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Issue No. 218 30 April 2004  
E D I T O R I A L

End of the Casual Affair
The Secure Employment Test Case that kicks off in the coming week in the NSW Industrial Relations Commission will be an important test of how far down the path of labour market deregulation we have travelled.

F E A T U R E S

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

N E W S

 WA Bosses Duck for Cover

 Static Hits Digital Revolution

 Rising Sun Sets on Costello

 Terror Telegraphs New Era

 Dust Storm Greets Hardie

 Psych Nurses Seek Safety

 Work Bad for Your Health

 Govt Lays Death Track

 Howard Slugs Battlers

 APHEDA Wins Award

 Feds: Freedom Is Slavery

 Free Trade Fun Day

 Activists Whatís On!

C O L U M N S

Postcard
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 mightnít be everything, it does make the back of the newspaper more interesting, as Phil Doyle reports.

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

L E T T E R S
 Tom is UN-Amazed
 Organís Manslaughter Pics
WHAT YOU CAN DO
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News

Howard Slugs Battlers


Single low income workers have been slugged with almost $650 a year more in tax since John Howard was elected, a new ACTU tax study shows.

Full time workers on minimum wages such as factory hands, shop assistants, cleaners, bar attendants, and childcare workers are amongst those facing the tax hike.

The ACTU modelling shows that up to 716,000 people on minimum wages, earning around $500 a week, are paying up to $646 more tax than in 1996.

"Our analysis shows that almost three quarters of a million low paid workers have been slugged with higher income tax under the Howard Government," says ACTU President Sharan Burrow. "This result shows the unfairness of the Howard Government's tax policy."

The ACTU modelling is based on the effect of bracket creep, offset against the GST tax cuts of 2000 and last year's so-called 'milk shake' tax cuts.

"People on low wages without children are the worst affected by the rise in tax because they missed out on family benefit payments," says Burrow. "Low paid people are paying up to $160 more in income tax and up to $515 more in GST; overall they are losing over $10 a week in extra tax."

"Single people on the minimum wage are the forgotten people of the Howard Government. They are paying more for their education and more for their health care under this Government and this new data shows they are also paying much more tax."

"The Federal Government keeps giving big tax cuts to the wealthy, what this analysis shows is that the priority must be low income working Australians."

The ACTU secretary called for next month's Federal Budget to provide greater public investment in health, education and social services and for financial relief to be targeted to people struggling on lower incomes.


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