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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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Childcare Wage Grows Up

A childcare worker with more than 10 years experience will finally receive a wage on par with her shop assistant daughter thanks to a union win in Victoria and the ACT.

But the LHMU is already preparing to rein in employers using the rises as an excuse to unfairly increase fees.

The Australian Industrial Relations Commission this week approved pay rises of between $6 and $146 per week for the15,000-odd childcare workers, whose current qualified pay rate is just $14 an hour.

LHMU assistant national secretary Joanne Schofield said the increases should cost parents a maximum of $2 extra per child per day but warned families to be on guard for centres attempting to cash in.

"The rises should not cost more than the $2 figure including the cost on the living age increase but we have even seen fees going up in states where no pay rises have even been granted."

The union will establish a 'fee watch' facility on the LHMU website to expose unscrupulous child care centre operators who hit parents up for more.

Schofield said the pay rise was made possible by the involvement of childcare workers who had waged a three year grassroots campaign and actively participated in the wage case. She also thanked parents for their support.

"It had got to the stage where employees were only staying at work because of their passion for the industry. Meanwhile their families were suffering as a result of the low wages.

"It puts it in perspective that one woman with more than 10 years experience was earning less than her daughter who had just started out in retail.

"Finally child care workers have achieved professional recognition for their work and will no longer be made to subsidise this important community service."

The increase is payable from 1 July, with applications also filed in Qld, NSW and SA.


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