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Issue No. 247 19 November 2004  

In Defence of Jeff
Those of us who know and have worked with Jeff Shaw over the years have found the unfolding spectacle of his very public fall from grace profoundly distressing. Surely they have the wrong guy.


Interview: The Reich Stuff
Robert Reich has led the debate on the future of work – both as an academic and politician. Now he’s on his way to Australia to help NSW unions push the envelope.

Economics: Crime and Punishment
Mark Findlay argues that the present psychological approach to prison programs is increasing the likelihood of re-offending and the threat to community safety.

Environment: Beyond The Wedge
Whether the great forestry divide can ever be overcome or whether it is best sidestepped for the sake of unity and sustainability in other areas is up for debate, writes Tara de Boehmler.

International: The End Of The Lucky Country
Linda Weiss, Elizabeth Thurbon and John Mathews show us How To Kill A Country

Safety: Tests Fail Tests
Nick Lewocki from the RTBU lifts the lid on the shonky science behind RailCorp testing

Politics: Labo(u)r Day
John Robertson lets fly at this years Labor Day dinner

Human Rights: Arabian Lights
Tim Brunero reports on how a Sydney sparky took on the Taliban and lived to tell the tale.

History: Labour's Titan
Percy Brookfield was a big man who was at the heart of the trade union struggles that made Broken Hill a quintessential union town writes Neale Towart.

Review: Foxy Fiasco
To find out who is outfoxing who, read Tara de Boehmler's biased review of a subjective documentary about corrupt journalism.

Poetry: Then I Saw The Light
Brothers and sisters! Praise the Lord! Brother George has saved the White House from an invasion by infidels, writes resident bard David Peetz.


 Activists What's On!

 Union Baiter on Charges

 Commuter Champ Backs Workers

 Late Night Threats in Perth

 Corporates Gobble Apprentices

 Fleas Get Thumbs-Up

 Packer Perishes in Blue

 $5000 Bill for Teen

 Miners Plunge Before The Beak

 Cops Raid Press

 Christmas Sack at Broken Hill

 Admin Staff Exposed

 Teachers Swallow Lolly


The Locker Room
In Naming Rights Only
Phil Doyle has Gone to Gowings

The Soapbox
Homeland Insecurity
Rowan Cahill tells us how the Howard Government’s appointment of Major-General Duncan Lewis to head up the national security division of the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet has received little critical comment, until now.

The Westie Wing
New proposed legislation in NSW provides a vital window of opportunity for unions to ensure they achieve convictions for workplace deaths, writes Ian West.

 Backbone Derail Causes Paralysis
 Shawly we’ve heard enough
 Decline of The American Empire
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Corporates Gobble Apprentices

The Federal government is prepared to pay ten times more per student to private operators than it is injects into the TAFE system.

The move, which would put competency skills into the hands of big business, has been labelled a "thinly veiled attempt to privatise training".

Unions have revealed that the plan to establish the "Australian Technical Colleges" would involve schools being set up by tender; workers employed an AWAs and no union involvement on the campuses.

The colleges would exist alongside the existing TAFE system, duplicating scarce resources, according to Phil Bradley from the NSW TAFE Teachers Federation.

"TAFE could provide this training if it was not starved of billions since the Howard Government came to power," says Bradley. "There has been a 25% cut per student in real terms over the last five years."

Government figures show that over 50,000 people were turned away from TAFE last year because of funding shortages. This does not take into account others that did not even apply because of fee rises.

Bradley also slammed a plan by the Business Council of Australia, the Australian Industry Group, the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the National Farmers Federation to set up the "Institute of Trade Skills Excellence".

The Institute is seen as a move by big business to provide accreditation, especially since the current body overseeing trade accreditation, the Australian National Training Authority is being abolished from July 1 2005.

Even small business and private providers are up in arms over the Federal government move, with the Australian Council of Private Education and Training slamming the Institute proposal.

"This will create a narrow competency base for the short term needs of big business," says Bradley.

Unions are currently preparing a response to the Federal government's Australian Technical Colleges proposal.

"We have reason to be concerned given the track record of the Federal government," says Unions NSW assistant secretary Mark Lennon. "Given that with their efforts we have ended up with the current skills shortage."


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