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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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Restaurateurs Do a Runner

Restaurants and caterers will use Workchoices to slash the living standards of Australia's lowest paid, a Senate Inquiry has heard.

The Restaurant and Catering Australia submission into the reforms says real wages, in the sector, must be held down.

The peak body endorsed federal government and Business Council claims that people on the minimum wage earned too much.

John Hart told Senators his organisation employed a substantial number of minimum wage Australians and had been "great disadvantaged" by increases determined by the AIRC.

"We're hoping for a lesser increase for our industry," Hart said

Restaurateurs welcomed the ability to "eliminate" penalty rates and the opportunity to "negotiate sensible conditions."

But they slammed the government's 38-hour working week as "unnecessarily restrictive", and claimed annual leave, parent and carers leave minimums were over restrictive..

In other submissions, the Business Council of Australia backed the federal government's move to eliminate employee representation in determining the minimum wage.

"Minimum wages should be determined by a body comprised of people with sufficient expertise and appreciation of the employment market and factors influencing people's employment prospects to guide the determination of minimum wage increases," the submission said.

The Howard Government's hand-picked Sex Discrimination Commissioner, Pru Goward, also criticised the proposals.

She predicted they would bring about the end of paid maternity leave.

"If they don't have that capacity at the enterprise level to negotiate paid maternity leave for example, then we are really talking about all women then being back to square one," she said.

On questioning if the bill was fair, Goward replied: "I've met a lot of people who say a job is better than no job, even if it's not fair and I guess that's what this whole bill is about."

Public hearings to the inquiry concluded on Friday. It will report to the Senate on Tuesday.


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