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Issue No. 262 06 May 2005  

Rights and Wrongs
Something unseasonal and hitherto untoward has been occurring up at Macquarie Street in recent weeks, a flurry of legislative activity around workers rights.


Interview: Fortress NSW
NSW IR Minister John Della Bosca on how to win the battle for workers rights - and save the state system.

Unions: Fashions Afield
With new anti-sweatshop creations being paraded at this year's Australian Fashion Week, is equity the new black and are sweatshops the new fur? asks Tara de Boehmler.

Industrial: Pay Dirt
John Burgess argues that the flow-on effect from changing the minimum wage could be more than we bargained for.

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: Big Day Out
Neale Towart looks back on the events that created the May Day heritage.

International: Making History
Hundreds of aid organisations, charities, trade unions and religious groups have formed a global alliance called � Make Poverty History�.

Economics: The Fear Factor
The solution to skill shortages is intelligent planning, argues John Spoehr

Review: The Robots Revolt
New kids flick Robot uses our electronic friends to teach audiences that inbuilt obsolescence is just a state of mind, writes Tara de Boehmler

Poetry: The Corporation's Power
The idea of a corporations power that could cure any ill has inspired our resident bard, David Peetz, to verse.


 Harmer FACS Families

 Brats Drive Bus Row

 Harsh Reality � Bella Turns Pink

 Rev Kev Blesses Bosses

 Workers Online Legit

 Howard Rides Kiwi Model

 Della Opts for Gaol

 Feds in the Dock

 Carr Race to Bottom

 Bosses Walk on Water

 Govt Gets Claws into Nurses

 Ion Faces Legal Probe


The Soapbox
May Spray
Unions NSW secretary John Robertson delivered the annual May Day Toast - and warned it is no time to be comfortable and relaxed.

The Locker Room
A Rucking Good Time
Phil Doyle reveals many things, some of them useful

The Westie Wing
Our favourite MP, Ian West, is back to regale us with inside goss and intrigue from the Bearpit.

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Rev Kev Blesses Bosses

Building workers risked being personally sued for learning about federal workplace laws this week, while Workplace Relations Minister, Kevin Andrews, serenaded bosses at a business breakfast.

Andrews has said new industrial laws he is drafting, including substantial fines for rank and file workers, will be applied retrospectively � but he won�t be directing them at Adelaide employers who took time off work to listen to him.

CFMEU national secretary, John Sutton, said the meetings highlighted federal government double standards.

He said laws being drafted for the construction industry, would deny workers freedom of speech and other basic civil rights.

They will be barred from holding union or political meetings, during working hours, and must subject themselves to interviews by members of the Building Industry Taskforce without normal legal protections.

In a special Saturday sitting of Parliament, last year, the Howard Government beefed-up coercive powers available to its Taskforce.

Building workers must hand over required documents, answer questions and give evidence, under oath.

They can be handed a notice requiring them to appear before a private Taskforce interrogation. Workers in that situation have neither the right to remain silent, nor any protection against self-incrimination.

The Taskforce can direct them not to tell anyone, except their lawyer, what was discussed during the interrogation.

"Workers in the building industry are being stripped of basic rights that even career criminals enjoy," Sutton said. "If this sort of legislation was being proposed by a dictatorship we would be writing protest letters to Amnesty International.

"This is an attack not just on building workers - but the rights of every Australian citizen."


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