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Issue No. 238 17 September 2004  
E D I T O R I A L

Going Gangbusters?
The Prime Minister has put the economy front and centre in this election campaign, asserting - without a hint of irony – that he is the only one to trust with the national economy

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

 Mind Games Off The Rails

 Kodak Blurs Jobs Picture

 Whistleblower Stitched Up

 Ranger Incompetence Saves Lives

 Skelton in Telstra Closet

 Capt Cook Discovers Flexibility

 Optus Opts Out

 Hardie Lemon in Orange County

 One Rule for Qantas

 Mum Takes on Bullies

 Costa’s Train Crash

 TV Clash Using Visual Ammunition

 Mormons In Asbestos Blue

 Apprentices Lose Out

 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
 The Abbott Youth
 Invest In Dignity!
WHAT YOU CAN DO
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News

Apprentices Lose Out


Gigs behind deep fryers and burger grills are costing Australian youngsters starts in the energy sector, at the same time as house holders face higher electricity bills.

Tony Palladino from EE-Oz, which sets training standards for electricians, lineworkers, and other workers says many perspective apprentices fail to qualify for government training subsidies because they have already done much shorter "apprenticeships" at fast food shops or retail stores.

"All the talk from the major parties is about degree training and universities but noone is doing anything about trades training," says Palladino.

"Governments would have us believe there is no problem in the system because apprenticeship levels are at their highest ever, but these are not in the traditional trades."

"There has been an explosion of apprenticeships in a range of new areas in such as retail clerical, tourism and hospitality."

As well as poorly directed subsidy dollars the training supremo has also criticised past policies of privatisation which have led to the looming skills shortage.

And he believes the skills shortage is so severe in the industry it will eventually lead to higher electricity costs.

Palladino says governments in the past utilised their utility infrastructure in water, electricity and gas to engage larger numbers of apprentices than needed but for the community good.

"Over the last ten years Private enterprises and corporatised government entities have poached form each other and recruited from overseas rather than train locally to replenish their stock of employees," says Palladino.

"There may be some good companies doing the right thing out there, unfortunately they are the minority.

"The people of Australia sold enormous amounts of infrastructure to private enterprise and the question you have to ask is if they are treating their human labour like this, how are they treating the infrastructure?" he says.


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