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Issue No. 256 18 March 2005  
E D I T O R I A L

Planet Common Cents
The current debate around the federal government’s move to ban compulsory university service fees exposes more than a pathological hatred of all things ‘union’.

F E A T U R E S

Interview: Dot.Com
Evan Thornley was a labour activist. Then he rode the tech wave. Now he's home with new ideas on how Labor can win the economic debate.

Workplace: Dirt Cheap
In her new book, Elizabeth Wynhausen learns how hard it is to live on the minimum wage.

Industrial: Daddy Doesn’t Live With Us Anymore
Andreia Viegas’ tells the story of the loss her young family has felt since her husband was killed at work, and the need for justice for families who fall victim to industrial manslaughter.

Economics: Who's Afraid of the BCA?
Big Business's agenda for Australia has gone from loopy to mainstream at the speed of light, writes Neale Towart

International: From the Wreckage
Working people across Iraq are struggling to build their own independent unions – and are successfully organising industrial action on the vital oil fields as well as in hotels, transport outlets and factories, Writes Andrew Casey

Politics: Infrastructure Blues
With much attention given belatedly to the shortage of infrastructure, little attention has been given to the structure of infrastructure, writes Evan Jones

History: Meat and Three Veg
A new book recounts the impact of the Depression on women workers, writes Neale Towart,

Savings: 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, writes Jim Marr.

Politics: Popping the 'E-Word'
Federal shadow treasurer Wayne Swan unveils Labor's new economic doctrine.

Poetry: To Know Somebody
This week saw an appointment to the ABC Board that was even more breathtaking than that of Liberal Party figure Michael Kroger. Resident Bard David Peetz celebrates the occasion with a reworking of an old Bee Gees hit.

Review: Off the Rails
A new play on the impact of rail privatisation in Britain has a poignant message for Sydney commuters, writes Alex Mitchell

N E W S

 MaxiRort in Ballarat

 Beer Boss’ Want Froth

 Facts Ruin Costello’s Story

 Uni Burns Book Man

 Strong Pulls Pianist

 Terminator Runs Away

 No Choice for Small Business

 Scully On Run from Cops

 Picketer Wins $190,000

 Wheat Board on Sea of Shame

 School Raids Condemned

 Tangled Web Weaved

 CASA Cans Safety

 Radioactive Relay Race

 Activist’s What’s On!

C O L U M N S

The Soapbox
The Big Picture
Think about this: It takes 150 tonnes of iron ore to buy a plasma TV, writes Doug Cameron.

The Locker Room
Reducto Ad Absurdo
Phil Doyle offers advice for the lovelorn, and finds that things are getting smaller

New Matilda
Work is In
The rise and fall of the working hours debate in france is relevent to Australian workers, writes Daniel Donahoo and Tim Martyn

Parliament
The Westie Wing
Our favourite MP surveys the upcoming conservative centralist collective attack.

Postcard
Postcard from Harvard
Australian union officials making the annual pilgrimage to the Harvard Trade Union Program learnt that, at least, they are not alone, says Natalie Bradbury.

L E T T E R S
 Poor Prose Praised
 Fabulous Fan Mail
 Skilled Tools
 Nelson ‘Solves’ Skills Crisis
 Loyalty Nonsense
WHAT YOU CAN DO
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News

Tangled Web Weaved


A federal government department threatening workers with the sack for sending union emails on the grounds they are "political", directs web visitors to a Liberal Party fundraising site.

Centrelink's links to minister

http://www.joehockey.com/index.php >Joe Hockey's personal website, which offers visitors an invitation to join the Liberal Party, asks them to make

a donation to the Liberal Party or become a "Friend of Joe".

Management describes as "inappropriate" use of the

Centrelink system to pass on Community and Public Sector Union (CPSU) bulletins about pay negotiations, claiming they are "political".

Workers have been threatened with the sack, fines and demotion.

"It's a fundamental principle that members of a union should be free to receive information about issues that affect them," says Mark Gepp, CPSU national president.

"Centrelink is sending seriously mixed messages.

"On one hand they are intimidating delegates and union members by stopping the distribution of information about their new agreement on the grounds it is political; on the other hand they are happy to have a direct link to a liberal party fundraising machine on their own website."

The Centrelink link to Hockey's website was subsequently altered to link to the minister's more innocuous parliamentary website, but only CPSU intervention.

Centrelink staff have entered the first round of negotiations for a new agreement where the establishment of a more family friendly workplace,

addressing 'time at work' is high on the workers' agenda.


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