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Issue No. 290 18 November 2005  

The Long March
Half a million Australian workers turn out for the largest industrial protests the nation has ever seen, an old style symbol of resistance linked by new world technology, opposing laws from another galaxy.


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.


 Aussies Shrug Off Threats

 PM Executes Back Flip

 National Rally Boosts Local Action

 Restaurateurs Do a Runner

 St Hilliers No Angels

 Penalties Frozen on Sundaes

 Slammer Threat for Operators

 Sunday Light on IR Shadows

 Sol Dials Up 12,000 Scalps

 Boss Likes Women 'Work-Hardened'

 Bread Winner on $9 an Hour

 King Goes the Gouge

 Jo Jacks Up

 Currawong Funds for IR Battle

 Howard Joins IR Rogues

 Arnie Terminated

 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…

 Driven to despair
 What lucky country
 Swimming with Sharks
 Save Our Culture
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PM Executes Back Flip

John Howard fooled nobody with his support for “democracy” and the “right to protest” in the aftermath of last week's huge anti-government mobilisation.

The Prime Minister lobbed up on television to play statesman in a performance Unions NSW secretary, John Robertson, has labelled "dishonest" but "typical”.

"It was pure John Howard," Robertson said, "very clever but fundamentally dishonest.

"For weeks, every spokesman, every supporter he could muster had been threatening legal action and massive fines in a bid to intimidate Australians.

"It is a strategy, just short of outright lying, that we have seen from him over and over again."

Howard indicated that no retribution would be taken against workers who stood up to "Workchoices" because his Australia was a democracy where the right to protest was cherished.

Robertson accused the Prime Minister of using "cheap tricks" to undermine the trust that should bind governments with the government.

He cited Howard's invention of "non-core promises", and "double-speak" on Medicare, Children Overboard and Weapons of Mass Destruction as other examples.

Robertson said the strategy is further revealed in "Orwellian" titles the federal government chooses for its most contentious legislation.

"Workchoices is a classic. Academics, practitioners, almost every impartial observer who has entered the debate, accepts these proposals drastically limit, or remove, choice from people's working lives," Roberston says.

Howard backed-in protesters after a two-week campaign of threats and intimidation by his Workplace Relations Minister, Canberra's hand-picked ABCC chief, federal government departments and employers, including the AIG, Qantas and Visy.

All had warned that stopping work to protest against Workchoices would be "unlawful" and had threatened workers with the possibility legal action and substantial fines.


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