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Issue No. 291 25 November 2005  

International Relations
Globalisation drags up all sorts of contradictions, none the least the attitude of nation states to international law, as show by events in Australia this week.


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.


 Senators Back Rorters' Charter

 Families Last in WorkChoices

 Howard Loses Poll Position

 Printers Stamp on Low Paid

 Tough Men Back CFMEU

 Kiwis Fly into Starbucks

 Vale John Ducker

 Iemma Drives Hardie Bargain

 Memberships on the increase

 Uni Union Shown The Door

 In a Flap Over Flu

 Job Cuts Threaten CBA's Bottom Line

 Blackouts as Bosses Cut Deep

 Barnaby's Choice

 Wal-Mart Exposed

 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…

 Demonise the Laws
 Name and Shame
 Unite and Fight
 The Worker's Best Friend
 What Choices?
 Stop the Corporate Rot
 The Telemarketeers
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Senators Back Rorters' Charter

Liberal Senators knew they were giving free kicks to Australia's worst bosses when they agreed to rubber stamp John Howard's Workchoices legislation.

Their actions will cost Japanese woman, Sachie Murata, and thousands like her, any chance of justice.

Murata has given days of harrowing evidence, to the NSW Industrial Relations Commission, in support of her claim that she was threatened with deportation if she didn't sign an AWA that robbed her of award entitlements.

Under vigorous cross examination, she maintained she didn't even know she had been employed under an AWA until informed by her solicitor, 18 months after the document was secretly rubber stamped by the Office of the Employment Advocate.

Murata's unfair contracts claim will simply die, with nowhere to go, if a tame Senate green lights "Workchoices".

There is no provision under "Workchoices" for unfair contracts actions, and it will strip the vast majority of Australians of anywhere to contest unfair sackings.

Howard hasn't even made provision for people like Murata, who have spent thousands of dollars getting their cases before Commissions, to get an outcome.

"They will simply die, it's as though they never happened," industrial lawyer Adam Searle, confirmed.

Searle has been running a pay equity case on behalf of NSW childcare workers that will also evaporate into Howard's black hole.

That case opened long before the Prime Minister admitted the extent of his workplace revamp.

"We have finished all the evidence and are due to present oral submissions from December 6," Searle said. "Under the new law, the case disappears, there is nowhere to pursue it.

"Childcare workers are poorly paid with little bargaining power. Under Workchoices they will be left with no choices at all."

Workers Online has learned that at least one employer law firm is already writing to petitioners suggesting that they abandon their cases.

Some embarrassed Coalition Senators were claiming, last week, that they hadn't realised they would be slamming the door on cases, some years old, that were already underway.

However, at least four separate submissions to their lightening-speed inquiry warned that would be the consequences of their actions.

Senators received submissions to that effect from the Electrical Trades Union, the NSW Law Society and Sydney barrister, Shane Prince, who also furnished them with a supplementary submission.

The final lie was given to their pleadings by evidence from Department of Employment and Workplace Relations deputy secretary, Finn Pratt, who told the Senate Inquiry that was both the effect and intent of the Workchoices.

"There is no accrued right to have part-heard arbitration claims determined on the basis of pre-existing legislation," Pratt told Senators who were listening, on November 14. "I understand that the government will ensure there is no doubt surrounding this issue."


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