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Issue No. 287 28 October 2005  

A Sick Set of Laws
The Howard Government’s inexorable push to strip workers’ rights continues; despite the warnings of unions, churches, community groups, labour market economists and now, epidemiologists.


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.


 Howard's Fatal Laws

 Saving Private Buy-In

 PM Scoffs at Wollongong

 Commo Bank in Denial

 Family Values

 Johnny Fails Comprehension Test

 Dole Bludgeoning - Andrews Comes Clean

 Jason Turns Leave into Leave!

 Halfback Puts the Boot In

 Business, As Usual

 Terror Laws Strike Fear

 Asbestos Giants Claw Back Compo

 Staff Told to Take a Hike

 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.

 Rung Out
 PM's Fatal Flush
 Sign of the Times
 Labor's Love Lost
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PM Scoffs at Wollongong

John Howard scoffed a $250 meal and lectured party faithful on rights at work within metres of apprentice chefs earning as little as $8.50 an hour, and being denied annual leave, sick leave, allowances and penalty rates, under his AWAs.

Nine people, apprentices and fully trained chefs, have either been sacked or resigned since the Prime Minister grazed at Wollongong's City Beach Centre, earlier this month.

One told Workers Online they had been "amazed" to hear Howard on the theory of his brave, new workplace.

Another, 20-year old Paul Haines, said the operators of Dunes RCB, had demanded his last year's pay, plus a "royalty" for what he had learned, when he attempted to leave after a medical report put recurring nose bleeds down to stress on the job.

The former employees are seeking a range of remedies, through the LHMU, alleging their employer became abusive, and pressured them to resign, after learning they had joined a union.

All say they were required to work any day of the week and often well beyond 38 hours, without overtime or penalty payments.

South Coast Labor Council secretary, Arthur Rorris, questioned why the Office of the Employment Advocate appeared to have "rubber stamped" AWAs that dudded apprentices.

"The Government's own literature states that AWAs cannot over-ride apprenticeship conditions or state laws about their rights," Rorris said.

"It's interesting that this employer seems to have evaded those protections and got the AWA's seal of approval.

"These people were told to sign AWAs and, later, found they had traded their lives away."


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