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Issue No. 263 13 May 2005  

A Fistful of Dollars
And so the great political debate of our time has become who gets the money and how quickly they can pocket it – the Howard Government’s latest application of the base art of wedge politics.


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.


 Bikies Needle Heroines

 Bosses Play China Card

 Giant Collapses on Ankle

 NAB Cuts More Than Jobs

 Left Footers Kick Back

 Oh Brother, Tim Plays House

 WA on the Block

 Patrick Fails to Hide Asbestos

 Budget Hits Civil Rights

 Combet Launches Shark Attack

 Childcare Wage Grows Up

 US To Drain More Aussie Brains

 Dictators Beg Eric To Stop


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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US To Drain More Aussie Brains

Australian science and engineering professionals are the latest to become endangered in the nation's brain drain thanks to new US visas promising unlimited residency for workers all ages.

More than 10,000 Australians will be eligible each year for the visas which take out age and length of stay barriers and provide partners with the opportunity to work overseas as well.

Association of Professional Engineers, Scientists, and Managers, Australia chief executive John Vines said Australian companies were already having problems attracting engineering and science graduates and the new visa could now siphon top professionals as well.

"By failing to implement adequate recruitment and retention strategies for industries most impacted by the brain drain, the Federal Government leaves the country vulnerable, particularly as Australian professionals are now much sort after."

He said likely impacts included:

- Experts in some of Australia's most important fields could now choose to spend the remainder of their careers in America, enjoying the higher wages that they and their spouses could earn there

- Removing length of stay limits meant recent graduates wanting to gain experience in America could now remain there permanently

- Providing 10,500 of these work visas to Australians every year instead of requiring every country to compete on an equal footing meant the long term impact could be devastating for some of the most vulnerable industries

- Allowing spouses to work overseas meant professionals could be less likely to want to uproot their families a second time and return.

Vines said federal Trade Minister Mark Vaile's assertion that he did not believe the new visa would have a negative impact on the nation's brain drain, was plainly wrong.

"A government that puts its head in the sand when it does not want to face up to reality will always have a hard time implementing the necessary policies to deal with issues like the brain drain," he said.

"America has a plan for attracting our skilled professionals. What we need right now is a strategy backed by sufficient support and resources to ensure that remuneration levels in Australia are competitive in terms of our ability to make sure their skills are not lost forever from Australia."

APESMA represents more than 25,000 professionals throughout Australia.


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