||Issue No. 288||04 November 2005|
Interview: Public Defender
Legal: Craig's Story
Unions: Wrong Way, Go Back
Politics: Queue Jumping
History: Iron Heel
Economics: Waging War
International: Under Pressure
Poetry: Billy Negotiates An AWA
Review: A Pertinent Proposition
The Locker Room
Truth in Advertising
What a Woman!
It's Not Pretty
Libs Chicken Out
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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