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Issue No. 184 27 June 2003  
E D I T O R I A L

To the Victors The Spoils
Revelations that private American lawyers, rather than the ILO, will rewrite the labour laws of countries levelled by the American military vindicate the warnings of those concerned by US unilateralism.

F E A T U R E S

History: Nest of Traitors
Rowan Cahill uncovers a ripping yarn that could redefine the way we look at Australian involvement in World War II.

Interview: A Nation of Hope
Former PM Bob Hawke bemoans the demise of industrial relations but takes heart from the prospect of peace in the Middle East

Unions: National Focus
Noel Hester reports on a soap star rebellion, Howard’s plans to renuclearise South Australia, more historical atrocities in the north, the redundancy test case plus more in the monthly national wrap.

Safety: The Shocking Truth
It’s every power worker’s worst nightmare – and it happened to Adrian Ware. In a flash of voltage, his life changed forever, as Jim Marr reports.

Tribute: A Comrade Departed
From Prime Ministers to wharfies, the labour movement paid tribute to Tas Bull this week. Jim Marr was among them.

History: Working Bees
Neale Towart looks at a group of workers who got sacked so their boss could keep making the Bomb.

Education: The Big Picture
The NTEU’s Dr Mike Donaldson and Tony Brown join all the dots in the current debate around higher eduction.

International: Static Labour
Ray Marcelo argues there’s another side to the recent furore over Telstra’s use of cheap Indian IT contractors.

Economics: Budget And Fudge It
Frank Stilwell argues that Peter Costello’s latest budget plumbs fiscal policy to new depths.

Technology: Google and Campaigning
Labourstart’s Eric Lee argues the latest weapon for campaigning could be the humble search engine.

Review: Secretary With A Difference
Looking for a new job can be hard enough, without having to worry about sadomasochistic bosses and the threat of being spanked for forgetting to cross your ‘t’s, says Tara de Boehmler.

Poetry: The Minimale
The Labor Party leadership is in the news again, inspiring our resident bard David Peetz to song

Satire: Howard Calls for Senate to be Replaced by Clap-O-Meter
John Howard released a controversial policy statement today, arguing that the Senate be abolished in favour of a device measuring noise from the gallery of the House of Representatives.

N E W S

 Rail Chaos Looms

 Electrolux Blows Fuse at Fundraiser

 ACM Loosens Handcuff on Democracy

 Sick Call on Mum’s Job

 Now For Industrial Shock and Awe

 Brian Miller – Working Class Hero

 Dynamite: Howard Handout for Rorters

 Family Case to Nurture Mothers

 Militants Lock Out Another 600

 Tipping the Turtle – Fijian Style

 Carr Goes Private

 Wages Blemish Sound Budget

 Westie Takes On Westfield ‘Hypocrisy’

 Eleventh Hour Reprieve for Women's Centre

 Activist Notebook

C O L U M N S

Politics
It’s Our Party
Long time union watcher Nicholas Way looks at the changing dynamics between the industrial and political wings of the labour movement.

The Soapbox
Grass Roots
In his Maiden Speech, new MP Tony Burke argues that the ALP’s union links are nothing to be ashamed of.

Media
Opinion Forming Down Under
Evan Jones condemns the mainstream’s media coverage of the War on Iraq and the damage it is doing to our national psyche.

The Locker Room
Location, Re-Location!
It’s all fun and games until someone loses a club, writes Phil Doyle

L E T T E R S
 In Defence of Cuba
 The Story in General
 Thinking of America
WHAT YOU CAN DO
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News

Family Case to Nurture Mothers

By Carly Knowles

A working mum forced to quit her job after having a baby has welcomed a ground-breaking test case to improve parental leave launched this week by the ACTU.

Drita Mujovic says if the Test Case succeeds, women like her would be able to return to jobs they held before taking maternity leave on a part-time basis.

Mujovic had to leave her employment of over four years because she couldn't get part-time work after her maternity leave.

"I think they're really good changes," Drita says. "They've been a long time coming. I'm surprised that the changes have to be made. I think they're changes we should have a right to."

The ACTU's Work and Family Test Case proposes giving fulltime employees returning from parental leave the right to part-time work, and extending parental leave from 12 to 24 months.

ACTU President Sharan Burrow says women are currently offered their old full-time job after 12 months off, but women wanting part time work often have no choice but casual jobs without any leave entitlements.

"The test case has been launched to provide greater job security and reduce the career disadvantage experienced by many women," Burrow says.

Sixty per cent of full time mothers would prefer part time work to give them more time for family commitments, according to the Australian Institute of Family Studies.

Mujovic, is one of them. With a 10-month-old boy, she says not getting part-time work causes not just financial pressures but "other pressures too".

"Your independence is gone. You're this person who's constantly a mum. Not that I don't like being a mum - it's not about that - it's about being able to choose."

The ACTU argues that 12 months is not long enough unpaid leave with 80 per cent of workers of prime childbearing age supporting extended unpaid parental leave from 12 months to 24 months".

Mujovic thinks this change would be "fantastic". She says that it's best to get children to the age where you can better understand what they want. "I've always said that if you can get your child to the age where they can tell you how they're feeling about it [going back to work], then it's better for the child", she says.

Rachel Manns, a full-time working mum thinks that the changes would be beneficial to her family life. She says "I might take a bit more" time off after the birth of her second child who is due in January if she was offered the 24 months. After her first child was born, she had to go back to work after six weeks due to financial pressures, but would have preferred to stay at home to care for her child.

Other proposed changes include eight weeks simultaneous unpaid parental leave for both parents, giving fathers an opportunity to care for mum and new baby. Currently, dads have just one week leave.

An extra six weeks unpaid annual leave is also proposed so that parents can spend more time with their children during school holidays. Flexible working hours to incorporate childcare times and school pickups and drop offs and the right to "reasonable" unpaid emergency leave will also be incorporated in the test case.

Manns' mother-in-law currently looks after 2-year-old Amber when she gets sick, but Mann indicates that it would be good to have the flexibility to take the emergency leave so that she can care for her child if she needs to. "yeah, it would really help", she says.


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