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Issue No. 208 13 February 2004  
E D I T O R I A L

All The Way With FTA?
Question marks over the bi-lateral Free Trade Agreement with the USA have only begun to scratch the surface.

F E A T U R E S

Interview: Trading in Principle
AMWU national secretary, Doug Cameron, a key figure in the Labor movement, discusses the big issues - from Mark Latham to Pavlovís Dogs.

Unions: While We Were Away
While Workers Online was washing sand from between its toes and enjoying an Indian summer at the cricket, there was a reality show chugging relentlessly away in the background, Jim Marr reports.

Politics: Follow the Leader
Workerís Online tool man, Phil Doyle, dives into the ALPís Darling Harbour love-in and nearly drowns in treacle.

Bad Boss: Safety Recidivist Fingered
The CFMEU has come up with a killer nomination to kick off our 2004 hunt for Australiaís worst employer.

Economics: Casualisation Shrouded In Myths
British academic, Kevin Doogan, sets the record straight on casualisation and warns unionists about the dangers of scoring an own goal

History: Worker Control Harco Style
Drew Cottle and Angela Keys ask if it's worth rememberinng the 1971 Harco work-in.

Review: Other Side Of The Harbour
The 1998 maritime dispute threatened to tear many a family apart but Katherine Thomson's Harbour tells the tale of at least one that it brought back together - albeit reluctantly, writes Tara de Boehmler.

N E W S

 Rail Safety Back On Track

 Commuter Headaches Continue

 Ban "Ruthless" Operators - Judge

 Telstra Provokes Jobs Fight

 Taskforce Ignores Million Dollar Rorts

 Musos Tune-Up for Election Rock

 Chubby Fingers in Timorese Pockets

 Postal Workers Wrap Boss

 Aussie Sites Doing the Business

 Feds Abandon Aged

 TAFE Stands Over Poor Students

 Round the World on Aid

 Activists Notebook

C O L U M N S

The Soapbox
Dog Whistlers, Spin Doctor and Us
John Menadue argues the "better angels" of the Australian character are having their wings ripped off by an ever-expanding group dedicating to keeping the public at arms length from our decision-makers.

Postcard
Something Fishy In Laos
Phillip Hazelton fishes around in Vientiane, Laos, and looks at the impact of Bird Flu on those relying on feathered friends for survival.

Sport
Magic Realism
Phil Doyle discovers that literature and sport may have more in common than you would think

Parliament
The Westie Wing
Trickle, flood or drought? Workers friend Ian West, MLC, is wet, wet, wet on the issue of bilateral Free Trade.

L E T T E R S
 Reality TV
 TAFE Support
 State Of Confusion
 Scambuster
 History Lesson
 Generation Angst
 Give Them A Medal
WHAT YOU CAN DO
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News

Feds Abandon Aged


Over 1000 resident and staff positions are set to disappear as the Salvation Army shuts the doors on 15 aged care facilities around the country.

The decision has caused alarm and stress amongst frail elderly residents and their families, as well as staff in the crisis-riddled industry.

The Health Services Union has sheeted home responsibility for the problem directly to the Federal Government, claiming that standards have fallen from when Bronwyn Bishop was the Minister who presided during the infamous 'kerosene bath scandal'.

"The whole industry is aligned against the Government," says HSU spokesman Mark Robinson, who said that a laTrobe University study had identified that there was a funding shortfall in the industry of up to $400 million.

The HSU is seeking an urgent meeting with the Salvation Army's management to ensure that staff and residents in the facilities located in Victoria, South Australia, Western Australia, Tasmania and the Northern Territory do not suffer because of the sales.

HSU National Secretary Craig Thomson said it was critical that an agreement was struck with the Salvation Army to make sure that all staff entitlements are preserved and that potential new owners do not cut jobs and wages.

The largely unregulated industry has suffered from inadequate levels of Commonwealth Government funding since the industry was deregulated in 1997.

Currently the industry is looking to the anticipated release of the report by Professor Warren Hogan into the aged care sector to lead to an increase in much-needed funding.

"The government has the report by Professor Warren Hogan but it refuses to make it public or to say when it will do anything with it," says a HSU spokesman

the HSU slammed the performance of current Industrial Relations Minister Kevin Andrews who "did nothing" during his tenure as Aged Care Minister.


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