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Issue No. 292 02 December 2005  
E D I T O R I A L

A Free Vote
This week’s charade of the Senate amending the Howard Government’s workplace laws raises fundamental questions about the sort of democracy Australia has become.

F E A T U R E S

Interview: The Binds That Tie
Dr Don Edgar has demolished the Prime Minister's credentials as a family man.

Unions: Worth Cycling For
Pedal power joined the Your Rights At Work campaign on a 350km journey to take a message to Canberra’s politicians, wrties Phil Doyle.

Industrial: The Elephant in the Corner
Jim Marr takes a look at what the government has secreted away in the WorkChoices package, revealing what is really at stake - and what can be done about it.

Legal: A Law Unto Themselves
In this extract from the Evatt Foundation's 'State of the States' Jeff Shaw & Monika Ciolek look at the constitutional issues rasied by WorkChoices.

Politics: Ethically Lonely
At a forum in the Australian Stock Exchange sponsored by big end of town solicitors, you would expect at least one person to be in favour of John Howard’s industrial relations laws, wrties Rachael Osman-Chin.

History: Women, Unions, Banners and Parades
Trade union banners reveal more about union history than their male designers and makers intended, writes Neale Towart.

Women: Relaxed and Comfortable?
Suzanne Hammond from WEL argues there are many hidden nasties in WorkChoices for working women.

International: The Last Social Democrat
A trade union leader's victory marks beginning of class politics in Israel, wrties Eric Lee

Review: The Corpse Bride
Come to a world where decay, loss and broken dreams are everywhere - and it's not the Federal Senate.

Culture: Tony Moore Holds His Own
In his new book, Tony Moore argues that today's generation of political leaders has much to learn from Bazza McKenzie.

N E W S

 Read His Lips: WorkChoices Too Much

 Joyce A Christmas Goose

 Workers Leave Boss in Tool Shed

 Costello Chokes On Asbestos Compo

 Telstra Hangs Up on Former Staff

 Bank Check on Bras

 Bill of Work Rights on Agenda

 Funny Film - Scary Message

 Sign Of the Times

 Unions Chip In for Lauren

 Company Raids Own Ship

 Activist's What's On!

C O L U M N S

The Soapbox
Whitefellas - You Just Can’t Trust ‘Em.
Racial stereotyping is a bad business. That said, Graham Ring has discovered a segment of society that drinks too much, behaves unreliably and can’t seem to adapt to change. Sadly, the conclusion is inescapable…

The Locker Room
Fore!
Phil Doyle slices one into the car park.

Parliament
The Westie Wing
Ian West makes a midnight dash to Workers Online, slides his State political report under the door, then heads back to the Macquarie Street Chamber of Horrors…

L E T T E R S
 Million Mum March
 Pension Pinching
 John Bares All
 Radicalising Yoof
 Tom A World Away
WHAT YOU CAN DO
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News

Bill of Work Rights on Agenda


A new think tank will design a charter of workplace rights to help Australian workers combat the effects of the Federal Government’s Work Choices legislation.

The new Australian Institute of Employment Rights, situated in Melbourne, will embark on the Charter of Employment Rights, which would entrench basic rights like freedom of association and the right to collectively bargain in law.

"It makes me sick at heart to hear highly paid ministers and others sitting there talking with apparent seriousness that some workers earning $484 a week is too much," former Prime Minister Bob Hawke said.

The Institute, created under the auspices of the Monash University Faculty of Business and Economics, will also monitor breaches of employment rights.

Also speaking at the launch, barrister and senior counsel, Mordy Bromberg QC said there was lots of work to do and that it was time for 'good people to put up their hand and show readiness to help'.

Public interest, he said, would be the Institute's guiding principle as it works in a tripartite manner between governments, unions and employers. Mr Bromberg added that competitiveness and employment rights were not mutually exclusive.

Victorian Deputy Premier John Thwaites, who also addressed the audience, said the Institute will better inform government about the contemporary relevance of employment rights and economic reform, consistent with Australia's traditional social compact.

Mr Hawke also took the opportunity to applaud church leaders' opposition to Work Choices.

"We have the conscience of the churches, the intellectual commitment of the academic community," he said. "It is not just about industrial relations. This is about the very soul, the very essence of Australia."


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