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Issue No. 292 02 December 2005  

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.


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.


 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!


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
Phil Doyle slices one into the car park.

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…

 Million Mum March
 Pension Pinching
 John Bares All
 Radicalising Yoof
 Tom A World Away
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Bank Check on Bras

The Commonwealth Bank is advising staff on its underwear preferences, how often to colour and cut their hair, and where the bottom of their ties should hang?

Its new grooming handbook hints that Ralph Norris might fancy himself as a bit of a Ralph Lauren.

The handbook advises female staff to give stockings with shiny finishes a miss because they will "make your legs look larger" and breasts the bra question with detailed advice on style and colour.

"Flesh coloured, smooth finish t-shirt bras will give you the best, most discrete look," it says.

Blokes need to be aware of where their ties hang and nasal hair, especially amongst the more mature, is on the nose.

"Trim your nose and ear hair. Hair in these areas can increase as you age and may give the impression that you are not well groomed," they are told.

"If your hair is light in colour, grey or curly, a shine product can add lustre and help it look healthy."

The Finance Sector Union describes the booklet as "patronising" and sees it as a strong indication to workers that they should spend more of their incomes on personal appearance.

"Although the new Grooming Handbook describes itself as only a guide and not Bank policy, we expect this document will be in managers' hands when they assess staff performance, particularly under the recently introduced Behaviour Assessment Tool," says Finance Sector Union national assistant secretary Sharron Caddie.

"We understand that staff must look professional, but this new Grooming Handbook is completely over the top.

"For example, it recommends staff buy expensive shoes, certain brands, even for female staff to throw out the little applicators that come with eye shadow and buy more expensive brushes instead."

She also says CBA staff may miss out on bonuses most would have qualified for under traditional performance reviews if their "behaviours" are deemed unsatisfactory.

"'Behaviours' are a set of vague concepts of the ideal employee, such as "Empowered and Accountable" or "Discipline and Excellence"," Caddie says. "As far as the FSU is concerned, nothing will stop the Grooming Handbook from being used against employees in such a way."

She says the handbook is particularly galling as the Commonwealth's new chief executive officer, Norris, is yet to address long-standing staff concerns, such as updating wages and conditions under the enterprise agreement, which is now two years out of date.

The handbook lists Bank-preferred styles and brands of bras and tells women to take the time to style their hair before leaving for work.

"Your hands do get noticed - moisturise your hands regularly," it advises.

"Consider having unruly brows regularly waxed or plucked."

Men are told to use eau de colognes on their body rather than after shave lotions and to update glasses at least once a year."


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