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Issue No. 285 14 October 2005  

Howard’s Secret War
There are two wars being waged against Australian workers right now.


Interview: Under Fire
Michael Crosby outlines his agenda to save the movement – and explains why Australians have nothing to fear from the SEIU.

Politics: And the Winners Are ...
Wal King, Allan Moss, Roger Corbett, Chip Goodyear, Michael Chaney and David Murray have lots in common, writes Jim Marr.

Industrial: Un-Australian
Labour lawyer Clive Thompson argues the changes to IR are fundamentally at odds with the national tradition of consesensus.

Economics: The Common Wealth
As the policy wonks debate the future of our cities, Neale Towart mounts a simple argument: It’s the real people in a society, stupid

History: Walking for Justice
The Eight Hour Day, a very Australian celebration, had its origins in New Zealand it seems, writes Neale Towart.

International: Deja Vu
A group of trade unions have walked away from America's peak council, again. Labourstart's Eric Lee was there.

Legal: The Rights Stuff
Terror laws have sparked a fresh debate on a Bill of Rights - and workers have a bigger stake than ever before, writes Rachael Osman-Chin.

Review: That Cinderella Fella
Russell trades the phone for mitts in an inspiring cinematic slug-fest. Nathan Brown is ringside

Poetry: Is Howard Kidding?
Mel Cheal asks who Howard thinks he is kidding to the tune of the ‘Dad’s Army’ theme song.


 Call Centre Dials Up Future

 Greenfields Become Cotton Fields

 PM Endorses Billy Boy Tactics

 Stats Go Missing

 Paper Tiger in Protection Racket

 Thugs Are Go!

 Usual Suspects Bite Employers

 Pay Boss Opposed Living Wage

 Tele Enlists Boss’ Family

 Entitlements Go AWAy

 State Employees in Limbo

 Activist’s What’s On!


The Soapbox
No Place For A Woman!
Doreen Borrow spoke to the Public Service Association’s women’s conference in September about her experiences of working life that span seven decades.

North By Northwest
Phil Doyle returns from up north, where he survived on nothing but goodwill, good people and a great big orange bus.

The Locker Room
In which Whatsisname slams the recent poor form of Thingummyjig.

The Westie Wing
Our favourite MP, Ian West MLC, gets all casual in his latest missive from the Bear Pit.

 JWH's Inspiration
 Hooray for Robots
 Government's Dream
 Come Clean
 Good Guy Done Bad
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PM Endorses Billy Boy Tactics

Federal Government has come clean on its plan to “billy” young Australians out of wages, holiday entitlements, overtime and penalty rates.

Billy is one of the stars of the Howard regime's $100 million campaign to convince Australians they will benefit from lower wages and inferior conditions.

WorkChoices, a 68-page booklet produced to spruik the radical workplace rewrite, introduces "Billy" as a new-starter at a clothing shop who signs a take-it or leave-it AWA that strips him of a range of negotiated conditions.

"The AWA Billy is offered explicitly removes the award conditions for public holidays, rest breaks, bonuses, annual leave loadings, allowances, penalty rates and shift/overtime loadings," the document bearing the seal of "Australian Government" reads.

"Because Billy wants to get a foothold in the job market, he agrees to the AWA and accepts the offer."

"WorkChoices" makes it clear that Billy will have no choice about being covered by an award or collective agreement.

"The job offered to Billy is contingent on him accepting an AWA," it says.

Prime Minister, John Howard, has taken personal responsibility for Billy.

He told ABC interviewer, Kerry O'Brien, last week, he had asked for Billy to be inserted in the government publication so "we would be completely transparent about that kind of situation".

Howard said it would be reasonable to cut Billy's entitlements because, in the example quoted, he had been out of work and had had somebody bargain on his behalf.

When the Prime Minister was asked to confirm the same would apply to "many, many people", irrespective of their personal situations, he refused to answer the question.

Unions NSW secretary, John Robertson, said Billy blew two key government arguments out of the water.

"It demolishes the central argument on which individual agreements are based - that individuals have the same bargaining power as corporations," Robertson said.

"Who, in their right mind, would agree to losing a whole range of entitlements if they had genuine bargaining power?

"Equally, it gives the lie to assurances that this government is not about cutting wages and conditions. If employers can force all newcomers to work for inferior wages and conditions, it's not going to be long until everybody's living standards are affected."

The "WorkChoices" admissions came after months of Prime Ministerial and Ministerial evasions, and denials, about the likely effects of their workplace agenda.


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