||Issue No. 263||13 May 2005|
A Fistful of Dollars
Interview: Fortress NSW
Unions: Fashions Afield
Industrial: Pay Dirt
Politics: Infrastructure Blues
History: Big Day Out
International: Making History
Economics: The Fear Factor
Review: The Robots Revolt
Poetry: The Corporation's Power
The Locker Room
Budget Hits Civil Rights
More than $24 million will be spent on secretly taping workers, suspending their right to silence and taking away their rights to hold industrial or political meetings.
CFMEU construction division national secretary John Sutton said the Building IndustryTaskforce budget has blown out from $9 million last year to $23 million for 05/06.
And the Government has allocated an additional $24.13 million to set up a new body, the Australian Building and Construction Commission to deny building workers the civil rights enjoyed by other Australians.
Sutton says the Government is prepared to waste $40 million over the next year on these organisations to rob building workers of their rights - and warns it will become the model for anti-union workplace laws across the nation.
"Already we have seen the Building Industry Taskforce run a series of discredited court cases, drawing judicial censure at their heavy handed tactics, including the secret taping of workers and employers," Sutton says.
"The Howard Government has already made it clear it considers the building industry a laboratory for the rest of the Australian workforce. The irony is that it is our tax dollars that are now paying for this dangerous social experiment."
Taking With One Hand
Meanwhile, unions with members who may look like budget 'winners', should not to be taken in by the fistful of dollars.
"Our preliminary analysis shows that all of the value of the $6 tax cuts will be eroded by continuing bracket creep by the time of the next election," Australian Workers Union national secretary Bill Shorten says.
"If the Budget had followed the AWU's policy, then it would have provided far greater investment in public health, education and infrastructure, especially for regional and rural Australia."
Shorten says tinkering at the edges of a rotten system is no substitute for the comprehensive reforms required to build fairness, incentive, and competitiveness into to our tax system for the long term.
"We've got the highest taxing government in Australian history - they've taxed us an extra $24 billion more this year than when Mr Howard first came to office in 1996," Shorten says.
"Despite having the best trade advantage for 50 years, we still have record foreign debt. This budget is adding to Australia's problems by fuelling further consumption instead of savings and therefore reliance on overseas debt."
Read the Fine Print
And aged care operators are ripping the heart out of aged care by up to $21.6 million a year - according to an extraordinary revelation buried inside this year's Federal Budget.
The federal government's under resourced auditing of aged care homes will claw back $63.5 million a year over the next three years.
LHMU Aged Care Union National Secretary, Jeff Lawrence, says the Federal Government will only provide enough money for most homes to be checked only every second year.
" If the government can claw back $63.5 million from shonky operators by casual irregular spot-checks imagine what they could collect if they audited care providers more frequently," Lawrence says.
The LHMU wants the Australian Government to increase the accountability of aged care providers, after all taxpayers are the primary source of income for these homes.
" It's time we got to the bottom of what is the real cost of delivering a determined benchmark of care, Lawrence says.
"It's time aged care providers became accountable for the tax payer funds they receive, it's time the Australian government starts to shine the light on aged care.
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