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Issue No. 269 24 June 2005  

Truth In Advertising
In the past seven days we have witnessed the unprecedented spectacle of a Howard Minister attempting to campaign on ‘Truth’. That it has come back to bite him on the bum is the clearest proof yet of some eternal notion of justice.


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


 Choice Bro, Andrews Unmasked

 Rev Kev’s Big Stick

 Grass Roots Flourish

 Academics Give an F

 Feds Invoke Feared Beard

 Mum Gives Johnny the Slip

 Hadgkiss in Family Friendly Assault

 Slick Operator Goes Down

 Tassie in Grip of Chip Strip

 Elderly Boss Gets Cranky

 Army Used To Privatise Phones

 Dangerous Vic bosses face slammer

 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

 Good outlook at Hertz
 Foxtel’s folly
 Stuck for words
 More care, less scare
 Do or die time
 China throws in Mao’s towel
 Don’t strike out strikes
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Choice Bro, Andrews Unmasked

The federal government’s "choice" lie has exploded in the face of Workplace Relations Minister, Kevin Andrews.

Twenty four hours after Andrews labelled ads about his government’s IR agenda "deceptive" and "misleading", staff from his own department confirmed they were spot on.

Angry Department of Employment and Workplace Relations staffers rallied in Sydney to refute their Minister's claims workers' wouldn't be forced to sign individual contracts by legislation he is introducing to federal parliament.

Andrews' own department, they revealed, is already forcing new starters to sign non-union AWAs (Australian Workplace Agreements) as a condition of employment.

Further, they blew the whistle on the department's attempt to coerce 15 Melbourne colleagues into signing AWAs.

Their union, the CPSU, produced DEWR documentation supplied to the 15 with a Yes box already ticked, alongside the statement, "I acknowledge my commitment to sign an Australian Workplace Agreement".

The revelations rip the ground away from the government's attempt to soft-sell its radical IR agenda under the "freedom of choice" banner.

They left the Minister looking out of touch with his portfolio, coming just 24 hours after he demanded that an ACTU ad campaign be pulled off radio and television.

In an emotional counter-attack, Andrews blasted ads which claimed his legislation would force workers to sign AWAs.

"The bottom line is that no Australian worker can trust the word of the ACTU when it comes to explaining this legislation," Andrews said. "It is all about scare. It is dishonest and wrong."

The following day his credibility was in tatters.

Rather than dealing with his department's actions, Andrews chose to kick for touch. Andrews refused to comment on the CPSU evidence, saying he couldn't interfere with departmental IR strategies.

ACTU secretary, Greg Combet, called the Andrews defence "absurd" and pledged the advertising campaign would continue.

He labelled Andrews a "hypocrite".


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