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Issue No. 289 11 November 2005  

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.


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.


 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!


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

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

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

 Just AWBul
 Convict Costello
 We're Just Serfin'
 Take Warning
 Smells Familiar
 Howard's Gas
 Andrews' Operandi
 To the Shredder
 Stop Violence
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Feds Authorise Invasion

Employers are under-writing a Filipino invasion in a bid to hold down Aussie wages, according to the AMWU.

Queensland state secretary, Andrew Dettmer, levelled the charge in response to Drake Personnel's announcement that it intends using short-term visas to flood the market with 3500 “trades people”.

The first 250 Filipinos, including welders, are being directed to jobs in Queensland and WA.

Dettmer said his members would welcome "Filipinos or anyone else" who came to Australia with a commitment to the country, and the right to going rates and conditions.

Dettmer said the federal government's continued support for fixed-term appointments that undercut Australian rates was "racist and hypocritical".

He highlighted the Prime Minister's rejection of Polynesian workers, at last month's South Pacific Forum, on the grounds that Australia only wanted people with a long-term commitments to the country.

"There is no doubt that we have short term skill shortages that need to be addressed. In those situations our position is the same as the stated position of John Howard. The only difference, is that we mean it," Dettmer said.

"These people are being used to deny opportunities to semi-skilled and unskilled Australians, and to drive down the wages of our skilled people.

"Howard highlights our unemployment figures but they are bodgey and he knows they are bodgey. If Australia used the same methodology as the European Union we would have the same jobless rate as Germany with all its dislocation after unification.

"The unemployment rate among semi-skilled and unskilled Australians is horrendous and it is horrendous because big business, supported by this government, refuses to give them opportunities."

Dettmer highlighted the situation of Ipswich-based, Bradken, which imported Filipinos on fixed contracts after claiming it couldn't attract local people.

The reason, for that, Dettmer said was that Bradken locked out AMWU members for three weeks to hold trades rates below $20 an hour while the going rate in Brisbane is between $23 and $24 an hour.

"It brought these people on the cheap, rather than train people from our community, then found they weren't genuine trades people at all.

"But, it was prepared to train them on the job, so it could hold down the wage rate.

"That's what this government's law and immigration policies are all about, exploiting guest workers as a way of holding back Australians."


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