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Issue No. 278 26 August 2005  
E D I T O R I A L

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.

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

 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!

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
 Rodent Knows Best
 Godspeed LHMU
 Help Wanted
 Proof in the Pudding
 Safeguards Already There
WHAT YOU CAN DO
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Legal

IR Ads Dubious


Advice from two senior public servants has thrown doubt on the legality of the Howard Government's planned $100 million plus advertising blitz over its workplace law changes as the ALP and the ACTU seek to have the High Court rule on the issue.

Leaked advice from the Solicitor-General's office says the government must make a reasonable attempt to describe the spending's purpose for it to be legally valid.

The advice was given in 1998, and said that general descriptions such as "good government" were "insufficient".

The government is justifying picking up the tab for IR advertising under provisions expressed as promoting "Higher productivity, higher pay workplaces" under the Appropriations Act.

The leak follows a submission by the Clerk of the Senate, Harry Evans, to a Senate inquiry on the legality of the government's IR advertising.

"Parliament is making appropriations, is giving government a blank cheque to spend money for any purpose,' says Evans. "If government can use public funds to advertise its legislative proposals before those proposals are even introduced into the parliament, much less passed, the difference between government advertising for public information and party-political advertising for partisan advantage has virtually disappeared."

Labor and the ACTU will put their case to a High Court full bench in Canberra this week, arguing that the Government's advertising expenditure is unconstitutional because proper budget approval was not sought from parliament.


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