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Issue No. 267 10 June 2005  

Rivers of Gold
The latest catchphrase from the econmentariat seems to be ‘infrastructure’ – which I think refers to what we used to know as ‘public works’.


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


 Feds Wrong on Minimum Wage

 Dogs in Sheep’s Clothing

 Andrews Faces Probe

 NSW Packs IR Scrum

 China Syndrome

 Pirates Of The Canberrean

 Foxtel Scores Own Goal

 Killer Bosses on Notice

 Apprentices Spitting Chips

 Howard Chokes Working Women

 Vice Regal Notes

 Survey – Do it Now or Else

 Greens Join Fight

 Workers win repreive

 Activists Whats 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

 Secure Advice
 All The Way With The USA
 Expensive Door Charge
 Teen Years in Detention
 Court Cases are Media’s Drug
 Lang Is Right
 Legalising Unfairness
 Hertz Meenz Hurtz
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China Syndrome

"Diabolical" working conditions and brutal repression in China will be spotlighted as unions link trade with human rights at this years ALP state conference.

Unions have put forward eleven points that must be met before the ALP will support a proposed Australia-China Free Trade Agreement.

They include:

  • Implementing ILO conventions, including recognising free and effective trade unions.
  • Monitoring, reporting and enforcement of core labour standards.
  • Lifting health and safety standards.
  • Identifying and removing non-tariff barriers within China.
  • Ensuring legal and property rights are enforceable.
  • Ensuring a lack of environmental safeguards in China does not become trade advantage.
  • Introducing strong anti-dumping laws into the Australian parliament.
  • Social audits of Australian regions affected by the proposed agreement.
  • Industry development policies that promote jobs for Australian manufacturing.
  • Public consultation on the agreement through a Parliamentary process. The motion points out that Chinese workers have no right to join independent unions, no right to strike, no way to approve collective agreements and no right to vote for a government that will give them any of these rights.

    "Chinese labour activists continue to be detained in brutal conditions for simply organising to demand the payment of unpaid wages," reads the motion, which is jointly sponsored by Doug Cameron from the AMWU and Russ Collison from the AWU.

    It slams the "Howard Government's capitulation to Chinese Government pressure to gain market status".

    Both the European Union and the United States have consistently refused to recognise China as a market economy.

    The state ALP's policy making body will be told there is "an obligation in all trade arrangements to respect core labour standards" and that poor labour standards and an undervalued currency provide an unfair trading advantage to the Chinese economy.


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