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Issue No. 253 25 February 2005  
E D I T O R I A L

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.

F E A T U R E S

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.

N E W S

 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

C O L U M N S

Politics
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

Postcard
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

Parliament
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.

L E T T E R S
 Boycott Bunnings
 Just One Thing
 No Dosh For Rupert
 Executions Not Fines
 Howard Needs To Know
 Disability Disgrace
WHAT YOU CAN DO
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News

No Interest In Costello


ABS figures have blown Peter Costello’s link between wage increases and rising interest rates out of the water.

"It's the Government's own neglect of skill shortages and infrastructure bottlenecks that is putting pressure on interest rates, not the hard earned and modest pay increases of ordinary Australians," says ACTU Secretary Mr Combet.

Growth remains 3.4% in the private sector, within the Reserve Bank's range of "acceptable outcomes" and below any level that would pressure interest rates.

"Australian workers deserve an apology from the Treasurer," says reg Combet. "During the election Peter Costello promised to keep interest rates down if people voted for him.

"But ever since then he has been running around saying that interest rates are going to go up and trying to blame this on the modest and hard earned pay rises of ordinary Australian employees."

"What these figures confirm is that the Government's industrial relations agenda has nothing to do with interest rates and everything to do with creating workplaces where people are forced to work harder and longer for less.

"What the Government has to realise is that you don't help families pay their mortgages by cutting their wages and working conditions.

"The Treasurer should apologise to ordinary Australian workers for trying to blame them for pushing up interest rates."

According to Australian Bureau of Statistics, Wage Price Index figures released today show trend annual wages growth in Australia remained steady at 3.5% and just 3.4% for the private sector.

This puts private sector wages growth in line with average outcomes since 1977 when these figures first began to be collected.


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