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Issue No. 204 21 November 2003  
E D I T O R I A L

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.

F E A T U R E S

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.

N E W S

 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

 Activists

C O L U M N S

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

Sport
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.

Politics
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.

Postcard
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.

L E T T E R S
 Jack Lives Here
 Saving Jobs
 Public Transport A Bit Rich
 The Smirker
WHAT YOU CAN DO
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News

Classroom Stoush Gets Personal


NSW school teachers have turned on Education Minister Andrew Refshauge, accusing him of dogging a pre-election promise not to denigrate the profession.

A wave of meetings across the state have condemned the Carr Government for arguing that teachers have not delivered improved value for their work in recent years before the NSW Industrial Relations Commission.

Lawyers for the government have spent the week cross-examining teachers and education experts to challenge their contribution to the profession.

In contrast Catholic employers have formally accepted that teachers in their system, whose work practices are closely aligned to those of public teachers, are delivering improved value through their work.

Teachers across the NSW public school system are dismayed by state government attempts to devalue their profession before the IRC - despite a pledge not to do so prior to the last state election.

The IRC is hearing the pay case with the Teachers Federation seeking a rise of 25 per cent to be phased in over two years.

Before the election, the NSW Government claimed that the only grounds it would argue against the teachers pay claim would be on the government's ability to pay.

But with the emergence of a substantial budget surplus, the government is resorting to arguing against the 'work value' of teachers.

Professor Bill Mitchell from Newcastle University this week gave evidence to the IRC comparing the earnings of teachers with comparable public and private sector professionals. He identified a shortfall in teacher salaries and status compared with other professionals.

Teachers Federation president Maree O'Halloran says the Premier has refused to guarantee that funding to public schools and TAFE colleges will be maintained.

"Despite requests we have been unable to meet with the Premier to discuss this issue," she says.

Teachers across the state have been taking industrial action this month in support of their pay claim, with schools in the Hunter valley, western Sydney and the mid-north coast stopping work.

Teachers Federation members at Wauchope High School passed a unanimous motion of no confidence in the Minister for Education, Dr Refshauge.

"His continued denigration of teachers and the teaching profession is crucifying Public Education and we call for his immediate replacement," said the Wauchope teachers. "We will support a Minister who aims to promote and advance Public Education and understands the demands of teaching."


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