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Issue No. 275 05 August 2005  

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.


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


 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!


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.

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

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.

 Back To The Past
 AFL-CIO Not The Only War
 Be Afraid
 Frame Up
 We Love Morris
 ANew Development
 A Readers Suggestion
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Andrews Provokes Showdown

Workplace Relations Minister, Kevin Andrews, has refused to provide assurances his new industrial laws won’t slash take home pay, holidays, overtime or any other entitlements.

Andrews ducked those questions at last Thursday's meeting with state and territory IR Ministers, setting the scene for a legal showdown over his radical agenda.

NSW Minister, John Della Bosca, said "on the evidence available" a joint High Court challenge to the Commonwealth's use of Corporations powers seemed inevitable.

"Alarmingly," Della Bosca said, Andrews had also refused to commit to circulating specifics of his workplace rewrite before it was tabled in Parliament.

Della Bosca called the federal IR approach an "arrogant abuse of power".

"The Commonwealth Government failed to give any assurances that its industrial relations changes would not reduce the wages, entitlements or lifestyles of Australian workers and their families," he said.

State and Territory Ministers said they refused Andrews' bid to hand over their IR systems after considering modelling showing families stood to lose thousands of dollars from the proposed changes.

They went into the meeting brandishing claims that the difference between existing entitlements and the Commonwealth's proposed minimum standards could see ..

- nurses lose up to $18,688 a year

- restaurant workers down by more than $700

- cleners lose up to $966 per annum

Andrews refused to provide the following requested assurances ..

- that there would be no hostile takeover of state systems

- that AWAs would not offer less take home pay than received under federal or state awards

- that a fair minimum wage would be set by a truly independent authority

- that there would be a comprehensive safety net

- that there would be an independent umpire with dispute settling powers

- that there would be special protections for vulnerable workers, including contractors

Della Bosca the requests were based on evidence that removal of minimum standards such as leave loading, penalties and allowances would "devastate" family budgets.


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