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Issue No. 265 27 May 2005  

Hit and Myth
John Howard came to power on the back of a myth about the sort of Australia we had once been; now he is creating a new myth about the sort of Australia we want to become.


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.


 Sign or You're Gone

 Unions Back a Winner

 Howard Chases Nurses

 Victims Champ Joins Resistance

 Red and Green Blue

 Usual Suspects Lead Cheer Squad

 Ugly Australian On Charges

 Aussies Longer and Harder

 Guard Attached, Then Sacked

 Doh – Homero Loses Voice

 Bunbury Families Win Payouts

 Double Standards For Dads

 Libs Back 'Illegal' Rally

 TAFE Teaches A Lesson On Winning

 Activist’s What’s On!


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.

 One Hell Of A Job
 US Fan Mail
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Usual Suspects Lead Cheer Squad

There are no surprises in the cheer squad barracking for federal government’s agenda to lower Australian living standards and shred job security.

During the week, the Australian Industry Group (AIG), Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI), the Business Council of Australia (BCA), National Farmers Federation (NFF) and the Australian Mines and Metals Association outed themselves as likely beneficiaries.

AMWU national secretary, Doug Cameron, said the backing group included the "most reactionary employers in Australia".

"They want to be able to make more profits at the expense of working people and their families. There's nothing new in that," Cameron said.

"This government wants to make it very easy for them by taking away fundamental rights that have been part of Australian life for 150 years.

"The AIG, for example, is saying we have to compete with China. What it really means is, Australian families need to reduce their living standards."

AIG boss, Heather Ridout, lined up with employer radicals as federal cabinet was finalising its proposal in Canberra.

Specifically, Ridout called for weaker unfair dismissal laws; an end to equal pay for equal work; and making it more difficult for workers to improve living standards through the use of industrial action.

When Howard emerged from Thursday's meeting, he endorsed her entire wish list.

His program won quick and enthusiastic support from representatives of the ACCI, BCA, the National Farmers Federation and the Mines and Metals Association.

Cameron said nothing less could be expected of the ACCI, NFF, BCA and Mines and Metals Association who had form on backing radical and divisive plans to strip workers rights.

The ACCI and Mines and Metals Association pushed non-union AWAs into small WA mining settlements, causing bitter division to split towns and even families.

The NFF was an active player in efforts to deunionise the waterfront through the use of mercenaries, goons and dogs.

Cameron, however, accused the AIG - representing manufacturers from small workshops to giants like BHP - of "rank hypocriscy" for adding its voice to the chorus.


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