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Issue No. 253 25 February 2005  

And The Battle Begins
After months of skirmishing and waiting for the first shots to be fired, we finally have a picture of the Howard Government’s agenda to tear down 100 years of industrial relations.


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.


 Signs of the Times

 Fungal Growth Blights AWA’s

 Andrews Apes Big End

 Telstra Charge Reversed

 Good GEERS Hard to Find

 More Pulp Fiction

 For Sale - Goulburn

 Bosses Admit Pay Too Low

 Yachtie Sinks in Bog

 Albrechtsen Merits Questions

 New Eateries On Menu

 Fungal Growth Blights AWA’s

 Markets Cheer Pattern Bargains

 Mine Managers in Denial

 No Interest In Costello

 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.

 Boycott Bunnings
 Just One Thing
 No Dosh For Rupert
 Executions Not Fines
 Howard Needs To Know
 Disability Disgrace
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Andrews Apes Big End

Federal workplace relations minister Kevin Andrews has signed up to the BCA’s assault on the Australian tradition of a fair go, stating there is no place for fairness in the workplace.

As state Labor’s ministers vowed to oppose the government’s plan to nationalise industrial relations systems, Andrews let fly at awards, the independent umpire and the minimum wage.

In a major speech in Melbourne today outlining the Government's agenda for industrial relations reforms, Andrews claimed that ideas of 'fairness' in workplaces were 'misconceived' and that ' emphasis on fairness only leads to regulatory excess and inefficiency'.

Detailing the Government's long-term agenda in workplace relations, Andrews said his vision of the workplace in five years time would have no place for unions or an independent umpipre.

"Decisions as to the type of employment arrangements entered into, be they part-time, full-time, permanent or casual, or contractually based, would be left to the parties themselves at the workplace level," Andrews says.

Andrews also endorsed the big business plan to wring more ouot of working families by:

· Undertaking a hostile take-over of all State industrial relations systems that currently cover about half the Australian workforce.

· Eliminating basic award protections that are reported to include long service leave, jury service leave, notice of termination, and superannuation provisions.

· Scrapping unfair dismissal laws, and

And abolishing the role of the independent AIRC in setting minimum wages and conditions and settling industrial disputes.

But Andrews was today sent a clear message that any take-over would take a messy constitutional fight, with state Labor IR ministers meeting in Sydney to coordinate their response.

NSW Minister for Industrial Relations, Mr John Della Bosca, chaired the meeting of state and territory Ministers in Sydney that vowed to fight the Commonwealth's bid to impose a federal system which is costly to business, unfair to workers and has the nation's worst record on disputes.

"The Federal Government's radical plan to implement a single national industrial relations system will be disastrous for small business, workers, regional communities and families," Della Bosca says.

"They will be forced into a complicated and expensive system based on workplace agreements which will favour big business but provide no safety net for those who most need it - small business, vulnerable workers and families who rely on flexible work practices to juggle child care arrangements.

"The arrogance of the Federal Government in planning to push such reforms through the Senate after July 1 will be matched by the determination of all Labor states and territories to stand up and be counted."


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