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Issue No. 204 21 November 2003  

Holes in the Net
The Medicare debate may be clouded by the minutae of the health delivery system, but it really boils down to an old-fashioned ideological battle between user-pays and state responsibility.


Interview: Union for the Dispossessed
The Welfare Rights Centre's Michael Raper on 20 years of activism, the politics of punishment and how to make Australia egalitarian again.

Unions: Joel's Law
Building Workers have overcome powerful forces to push workplace safety back up the national agenda. But, Jim Marr writes, their "success" has come at an unacceptable cost.

National Focus: Spring Carnival
It must be spring: punting in Victoria, singing in South Australia, fighting in America. It’s all there in the national wrap from Noel Hester plus an Australian union movement rugby world cup class consciousness poll.

Bad Boss: Fina and Fiends
They sacked the job delegate, reinstated him after an IRC hearing, and sacked him again two weeks later. But that was just the beginning.

Industrial: The Price of War
Mass industrial action is brewing in Israel as the policies of the right-wing Sharon Government come home to roost, writes Andrew Casey.

Economics: Who's Got What
Frank Stilwell pours over the latest BRW Rich List to build a picture of the increasing gap between the haves and have-nots.

History: Containing Discontent
Racism against minorities has always been a stock in trade of politicans, writes Phil Griffiths

Review: An Honourable Wally
Most Australians probably look at our politicians and feel they could do a better job but when redundant meatworker Wally Norman gets the chance to find out he realises getting elected is a major hurdle, writes Tara de Boehmler.

Poetry: The Colours of Discontent
A thousand blossoms bloomed during the US President's spring-time colonial visit last month.


 US Giant Attacks Aussies

 Exposed – OEA in Kids Scandal

 Left-Right Flattens Abigroup

 ANZ Cops Fine Over Robbers

 Classroom Stoush Gets Personal

 Seven Workers Pass "Intelligence" Test

 Stop Press: Coal Strike

 Nurses: MedicarePlus Points to America

 ‘Joel’s Law’ Gathers Momentum

 Skilled Picketers Confront Patrick’s

 Yahoo Censors Union Ad

 Labor’s Cotter Court ‘Faking’ It

 TAFE Puts Best Foot Forward

 Wharfies, Actors, Seafarers Unite

 Debus Gives Up On Lawyers Picnic

 Nelson Backdown Not Enough

 Online Pay Check



The Soapbox
Bush's Faith-Filled Life
The President's conversion, 'sense of divine calling' and struggle with sobriety are subjects of a forthcoming book, writes Bill Berkowitz

The Not So Smart Money
Phil Doyle is sick of big money ruining grass roots sport, and he’s taking his bat and going home.

The Westie Wing
The ongoing challenge for Labor members of parliament is to make what the Premier calls the ‘creative partnership’ between the Government and the union movement a reality, writes our favourite MP Ian West.

Behind the Junta
Saw Min Lwin, Secretary for Trade Union Rights/ Human Rights for the Federation of Trade Unions Burma (FTUB), outlines the struggle for workers in his country.

 Jack Lives Here
 Saving Jobs
 Public Transport A Bit Rich
 The Smirker
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Exposed – OEA in Kids Scandal

The Office of the Employment Advocate has pulled a page from its "youthserve" website after being rumbled pushing AWAs to schoolkids off the back of a company that went bust, denying redundancy to most of its staff.

Workers Online blew the whistle after the Federal Government’s Employment Advocate, Jonathan Hamberger, wrote to every secondary school in Australia promoting non-union individual contracts to school leavers.

Hamberger told principals to make school leavers aware of his "youthserve" site that featured a 21-year-old Tasmanian spruiking AWAs.

Justin Hill advised school leavers that an AWA would take them "one step further than the state or federal award and may contain clauses specific to your individual workplace."

He said, as a young employee, he enjoyed an "equal" relationship with management at Antarctic Adventure, Hobart.

Alongside colour photos of himself interacting with penguins, Hill told young websurfers his AWA offered a career structure. "I have had the opportunity to move up the ranks allowing me to get where I am today," he said.

What the OEA failed to point out was that, today, Hill is down the road at Hobart's Corus Hotel, working under the terms and conditions of a state award because Antarctic Adventures ceased operations less than five months after the OEA chose to champion its employment policies.

When Workers Online rang Antarctic Adventure we were told the company had gone "bust", closing its doors on October 10, and, under the terms of its AWAs, paid redundancy to only seven of the 19 predominantly young people it had employed.

The story exposing the Antarctic Adventure fallacy went up on Workers Online, last Friday. This week, without any explanation, the OEA removed "Up Close and Personal with Justin Hill" from its site.

Now when readers click "Case Study" on the homepage they are told "this site is under construction - go back to the OEA Youth Services homepage".

Workers Online checked out the Youthserve site after Nimbin teacher, Phil Roberts, alerted the public to Hamberger's co-option of the secondary school system, describing his letter as a "blatant example" of the Howard Government agenda "premeating schools".

The letter went to 2500 principals, courtesy of the taxpayer. It touted individual contracts, which have stripped conditions and as much as $10,000 a year off individual workers, as the future for school leavers.

It only promoted AWAs and did not even mention the possibility that school leavers could be employed on collective contracts.

The Howard Government sold AWAs on the basis of "choice" but Hamberger concedes, on the Youthserve site, that school leavers can be forced to accept an AWA as a condition of employment.


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