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Issue No. 224 11 June 2004  
E D I T O R I A L

The Passion For Power
Arguably Midnight Oils’ greatest ever song ‘Powderworks’ starts off with the apocalyptic warning "there’s a shit storm a-coming."

The Passion for Power
Arguably Midnight Oils’ greatest ever song ‘Powderworks’ starts off with the apocalyptic warning "there’s a shit storm a-coming."

F E A T U R E S

Interview: The New Democrat
Canadian activist Judy Rebick explains how she's using lessons from Brazil to rebuild the labour movement.

Bad Boss: The Ugly Australian
Prime Minister John Howard is in California spruiking the "merits" of this month’s Bad Boss nomination …

Unions: Free Spirits and Slaves
International capital demands guest labour – legal or illegal – as a way of beating down wages and conditions and, as Jim Marr discovers, the Australian Government seems happy to oblige.

Industrial: National Focus
Noel Hester reports on another workplace death (we-will-not-RIP NOHSC), heartburn for the Canberra consensus and all the action from around the states in our national wrap.

History: A Class Act
The problem of forgetting the primacy of class in favour of other ideas of community is highlighted in a new book, writes Neale Towart

International: Across the Ditch
NZ Nurses Union leader, Laila Harré, is in Sydney this week, comparing notes with the Australian Nurses Federation and seeking transTasman support for New Zealand’s highest profile industrial campaign.

Economics: Home Truths
Sydney University's Frank Stilwell argues that tax policy is driving the housing boom.

Review: No Time Like Tomorrow
The Day After Tomorrow is one part Grim Reaper of the environmental movement and two parts fictitious fable dramatically window dressed with extreme special effects, writes Tara de Boehmler.

Poetry: Silent Note
Resident Bard David Peetz uncovers the current public service motto – "Don't tell the Minister!".

N E W S

 Making Plans For Nigel

 People Importer Wants Indemnity

 Desperate Ambos Turn to Copper

 Victims Dusted in Asbestos Row

 Delos Bang Victory Gong

 Teaching 12 Percent Tougher

 Now Carr Faces Medical Bill

 Officers Hurt in Transit

 Support Unit Makes Canberra Debut

 Winter Beds Breakthrough

 Workers Wait For Bread

 HoWARd the A**sLIcKEer

 Activists What’s On!

C O L U M N S

The Soapbox
The Pursuit of Happiness Part I
The Australia Institute's Clive Hamilton questions the assumptions underlying a society that defines happiness in dollar terms.

The Soapbox
The Pursuit of Happiness Part II
Clive Hamilton concludes his analysis, looking at how more and more Australians are pulling back from a marketplace that is no longer providing the goods.

The Locker Room
Sack ‘Em All!
Phil Doyle puts his job on the line, but doesn’t everyone these days?

Politics
The Westie Wing
The NSW Government has an agenda on the table but the test is finding innovative ways to finance it, writes Ian West

L E T T E R S
 Godbotherers Descend On Poor
 Sick Of This Job
 Office Junior’s Secrets
WHAT YOU CAN DO
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News

Winter Beds Breakthrough


NSW has "weeks not months" to thrash out a staffing arrangement that will allow it to open 962 hospital beds in time for the winter rush.

Nurses Association secretary, Brett Holmes, issued the warning while welcoming Health Minister Morris Iemma's personal intervention in a stand-off that has held up their commissioning.

At issue, is the right of nurses to "fair and safe workloads", formally enshrined in last year's special wages case ruling by the Industrial Relations Commission.

Nurses, in dispute over excessive workloads, have failed to reach agreement with the Health Department on a tool that can effectively measure acceptable workloads.

NSW Nurses Association members had been preparing to take industrial action, including closing beds in understaffed areas, if the 962 additional beds had been forced through.

Iemma this week confirmed the beds would only be opened when they could be staffed "with enough nurses and clinicians with appropriate skiss to deliver quality care".

"As part of the Sustainable Access Plan 2004 the Health minister has committed to the design and implementation of an agreed workload management tool to ensure safe workloads in our public hospitals," Holmes said.

"The issues of patient safety and standards of clinical care are well and truly on the community's mind. There is no doubt the public hospital system needs more beds opened but it would be scandalous and dangerous to open another 962 beds without ensuring they are fully staffed with the right clinical skills mix."

Holmes accused the Health Department of "dragging its feet" on the issue of a workloads management tool and warned an urgent agreement would be required to ensure beds were available to meet the expected winter peak.


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