Workers Online
Workers Online
Workers Online
  Issue No 18 Official Organ of LaborNet 18 June 1999  




*  Interview: Ballot Boxing
In the midst of a key anti-union ballot, the Finance Sector Union's Geoff Derrick is learning vital lessons about life in a deregulated labour market.
*  Unions: Psyched Out
Intense competition in the labour market has fuelled a new renaissance in psychometric testing.
*  History: Rhetoric and Reality
This month will be a big one for Labor Party rhetoric about the "light on the hill".
*  International: ILO Adopts Child Labor Convention
Child slavery, prostitution and hazardous work have been outlawed in Geneva
*  Legal: Competing Agendas in Enterprise Bargaining
Recent developments show unions how they can turn the Reith laws on their head.
*  Review: Sister Power
A new book offers practical help for women who want to be heard.

Jose Ramos Horta Launches the Timor Mercy Ship

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Wobbly Radio


Social Refuse: Caring in Crisis

Carers Crisis: Victims Turned Away
More than half of all community and welfare workers say they have to turn people in need away because of lack of resources, according to a survey of the industry.
[ Full Story » ]

Farmers Back Social Audit
NSW unions have found an unlikely ally in the NSW Farmers Federation who have publicly backed the call for a social audit into the allocation of budget resources across the state.
[ Full Story » ]

Holiday Bugs: Government Asked to Act on Y2K
The Labor Council will ask the Carr Government to force all employers to provide workers with print-outs of their accrued leave entitlements amidst fears the Millennium Bug could see them disappear into the ether.
[ Full Story » ]

Oakdale Miners Take Message to Canberra
Sacked Oakdale miners will rally outside Federal Parliament on Tuesday to protest laws that have left them $6.3 million out of pocket in unpaid entitlements.
[ Full Story » ]

United Front for Public Sector Pay
Public sector unions have agreed to a coordinated wages campaign for the first time amidst fears the government will slash its wages bill to fund any shortfall in the budget for the 2000 Olympics.
[ Full Story » ]

Talking Books Silenced
The future of the Royal Blind Society's talking books is under threat after the termination of four workers less than 12 months after a fundraising drive secured $1 million to improve the charity's recording studios.
[ Full Story » ]

Upper House Reform: Lest We Forget Greiner
Reforms to decrease the powers of the NSW Legislative Council could come back and haunt the labour movement if history is any guide, unions have warned.
[ Full Story » ]

Pregnancy Bunfight Looms
A CPSU survey about pregnancy and work has uncovered a disturbing amount of discrimination against pregnant women in the workplace.
[ Full Story » ]

Horta Launches East Timor Mercy Ship
Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Jose Ramos Horta speaking at the launching of the East Timor Mercy Ship yesterday accused the Indonesian military leadership of orchestrating the the violence in East Timor.
[ Full Story » ]

Sparkies Back Fantastic Plastic
Unions have backed the use of PVC plastics in the building industry dismissing environmental concerns about its use as unsubstantiated.
[ Full Story » ]

APHEDA Helps Beat The Blockade
A Cuban concert is being planned to raise money for medicine for Cuban Hospitals.
[ Full Story » ]

Torture Support Day, June 26
Amnesty International will observe the UN International Day in Support of Victims of Torture with an event at Bondi Pavillion on Saturday, June 26.
[ Full Story » ]

Letters to the Editor
  • Chardonnay Debate Lacks Class

  • GST Rally, Town Hall, Monday June 21

  • Editorial

    Dancing the Budget Jig

    Annual budgets are a timeless political ritual: the strategic leaks, the contrived negative expectations, the headline surplus/deficit of Budget Day and then the revelation weeks later that the devil really was in the detail.

    First budgets in a political cycle are even more cliched: you make it tough, set out a term-long agenda and make sure there are enough goodies in the bag for the next election.

    Workers Online doesn't know what to expect in this week's State Budget - predictions of a horror budget are now being replaced by hints of something more benign.

    What we do know is that the numbers in the Budget papers will only ever tell part of the story because they are only indicators used to describe a far more complex world.

    Where, for instance, will the real story of the declining quality of social and community services be told? While the dollar figures allocated to this sector will increase incrementally, there is no way it will keep pace with the spiralling demand caused by the ongoing impact of economic change.

    A majority of workers in the field say they are turning away people in need because of lack of resources. But where will this figure appear in the accountant's columns?

    What is becoming increasingly obvious is that annual budgets can't begin to tell the whole story of how government is performing. The term 'indicator' accepts this, but politicians seem to take it at gospel.

    Trade unions are arguing that a more comprehensive audit of the resource allocation and social needs of the state needs to be taken outside the budget cycle.

    The answers might not be pretty. We may uncover problems that require longer term strategies to address - plans that transcend a single budgetary or electoral cycle.

    It may make life harder for our policy-makers; but it is only by recognising these problems that we will we ever make sense of the complex budget process to which so much uncomprehending attention will be paid this week.

    Peter Lewis


    Soapbox Lockerroom From Trades Hall Toolshed
    Soapbox lockerroom trades hall Toolshed
    Jeff Shaw Live from the ILO Seven Sleep-Beating Tips for the World Cup Fanatic Deirdre Mahoney on the Fight for Africa Piers Goes Green?



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