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Issue No. 272 15 July 2005  

Home Ground Advantage
American pollster Vic Fingerhut has been in Australia this week with a reassuring message to the labour movement - it's OK to stand up for what you believe in - and it might even win you elections.


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.


 PM Rallies on Spin

 Crafty Boss Bytes Staff

 Andrews Faces "Thuggery" Challenge

 Delta Blues

 NRL Plays Man Not Ball

 Boeing Hits Turbulence

 Whole Truth Eludes Rev Kev

 Correct Weight Caulfield

 Business Nervous Over IR Changes

 Last Weekend Gets a Lift

 Free Pass for Death Doctors

 Activists Whats On!


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.

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

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

 Do It Yourself?
 The vision thing
 True Lies
 You C.A.N. Do It
 Water Works
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Whole Truth Eludes Rev Kev

Kevin Andrews� AWA sales pitch has been blown out of the water by the federal government�s own statisticians.

Andrews claims AWA employees are 13 percent better off than counterparts on collective agreements or awards, and that pitch was a central feature of newspaper ads that ran across Australia, last weekend.

Just three days later, the Australian Bureau of Statistics revealed that for adults in fulltime work, people on certified collective agreements did best.

Its annual publication, Australian Social Trends, showed Aussies on collective agreements, the vast majority of which are union negotiated, averaged 80 cents per hour more than employees on government-sponsored secret individual contracts (AWAs).

But Unions NSW secretary, John Robertson, said the real difference in earnings for "working people" was "significantly bigger" than the figures showed.

Robertson accused the Minister, and his advertising, of "trying to mislead by not telling the whole truth".

The weekly earnings figures, favoured by the federal government, are flawed because they deliberately ignore the earnings of more than a million employees on state certified agreements.

But, on top of that, government AWA earnings are boosted by the inclusion of more than 800,000 people the ABS identifies as managers. Many of them are on six-figure salaries, especially in Canberra, where federal policy forces departmental bosses onto AWAs.

The ABS figures also reveal that AWA employees work, on average, six hours a week longer than counterparts on collective agreements, and a whopping 27 percent more time than those on awards, many of whom are part-time, again artificially boosting Canberra's weekly comparison.

On hourly rates, the ABS reveals, part-times on AWAs earn 25 percent less than those on collective agreements; while casuals on AWAs are 15 percent worse off.

Robertson said the ABS figures showed the federal government had a "real cheek" to criticise the ACTU's advertising campaign.


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