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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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Academics Give an F

A report card issued by 17 experts undermines the rationale for John Howard’s proposed IR changes.

To argue economic progress through stripping away workers’ rights is not underpinned by reality, according to the academics from eight universities around Australia.

A major finding is that overseas evidence indicates Australia's system of collective bargaining, which the government is trying to discourage, has delivered strong economic benefits.

The report also states there is no evidence that more flexible forms of employment, as advocated by the government, lead to greater productivity.

The group's convener Professor Russell Lansbury said the reforms took the low road with the economy, cutting wages and conditions, rather than the high road to a high value-added economy with committed workers.

Further, these reforms would do nothing to fix the nation's skill shortage or lower unemployment.

Put simply, "If you create crap jobs you get a crap economy," according to Griffith University's Emeritus Professor Peter Brosnan.

The report also condemns the effect the reforms would have on the community, individuals and families.

Professor Lansbury said the reforms would damage the fabric of Australian society, worsening the balance between work and family, by encouraging poorly-paid jobs with irregular hours and little security.

The reforms would widen the gap between rich and poor, creating a society of haves and have-nots.

"The Howard government would do well to learn from past experience that industrial relations policy is more than creating a competitive economy but ensuring social cohesion and fairness is achieved for the long-term prosperity and stability of Australian society as a whole - and not just for a small minority," Professor Lansbury said.


There is no evidence to support the Federal Government's claim that removal of unfair dismissal laws would create more jobs, according to a Senate report released this week

Democrats Senator Andrew Murray said the 'Unfair dismissal and small business employment' report showed the government's claim 50,000 to 77,000 jobs would be created was a myth.

"If the case for ending essential employment rights rests on large-scale job creation you will search in vain for convincing empirical data," he said.

The report stems from a Democrats motion passed last year.


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