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Issue No. 278 26 August 2005  

A Secret Country
Beyond the obvious shift in the Australian political landscape, we are currently witnessing major changes in our political culture – personified in the two Herald Sun journalists currently facing jail.


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


 Busted: Howard's 14 Percent Fudge

 Emperor Stripped on Wages

 Witch Hunt Targets Priest

 No Malice in Pregnancy Termination, Court

 Building Boss Risks Lives

 Cleric Preaches Murder

 Bus Rams Home IR Message

 Contractors Get Run Of “The Mill”

 BHP Mining Cheap Labour

 Toll Bells For Corrigan

 Lorikeet Folds Wings

 Safety Is Apples In Orange

 IR Ads Dubious

 Striking Tongans Serenade Princess

 Activist's What's 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.

 Rodent Knows Best
 Godspeed LHMU
 Help Wanted
 Proof in the Pudding
 Safeguards Already There
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Busted: Howard's 14 Percent Fudge

It's official: The Prime Minister's 14 per cent real wage increase boast is a mirage - built on gigantic rises for CEOs and high income earners like himself.

While the highest CEOs’ wages have blown out by 229 per cent since 1998, the average increase for non-managerial adult income between 1998 and 2004 was just 3.6 per cent, according to an analysis of ABS data carried out by ACIRRT for Unions NSW.

The analysis drawing together published and unpublished ABS data found,

- workers in the lowest two percentiles, received an average increase of just 1.2 per cent over the six year period.

- workers in the highest percentile were the only ones to enjoy a double digit increase in real wages (13.4 per cent)

- and that middle income earners experiences the lowest increases of all.

ACIRRT research fellow Steve Jackson says the different figures all come down to looking at median wages rather than the average.

"The high figure the Prime Minister quotes on average wages is distorted by the huge increases those at the top of the labour market have experienced over the last eight years," Jackson says.

"Take managers and the high-fliers out off the equation and the picture is of modest growth in real wages, driven by increases to the minimum wage awarded by the Australian Industrial Relations Commission."

Meanwhile, a parallel analysis of executive pay by Sydney University's John Shields says CEO packages have grown exponentially in both wages and options.

"What is clear is that the higher up the hierarchy, the higher the growth in wages."

Unions NSW secretary John Robertson says the analysis shows the Howard government's claims of 14 per cent increase in real wages are 'nothing more than spin'.

"The Prime Minister has been using this figure to paint himself as a friend of the workers while he goes about ripping away their working rights and conditions."

"What he can claim credit for is driving up the wages of high-fliers while leaving more and more workers struggling to make ends meet.

"these figures prove what most ]of us have suspected for some time - our economic success is not being shared evenly.

"Under the changes to industrial relations, this will only get worse."


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