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Issue No. 293 20 December 2005  

Waves of Destruction
2005 was the year book-ended by two waves of destruction - the first causing untold suffering across the Indian Ocean; the second reawakening our darker angels on beaches closer to home.


Interview: Back to the Future
James Gallaway collars Unions NSW secretary, John Robertson, on threats, challenges and opportunities.

Unions: A Real Page Turner
Jim Marr glances through Workers Online’s 2005 news stories and finds there is more one way to skin a Rat

Industrial: The Pin-Striped Union
Rachael Osman-Chin profiles a white collar union that is having some almighty blues.

International: Around The World In 365 Days
It was a year of online activism, as LabourStart's Eric Lee reports

Legends: Terrific, Tommy
Jim Marr tackles a champion.

Your Rights At Work: Worth Fighting For
The Your Rights At Work campaign has been a big part of this year and, as Phil Doyle reports, it is making a difference.

Politics: The Year That Was
Frank Stillwell looks at year that saw the politics of fear; and finds many reasons to be very afraid.

Economics: Master and Servant Revisited
Evan Jones asks if the Neo Liberals are taking us back to the future

Culture: 2005: The Year of Living Repetitively
Nathan Brown ignores Oasis and decides to look back in anger after all

Bad Boss: The Bottom Ten
Nathan Brown digs through his voluminous dirt files and comes up with the top 10 grubs of the year.

Religion: Hymns from a Different Song Sheet
James Gallaway on the Way, the Truth and life according to Brian.


 Melbourne Burns AWAs

 Corporates Defend Costello

 Speaker Won't Talk

 Bank Pays on Dodgy Contracts

 Plan to Save Jobs

 Harper's Bizarre Excuse for Failure

 It's Not Fair: Business

 Workers Walk As Warnings Wiped

 Teenager Hit With Shrapnel

 Pay Day “Unlawful”

 Tassie Rail Win

 Professionals Fear for Their Kids

 Boss Pings Rorters Charter

 New Ways to Take a Share

 An Hour of Need

 Boeing Steals Christmas

 Trouble at the Mill

 Activists What's On


The Crystal Ball
Workers Online consults a raft of leading psychics to find out what readers can look forward to in 2006.

The Soapbox
The Things People Say
It was a year of quotable quotes, reports Phil Doyle.

The Westie Wing
Ian West checks the rear vision mirror on 2005, and plants his foot down

The Locker Room
The 2005 Workers Online Sports Awards
After years of being overlooked by selectors at club, representative and national levels, Phil Doyle and Jim Marr, agreed to hand out our 2005 sports gongs.

Postcard from East Timor
In East Timor entertainment also spreads an important message into the community

 Pension Pinching
 Free to Rat
 Tax Cuts and Cockroaches
 Proportion, Not Distortion
 Corp That!
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Boss Pings Rorters Charter

Unscrupulous bosses will use Workchoices to shaft Aussies at the bottom end of the skills table, according to an experienced employer advocate.

Civil contractors representative, Doug Huett, has added his voice to community and union concerns that Workplace Relations Minister, Kevin Andrews, has devised a rorters' charter.

"Make no mistake, after 20 years as a senior industrial advocate representing employers, I can tell you categorically a lot of unscrupulous employers will take advantage of this new legislation," Huett warns in the latest issue of Construction magazine.

"That's the job - if you don't like it, off you go," he predicts will be the attitude.

Huett, who tangled regularly with unions, including the CFMEU, AMWU and AWU, as national executive director of the Civil Contractors Federation, took issue with key arguments underpinning Workchoices.

He said unfair dismissal protections had gone from "the sublime to the ridiculous".

He criticised the old regime as "ridiculously stringent" but characterised its replacement as a simple case of "you're sacked".

Huett also contested federal government's contention that minimum wages had been set by members of an "industrial relations club" who didn't pay enough attention to hard economic evidence.

He described the volume of economic evidence at National Wage Case proceedings, before the AIRC, as "mind boggling".

"I seem to recall Howard saying that the new Commission (Fair Pay Commission) will be made up of highly qualified people more able to determine what is fair pay.

"Conversely, the AIRC which broadly comprises appointments from both the employer and employee sides of the 'industrial relations club' - solicitors, senior advocates, union officials, ACTU officers, all with vast industrial relations experience - and, therefore, not deemed to be able to set a minimum wage," he wrote.

Huett pointed out the Howard Government had tried to reward outgoing CFMEU forestry division secretary, Trevor Smith, with a seat on the Fair Pay Commission in return for forestry votes that delivered the unexpected Senate majority it used to ram Workchoices into law.

"The more things change, the more they stay the same," he said. "Had Smith been appointed to the AIRC I would have thought the IR Club is alive and well."

Huett was national executive director of the Civil Contractors Federation from 1988-2002 and now works as a consultant to employers in the civil construction industry.


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