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Issue No. 274 29 July 2005  
E D I T O R I A L

The Heart of the Matter
Senators Steve Fielding and Barnaby Joyce are right to quibble over the futures of Christmas Day, Good Friday and Anzac Day.

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

 Carr Fingers Feds

 Boeing Scabs Take Flight

 Billion Dollar Blow Hards

 Door Closes on Foot Soldier

 Andrews Ropes In Footy

 Gooooood Morning Sydney!

 Posties Bite Back

 Choice Myth Busted Again

 Vale HT

 Dumb and DEWR

 Combet: Business Can't Be Trusted

 Telstra Burns Bush

 Detective on Death Site

 States of Disunity

 A Turbulent Decade

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 take your Gunns to town
 Yankee Panky
 Poetry in motion
 Losing the faith
WHAT YOU CAN DO
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News

Combet: Business Can't Be Trusted


The rights of working Australians are not “charity” to be dispensed at the whim of business leaders, according to the ACTU.

Secretary Greg Combet has rejected the Prime Minister's call for employees to "trust" business to exercise its new-found powers responsibly.

"Tell that to a James Hardie mesothelioma victim," Combet responded.

He called on the government to maintain a system of safeguards and entitlement in the form of enforeceable legal rights.

Canberra is preparing a rewritten Workplace Relations Act that will strip away the right to a range of workplace protections, including negotiated rates of pay, unfair dismissal rights and conditions such as penalty rates and four weeks annual leave.

Analysts say, essentially, Canberra is preparing enabling legislation that won't, of itself, write existing conditions out of existence but will enable employers to get rid of them.

Combet says the Prime Minister's agenda "lacks humanity" and would set Australia on a path of increased inequality and exploitation.

He said it was dishonest to promote the community campaign against the changes as being just about unions.

"Our opposition is about all working people, their democratic rights and living standards, and the future direction of our country," he said.

Meanwhile, key senators have revealed that more than eight million people will lose their guaranteed rights to meal breaks and paid public holidays, under the proposed regime.

They say, pay for Christmas Day, Good Friday and Anzac Day will no longer be an automatic right for workers not covered by an award.

Family First Senator Steve Fielding and Queensland National, Barnaby Joyce, have both opposed the clawbacks.

Melbourne's Herald Sun, last week, quoted a spokesman from Andrews' office confirming public holidays would be excluded from its list of minimum conditions.

The rights of working Australians are not "charity" to be dispensed at the whim of business leaders, according to the ACTU.


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