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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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Howard Chokes Working Women

Pregnant non-union women blocked from returning to work and migrants in the dark about their industrial rights have lost supporters thanks to the Howard Government's refusal to support the Working Women's Centre.

The service which helps between 2000 and 3000 working women every year has been forced to close its doors due to a funding freeze and continuous uncertainly about Government support.

The Working Women's Centre is the state's only independent provider of free industrial legal advice for non union women. It is funded by the NSW and Federal Governments and supported by a range of unions and individuals.

This week the Centre said it had no choice but to close after the Federal Government refused repeated requests for a funding boost and failed to confirm any money would be available until almost the day last year's funds were due to run out.

Unions NSW deputy assistant secretary and Working Women's Centre treasurer Alison Peters said it was a deliberate tactic on the part of the Liberal Government to hold back on funding in order to choke unwanted services.

"It is no coincidence that on the eve of launching the greatest attack of workers' right in Australia's history, the Howard Government has cut off assistance to those who will be hardest hit."

"This is about gagging dissent on unfair laws and stripping workers of every protection."

Working Women's Centre Chair Rae Cooper said it was the state's most disadvantaged women who would be hardest hit by the closure.

She said the major clients of the service were low paid casual, part-time and permanent workers who were not members of their union and were unable to afford to hire a private solicitor.

Of the thousands of women helped every year by the service about one third were experiencing pregnancy related discrimination, whether it be outright sackings, problems returning to work following maternity leave, or being blocked from accessing flexible work arrangements.

Cooper said bullying, unfair dismissals, and underpayment of wages were also major issues, with demand for the Centre's services increasing every year.

Doors are set to close at the Centre from Wednesday 30 June.


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