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Issue No. 268 17 June 2005  

Courting Public Opinion
This weekend marks a significant step forward in the evolution of union campaigning, with the launch of $8 million in advertising to hit the Howard Government where it hurts – in the lounge rooms of middle Australia.


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


 Insults Hertz

 Andrews Bends Over for Big End

 Boeing, Boeing Gone

 Cobb & Co Punt Parkes

 Corporates Arm Firing Squad

 Quad Gets the Brush

 Practical Joke Costs Police

 Unions Target Soap and Grunt

 US Backs Terrorists

 Royalty Held Hostage in WA

 Bad News Rising On AWAs

 Workers Exercise Choice

 Howard Scores Own Goal

 RailCorp Shocker

 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

 Wandering In The Wilderness
 Once Upon A Time In America
 The Truth Is Out There
 History Repeats
 Cash Cow On Private Tax Farm
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Royalty Held Hostage in WA

WA hospitals, schools and communities will lose $60 million next year to a royalty dodge by mining giants, BHP and Rio Tinto.

The racket has been going on for decades with BHP and Rio Tinto paying discounted royalties under a deal thrashed out with a conservative government in the 1960s, despite a 70 percent jump in iron ore prices this year, alone.

The AMWU is back state government calls for the world's two biggest mining companies to pay the same rates as other operators.

"The non-payment of appropriate royalties has provided another way for these companies to avoid investing in WA," AMWU state secretary, Jock Ferguson, said.

"We already have a major problem with minerals companies exporting as many jobs overseas as possible.

"While these companies have taken billions of dollars out of WA, they repeatedly short change the community on jobs, opportunities and now facilities and services."

He said big mineral companies BHP Billiton, CRA and Woodside had taken conscious decisions to export more than 2000 skilled jobs out of the state.

Ferguson was backing State Development Minister, Alan Carpenter, who has drawn hostile fire from the minerals companies for suggesting they pay royalties at the same rates as competitors.

The rationale for giving BHP and Rio Tinto, now CRA, discounts was that, at the time, there was little demand for WA ore.

BHP was also encouraged by rent-free access to thousands of Pilbara hectares for 15 years.

In the past five years, however, demand and price for fine ore has rocketed.

BHP sales to China, alone, have gone from $US600 million to $3.25 billion in the space of three years.

BHP and CSR are demanding price increases of up to 100 percent from buyers.

"It's time these companies were forced to develop strategies that ensure investment in WA," Ferguson said. "We want local content strategies that ensure more fabrication and manufacturing is done in WA so the community receives some tangible benefits from our resources.


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