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Issue No. 286 21 October 2005  

Lord of the Lobster Legs
It was probably only shame that prompted the Prime Minister to drag himself away from a $250 per head fundraiser to meet with a group of emergency workers in Wollongong this week. But, this in itself may be a development.


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.


 Family Grieves an Enterprise Worker

 All Quiet in Dandenong

 Hotline Gets Wires Crossed

 High Flyer Crashes Families

 Bolt Strikes Lecturer

 Good Heavens - Della Plays Santa

 Maori Take Challenge to Canberra

 Drips Fail Water Test

 Hardie Shuts the Door

 Hadgkiss Threatens Protesters

 Army Fires Salvo

 The Munro Doctrine

 IR Sparks Emergency Call

 Tassie Jobs Hit By Truck

 Canberra Coy on Promised Statements

 Inquiry to Speak No Evil

 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.

 Sacking For Dummies
 DIY Tool
 Thus Spake Sydney Uni
 Morgan’s Way
 Vote 1 Dictator
 Howard’s Choice
 Buying peace Of Mind
 Coolies Bullish
 Unfair ads
 Rev Kev Speaks
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All Quiet in Dandenong

Calbah Industries has pulled down the cone of silence on claims it duped employees into spruiking for the federal government, then paid them a tiny fraction of the consideration it was given for allowing them to be filmed on its premises.

Calbah chief executive, Chester Baker, went to ground when Workers Online tried to seek clarification, this week.

The telephonist at his Hammond Rd, Dandenong, factory was less than forthcoming when we explained we were trying to get at the truth behind Calbah's involvement in the federal government campaign.

"I am not sure I would be able to do that," she said.

She refused to pass on Baker's mobile phone number but promised to ask him to return our call. He never did, despite suggestions on Calbah's website, that he was willing to answer inquiries.

Baker found himself at the centre of a storm over ethics when three former employees blew the whistle on their involvement in the taxpayer-funder advertising campaign to sell radical workplace change.

The three, portrayed as happy, smiling faces in the wall-to-wall television blitz, said they had been misled.

Two former employees told Channel 9 they had been informed they were being filmed for a workplace health and safety video.

A third agreed, in an interview with Melbourne's Age newspaper. He also said Baker's company never paid penal rates to people who worked overtime.

The workers said they had been paid "about" $13 each for being filmed alongside actors. The word, in Dandenong, is that Calbah received around $7000 for allowing the ad to be shot.

Performers' representative, Louise O'Connor, said their treatment appeared "highly unethical" and the government should pull the ads.

"These people were misled. In all our agreements, people have to be told what they are appearing in and why. That's fundamental.

"People have moral rights because they have contributed to a campaign and become personally identified with it.

"Because of that, we have an agreement with the advertising industry, for a 100 percent loading when people are involved in political campaigns.

"The award base rate, for extras, is $19.30 an hour with a minimum four-hour callout. For most ads, negotiated rates are 10 times that figure, at least.

"It seems these people have been duped in order to get them to perform on the cheap."

Industry sources said the government's advertising agency had paid professionals, including extras who never made the final cut, $6000 a head.

A second attempt to afford Chester the opportunity to explain himself also drew a blank.

"He won't be talking to anyone," a Calbah functionary said.


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