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Issue No. 283 30 September 2005  

Revenge of the Footy Dads
The release of the second wave of ACTU TV advertising last weekend continues to take the debate around industrial relations into the broader community Ė and specifically the nationís footy grounds.


Interview: Polar Eclipse
Academic David McKnight challenges some sacred cows in his new book "Beyond Left and Right".

Industrial: Wrong Turn
Radical labour reform is on the horizon but some workers, like Sydney bus driver Yvonne Carson, have seen it all before, writes Jim Marr.

Unions: Star Support
It wasn't just families who backed workers' rights at The Last Weekend, but a bunch of musicians who set the tone, writes Chrissy Layton.

Workplace: Checked Out
Glenda Kwek asks you to consider the plight of the retail worker, and shares some of her experiences

Economics: Sold Out
The Future Fund and industrial relations reform are favourite projects of the PM and the Treasurer. Both are speculations on the future and the only guarantee with them is that you will be worse off, writes Neale Towart.

Politics: Green Banned
The impact of new building industry laws wonít be confined to one industry, writes CFMEU national secretary John Sutton.

History: Potted History
Lithgow is a place with a proud history as a union town. The origins of broader community solidarity lie in the early industrial development of the town and the development of unions. The Lithgow Pottery dispute of 1890 was a key event.

International: Curtain Call
The curtains have opened for East Timorís young theatre performers, thanks to a Union Aid Abroad-APHEDA project.

Review: Little Fish
At last! An Aussie film with substance, suspense and a serious dose of reality, writes Lucy Muirhead

Poetry: Slug A Worker
In a shock development, the Federal Treasurer, Peter Costello, gave a ringing endorsement to the poetry pages of Workers Online, writes resident bard David Peetz.


 Brazilians Score at Rocky

 PM Discounts Fair Go

 Centrelink Crashes Internet

 On Yer Bikes

 Road Toll Off The Rails

 Part-Timers in Bank Heist

 Itís Eight Against Eight

 OEA Says Plaque You

 Kez and Rupe Tighten Grip

 Feds Get Blank Cheque

 Rev Kev Absolves Killers

 Turning Business Upside Down

 Stink Over CountryLink Shrink

 Nurses Brush Sick Offer

 Men Make Permanent Choice

 Activist's What's On!


The Soapbox
Families First
New Senator Stephen Fielding turned a few heads with his Maiden Speech to Parliament.

The Locker Room
The New World Order
Phil Doyle declares himself unavailable for the fifth and deciding test.

The Westie Wing
Our favourite MP, Ian West, reports from the NSW Government's Safety Summit

On The Bus
A bright orange bus travelling the state has become the focus of the campaign against federal IR changes. Nathan Brown was on board.

 Four Cornered Rat
 Hrowadís Meixd Msesgaes
 Caveat Emptor
 Shop Front
 Petrol Price of War
 Unionist Slain
 Last Long Weekend
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Centrelink Crashes Internet

Centrelink has blocked staff from web or email contact with their union in response to calls for boss, Jeff Whalan, to help solve an escalating enterprise bargaining stand-off.

The CPSU issued a series of emails and posters calling on Whalan to drop his Pontious Pilate stance to stalled negotiations. Whalan responded with an improved offer then pulled all electronic contact with the union, making it impossible for members to comment or vote on his revised position.

CPSU spokesperson, Paul Ingwersen, said Whalan's blocking manoeuvre would do nothing to resolve the dispute.

"This is a denial of people's basic right to representation and information," Ingwersen said. "The federal government says people are free to join unions then, as an employer, denies them the right to meaningful contact with their union.

Whalan's counter-strike came after Centrelink clients had been warned of looming disruption as staff resisted the agency's urge to drive the federal government's IR agenda.

Thousands of CPSU members are holding rolling stoppages around Australia in an effort to have Centrelink deal with enterprise bargaining claims on their merits.

Ingwersen, said five months of negotiations had stalled over attempts to impose AWAs, move employment conditions from the enforceable EBA into "policy"; and a below-par wage offer.

Earlier this year, Centrelink moved to undermine the collective agreement by advertising for staff who would be forced onto individual, non-union AWAs.

Ingwersen said Centrelink management had taken an "ideological" approach to bargaining.

"This approach is needlessly making life more difficult for Centrelink clients and placing services at risk by forcing workers to choose between industrial action, an AWA, or a sub-standard EBA offer," Ingwersen said.

"It's as if Centrelink is trying to road-test the federal government's new industrial relations laws.'

Twenty four thousand Centrelink employees begin rolling stopwork meetings this week and millions of agency clients have been warned they may need to reschedule appointments.

They are chasing a 12.5 percent wage increase over three years, a Centrelink commitment to negotiate the next collective agreement with their union, and the right of staff to choose whether or not they are employed under AWAs.


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