; taking the message to the nation's capital: rights at work are worth fighting for.

Sinclair is no stranger to riding long distances for a good cause.

In May 2005, Narelle organised a bike ride from Sydney to Melbourne to raise money for CanTeen, a national support organisation for young people living with cancer.

"I have become more and more anxious about the proposed reforms to our industrial system," said Sinclair before the riders departed from Parramatta on a steamy Saturday in November. "If the Howard Government is successful in dismantling the industrial system who will them protect our conditions and who will ensure there is a fair safety net in place for Australian workers."

Battling 35 degree heat, the riders headed off for the first stage, travelling 150 kilometres on the steady climb to Moss Vale.

They were accompanied on the road by a support team in the distinctive, orange Unions NSW Your Rights At Work tour bus.

"The bus kept me honest,' says Dan Walton, who at 22 was one of the youngest riders on the tour.

"I remember riding up a hill about 80 kilometres out of Sydney and another rider came past and asked how old I was.

"When I told him I was 22 he said 'I'm 68, you'll be all right' and then he powered on past!"

For Walton, everyone helping each other out embodied the spirit of the ride. The Your Rights At Work slogan, 'Stronger Together', became a living motto shared by all the participants.

"If a rider stopped for any reason no one passed without offering help,' said Bob Carcary from the ETU. "It was a pleasure to be able to support the cause and to help d others who needed support."

"It was such a good ride I wished we could keep going,"

The riders came from a wide range of unions and occupations, including electricians, construction workers, police officers, teachers and fire fighters, even being joined by federal Labor member for Parramatta, Julie Owen.

They were greeted along the way by union activists at stopovers in Moss Vale, Goulburn and Queanbeyan and received support from passing motorists.

After four days the riders arrived at Parliament House in Canberra, where they were met by Penny Wong, a Labor Senator on the committee that examined the WorkChoices laws, Unions NSW secretary John Robertson and Bob Hayden, national president of the RTBU.

Wong told the riders the legislation would create an underclass of working poor. Maybe bicycles will becoime the preferred mode of transport for everyone.


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