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Issue No. 252 18 February 2005  

Wood for the Trees
In the book that may never become a film, ‘Eucalyptus’, a father will not give his daughter away unless her suitor can name every tree on the property.


Economics: Super Seduction
Sharks are circling your super. From July 1, banks and financial planners will have access to the nesteggs of an extra four million workers.

Interview: Bono and Me
ACTU Sharan Burrow lifts the lid on the rock star lifestyle of an international union leader.

Unions: The Eight Hour Day and the Holy Spirit
Rowan Cahill bucks conventional wisdom to argue the eight-hour day began in Sydney.

Economics: OEC-Who?
The OECD calls for more reform. But, Asks Neale Towart, who is really doing the calling?

Technology: From Widgets to Digits
How can unions grow and continue to successfully represent workers when their traditional structures are rooted in an industry, craft or fixed location?

Education: Dumb and Dumber
Unions are leading the fight against a political agenda that does away with smart jobs.

Health: No Place for the Young
The support of union members is required to help get young people out of nursing homes, writes Mark Robinson

History: The Work-In That Changed a Nation
February 17 marks 30-years to the day that sacked coal miners at the NSW Northern District Nymboida Colliery began their historic work-in at the mine.

Review: Dare to Win
The history of the militant and often controversial BLF is as surprising as it is fascinating writes Tim Brunero.

Poetry: Labor's Dreaming
With another change at the helm of the Labor Party, our resident bard, David Peetz, can't help but dreamily drawing on some political history.


 Families On the Rack

 Detention Centre for Darling Harbour

 Transit Officers' Close Shave

 Truckies Drive Mac Attack

 We Have Way of Making You Walk

 Howzat – Murali Spun Out

 Show Me The Money

 Walter’s Mates Pay

 Retailer Sells Out Workers

 Financiers Squash Capital Idea

 Taskforce Stands Over Families

 Big Australian Changes the Rules

 Bodyguards Stabbed In Back

 Big Brother Stirs Up Porridge

 Carr Sees Trees for Wood

 Activist’s What’s On


Titanic Forces
There are book reviewers who have not read the book they have just reviewed and there are critics who have criticised films they have not yet seen. I want to review a novel that has not yet been written.

The Soapbox
Labour and Labor
Grant Bellchamber looks at the relationship between both sides organised labour

Aussie Unions Help Tsunami Victims
The union movement’s aid agency reports back on its relief effort in Asia.

The Locker Room
Game, Set and Yawn
Phil Doyle asks if tennis is evil or just boring

The Westie Wing
As a reshuffle of the State Ministry settles in and the Federal Government throws down the gauntlet, 2005 promises to be a new and vital chapter in the struggle for workers and their families, writes Ian West in Macquarie Street.

 Toxic Talk
 Millstone Revealed
 But Then Again
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Letters to the Editor

Millstone Revealed

What is really holding small business back?

The coalition have taken it upon themselves to capture the hearts and minds of small business people by proposing IR reforms, that are being flaunted as

the way forward.

However, I am not sure whether the coalition are being as straight forward with everyone as they ought to be.

Maybe, just maybe, there is another agenda happening? And maybe, just maybe, these proposed IR reforms are simply a tool for the government to achieve a quick win in order to stamp their authority with their new found powers in the Senate, come July - Who knows?

Mr Beazley may be correct in his assumption that Mr Howard and Costello aresimply trying to divert attention away from their own failings.

One thing is for sure we haven't seen a plan yet, which is scary.

From what I can gather, IR has been a topic of discussion by various experts in trying to find solutions to stimulate small business growth, however, it

is not as high on the list of problems small business' face as you will see below.

The Roundtable

Earlier this year BRW (Business Review Weekly, May 6-12) ran a cover story titled 'What's holding small business back'.

This was a roundtable discussion held between entrepreneurs, politicians and lobbysts who were

their to thrash out the topics that need urgent attention.

Joe Hockey, Federal Minister for Small Business was their, as was Graeme Samual, Chairman of the ACCC, along with Bob McMullan, the Opposition spokesman for Small Business, to name a few.

Conclusions From The Table

Following is a list of the hottest issues ˆ and possible solutions that came from these discussions. Please note ˆ IR issues are last on the list.

1. Different regulations between between state and federal governments are a cost and annoyance to small business.

Solution: Certain basic practices should have common requirements so that business can operate on a national level. Examine and tackle the differences

in state and federal relations.

2. Lack of an entrepreneurial policy.

Solution: Develop a co-ordinated approach to entrepreneurship that sets goals and objectives. Set up programs to meet those goals.

3. Soaring insurance premiums.

Solution: Monitor the prices of insurance companies

4. Unfair practices of big business to squeeze small business. Note, Mr Howard doesn't seem to have raised this as a pressing issue.

Solution: Implement the recent Senate committee report. Put more pressure on big business to have a conscience. Educate small business about how to

collectively bargain and complain to the ACCC.

5. The lack of human capital.

Solution: Introduce mentoring programs for entrepreneurs.

6. Too much red tape and paperwork.

Solution: Improve the way legislation is introduced and develop a more efficient system for fixing problems that are not anticipated when regulation is introduced.

7. Industrial relations grows worse.

Solution: Keep in mind that employers have rights too. They create jobs and, where possible, should be assisted to make the hiring process easier. Note,

there is no mention of taking away employee rights via abolishing 'unfair dismissal laws' for small businesses.

So, what is really holding small businesses back?

I for one, would like to know what the Federal Goverment intends to do about the first 6 items - then they can start talking IR reforms.

Kind regards

John McPhilbin


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