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Issue No. 275 05 August 2005  
E D I T O R I A L

Iemma’s Dilemmas
The past fortnight has seen the sort of upheaval in NSW that reminds us all that politics is a very tenuous game with few certainties and even fewer rules.

F E A T U R E S

Interview: On Holiday
Historian Richard White looks back on the Aussie vacation - and finds a way of life is under threat.,

Unions: One Day Longer
Nathan Brown travels to the Boeing picket line and find a group of workers with a steely determination to stick together.

Industrial: Never Mind the Bollocks
Jim Marr plays the Howard Government's industrial relations spin job on its merits.

Politics: Spun Out
Canberra’s latest campaign underlines the need for controls over government advertising, according to Graeme Orr and Joo-Cheong Tham

Economics: If the Grog Don't Get You ....
Evan Jones explains how the way we purchase alcolohol reflects the type of economy we live in.

History: Taking a Stand
Neale Towart looks at two books that chronicle how to build community support against social injustice.

International: The Split
Amanda Tattersal outsider's account of an insider's shake-out at the AFL-CIO Convention 2005

Legal: Pushing the Friendship
George Williams argues that the federal government’s constitutional powers are not sufficient to enact a comprehensive national industrial relations scheme

Poetry: Simple Subtractions
The latest blitz of taxpayer-funded advertising has revealed a crisis of arithmetic in government ranks has moved resident bard David Peetz to prose.

Review: Sydney Trashed
Sydney band SC Trash are on a mission to give new life to folk and country music – and the politics of common sense. Nathan Brown had a beer with them

N E W S

 Carmen's Boss No Fun Guy

 Discriminating Centrelink on Charges

 Uproar Over Holiday Plans

 Do The Bus Stop

 Taxpayers to Fund Advertising Orgy

 Get Up Stands Up

 Andrews Provokes Showdown

 Thousands in Super Rort

 Constituents Don’t Trust Andrews

 Skill Shortage Fabricated

 Yanks Short Change Tradesmen

 Howard Steamroller Hits Building Sites

 CFMEU Bans Ferguson

 Activists Whats On!

C O L U M N S

Parliament
The Westie Wing
Our favourite MP, Ian West, goes away for a couple of weeks and look what happens…

The Soapbox
The Last Weekend
Unions NSW secretary John Robertson's speech to the Last Weekend - how the Howard government laws will undermine the Ausrtalian way of life.

The Locker Room
A Concept Is Born
In which Phil Doyle helps the proponents of the vision thing across the road.

International
Workers Blood For Oil
A new book by Abdullah Muhsin and Alan Johnson lifts the lid on the bloody reality of US backed democracy for Iraq's trade unions

Postcard
London Post
During his recent stay in London IEU industrial officer John Shapiro was living only a few hundred metres from the site of one of the bomb blasts.

L E T T E R S
 Back To The Past
 AFL-CIO Not The Only War
 Be Afraid
 Frame Up
 We Love Morris
 ANew Development
 A Readers Suggestion
WHAT YOU CAN DO
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News

Taxpayers to Fund Advertising Orgy


A nervous federal government is contemplating throwing $100 million at spruiking its controversial workplace agenda.

The possibility of a five-fold increase in the projected cost came after big business insisted it move to counter public opposition.

Workplace Relations Minister, Kevin Andrews, is drawing up new workplace laws based on wish lists submitted by the Business Council of Australia and the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

At their heart are secret individual contracts that will be used to undermine negotiated collective contracts. Other key elements include green-lighting unfair dismissals, eliminating guaranteed access to a range of entitlements, and a hostile takeover of state IR systems

Spooked business spokespeople demanded that the government raid taxpayers' funds, after its announcement, by the Prime Minister, sparked a public backlash.

Andrews initially resisted, saying an advertising blitz could wait until the legislation was drafted.

But, after successive polls revealed big slumps in government popularity, the Prime Minister returned from holidays and fast-forwarded the "information campaign".

Analysts expected taxpayers to foot a bill of between $20 million and $25 million for glossy brochures, newspaper, television and radio advertising.

But the head of the government taskforce charged with selling the agenda, revealed last week, the bill could be much larger.

Former Liberal Party president, Andrew Robb, told Melbourne's Age newspaper that workplace advertising could match the controversial GST spend.

"I expect it to be consistent with similar other major policy changes like the GST," Robb said.

GST advertising costs have been put at more than $100 million.

ACTU secretary, Greg Combet, said leaks of the advertising specs proved the government was out to "con" Australians.


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