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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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Hadgkiss in Family Friendly Assault

Building Industry Commission boss, Nigel Hadgkiss, is on the board of an agency that is demanding public servants sign away their rights to union representation.

Hadgkiss is on the Australian Institute of Criminology (AIC) management team that has just served up a non-union agreement that seeks to either slash or remove a range of family-friendly entitlements from 80 staff.

Its clawbacks would see cuts to employees' rights to paternity, adoption, personal and carer's leave, and bereavement leave abolished entirely.

The federal agency wants to turn overtime requirements on their head, requiring workers to show "reasonable cause" why they can't perform extra hours, and is seeking to abolish "permanent" employment for new starters.

Workers would have to agree to meet the Minister's expectations, politicising the crime fighting agency along the lines of the partisan Building Industry Commission, and are being asked to agree not to involve "third parties" in any disputes.

The CPSU has fielded complaints about the AIC demands but says low union density is a serious problems that staff need to overcome.

"The AIC has a history of poor industrial relations," according to the CPSU's, Vince McDevitt. "But low union membership at the agency has allowed them to get away with it.

"Their current agreement is a non-union agreement because it is so poor we weren't prepared to be involved. This is even worse but unless people join the union and get involved, they will get away with it."

McDevitt said the recent victory in the Governor General's Department should offer AIC staffers heart. On the back of a membership leap, from around 20 to 50 percent, the CPSU signed off, last week, of "some very positive gains".

When Hadgkiss, appointed to his position five years ago, was asked about the AIC he responded "what's that?"

After a gentle reminder he recalled being a board member but denied double dipping on the taxpayer.

"There are no fees," Hadgkiss insisted.


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