The wild-eyed friend of the polo set, John Anderson, launched himself with a gusto into the Tool Shed after a remarkable week on the campaign trail.
They say that the last refuge of a scoundrel is patriotism, a fact that wasn't lost on Anderson who draped himself in the flag this week with dire warnings that the evil Bolsheviks from the ALP would replace the Australian flag with the Southern Cross made famous at Eureka.
This, of course, is why the National Party (which is neither) that Anderson leads so proudly defends the ideals that helped keep China British.
Speaking of China: in a nostalgic throwback to the fifties, the increasingly erratic Anderson accused the Greens of being little more than communists.
Green's leader Bob Brown's retorted, quite correctly, that earlier this year Anderson was queuing up to do business with the largest communist country on the planet, while the only people shut out of the show were those 'communistic' Greens.
Prior to that our Tool Of the week made a right goose of himself by taking on one of the most popular rural politicians in Australia, the very-independent Peter Andren, Member for the central-western seat of Calare.
Anderson showed his respect for rural voters by calling them 'ignorant' for supporting Andren, who he tried to portray as some kind of Labor stooge.
Of course ignorance is a subject near and dear to Anderson's heart. After all, he is the guy running around saying that the Free Trade Agreement is great for rural folk because it means that their jobs and services will disappear. It has a subtle logic.
The village idiot of the coalition enamoured himself with the bush by suggesting that country people love a two tiered health system. Well, it certainly saves them the trouble of having to have adequate medical or dental care, eh John?
This is the sort of thing that helps Anderson deflect people away from trivialities like petrol hitting $1.50 a litre in his electorate, why the telephone system in Coonamble is stuck in the 19th century, why he wouldn't give an export license to the Mudgee Abattoir leaving hundreds in his electorate facing unemployment, or why he wouldn't have a clue what road conditions are like for his constituents are because the fool flies everywhere.
No doubt Anderson's vision of egalitarianism is a Piper Cherokee in every garage.
His constituents will no doubt be looking forward to hearing why bombing the crap out of one of our largest customers has been so good for our wheat exporters.
Our Tool Of The Week is a shining example of why the National Party has dissolved into an irrelevant rabble.
Keep it up John, you're the best advertisement your opposition could ever hope for.
The revelation came as a clinical psychologist revealed profiling could identify "psychotic bullies" who terrorise workplaces.
Greg Chilvers from the NSW Police Association says a NSW employer used psychometric testing to select "a bully" after another applicant was rejected on the grounds that she lacked aggression and had too much empathy.
Chilvers identified the employer as a leading state government agency but said he wasn't able to name it publicly. He did, however, say it was not the NSW Police Service.
The claim was made at an anti-bullying conference, which launched the NSW Labor Council's Dignity and Respect in the Workplace Charter.
The Charter has been developed to give workplaces a "road map" towards developing anti-bullying policies and was a response to what the Labor Council has identified as the number one OHS issue.
"The changes to the workplace over the last 20 years have created an environment that pits worker against worker," says Labor Council secretary John Robertson. "We wouldn't allow kids to bully in the playground, so why should we allow it at work."
Clinical psychologist Keryl Egan told the conference bullies came in three types - 'accidental' bullies who bully when they're under stress, 'destructive' bullies who lash out when challenged, and 'psychotic bullies', who bully "because they can".
John McPhilbin, a former Chubb Security employee who blew the whistle on bullying at the security firm, described how bullying had destroyed his emotional and physical health.
He dedicated his speech to the family of Linda Costa, who committed suicide after bullying and harassment at the Speedo factory in Windsor.
Linda's two daughters, Aimee and Melissa, attended the conference and told Workers Online of the need for the perpetrators of bullying to be prosecuted.
"Our mum is dead as a result of bullying," says Aimee Costa. "But we want to make sure it doesn't happen to anyone else."
Members of seven unions took action after the state-owned agency ordered the long-serving employee to see its doctor over potential "performance difficulties".
Members of the USU, PSA, CFMEU, APESMA, ETU, AMWU and AIMPE were holding stop work meetings over the issue today at the Mt Piper and Wallerawang power stations in the Lithgow region.
PSA organiser, Bill Ferguson, said Delta had to change its culture of management by bullying and intimidation.
"This week's stoppage was specifically about their treatment of a long-serving USU member. Out of the blue they started talking to him about performance difficulties and referred him to their doctor.
"But the fact is, Delta have behaved like absolute bastards for the last two or three years. They have been standing over people and looking for ways to cut their workforce.
"They have been targeting people with any sort of medical restriction and making their lives miserable.
"The bottom line is that this is bullying, by a state government agency, and it has to stop."
The stoppages, at Vales Pt and Munmarah stations, came hard on the heels of news that Delta was threatening electricity workers who abided by an Industrial Relations Commission decision.
Barely two weeks ago, PSA assistant secretary Steve Turner, revealed the company was writing to staff, threatening the jobs and earnings of those who wanted to retain nine-day fortnights.
When the company first moved against the negotiated entitlement, unions took the matter to the IRC where the right to choose a nine-day fortnight was upheld.
Turner said Delta then wrote to staff, threatening the entitlements and job security of those who took up the right, before lining individuals up against a number of managers at meetings.
He accused Delta of a campaign of Intimidation and harassment over the nine-day fortnight.
Women, from different cultural backgrounds, say that at least one male supervisor would stand outside the ablutions area and record the names of women who used the facilities, along with the times they entered and left.
Now the company is baulking at AMWU demands for a copy of its toilet break policy.
State secretary, Jock Ferguson, said Ingham's attitude to its female staff represented a "return to the ignorance of the dark ages."
"No worker should be monitored in regard to toilet breaks. In this situation, it amounts to a serious case of gender discrimination," Ferguson said.
"Our members come from a variety of ethnic and cultural backgrounds and some of them are very upset. We have had reports of male supervisors making inappropriate remarks that I am not prepared to go into in public.
"What I will say is we will be taking this further and we expect an outcome that respects the dignity of everyone on the job."
Ferguson said Inghams had refused to divulge its policy on toilet breaks, arguing it was an internal company matter.
The AMWU has more than 200 members at the chicken processing facility.
The Australian Industrial Relations Commission (AIRC) rejected a bid by ESSO contractors to force Bass Strait rig workers onto 14-day on, 14-day off rosters, after hearing video evidence from wives and girlfriends, and considering the views expressed by more than 200 in a survey.
AWU secretary, Bill Shorten, called the decision an "extraordinary win for families".
"It is a breakthrough, not only to have the voices of women and children heard in a dispute in this industry, but for them to be listened to," Shorten said.
"This was a major case in which families stood together against some of the world's largest and most aggressive companies. Their courage in resisting ESSO bullying has been rewarded with a comprehensive victory."
Oil and gas rig workers, members of the AWU, AMWU and CEPU, had been in dispute with US-based ESSO and contractors, including Halliburton-linked Kellogg, Brown, and Root, for more than a year over demands to ditch their seven-on, seven-off rosters.
The AWU presented extensive evidence, including survey results that showed 90 percent of wives and girlfriends opposed the 14-day rosters.
In what could be a significant boost for the ACTU's work and family test case, Commissioner Dominica Whelan, ruled family responsibilities had to be taken into account.
"At a time when for reasons of public policy emphasis is being given to the need for children to have greater involvement of males, in their day-to-day lives, to lengthen the time period for which the father is totally absent from these families seems to me to be contrary to that policy and the public interest," she ruled.
She said ESSO and its contractors had failed to make a "business case" for roster changes and lashed their approach to health and safety.
The companies, she said, didn't even acknowledge that a risk assessment was required.
"The only action by the contractors has been to circulate selective and misleading information which has not assisted the process," she added.
M7 Project managers Abigroup/Leightons today conceded that bridges over the highways are not being built by qualified workers and have not been certified by independent engineers, as required by law.
They admitted carpenters and form workers building massive columns that will hold the bridges are not certified to perform this specialist work.
CFMEU NSW assistant secretary Peter Zaboyak warns the M7 is a "disaster waiting to happen"
"With bridges over the M4 and Great Western Highway not being tested by independent engineers there is much greater potential for accidents affecting not just workers on the job, but hundreds of thousands of commuters who pass under the bridge columns every day.
"Is the RTA aware the safety of commuters is being compromised? Is Workcover? Is the Minister? We don't want to see a repeat of the Westgate bridge disaster or the more recent cross city tunnel accident."
Problems on the massive M7 orbital road project are proving to be many and varied. The project has seen nearly 20 accidents in the last few months, including-
- A worker losing his leg after being crushed by a backhoe
- Workmen being partially buried when trenches collapsed on top of them
- A worker being crushed by rolling plant equipment
In the most serious incident a dogman was electrocuted when his crane hit powerlines.
The dogman was sent home rather than to hospital and the employer failed to notify the site safety committee or Workcover of the incident, in contravention of Occupational Health and Safety laws.
Project managers have blocked union meetings to discuss safety shortcomings by repeatedly notifying disputes to the industrial relations commission.
Site unions put their concerns to a meeting organised by NSW Labor Council today.
"All the unions representing workers on the M7 are united in their determination to fix these problems and stop the very real risk to worker and public safety getting any greater than it already is," he said.
"That these types of problems are occurring on a state government project is nothing short of scandalous"
ABC Learning Centres, whose owner Eddie Groves features on BRW’s list of Australia’s 100 richest people, last week reported an annual profit of $21.4 million, up 77 percent on the previous year.
ABC uses federal government AWAs to hold down the wages and conditions of qualified child care workers earning between $12 and $15 an hour. The company has actively opposed the work value case being run on behalf of child care workers by the LHMU.
It told the full bench "costs" meant it could not agree to a wage rise.
Until last Thursday, ABC's biggest private competitor was Peppercon Management Group. Its end of year statement recorded a massive profit increase of 183 percent to $116 million.
Peppercorn managing director, Michael Gordon, debuted on the BRW rich list this year.
Days after the companies reported their results, Groves announced agreement on a merger that would give his company control of Peppercorn and Child Care Centres, sparking immediate fears for parental choice.
The new company will be worth more than $700 million and control 895 daycare centres across Australia.
The LHMU immediately called for an ACCC review of a situation that will give Groves control of 90 percent of long daycare places in Western Australia, 80 percent in South Australia, and 60 percent in Queensland.
"We would ask them to make sure parents have some choice in the private sector market," industrial officer Sue Bellino, said.
"These people are in no-loss situations. They have been made into multi-millionaires by taxpayers who heavily subsidise their businesses but they won't share their wealth with childcare workers who actually provide the services.
"The average Australian childcare worker earns around $25,000. These are poverty level wages being paid by taxpayer-funded millionaires."
More than 2000 people, dealers to finance officers, will benefit from an agreement which delivers 9.25 percent on wages over two years, and gives casuals the option of transferring to permanent positions.
The LHMU has been thrashing out details with the Sydney CBD's largest employer for several months. During that period, members at the casino took various forms of industrial action, including a 24-hour strike.
Workers won paid maternity leave in the last document and have enhanced that provision with fulltime equivalent super payments for up to two years of part-time work.
The first 4.5 percent wage movement will be back dated to June 1.
LHMU assistant national secretary, Tim Ferrari, said by the end of the agreement base pay rates would have moved by between $70 and $114 a week.
With the enterprise agreement settled, Ferrari said, Star City members would gear up for a safety and security campaign.
They are pushing for the introduction of metal detection systems, safe travel provisions and a fully smokefree workplace.
Asbestos Diseases Foundation of Australia member, Ella Sweeney, will join trade unionists Paul Bastian (AMWU) and Lindsay Fraser (CFMEU), in urging shareholders to dump CEO, Peter Macdonald, and come clean with people dying from contact with James Hardie's products.
"We are going to stare down the board and shareholders, face to face, over the injustices their representatives tried to get away with," Bastian said.
"In light of the board's conduct, and failings, we will be saying they shouldn't be given any discretion whatsoever. Their plans and schemes must be fully disclosed at an open shareholders' meeting."
Specifically, the trio will seek Macdonald's dismissal; rejection of annual accounts that have no contingency for the compensation of asbestos disease sufferers; and the thumbs-down for a planned share buy back.
Their organisations have bought James Hardie shares so the voices of lung disease sufferers can be heard in Holland.
They will demand accountability from executives, including Macdonald and Peter Shaffron, who were subject to adverse evidence in the NSW Commission of Inquiry into how a James Hardie trust fell more than a billion dollars short of being able to compensate people dying from contact with its products.
At the time of its creation, Macdonald dismissed union and victim concerns about the trust.
"It is fully funded. Of course it is fully funded," he insisted.
Shortly after the company parked its asbestos-associated subsidiaries in that foundation, the parent company got the green light from the NSW Supreme Court to move its head office to the Netherlands.
James Hardie assured the Supreme Court, in 2001, it would leave behind $1.9 billion worth of partly-paid shares for the benefit of creditors, including asbestos victims. However, at a secret meeting in 2003, board members cancelled that arrangement without informing the court, state government, victims or unions.
Senior counsel assisting the NSW Inquiry, John Sheahen, SC, has called for adverse findings against the company, key executives and advisers. He has suggested Macdonald and Shaffron could be prosecuted for fraud.
James Hardie's September 17 annual general meeting will take place four days before Commissioner David Jackson, QC reports his findings to the NSW Government.
Bastian said that timing was another matter of concern. He, Fraser and Sweeney will call on the board to commit to an Australian Shareholders Information Meeting and a Special Emergency General Meeting after the Jackson report is published.
Finance Sector Union official, Mel Garfield, warns sensitive personal information will be available around the globe as a result of IT jobs being shifted offshore.
"We are calling for legislation to ensure that private information is not held offshore without the express permission of consumers,' she said.
"We are also calling on Australian financial institutions to abide by ILO conventions."
Garfield spoke as industry analysts estimated thousands of jobs could be shifted offshore as a result of IT firms moving to slash labour costs.
The Australian Computer Society (ACS) wants a more considered approach to offshoring.
"We believe an offshoring decision should only be made with full understanding of the medium and long term costs, and not just on the basis of promised short-term savings," says ACS national president, Edward Mandla.
There concerns were backed by ALP senator, Kate Lundy, who said Australian privacy laws would not apply to data held overseas.
"There are Australian laws relating to security and privacy and there are no guarantees that these laws will be upheld offshore," says Lundy, who claims a lax approach to the issuing of government contracts means government data could find its way into foreign hands.
"Labor's approach will be to set a tough test for any offshoring proposal," says Lundy. "The public sector should be a benchmark. The private sector should follow the lead of the public sector."
Lundy pointed to previous security breaches.
Earlier this year sensitive computer disks from the Prime Minister's department being stored in a wheelie bin were accidentally sent to the tip.
Lundy has called for the government to do more than provide lip service when it comes to guaranteeing the security of sensitive personal information.
Any solidarity action with cleaners who walked out of 1600 schools this week could attract secondary boycott penalties contained in the Trade Practices Act, Greens Senate candidate, John Kaye, warned.
"If two members of the Teachers Federation express outrage at the use of guns-for-hire to replace cleaners during the strike, the law automatically labels this a union-organised secondary boycott," he said. "Yet, all teachers would be doing is standing up for a workforce that is threatened with loss of job security.
"The Greens want to remove the secondary boycott provisions in the Trade Practices Act, and this is a clear example of why."
Teachers expressed concerns that cleaners brought in to break the strike didn't have police clearance checks required to work on education department property.
By last Friday over 400 state schools were turning away students due to unhygenic toilets and food preparation areas.
More than 2000 cleaners from across the state rallied last Wednesday outside Premier Carr's office in Sydney.
Cleaning contracts for NSW schools are being re-tendered and cleaners, some of whom have been working for over 30 years, will not have their current hours guaranteed.
Bob Each Way
Just as cleaners returned to NSW schools, TAFE teachers were considering strike action after the Carr Government backflipped on a pay deal with head teachers.
Already teachers at Lidcombe TAFE have struck over the government's refusal to pass on the over three percent pay rises head teachers in the school system have already received.
TAFE employees at Gymea, Loftus, and Randwick are also considering strike action.
If the state's 150 TAFE campuses were forced to close due to industrial action over 700,000 students would be left without classes.
Peter De Graaff from the Teachers Federation says teachers at Lidcombe TAFE have called upon the Minister for Education and Training, Andrew Refshauge, to pay the salary increases.
"Teachers at Lidcombe call upon their colleagues in other TAFE colleges to also hold local stop work meetings to discuss this issue and consider further action," says De Graff.
One hundred and twenty workers at the Muja and Kwinana Power Stations stared down the WA state government, the AIRC, Western Power and their employer, United KG, during an eight week strike.
Finally, with threats of power blackouts in the air, United KG came to the negotiating table and agreed to increased wages by 18 percent over three years, and move towards a 36-hour week.
The tradesmen ignored AIRC return to work orders until United KG started making concessions.
AMWU WA branch secretary, Jock Ferguson, said pressure to fold had been "massive".
"It came from all directions," Ferguson said. "The AIRC, state government, the contractor and Western Power, itself, but our people stood firm.
"Eight weeks is a considerable investment to make but they weren't prepared to be treated as second class citizens. In the end, it paid off for the workers, their families, and the Collie community."
Months of negotiations with United KG had gone nowhere when the workers voted to strike in support of their claims.
At the height of the strike, Western Power claimed to have stockpiled more than $30 million worth of oil and to have imported mobile generators in a bid to stave off blackouts across the state, while United KG advertised for replacement labour.
Western Power chief executive, Doug Aberle, warned blackouts were likely unless the tradesmen went back to work within days.
Three weeks later, maintenance tradesmen returned after United KG agreed to wage increases and ...
- a 37.5 hour week to be implemented from next year with talks to continue about arrangements for a 36 hour week in the final year of the agreement
- annual five percent increases in allowance
- improved redundancy provisions
- the introduction of a special trades allowance
- casual loadings to be argued before the WA IRC with understanding that Metal Trades Award movements be flowed on to Collie workers
The Barrier Industrial Council is coordinating the action in a bid to reverse a restructure that would see health administration shifted hundreds of kilometres to Dubbo.
BIC President Brett Campbell said teachers at some schools would s top work, joining hundreds of workers who will take part in the Afternoon of Action - to prevent the award-winning health service from being swallowed up.
They will attend a meeting at Entertainment Centre to get across community concerns to Government Representative and former National Parety leader Ian Sinclair.
"It is important that entire families attend the Afternoon of Action as it directly affects every member of a family from Mums and Dads to their children and then of course grandparents," Campbell says.
"If we do not support this then I worry what the consequences will be.
"We have to dispel the rumour or thought that this is a 'done deal' because it clearly is not. People who think this are quitters, and quitters never win."
The world premiere of the film, which stars Meredith Burgmann, President of the NSW Legislative Council, will screen this Tuesday.
The movie chronicles the fight of the Saharawi people of the Western Sahara for self-determination.
The Saharawi have been struggling for 30 years after Morocco occupied their land when colonial power Spain withdrew in 1975.
The Moroccans built a 2600km wall down the middle of the disputed territory, and peppered each side with minefields - which has led to the deaths of many Saharawi.
The landless people now live in four refugee camps along the Algerian border waiting for a promised United Nations sponsored referendum which would bring independence to their homeland.
Andrews, who did her own cinematography, says the Saharawi were an amazing people.
"Though they live in very difficult circumstances their determination, perseverance and generosity always shone through," says Andrews.
"The parallels with the struggle of the people of East Timor for self determination are quite striking."
The film will be screened at the NSW Parliament House thearette at 6.30pm on Tuesday the 14th of September. Money raised from admission will go to providing essential supplies for the refugees.
For more information contact Yvette Andrews on [email protected]
Boycott and Picket the Safari Restaurant
SUPPORT UNPAID SUBCONTRACT BUILDING COMPANIES IN THEIR CAMPAIGN FOR JUSTICE How can you help? Boycott the Safari Restaurant, Sign our Supporters Petition, Make a donation to the campaign and Picket nightly from 6.15pm - 28 King Street, Newtown.
Western sahara Film Night
A Film night to Support the people of Western Sahara Featuring the premiere of "it's a long way to Tifariti" , a film by Yvette Andrews
Hosted by The Hon Meredith Burgmann MLC, President of the Legislative
Council Street, Sydney
There night will also include a photographic exhibition, report from the recent study tour to the camps, drinks & nibbles, raffles of unique Saharawi arts and crafts and much more.14th September 2004, the Parliamentary Theatrette
6:30pm-8:30pm, Parliament House, Macquarie
DEFENDING OUR DEMOCRACY!
A Community Forum on A Community Forum on A Community Forum on A Community Forum on
Ethics in Government Ethics in Government Ethics in Government Ethics in Government
Authorised: Tim Vollmer 15/42 Princess St Werrington
2PM SATURDAY 18th September, 2004
Joan Sutherland Performing Arts Centre 597 High St Penrith
MC Maree O‚Halloran - President NSW Teachers Federation
Plus Meet the Candidates for Lindsay
Mary MacKillop Inst.
East Timor Support
of the Liberal Party
Big Brother victee
and Refugee Support
Rock Against Howard
Admission: Gold Coin Donation
Human shield sheds light on occupied Iraq
Donna Mulhearn, a volunteer aid worker recently returned from six months Iraq, will present a unique and personal account of life under occupation at a forum to be held at the NSW Parliament Theatrette, Macquarie Street, Sydney, Tuesday, 21st September between 1 pm - 2pm.
The event is sponsored by Australian Democrat MLC, Dr Arthur Chesterfield-Evans.
National competition for students - term 3 The Australian Council of Trade Unions' Worksite for Schools website is currently running a national competition for school, TAFE and RTO students - Your Dream Job. To enter, students must write about the job of their dreams. There is $100 for the student winner, $50 for 2 runners-up, and $25 for the winner of the special effort category.
The competition closes Friday 22nd October 2004. More information and an entry form can be obtained from the Worksite website - http://www.worksite.actu.asn.au
Please call 1800 659 511 (toll free) or email [email protected] if you have any questions.
Saharawi benefit night
Celebrate the Saharawi‚s love of dancing and the rhythms of Africa with the Café of the Gate of Salvation, Mohamed Bangoura (African drum and dance) plus special guest performers. All proceeds go to the Saharawi refugees in Algeria.
A for people of North Africa who‚ve been waiting for 30 years to return to their homeland of Western Sahara. While Morocco occupies their country, they have survived in refugee camps in the harsh Algerian desert, one of the most inhospitable places on earth. It‚s the East Timor of Africa.
27 October 2004 $25/$15conc, The Basement- Sydney. 02. 9251-2797
Films, Politics and Learning Conference
Organization: OVAL Research, Faculty of Education, University of Technology 6 & 7 Dec These nights aim:
- To bring together radical film-makers, radical film buffs, and radical educators.
- To inspire educators about ways they can use film in their work.
- To inspire film-makers about ways they might facilitate learning about politics.
- To foster discussion and advocacy about this field of practice.
We are seeking videos and films under 2 categories:
1. Agitprop: protest, guerrilla, activist, political, subversive short films /videos.
2. Participatory film-making: community films/videos as social intervention. The only format accepted is DVD.
Send copies with entry form to Celina McEwen, The Centre for Popular Education, UTS, PO Box 123, BROADWAY NSW 2007 AUSTRALIA. Deadline for entries is September 30, 2004. Entry forms can be downloaded from www.cpe.uts.edu.au/pdfs/FPLentry.pdf
For further information email Celina on (02) 9514 3847 or [email protected]
A survey conducted to coincide with the conference found three in every four workers reported having been subjected to bullying in the workplace.
Scratch the surface and you discover that this is not a just an outbreak of cruel individuals, it is a growing phenomenon linked to the way our workplaces are organised.
When questioned about bullying, the concept quickly becomes mixed in with issues of stress and harassment, the terms merge until they become almost interchangeable, adding up to a psychologically dysfunctional workplace.
The difficulty with bullying and its cousins is that, unlike physical safety risks on construction sites, factories or farms, psychological risks are often hard to pin down and only proven when the risk becomes an injury.
How do you conduct a check of a workplace to ensure it is psychologically safe; how do you identify hazards, how do you mitigate risks?
As the speakers at this week's conference repeated, it is all about the management of personal relationships - whether it is the worker bullied by unreasonable workloads or the apprentice bullied in the initiation ceremony, bullying speaks to a breakdown of dignity at work.
It is this thinking behind Labor Council's response - to promote a positive agenda embodied by its 'Dignity at Work' charter. The charter recognises that bullying is a symptom of alienation in the workplace and that the way to address bullying is to get everyone working together.
It is at this point that bullying sits within a broader analysis of what is happening to our workplaces, driven by the labour market deregulation agenda.
The breaking down of central rules at work in favour of managerial prerogative occurred hand in hand with the management by fear technique that US CEOs like Chainsaw Al Dunlap made his own.
Indeed, the two ideas - slash and burn management and labour market deregulation were cooked up in the same think tanks in the eighties.
Twenty years on, we have the majority of workers feeling squeezed; in terms of hours, finances and also work relations.
In this election campaign we are hearing a lot about family friendly hours and family tax cuts, but it is the third element - dignity at work, that the major parties have the most significant policy differences.
When the Prime Minister talks of more 'IR' reform, he is really talking about getting rid of even more limits to managerial prerogative; when Labor promises to restore balance, it is dignity of workers that will be the winners.
Amidst the clouds of terror and interest rates it may be a hard message to cut through, but for the 75 per cent of the workforce who feel bullied, pushed and generally put under the psychological pump, the choice is a real one.
Any teacher will tell you the schoolyard bully is a victim of his or her environment. The workplace bully is no different - and it in John Howard's workplace that they have continued to thrive.
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