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Issue No. 266 03 June 2005  

An Act of Faith
After a week of watching the Howard Government attempt to explain their vision of work relations we have a clearer picture of what the social safety net will be in the future � an act of faith


Interview: The Baby Drought
Social ethicist Leslie Cannold has delved into why women - and men - are having fewer children. And it all comes back to the workplace.

Industrial: Lies, AWAs and Statistics
David Peetz uncovers the truth behind the latest statistics on earnings under Australian Workplace Agreements.

Workplace: The Invisible Parents
Current government policies about work and family do not reflect the realities of either family life or the modern workplace. writes Don Edgar.

History: Bruce�s Big Blunder
The Big Fella, Jack Lang, gives an eyewitness account of the last time Conservatives tried to dismantle Australia�s industrial relations system.

Politics: All God's Children
The battle for morality is not confined to Australian polittics. Michael Walzer writes on the American perspective

Economics: Spun Out
The business groups are feeling cocky. The feds have announced their IR changes, business says they don't go far enough. What a surprise, writes Neale Towart

International: Shakey Trials
Lyndy McIntyre argues the New Zealnd IR experiment provides warnings - and hope - for the Australian union movement.

Legal: Civil Distrubance
Tom Roberts argues that there is more at stake than an attack on building workers in the looming legsilation.

Review: Crash Course In Racism
Paul Haggis flick Crash suggests that when cars collide the extent of people's prejudices are revealed sans the usual veil of political correctness, writes Tara de Boehmler.

Poetry: You're Fired
New laws will leave bosses holding the whip and workers with a Raw Hide, writes resident bard David Peetz


 Beattie Dares Job Vandals

 Broken Hill Confronts "Choice"

 BHP Faces Losses

 Howard Threatens Babies

 Working Between the Flags

 Hadgkiss Makes History

 Bob The Organiser

 Johnny Packs Toothbrush

 Security Blunders to the Max

 EDI Court Out

 Feds: Do As I Say �

 Soaring Mercury Sparks Walk Off

 Unions Offer to Play Libs

 Education Stands Up To Howard Assault

 Dodgy Bosses Get a Tick

 Weight Watchers Raise Scales

 Hyundai Showdown a Riot

 Activists' What's On!


The Locker Room
Ashes to Dust
In which Phil Doyle travels to distant lands in search of a meat pie, and prepares for the joys of sleep deprivation

The Westie Wing
Ian West lists the Top Ten reasons why workers in NSW can gain some solace from having the Labor Party sitting on the Treasury benches�

The Soapbox
Dear John
In response to this year�s Federal Budget, Bishop Kevin Manning wrote an open letter to the Prime Minister, Mr John Howard

 Patriot Doug
 Remembering Workers In Cairns
 Bad Law
 Fair Go For Injured Workers
 A Question Of Choice
 Galahs Up The Cross
 National Solution
 Bomber�s Classic
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Howard Threatens Babies

The Howard Government�s push to remove work rights will cause Australia long-term economic damage by lowering the birth rate, a leading sociologist has warned.

Melbourne University academic Leslie Cannold told the Working NSW conference "Things Break Down� that her research into fertility decisions had led her to industrial relations.

Cannold, author of 'What, No Baby?' says much has been written about women's decisions to delay or not have babies, there was a growing realisation about the impact of work on men's contribution to the decision.

"Men are feeling like they have to work more intensely for longer hours - but its cashing out in ways that we didn't expect," Cannold says. "And one of the ways that it's cashing out is that its making men quite hesitant about having children."

Cannold says these personal choices are influenced by the broader economy - and will ultimately impact on our national economic well-being.

"There has not been a connection made in the minds of decision makers between the global forces of the economy in terms of downsizing and efficiencies and increased productivity and people's decision to commit to a family."

She is also concerned about the growing chasm at the workplace between workers taking the 'Daddy or Mummy Track' and choosing to limit their time and those workers who are childless and being expecting to work extra.

Rather than increased monetary benefits, Cannold sees the solution as limiting working hours for all workers - looking towards a 30 hour working week.

Kid's Suffer Most

Foundation Director of the Australian Institute of Family Studies Don Edgar told the conference that it was the nation's children who were the real victims of labour market deregulation.

Accusing the federal government of 'hypocrisy of the highest level' Edgar says the focus on workers as economic units and not human beings was undermining 'family values.'

"It is my hope that the Trade Union movement will continue to argue the cause of family life, rather than the self-interest of unionists, and that this will produce a backlash against an uncaring oligarchy of economic rationalists at both the political and business level," Edgar says.

Endorsing those comments, Unions NSW secretary John Robertson said it this the first step to building a broad community alliance against the industrial relations changes.

"I have repeatedly said the changes to our industrial relations laws are not an attack on trade unions, they are an attack on the Australian way of life. Unions on their own, can not defeat these changes.

"What we can do is work with groups across the community and make the case for a different view of work, that sees working people as family members and members of the community.

"Together, we have a responsibility to explore a future for work that doesn't make people choose between having to be good parents and good workers, between being good citizens and good workers."


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