||Issue No. 271||08 July 2005|
Interview: Battle Stations
Unions: The Workers, United
Politics: The Lost Weekend
Industrial: Truth or Dare
History: A Class Act
Economics: The Numbers Game
International: Blonde Ambition
Training: The Trade Off
Review: Bore of the Worlds
Poetry: The Beaters Medley
The Locker Room
Do It Yourself?
Vale the Eight Hour Day
The vision thing
Campaign Pushes Right Buttons
It’s Time to Punt the PM
Bob Each Way
Hits the Mark
Reforms not an Erosion
PM Pulls Rank On Ads
John Howard returned from holiday to end a stand-off between Kevin Andrews and the business community about who should foot the bill to sell their common polices.
It erupted after AC Neilsen and Newspoll revealed the government was taking a bath on its radical workplace agenda.
AC Neilsen's Herald Poll showed the Prime Minister's approval rating had taken its biggest plunge since he took office, and that the ALP opposition had opened up a 54-46 lead in two-party preferred terms.
The same poll revealed 60 percent of the population, aware of Howard's attack on workplace rights, opposed it. Opposition was registered by 23 percent of respondents who identified themselves as federal government supporters.
On the same day, Newspoll showed ALP support up two percentage points, while backing for the Prime Minister at its lowest level since he invaded Iraq.
The polls were taken the weekend after more than a quarter of a million workers rallied against proposed changes to workplace laws and provoked a spat between the Coalition and its most aggressive supporters.
Representatives from Australian Business and the Chamber of Commerce and Industry urged the government to use taxpayers' money to underwrite an immediate publicity blitz.
But Andrews said such a spend was months off as it would have to wait for legislation to be finalised. The government has budgeted $22 million to wage its publicity war.
Last Friday, the Prime Minister revealed the first shots would be fired over the weekend of July 9-10 with newspaper advertisements. Later the same day, he upped the ante by green-lighting a tv campaign.
Taking WA Out Of AWA
Meanwhile, Kevin Andrews has been caught telling half-truths over Western Australian workers receiving half their annual leave.
Andrews claimed on the ABC's 7.30 Report last week that "the official Government website of the Labor Party" claimed workers could cash out up to two weeks of annual leave.
What he didn't say is that the same website points out it "cannot be made a condition if employment" and "it is not usually possible to make such an agreement if an award applies".
The WA Government has already announced a review of the policy, a move welcomed by Unions WA secretary Dave Robinson, who has argued that the WA Liberal Government's cash out option lowered community standards.
"We'd welcome any change in the legislation to protect community standards," says Robinson.
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