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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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Working Between the Flags

Surf lifesavers are battling to keep their heads above the flood of workplace changes flowing from Canberra.

John Restuccia, Surf Lifesaving NSW director of lifesaving, warns the very people who rescue thousands of Australians every summer are those being targeted by employer demands for "flexibility".

"The increasing demands of work, and the changing nature of work is affecting our ability recruit and retain members," he warned.

"It is fair to say the ranks of surf lifesavers in Australia are mainly from the lower to middle income classifications. Most of our active patrolling members are teenagers or people in their 20s or 30s.

"I am no labour market expert but this seems to be the group of people bearing the brunt of change in the nature of work, and labour market deregulation."

Restuccia told the Unions NSW "Things Fall Apart" conference, that many people who had traditionally volunteered to be lifesavers now had more than one job, or uncertain hours.

This, he said, threatened the survival of an iconic Australian institution, based on the volunteer ethos.

Restuccia said surf lifesaving clubs had "implicit" contracts with the communities that supported and funded their operations.

"Each season surf club members are allocated into rostered patrols and they must attend those patrols, or if absent, arrange a substitute." he explained.

"There is little flexibility in the system and most clubs penalise members for missing patrols by suspension. If volunteers don't turn up, for whatever reason, the beach is not patrolled and safety is at risk."

Restuccia said when minimum patrol requirements were not met, clubs were fined, and even suspended.

Surf lifesaving is Australia's largest volunteer water safety organisation. It has 303 clubs scattered along the coast of every state, and the Northern Territory.

There are around 37,000 patrolling members and, last year, they made 12,000 surf rescues.


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