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Issue No. 222 28 May 2004  
E D I T O R I A L

The New Radicals
Many of us lament the fact the Labor Party has little these days to do with labour; some even whimsically remember how the Liberals were once liberal; but evolving world events are now putting a lie to that most enduring of political labels ‘the conservative’.

F E A T U R E S

Interview: Machine Man
It’s regarded as the most powerful job in the Party, but new NSW ALP general secretary Mark Arbib wants to build a bridge with the union movement.

Unions: Testing Times
Unions are not opposed to drug and alcohol testing, but they do want to see real safety issues addressed, writes Phil Doyle.

Bad Boss: Freespirit Haunts Internet
FreeSpirit forked out a motza for a whiz bang internet presence then disappeared right off the radar – once it was nominated as our Bad Boss for May.

Unions: Badge of Honour
Surry Hills is home to one of the world’s finest displays of union badges thanks to Bill "The Bear" Pirie and a supporting cast headed by Joe Strummer, Mark Knopfler, George Benson, Annie Lennox and other seriously big noises.

National Focus: Noel's World
Shrill bosses bleat over minimum wage rise, union spinmeisters congregate in Melbourne and Tassie’s nurses take the baton from their mob in Victoria reports Noel Hester in this national round up.

Economics: Safe Refuge
A humanitarian approach to refugees and an economically rational one?? I’d like to see that. Frank Stilwell did, when he went to Young in NSW to look into the impact of the Afghan refugees on temporary protection visas who came to work for the local abattoir

International: Global Abuse
Amnesty International have joined the chorus against the violation of trade union rights in the former Soviet republic of Belarus.

History: The Honeypot
To the Honeypot come those individuals anxious to get their hands on instant wealth. So it was in the early days of Broken Hill, wrties Grace Hawes in this homage to the mining town.

Review: Death And The Barbarians
This new take on coming of age films focuses on the coming of death and the dignity and maturity it can inspire among those touched by it - though not always easily in the overcrowded Canadian public health system, writes Tara de Boehmler.

Poetry: Who Wants to be a Millionaire?
Resident Bard David Peetz uncovers some of the unfolding mysteries of talk back radio.

N E W S

 Why Cole is a Merry Old Soul

 Fight Breaks Out of Schoolyard

 Child Care for a Song

 "Back Off" Call To Death Inquiry

 Carr No Mussolini

 Sweet Box-all for Ballot Bureaucrats

 Unions Fire Up

 Beattie Papers Over Stink

 Glue Bullies Come Unstuck

 Johnnie Tugs the Rug

 Bank Jobs Under Spotlight

 Federal Muzzle for Shareholders

 Unions Earn $19 For Low Paid

 Fashionistas Go Fair

 Activists What’s On!

C O L U M N S

The Soapbox
Rethinking Left and Right Part 1
Dr David McKnight, from the University of Technology, Sydney presents a new frame for looking at the competing ideas within Social Democracy.

The Soapbox
Rethinking Left and Right Part 2
David McKnight concludes the paper he presented to the ‘Rethinking Social Democracy’ conference, in London, April 15-17, 2004.

Sport
Out On A Limb
Phil Doyle becomes the first Australian journalist to state that the Olympics will be called off.

Politics
The Westie Wing
In the latest episode, Ian West explores what Disraeli called "Lies, damn lies and statistics".

Postcard
Message from America
Searing snapshots from a landscape of uncertainty have plunged the Bush Administration into deeper crisis, writes WorkingForChange's Bill Berkowitz.

L E T T E R S
 Howard The Chucker
WHAT YOU CAN DO
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News

Sweet Box-all for Ballot Bureaucrats


Eight hundred public servants have had pay rises vetoed in the same week that John Howard okayed $300 a week increases for departmental heads on more than $300,000 a year.

Howard’s Department of Employment and Workplace Relations (DEWR), headed by Peter Boxall, quashed an agreement reached between the CPSU and the Australian Electoral Commission after 18 months of negotiations.

"This Government is two-faced when it comes to wages. There is one rule for high-flyers like Peter Boxall and another for those on collective agreements," the CPSU's Jenness Gardner said.

"A fundamental plank of Government's IR policy is to clear the negotiating decks and leave employers and employees to reach suitable agreements for their situations.

"That's exactly what we've done but Boxall's Department has come in as a third party and interfered in that process."

AEC staff last received pay rises in July, 2002, and the CPSU says its rejected agreement provided for average annual increases of less than four percent

DEWR argues it failed to meet federal government requirements on "productivity and performance".

Gardner questioned the lack of transparency around the increases the Prime Minister quietly handed Boxall and 21 other departmental heads earlier this week.

"What, exactly, were their productivity improvements?" she asked.

Howard's green light has pushed their earnings to between$300,000 and $350,000 a year.

Electoral Commission staff, who took limited industrial action during negotiations, have launched email blitzes on Boxall and his Minister to have their agreement recognised.

The CPSU is calling on Special Minister of State, Eric Abetz, to overturn the DEWR ruling.

More at: http://www.cpsu.org.au/campaigns/AEC/protest/index.html


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