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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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Business, As Usual

If corporate Australia insists on ripping up a social contract that has delivered a measure of equity, it will reap the consequences, leading business identities have been warned.

AMWU national secretary, Doug Cameron, delivered the message to industry heavyweights on the opening day of an Australian Financial Review-sponsored conference in Melbourne, last week.

Joining a panellists from John Howard's IR cheer squad, including executives of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Qantas and the Commonwealth Bank, Cameron told business it was on a collision course with core Australian values.

"Australian business is making a historic decision to tear up a social contract based on fairness and the sharing of economic success," Cameron said.

"This package of IR changes is a winner-take-all prescription and that's what you have signed up to.

"Business has chosen to line up with something that is deeply unpopular and will impact adversely on families around the country.

"You can spend another $20 million or $40 million on selling this package but you can't remove the stench that surrounds it and that is something the community will not forget."

Cameron asked corporates to consider what their support for an agenda of income cutting and undermining family-friendly entitlements would mean for social cohesiveness, against a backdrop of record profits and sky-rocketing executive salaries.

He made his address within days of Qantas threatening to use the legislation to shed 3000 Australian jobs, and barely a month after the Commonwealth Bank sent its CEO, David Murray, packing with a $17 million bonus.

Fellow panellist, Peter Hendy from the Chamber of Commerce and Industry, has urged Canberra to go even further in restricting collective bargaining, minimum conditions and the ability to challenge unfair sackings.

Cameron warned that government's taxpayer-funding ad campaign wouldn't wash and that, sooner or later, business be held accountable for the damage inflicted.

"You think what you are doing is clever," he told his audience. "But this is a historic change, and our campaign won't finish when you get your legislation through and the Government's advertising is finished."


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