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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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Slammer Threat for Operators

Staff at the WorkChoices hotline are being threatened with jail and $200,000 fines, if they blow the whistle about complaints or the government's sales pitch.

A memo, dated October 26 and written by a Telstra manager, warns of penalties for leaking "customer" information - in this case the Federal government - and says staff may be searched and questioned regarding privacy breaches.

It also warns of fines of up to $10 million for Telstra, which was running the call centres, as well as potential damages for "humiliation and anxiety" of the government.

The memo followed the leaking of the entire operator script, as well as a log of callers complaining about the industrial relations reforms.

"I have previously spoken with all of you regarding this matter and have reminded you that you have signed a confidentiality and privacy document which I handed out to each of you last week to have a read through again," the memo states.

One former operator, who worked at the Canberra call centre, told Workers Online, security seemed to be more important than supply accurate information.

The 21-year-old student, who asked not to be named, said a fellow worker was sacked for taking pictures of the outside scenery.

"Apparently that breaches privacy laws, which seems incredibly ridiculous

to me," she said.

She said she had often heard operators, including supervisors, giving wrong information to callers.

One caller rang with concerns about negotiating an AWA.

"The floor walker [supervisor] was saying something like 'no, they can't negotiate to take away all your rights - there's lots of protection for you - and if you're concerned, the Office of Employee Advocate can step in on your behalf and negotiate for you.'

"I was thinking for one thing, it's the Office of the Employment Advocate, not Employee Advocate.

"They're a government-appointed body that will be doing nothing - and the whole point of the AWA is for it to be negotiated individually."


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