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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

Nelson Backdown Not Enough


A backdown by the Federal Education Minister, Dr Brendan Nelson, does not go far enough according to academics.

The National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU) believes proposed changes to the Higher Education Support Bill 2003 do not address any of the major issues that need to be dealt with.

Nelson's legislation, which includes tying funding for universities to a harsh industrial relations regime, goes before the senate this week where it faces stiff opposition.

"While the changes foreshadowed today by the Minister may be a start, they do not go anywhere near addressing the NTEU's concerns regarding the excessive red tape and increased Commonwealth interference in university affairs contained in the legislation," says NTEU President, Dr Carolyn Allport.

"The proposal to tie funding to industrial relations compliance is unnecessary, complicated and unpopular with everyone from the Vice Chancellors to the Senate Independents."

"Such an outcome would not only be detrimental to our universities, it would have broader negative social, economic and political implications for the role of higher education in Australia."

The NTEU is urging the Senate to send "a clear message" to Nelson that the Government must deal with the real issues of concern in the legislation, "rather than tinkering at the edges".

Sydney University Vice-Chancellor, Gavin Brown, has been one of a number of senior academic figures around the country that have echoed the NTEU's concerns and spoken out against the proposal to introduce AWAs.

Sydney Uni Staff Stand Firm

Meanwhile Sydney University staff have overwhelmingly rejected a 4% pay offer that was tied to a no-strike clause.

The staff have accepted a "no-strings" offer of a 2% increase and have flagged industrial action for December 3.

Staff will be meeting on December 1 to consider further industrial action for the New Year.


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