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Issue No. 287 28 October 2005  
E D I T O R I A L

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.

F E A T U R E S

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.

N E W S

 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!

C O L U M N S

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.

Postcard
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
Disaster
In which Whatsisname slams the recent poor form of Thingummyjig.

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

L E T T E R S
 Rung Out
 PM's Fatal Flush
 Sign of the Times
 Labor's Love Lost
WHAT YOU CAN DO
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News

Staff Told to Take a Hike


Centrelink staff are being given pedometers – devices used to count footsteps – to help them deal with flying colostomy bags, dead snakes and fire bombs.

Centrelink staff take more sickies than anybody else in Australia, prompting management to buy the fitness-inducing gizmos for staff, as well as sending them to health seminars.

The department has also tied a one per cent increase in its current enterprise agreement pay offer with a one day a year drop in sick leave across the department.

But the Public Sector Union says the high number of sick days at Centrelink is because departmental policies lead to abuse from clients.

"To think you can dangle money in front of people - people are deeply insulted and annoyed at the assumption behind it," a CPSU spokesman said.

The spokesman said confusing and ever-changing policy at the department set clients off.

"They need to look at why people get annoyed - and it could be that they're dissatisfied with policy," he said.

"Another problem is that low staffing levels are leading to high levels of queue rage."

Mainstream media have reported that Centrelink staff have been assaulted by colostomy bag wielding pensioners. Other customers have resorted to the use of dead snakes and firebombs to express their frustrations.


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