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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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High Flyer Crashes Families

Millionaire Qantas boss, Geoff Dixon, is threatening 3000 Australian families with the dole queue in a bid to force down his company's wage bill.

The Business Council of Australia board member announced, last week, that 3000 skilled maintenance positions would be shipped offshore if workers didn't give up existing entitlements.

AMWU national secretary, Doug Cameron, accused the national carrier of "bullying and intimidation", just a fortnight out from the opening of enterprise bargaining negotiations.

"Howard's legislation is designed to deny workers choice," Cameron said.

"Employers will use the hand he is dealing them to stand over Australian families. Qantas is saying to its workforce that this legislation means they have no choice - accept clawbacks or your jobs go overseas.

"This is just the first company that will use these laws to threaten and bully Australians."

Cameron challenged the Prime Minister to stand up to Dixon, one of his chief financial and political backers, or be shown to have lied to the public.

"John Howard claims to be the best friend of Australian workers well now he has the opportunity to put his rhetoric into action on behalf of thousands of families who are looking at losing their incomes."

Dixon has been an outspoken advocate of John Howard's IR regime, that seeks to replace collective bargaining with individual contracts; eliminate unfair dismissal rights; strip awards; and lower minimum conditions, including annual holiday entitlements.

Cameron said the AMWU would discuss business and operational matters with Qantas, "on their merits".

In doing that, he said, it would recognise the company remained one of the world's most profitable airlines and it continued to pay "enormous" executive salaries, including boosting Dixon's multi-million earn by more than 200 percent in three years.

"They are coming after our penal rates, annual leave and conditions, we know that," Cameron said.

"There are legitimate ways to compete that we will explore them in good faith," Cameron said. "But Australian can't compete, on wages, with countries that pay 60 and 80 cents an hour.

"The Prime Minister should recognise that and decide who's side he is on."

ALAEA federal secretary, Tim Heywood, said Australian

engineers had built and maintained the world's best air safety standards, and Qantas has profited from that.

Mr Heywood said engineers and maintenance workers were shocked to learn of Qantas' plans after their unions had initiated talks, a month ago, to discuss future work needs.

"The ALAEA is committed to working towards a solution and wishes to do this in co-operation with Qantas. However, we say to Qantas and, most importantly, to the Australian travelling public, that safety is not for sale," Heywood said.


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