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Issue No. 271 08 July 2005  
E D I T O R I A L

Polls Apart
The tragic bombings in London may knock industrial relations off the front pages over the next few days, but it is unlikely to end the groundswell of opposition to the Howard Government's mad grab at workers' rights.

F E A T U R E S

Interview: Battle Stations
Opposition leader Kim Beazley says he's ready to fight for workers right. But come July 1, he'll have to be fighting by different rules.

Unions: The Workers, United
It was a group of rank and filers who took centre stage when workers rallied in Sydney's Town Hall, writes Jim Marr.

Politics: The Lost Weekend
The ALP had a hot date, they had arranged to meet on the Town Hall steps, and Phil Doyle was there.

Industrial: Truth or Dare
Seventeen ivory towered academics upset those who know what is best for us last week.

History: A Class Act
After reading a new book on class in Australia, Neale Towart is left wondering if it is possible to tie the term down.

Economics: The Numbers Game
Political economist Frank Stilwell offers a beginners guide to understanding budgets

International: Blonde Ambition
Sweden can be an inspiration to labour movements the world over, as it has had community unionism for over 100 years, creating a vibrant caring society, rather than a "productive" lean economy.

Training: The Trade Off
Next time you go looking for a skilled tradesman and can’t find one, blame an economist, writes John Sutton.

Review: Bore of the Worlds
An invincible enemy has people turning against one another as they fight for survival – its not just an eerie view of John Howard’s ideal workplace, writes Nathan Brown.

Poetry: The Beaters Medley
In solidarity with the workers of Australia, Sir Paul McCartney (with inspiration from his old friend John Lennon) has joined the Workers Online resident bard David Peetz to pen some hits about the government's proposed industrial relations revolution.

N E W S

 Then There Were Three

 Dad's Choice Goes AWAL

 OEA Invokes Sgt Schultz

 CFMEU Resists Standover Tactics

 Tall Tales and Two

 Corrine Throws Stones

 Cardinal Adds Weight to Concerns

 Bosses: Unions Beat AWAs

 16 Hours to Recover Worker

 Choice Gets Confusing

 Attack Derailed In Qld

 PM Pulls Rank On Ads

 HT Lee Gravely Ill

 Activists Whats On!

C O L U M N S

The Soapbox
State of the Union
Unions NSW secretary John Robertson lifts the lid on ‘The Nine Myths of Modern Unionism’

The Locker Room
Wrist Action
Phil Doyle trawls the murky depths of tawdry sleaze, and discovers Rugby is behind it all.

Culture
To Hew The Coal That Lies Below
Phil Doyle reviews Australia's first coal mining novel, Black Diamonds and Dust.

Parliament
The Westie Wing
Our favourite State MP, Ian West, reports from Macquarie Street that the Premier is all the way with a State Commission.

L E T T E R S
 Don’t Call Me Customer
 Do It Yourself?
 Goodthink
 Vale the Eight Hour Day
 The vision thing
 Campaign Pushes Right Buttons
 It’s Time to Punt the PM
 Bob Each Way
 Ads Value
 Travel Allowance?
 Hits the Mark
 Reforms not an Erosion
WHAT YOU CAN DO
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News

PM Pulls Rank On Ads


The Prime Minister has over-ruled his Workplace Relations Minister to fast-track a big-money advertising campaign in the wake of the worst poll results of his eight-years in office.

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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