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Issue No. 215 02 April 2004  

Something Smells
There is something just a little too cute about the NSW government’s discovery of a budget crisis on the eve of public sector wage talks.


Interview: Terror Australis
The Howard Government has just discovered the nation's ports are a terrorist target. The International Transport Federation's Dean Summers has been warning them for years.

Unions: Graeme Beard's Second Dig
Hidden in the Australian Workers Union Sydney office is a mild-mannered industrial officer who once strutted the international cricket stage, writes Jim Marr.

Industrial: The Hell of Troy
On the basis of a couple of hours in the witness box, Building Industry Royal Commissioner Terence Cole described Troy Stratti as "credible". Six men who, together, have known the company director for the best part of 50 years beg to differ.

Organising: Miners Strike Gold
Traditional unions are rediscovering the power of grassroots organising. Paddy Gorman reports from the coal face.

Economics: The Accepted Wisdom
Evan Jones argues that economic policy making has been narrowed and rendered mechanistic and antiseptic.

History: Vicious Old Lady
Despite its Liberal leanings, the Sydney Morning Herald has never been shy of bashing unions, writes Neale Towart.

International: Out of Sight, Out of Mind
Thailand must end its crackdown on Burmese fleeing rights abuses in their military-ruled homeland, according to a Human Rights Watch report.

Review: War Unfogged
Want to go to war but not sure where to start? Look no further than Errol Morris' latest doco-drama for the definitive 11-step lesson plan, writes Tara de Boehmler.

Poetry: TAFE
A TAFE student struggling under the weight of fees shares his wordly wisdom


 Gong Points Death Bone at Iemma

 Strip – Howard’s Order to Shoppies

 Workers Victory - We’re Legal!

 Compo Family Exiled to Peru

 Patrick Faces Million Dollar Fines

 Water Quality in Budget Back-Wash

 Feds Dodge Death

 Hard Men Melt Away

 Three Cheers for 36-Hour Week

 Dili Death "Down to Dollars"

 Builder Pleads Guilty

 Maternity Plan: Hard Labor?

 Life – Cambodia’s Grand Raffle

 Thumbs Up for Union Code

 Activists What’s On!


A Voice for Peace
Palestinian trade union leader calls on militants to lay down their arms while the ICFTU protests harassment of Palestinian union leader.

The Soapbox
The Double Standard Bearers
Nicholas Way argues that when it comes to collective action, the Howard Government has different views depending on whether you are a unionist or a small business.

The Locker Room
The Fine Print
While the result mightn’t be everything, it does make the back of the newspaper more interesting, as Phil Doyle reports.

The Westie Wing
Ian West crunches the numbers in Macquarie Street and finds virtue in deficit.

 War And Peace
 Getting Away With Murder
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Maternity Plan: Hard Labor?

Public sector workers have reacted warily to the ALP’s maternity leave plan, fearing that it may be funded on the back of hundreds of job cuts.

While workers have welcomed the new policy to introduce maternity leave across the community, the Community and Public Sector Union (CPSU) has queried the ALP's plans to fund policy initiatives by reducing public sector jobs.

According to the CPSU the past few weeks have seen the ALP foreshadow the abolition or restructure of a range of Commonwealth departments including the National Office of Information Economy (NOIE) and the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission / Service (ATSIS/ATSIS).

"Public sector job insecurity is rising in the run up to the election," says CPSU Assistant National Secretary Margaret Gillespie. "We estimate that as many as 1,800 positions are now under a cloud."

Costings released with the ALP's Baby Care Payment proposal last week show that a number of public service agencies, including the Australian Broadcasting Authority/Australian Communications Authority (ABA/ACA), the National Capital Authority, the Bureau of Rural Science and others face cuts.

With the introduction of the new Baby Care Payment, Labor will give eligible mothers a payment paid in fortnightly instalments for a minimum period of 14 weeks. This payment will be $3,000 in 2005, rising to $5,380 by 2010.

Labor's Baby Care Payment follows its commitment to introduce 14 weeks paid maternity leave.

Women whose family income is below the Family Tax Benefit current cut-out of $85,702, plus approximately $7,000 for each additional child under 18, will be eligible for the new payment, with the family's income assessed at the time of the child's birth.

All eligible mothers, in and out of the workforce, will receive the payment.


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