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Issue No. 289 11 November 2005  
E D I T O R I A L

The Great Repression
In a rare outbreak of candour in Federal Parliament this week we have seen the Prime Minister admit the five-day week is going out the door and his leader of business, Tony Abbott, blow kisses across the House.

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

 Nobody Expects the Construction Inquisition

 Howard in Redundancy Raid

 States Sidestep Wage Hurdle

 Catholics Bless Day of Action

 PacNat Bids to Railroad Future

 Feds Authorise Invasion

 Howard Censors Workers

 Sol Plays Dumb Card

 Boycott Hangs Over Hardie

 Directile Dysfunction

 Pirates Face Kofi Break

 Miners Don’t Dig Safety Levy

 Keep the Spirit Alive

 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
 Just AWBul
 Convict Costello
 We're Just Serfin'
 Take Warning
 Smells Familiar
 Howard's Gas
 Andrews' Operandi
 To the Shredder
 Stop Violence
WHAT YOU CAN DO
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Letters to the Editor

We're Just Serfin'


Re: Matt Thistlethwaite's article concerning incomes policy.

Australians working longer hours for declining wages for those at the bottom of the income scale will be exacerbated by the SerfChoices laws. The result over time will not only be lower wages as everybody here knows, but it will also lead to lower productivity, and then further and predictable calls for lower wages and so on. The fact is that there is an inherent contradiction in all of this, apart form the sheer bastardry of the social and economic arrangements that the laws outline. The welfare to work changes which will cut in next year will force an increased number of people onto the job market. Increasing the numbers of people looking for work, in the absence of any deskilling or training effort will have the effect of lowering overall productivity, particularly as demand will fall as a result of lower wages overall. Longer hours do not increase productivity. They actually lower it-but they do increase the amount that bosses can pay themselves. These 'deforms' taken together are a recipe for a low wage, low skill economy, but it sure will increase inequality as you have pointed out. It is an economic and social disgrace.

Linda Carruthers, NSW


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