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Issue No. 234 20 August 2004  
E D I T O R I A L

True Lies
While the Prime Minister's penchant for the porky finally appears to be catching up with him, perhaps the biggest lie of his leadership remains largely unchallenged.

F E A T U R E S

Interview: Trading Places
New ACTU International Officer Alison Tate cut her teeth delivering aid to developing nations through APHEDA. Now she is helping chart the global union agenda.

Safety: Snow Job
James Hardie has been drilled into our collective consciousness as a story of power, greed and immorality. It is also, as Jim Marr reports, a tale of human tragedy.

Politics: In the Vanguard
Damien Cahill reveals how neo-liberal think tanks have been at the forefront of the corporate assault upon trade unions and social movements in Australia.

Unions: Gentle Giant Goes For Gold
Don’t get between Sydney sparkie Semir Pepic and a gold medal in a dimly lit alley, writes Tim Brunero.

Bad Boss: 'Porker' Chases Blue Ribbon
Perfect Porker, Darren Vincent, brings a history of meat worker shafting to this month’s Bad Boss nomination.

International: Cruising For A Bruising
Europe’s big unions are bruised as they watch companies roll over some of their best-organised unionised workplaces demanding longer work hours – without any recompense, reports Andrew Casey.

History: Under the Influence
Was John Kerr drunk when he wrote and signed the letter dismissing Edward Gough Whitlam from the Prime Ministership in 1975? Geraldine Willissee investigates.

Economics: Working Capital
Where superannuation fits, where it fails and what we should we do about it. Neale Towart gives the tough answers.

Review: Fahrenheit 9/11
There's many a must see moment in Mike Moore's new flick but beating the propaganda machine at its own game wreaks havoc with wearied bullshit detectors, writes Tara de Boehmler.

Poetry: Bad Intelligence Rap
When Flood washed away the PM's sins, the truth was once again left high and dry.

Satire: Osama Bin Manchu
During a recent visit to an elderly relative in a nursing home, I was waylaid by an ancient gentleman who insisted I listen to what he had to say, writes Rowan Cahill.

N E W S

 Hardie Chiefs Dodge Findings

 Virgin Wants Them Young

 RTA Counts Cheapie Cost

 Miners Trump Rio Gold

 Suits Star in Big Steel

 Boffins Back Sweatshops

 Tony Winner Bags an Ernie

 Bush Fires Up

 Kiwis Unfriendly, say Aussie Bankers

 CPSU in Pay Cut Territory

 Brains Over Buns Claim

 AIG Backs "Cowards"

 BHP Makes A Killing

 Schools Fight for Equity

 Activists What's On!

C O L U M N S

Parliament
The Westie Wing
The Labor Governments in each State must take the lead to stop the abuse of corporate law in Australia in the absence of action from the Federal Government, as the Inquiry into James Hardie’s has highlighted, writes Ian West.

The Soapbox
Cleaners Deserve Our Support
It's time the state's cleaners were given some support, loyalty and long service leave, writes Chris Christodoulou.

The Locker Room
Half Time At The Football
Phil Doyle wants to have his pie and eat it too.

Tribute
Faithful Servant
Frank Mossfield was one of the labour movement’s quiet achievers. Former Labor Council secretary Michael Easson pays tribute.

Postcard
Lessons From East Timor
Just back from a study tour to East Timor, National Reserach Officer with the Construction division of the CFMEU, Ben Stirling, writes about the experience for Workers Online.

L E T T E R S
 Howard Minor Goes Bush
 Dummy Spitting
 Tom Relieves Himself
 Optimism
 System Screws Workers
WHAT YOU CAN DO
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News

Brains Over Buns Claim


Building industry apprentices are planning a landmark test case to increase wages, arguing they would be paid more to flip burgers.

CFMEU national secretary John Sutton has flagged the claim while savaging employers for crying poor and seeking government support to train the next generation of skilled workers.

The Australian Industry Group has called for the handouts in the face of an estimated shortage of 250,000 apprentices from traditional trades, claiming employers can not bear the training costs.

But Sutton says the only solution is increased wages for apprentices, given that an apprentice earns up to $100 less a week than a fast food junior.

The CFMEU is now considering an application to the Australian Industrial Relations Commission to substantially improve apprentice wage rates in building trades awards.

"The employer lobby in this country has always argued for market-based solutions, not government expenditure and regulation," Sutton says.

"Employers cannot attract and develop world-class skills from a low wage base. The industry needs investment in wages and training, not pleas for government handouts to cure a problem of their own making," he says.

Local and state governments used to turn out thousands of tradesmen from workshops every year. In the 1970s, outfits like State Rail and Sydney City Council would each offer opportunities to 400 youngsters every year. The private sector keenly snapped up the finished product.

But with the rush to privatise government enterprises in the 1980s came accountants who transformed apprentices from investments into costs and ended the practice.

Now with a projected short fall, economist are warning the economy could lose up to $9 billion per annum because of the shortfall in apprentices.


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