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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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$5000 Bill for Teen

A teenager faces a $5000 damages bill as Queensland employers use contracting to evade their responsibilities.

The tree-lopper was handed the bill after a piece of machinery he was using broke down, sparking claims that employers are forcing youngsters into bodgey contracting situations to keep jobs.

In another incident a building company sacked its entire workforce and told them to come back with ABNs after three young workers pushed to become permanent, as they are entitled to under the Queensland award after six weeks on the job.

The builder was found to have been substantially underpaying his workers, including telling them that casuals had no rights to superannuation.

A shopping trolley collector was also robbed after the supermarket he was working at denied him access to a lunch room or any facility, telling him to dump his backpack at the front of the store. The backpack was subsequently stolen.

The incidents were brought to light by the Queensland Young Workers' Advisory Service, who point out that large supermarket chains, and other employers, seek to place the people that work for them at arms length.

The move has exposed trolley collectors to being sued for thousands of dollars for damage to cars and shops.

On top of this teenagers working as contractors are expected to provide their own insurance, worker's compensation and superannuation despite being paid as little as $15 an hour.

"A lot of young people are being put onto contracts and told to get their own ABN or their employment ceases," says Aaron Allegretto of the Queensland Young Workers' Advisory Service who hear of many scams involving teenage workers.

"Employers want the flexibility of a casual employee with the loyalty of a permanent employee," says Allegretto. "Employers are not willing to give reciprocal flexibility."

"They want them to be employees when it suits them and contractors when it suits them."

The situation has deteriorated to the point where Legal Aid Queensland is advising young people not to take up work as supermarket trolley collectors.

The Young Workers' Advisory Service has also heard of instances were trainees and apprentices have been "coerced' into cancelling their training after they have raised issues regarding sexual harrassment.

"Some training providers are quite good but the norm seems to be that because they complain young workers are taken out of the workforce,' says Allegretto. "With this trend we will get more and more young people complaining about how they are being treated."

The Queensland Young Workers' Advisory Service is funded by the state's Department of Industrial relations.


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