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Issue No. 236 03 September 2004  
E D I T O R I A L

Interest Overboard
A tired, ageing government tries to scare the electorate into re-electing it on the basis of a lie. Sound familiar? Yep, John Howard is going to the polls again.

F E A T U R E S

Interview: True Matilda
Former senior bureaucrat John Menadue coordinated the group of 43 calling for truth in government; and now he has bigger fish to fry.

Politics: State of Play
Are all political parties the same? Workers Online tries to cut through the jargon to compare the major parties' approaches to key policy areas.

Industrial: Capital Dilemmas
Public Private Partnerships amount to privatisation by stealth. Or do they? Jim Marr investigates.

Unions: Rhodes Scholars
Tim Brunero discovers how the Electrical Trades Union is doing its best to ease the national apprentice crisis.

National Focus: Rennovating the Lodge
Noel Hester previews how unions will be fighting the federal election - on the ground and online.

International: People Power
Over the next four years there is a real potential a major struggle will take place for workers’ rights and the creation of truly democratic unions in China., writes Andrew Casey

Economics: A Bit Rich
Who Gets What? Why? And So What?, Frank Stilwell reviews the BRW's Rich List

History: Mine Shafts
It's 25 years since Nymboida passed the baton to United, writes Peter Murray

Safety: Sick Of Fighting
Former RAAF engineers could be sitting on a health time bomb, Tim Brunero reports.

Organising: Building a Wave
Community groups, unions and social movements all practice organising, wrties Tony Brown and Amanda Tattersall.

Poetry: Anger In The Bush(es)
How dare any Liberal suggest that the Prime Minister is a lying rodent! Resident bard David Peetz reports on the outrage that this slur has justifiably caused.

Review: The Battle Of Algiers
Tim Brunero writes The Battle of Algiers is a coldly objective, almost scientific anatomy of revolution.

Culture: The Word On The Street
Phil Doyle reports on how the Australian working class experience lives on through the words of the remarkable Geoff Goodfellow.

N E W S

 Sprung: Howard Liberal with Truth

 Yanks Demand Racism

 The Greening of Labour

 Mums Move to Ease Squeeze

 Flying Kangaroo Goes to Water

 Health Warning for Bank Robbers

 Heritage Goes to Waste

 Freespirit in Hiding

 Offensive Toilets Threaten Pupils

 Telstra Dials Workplace Acquiescence

 P-Plate Nightmare for Young

 Free Loaders on Notice

 Funny Money Raises Interest

 Privatisation Debate Energised

 Activists What's On!

C O L U M N S

The Soapbox
Hail to the Metro-Sexual!
If the cultural shift required in the workplace to give greater security to working families was broadly accepted the ACTU would not be locked in an adversarial Work and Family test case argues Sharan Burrow.

Politics
The Westie Wing
In his latest missive from Macquarie Street our resident Parliamentary commentator, Ian West, walks us through issues around the PBS.

Postcard
How Bush Lost His Wings
Tracking the National Guard Career of the Fatuous Flyboy from New Haven, Jeffrey St Clair.

The Locker Room
The Name of the Game
Phil Doyle wonders whether we are barracking for the sponsor or the team.

Postcard
Women to Women
APHEDA-Union Aid Abroad is working to create opportunities for Palestinian women living in Lebanese refugee camps.

L E T T E R S
 Gold Gold Gold for Neolibs
 Co-operating At All Costs
 Fan Mail
 All Good Except You
WHAT YOU CAN DO
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News

Sprung: Howard Liberal with Truth


John Howard is dressing up burger flippers as trade apprentices in a bid to sell his Government’s training record to the public.

The first Liberal TV ad of the election campaign has been sprung for distorting apprentice numbers, promoting calls for a correction.

The ad, broadcast nationally last week, claimed that apprentice numbers had tripled under the Howard Government to more than 400,000. In fact, latest data from the National Centre for Vocational Education Research shows only 133,376 traditional apprentices are undergoing training in Australia.

The party political ad went to air as business representatives and economists predicted skills shortages would stunt Australia's economic growth.

ACTU president, Sharan Burrow, is calling for an immediate correction to be broadcast.

"The so-called apprenticeships that the ad refers to include short-term traineeships in fast food chains, fish and chip shops, juice bars and bakery franchises," Burrow said.

"These traineeships have no structured training and many are taken up be existing workers, leading to suggestions of employer rorts to obtain wage subsidies.

"It is wrong for John Howard and Peter Costello to pretend a 12 or 18 month traineeship for a kitchenhand in a fast food outlet is a commitment to apprentice training. It is dishonest."

The figure used by the Liberal Party in its advertising includes short-term trainees as well as traditional apprentices. The Federal Government labelled short-term job trainees in shops and fast food chains "new apprentices" and the Liberal Party has rolled them into its published apprenticeship figures.

The ACTU predicts apprenticeship shortages of around 25,000 a year will cost the country up to $9 billion over the next decade.

It calls the federal "new apprenticeship" program "seriously flawed" because it offers employers of four-year trade apprentices the same $4125 subsidy received by employers of burger flippers on one-year traineeships.

Unions argue that poor wages for trade apprentices is another problem the government has failed to address. They say an 18-year-old entering a manufacturing apprenticeship is paid $100 a week less than a fast food trainee.


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