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Issue No. 288 04 November 2005  
E D I T O R I A L

Terror Laws
It was poetic really, the WorkChoices legislation, all 1,000 plus pages of it, introduced into Federal Parliament this week under the cloak of terror.

F E A T U R E S

Interview: Public Defender
The CPSU's Stephen Jones has confronted the Howard Government's IR agenda at close quarters.

Legal: Craig's Story
An inquest in western NSW is a cautionary tale of the use of AWAs, writes Ian Latham

Unions: Wrong Way, Go Back
The WorkChoice legislation sends Australia down the wrong economic road by smashing the instittutions that have made it strong, argues Greg Combet.

Industrial: WhatChoice?
The Howard Government has shown itself to be the master of illusion, writes Dr Anthony Forsyth

Politics: Queue Jumping
The changes to industrial laws, betray a new vision of Australian society, writes James Gallaway.

History: Iron Heel
Conservative governments using laws to take away basic civil rights. It's nothing new, writes Rowan Cahill

Economics: Waging War
When was the last time you heard an Australian politician talk about incomes policy, asks Matt Thistlethwaite

International: Under Pressure
The push for UN intervention in Burma is intensifying, following a report by Vaclav Havel and Bishop Desmond Tutu into slave labour.

Poetry: Billy Negotiates An AWA
More and more people are meeting Billy, the hero of page 15 of the WorkChoices booklet, including our resident bard, David Peetz

Review: A Pertinent Proposition
Nick Cave's "Australian western" touches on some themes still relevant today, Julianne Taverner writes.

N E W S

 D-Day For Political Rights

 Bosses In Sack Race

 “Choice” By Decree

 Howard Barges Into Workplace

 Della Grounds Boeing

 Wal-Mart Sees the Light

 Libs Chicken Out

 Shame Ships Filch Fish

 Multis Line Up to Cheer

 Feds in Dock

 Santoro Waves Red Rag

 Activist's What's On!

C O L U M N S

The Soapbox
Men and Women of Australia
What makes a perfect speech? Michael Fullilove has scoured Australian history to find out.

The Locker Room
The Hungry Years
Phil Doyle gets the feeling we’ve been here before

Culture
From Little Things
Paul Kelly's song about the battle for land rights misses one important character, writes Graham Ring

Parliament
The Westie Wing
Ian West takes a look at Public Private Partnerships, and wonders if we should all just drink rum…

L E T T E R S
 We're Next
 Australia, 2005
 Truth in Advertising
 Investment Advice
 What a Woman!
 It's Not Pretty
 Screwed
WHAT YOU CAN DO
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News

Libs Chicken Out


Nervous Liberal Party powerbrokers have blocked MPs discussing radical new workplace laws at meetings in their electorates.

Government's determination to limit the workplace debate was confirmed when AMWU Queensland state secretary, Andrew Dettmer, was a late scratching from a scheduled IR round table in Brisbane.

Dettmer had accepted an invitation to discuss John Howard's "Workchoices" at a Wynnum Chamber of Commerce meeting on November 14. He was to have shared the platform with Liberal Member for Bonner, Ross Vasta, and IR consultant, Laurie Maloney.

"I thought it was a good opportunity to get the issues into the open but, bugger me, last Friday I got a call from a conference organiser asking if she could un-invite me," Dettmer said.

"She said Vasta's office had told her Government MPs have been barred from addressing any meetings on industrial relations until the legislation is through Parliament, so the debate was off."

Two days later, Workplace Relations Minister, Kevin Andrews, flopped out more than 1200 pages of legislation, and explanatory notes, demanding immediate debate on the floor the House.

Within hours he had announced Australia faced credible terrorist threat, effectively driving his radical workplace agenda front pages around the country.

Dettmer said the Liberal Party head office edict showed "contempt" for voters and the Prime Minister's absolute determination to limit debate.

"While this government was bombarding voters with dishonest advertising, it wouldn't let individual members engage in any process that might have revealed the truth about its proposals," Dettmer said.

"Individual members should be ashamed for putting the party machine ahead of their own constituents right to be informed about issues that will affect their families."

The Brisbane revelations came as workers around Australia tried to flush out reluctant government MPs.

At Gosford, on the NSW Central Coast, a group of frustrated electrical workers delivered a load of frozen chickens to the officer of Liberal Member for Robertson, Jim Lloyd.

One of the protestors donned a chicken suit after Lloyd declined repeated requests to front up to community meetings.


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