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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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Sol Dials Up 12,000 Scalps

Telstra misled customers, staff and shareholders for two months before admitting it intended to tip another 12,000 Australians out of work.

American boss Sol Trujillo fessed up to the strategy, this week, in a bid to boost the telco's share price,

The announcement confirmed allegations made in early September by the CPSU, that were vigorously denied by Telstra spokespeople.

CPSU assistant national secretary, Stephen Jones, was specific about Telstra's intentions, saying a 104-page cost reduction document, authored by chief operations officer, Greg Winn, was calling for another 10,000 - 14,000 heads.

Jones warned that regional Australia would be severely affected, with the axe hanging over thousands of call centre positions in places like Wollongong, Grafton, Murray Bridge, Bendigo, Moe, Geelong, Toowoomba, Cairns and Maroochydore.

On September, 13, Jones called on Telstra to "come clean" on its job shedding agenda.

But the company fudged the issue. A spokesman denied the existence of the cost reduction document and said there were no fixed plans for sackings.

The timing is important because the Jones revelations came as Prime Minister John Howard was forcing legislation through Parliament that allowed the government to flog off its remaining 51 percent holding.

Crucial to the that vote was the support of Queensland National, Barnaby Joyce, who, said, last week, he had backed privatisation after Government Ministers assured him the sackings claims were untrue.

Joyce said that, given the choice between Government and Telstra assurances, and a union "rumour", he had gone with the government and Telstra.

Prime Minister John Howard, whose government is the telco's majority shareholder, gave the plan his seal of approval by telling displaced staff that, in historical terms, it was a good time to lose your job.

"The message to all of those people is that if we have a very strong economy and their prospects of getting re-employment are greater now than they would have been 10 or 12 years ago," Howard said.

Trujillo made his announcement, last Tuesday, as hundreds of thousands of workers were protesting workplace legislation that the Prime Minister says will deliver more jobs.

Joyce called the timing "sneaky".


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