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Issue No. 228 09 July 2004  
E D I T O R I A L

Thai-ed in Knots
With all the hype, hiccups, fear and loathing around the Australia/US Free Trade agreement, another agreement all but slipped under the radar this week - a preferential trade deal between Australia and Thailand.

F E A T U R E S

Interview: Power and the Passion
ALP's star recruit Peter Garrett shares his views on unions, forests and being the Member for Wedding Cake Island

Unions: Tackling the Heavy Hitters
Tony Butterfield became a State of Origin gladiator at the unlikely age of 33. Even that, Jim Marr reports, couldn’t prepare him for the knock-down, drag-em-out world of modern IR.

Industrial: Seeing the Forest For The Wood
Proposals to flog off NSW’s forests have raised eyebrows and temperatures amongst some of the key players reports Phil Doyle.

Housing: Home Truths
CFMEU national secretary John Sutton argues for a radical solution to the housing affordability crisis.

International: Boycott Busters
International unions have issued a new list of corporations breaching ILO sanctions to do business in Burma.

Economics: Ideology and Free Trade
The absurdities of neoclassical economic assumptions has never stood in the way of their being trotted out to justify profiteering and attacks on the rights of citizens. The AUSFTA is the latest rort we are supposed to swallow, writes Neale Towart.

History: Long Shadow of a Forgotten Man
Interest in JC Watson's short time as Labor's first Prime Minister should not detract from his more substantial role as Party leader, writes Mark Hearn

Review: Chewing the Fat
As debate rages in Australia about Fast Food advertising, Julianne Taverner takes a look at a side of the industry that Ronald McDonald won’t tell you about in Supersize Me.

Poetry: Dear John
Workers Online reader Rob Mullen shares some personal correspondence with our glorious leader.

N E W S

 Adecco in the Dock

 Chubb Faces Bullying Rap

 Print Company Burns Staff

 Carr "Prefers" Americans

 Drug Cheats’ Eye off Olympics

 Unions Crack Skull

 Howard Backs $7.30 Report

 MCG Vet Kicks Casual Goal

 Parking tickets Gonged

 Safety Meets Low Expectations

 Koori Building for Future

 "Super Sopper" Soaks Up Funds

 Kelly’s Figures go West

 Activists What’s On!

C O L U M N S

Politics
The Westie Wing
As the NSW Labor Government sells its first budget deficit in nine years, the real concern for the union movement is the devil in the detail, especially when it comes to procurement agreements, writes Ian West.

The Soapbox
Rubber Bullets
Labor's IR spokesman Craig Emerson launches a few characteristic salvos across the Parliamentary chamber

The Locker Room
Tears After Bedtime
Phil Doyle says that it's all fun and games until someone loses an eye

Postcard
Postcard from Vietnam
APHEDA's Hoang Thi Le Hang reports from the north of Vietnam on a project being fund by Australian unionists.,

L E T T E R S
 History Left In The Back Of The Cab
 Libs have Got To Go
 A Boring Bastard
 A Home Of Their Own
WHAT YOU CAN DO
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News

Howard Backs $7.30 Report


John Howard's 'fair and decent society' would pay a minimum wage of $7.30 an hour and increase unemployment.

The Prime Minister has backed an Access Economics report on labour market deregulation released last week that advocated slashing the minimum wage to US levels.

The Access Economics report urges a reduction from the present Australian minimum wage of $12.30 per hour, which is 61 percent of median full-time earnings, to the US rate of 36 percent of median earnings, which works out at $7.30 per hour.

Mr Howard is supporting the key policy prescription.

NSW Labor Council assistant secretary Mark Lennon said the core Access claim the lower wage would reduce unemployment by a percentage point was nonsense, given that the US currently has higher unemployment.

"If people are struggling to make ends meet on $12.30 an hour, how would they survive on $7.30 an hour?" Lennon asked.

The Howard Government is committed to full deregulation of the labour market with workplace relations minister, Kevin Andrews, telling a Freehills seminar last month that "we've only just begun".

"John Howard wants flexible workplaces, but he means downward flexibility in the wages of vulnerable Australians,' says Shadow Minister for Workplace Relations Craig Emerson. "Labor supports flexibility with fairness."

"Access Economics released a further report on the weekend, forecasting the Budget plunging into deficit as a consequence of the Howard Government showing 'all the restraint of Meatloaf in McDonalds'."

"Does Mr Howard embrace that report too?"


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