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Issue No. 206 05 December 2003  

A New Mark for Labor
Few of us who care about the future of the labour movement would not admit to a surge of hope and sense of excitement following the election of Mark Latham to the federal parliamentary leadership.


Interview: Muscling Up
Labor�s Craig Emerson discusses how the changes to his party�s leadership will impact on the industrial relations agenda.

Unions: Thinking Pink
What�s the difference between a Nursing Home and an Aged Care Facility? More than semantics, according to nurses worried Australia is woefully unprepared for the crash at the end of the baby-boom cycle, writes Jim Marr.

Bad Boss: Global Bully
If nothing else, US-based call centre giant TeleTech is consistent. After being nosed out of last year�s Bad Boss gong it is back, bigger and badder than ever in its search for Tony honours.

Unions: National Focus
In this national round up by Noel Hester, Hugh McKay tells us how the young are sticking together in a bewildered society, the gongs get handed out at the ACTU awards and there is a chance to win as a worthy wordsmith.

Economics: Friend or Flunkey?
On New Years Day as you look at the wine stains and tread on a soggy puddle on the carpet, will you look for the phone and call a cleaner? Gabrielle Meagher gives a few ethical dilemmas to confront before you make that call.

History: Young Blood
Youth is no barrier to political leadership, as the 37-year-old John Watson proved 100 years ago, writes Neale Towart.

Industrial: Living For Work?
Mark Hearn reports from a recent conference addressing the dilemma of work, citizenship and community.

International: Fighting Together
The international trade union movement is launching a Global Unions HIV/AIDS campaign to combat the spread of the virus.

Poetry: Medicare Plus Blues
Is the Government's new health plan a plus for Medicare? Asks resident bard David Peetz

Review: Human Racing
Seabiscuit is a great horse movie but more than that it serves as a powerful metaphor for the importance of living for the future while maintaining passion and compassion in the present, writes Tara de Boehmler.


 Peeking Dicks in Pickle

 Lights Out on Cheap Labour

 Blackout Hangs Over Sydney

 Contractors Hang Up on Telstra

 Uni Workers Too Smart For Minister

 Employer Bullies Vie For �Tony�

 South Coast Deal to Build Movement

 TeleTech Safety Rep Vows to Fight On

 Corporates Urged to Come Clean

 MP Too Busy For Teachers

 Bosses Block Good Shops Code

 Engineers Ground Safety System

 Workers Win At Safety Meet

 Merger Threats

 Activists Notebook


The Soapbox
Dear John
In his 500th piece of activist journalism, long-term Workers Online contributor Rowan Cahill sends a personal message to our prime Minister.

The Locker Room
Retired Hurt
Every innings comes to an end, some too soon, and others not soon enough, writes Phil Doyle.

Wedge Watch
Labor's Craig Emerson puts the spotlight on the Howard Government's politics of division.

The Westie Wing
Workers Friend Ian West MLC is back with his monthly round-up from Macquarie Street.

 Feds Ignore Building Deaths
 Bob Gould On Kicking The Liberals Out
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Uni Workers Too Smart For Minister

Radical Federal Government industrial relations proposals have been rejected by Senate independents following a campaign by Australia�s university workers.

The Federal Government had proposed tying over $400 million in funding for higher education to forcing universities to offer individual contracts. Academics feared the move would weaken working conditions at Australia�s universities.

The National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU) believes that the final package still contains a number of problems including;

- increases in student fees,

- academic freedom, and

- A lack of adequate funding indexation.

"This is a recognition that the Government's requirements had nothing to do with the sustainability and quality of higher education but were driven purely by its ideological industrial relations agenda," says Dr Carolyn Allport, National President of the NTEU.

"The Senate's decision is a major loss for the industrial hard liners in the Howard cabinet but represents a major win for universities and their staff who will now be able to negotiate collective agreements without the threat of losing Government funding."

The amended package still gives universities the ability to increase student fees for government supported places by up to 25% and expand the number of full fee paying places to 35% of all enrolments.

Allport described the fee increases as "a particular threat to the affordability of a quality university education".

The NTEU also believes that a failure to include indexation for funding means that cost and prices will eventually erode any future funding. The union is also alarmed at the Federal Education Minister's 'Big Brother' approach to university courses.

"The fact that the Minister still retains considerable discretion over which courses will attract government funding threatens both institutional autonomy and academic freedom."

The NTEU also slammed the move by employers at Australia's universities, the Australian Vice Chancellors Committee (AVCC), to back the reforms proposed by Federal Education Minister Brendan Nelson.

"We are extremely disappointed with the AVCC who capitulated to Government pressure and failed to support amendments that would have removed these flaws and enshrined the principles of institutional autonomy and academic freedom into legislation."


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