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Issue No. 294 10 February 2006  

Total Impact
The long hot summer, the calm before the storm, is finally passed; and as March 1 approaches the new world of work is looming and the extent of the attack on organised labour is becoming clear.


Interview: Court's in Session
As the silks line up to challenge WorkChoices, Jeff Shaw is fighting for his own legacy - the NSW IR system.

Industrial: Whose Choices?
The Howard Government's WorkChoices legislation has been dissected by lawyers and the commentariat; now it's the turn of political economists.

Politics: Peter's Principles
Forget John Howard. The force behind WorkChoices is Peter Costello. The Prime Minister-in-waiting has devoted a lifetime to undermining the security and living standards of Australian families, Jim Marr reports.

Environment: TINA or Greener?
What does the greenhouse effect and legislation to control workers have in common, asks Neale Towart

History: Its Not Just Handshakes and Aprons
Power. They have it, we want it. Friendly societies tried to keep it for working people, writes Neale Towart

International: US Locks out Jose' Bove
The US Government has refused to allow France's most famous farmer Jose Bove into the country to address a conference

Education: No AWA - No Job
The Howard Government has given the Australian community its first view of the future by forcing new staff at Ballarat University to sign an Australian Workplace Agreement if they want a job, writes Jenny Macklin.

Culture: Jesus was a Long-Grass Man
The writings of a Middle Eastern theologian may provide guidance to those grappling with indigenous issues, writes Graham Ring

Review: Charlie the Serf
Nathan Brown takes the sledgehammer (and sickle) to Mr Wonka's Chocolate Factory.


 Capital Punishment on the Menu

 Della Builds Fortress NSW

 Unfair Sackings Face Challenge

 Slave Contractors Sprung

 Holden's Bad Deal for Adelaide

 ACCI Never Sleeps

 STOP PRESS: Guest Worker Plan Goes to Water

 Taking a Punt on Melbourne Cup

 Backlash on Job Cuts

 Howard Coy on Ad Orgy

 Newcastle Rails Against Contracts

 Union Man Eyes Cuts

 Free Enterprise Kills Hundreds

 Aussie Icon Moves to China

 Activist's What's On!


The Soapbox
Hitler in Bowral
Political censorship has made its wasy to the sleepy Southern Highlands, wrties Rowan Cahill.

The Locker Room
No Laughing Matter
Phil Doyle tries to take Australian sportspeople seriously, and fails.

The Westie Wing
Ian West is mistakenly sent an advance copy of John Winston Howard’s Little Blue Book of Australian History…

 The Best for the Best
 Belated Merry Whatmas?
 The Grinch Who Stole Christmas
 I Think Therefore I Scam
 A Taxing Answer
 Leslie John Turner
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Capital Punishment on the Menu

Howard ministers have been wining and dining at a bar tied up in allegations of exploitaiton and bullying of Filipino guest workers.

The infamous 'Holy Grail' is one of three Canberra eateries that have been fingered in an IR stink that threatens to become a fullblown diplomatic incident.

Senator Kate Lundy named posh establishments The Holy Grail - the home base of the Canberra polito-ratti -along with Milk and Honey, and Zeffirelli Pizza Restaurant in federal parliament this week.

She said workers, imported from the Philippines, had been underpaid, treated like slaves and subjected to racial vilification.

The issue blew up after the LHMU alleged two guest workers had been locked out of their workplaces after filing complaints. One, it said, was so worried by employer threats that he had taken out an AVO.

Workers Online understands that the treatment of its nationals has prompted the Philippines Embassy to lodge a complaint with the Immigration Department.

The issue arises as the Howard Government opens the way for the mass importation of labour, skilled and unskilled, on terms that undercut negotiated minimums.

Lundy told Parliament a Canberra businessmen had recruited Filipino hospitality workers, last year, and "sold" them to their employers $6000 - $8000 a head.

She said at least 15 imported workers had lodged complaints and some had said the Canberra conditions were the worst they had ever experienced.

The Canberra Times quoted one worker as saying he had been forced to eat food reclaimed from a rubbish bin.

"He repeatedly said to me, 'I paid for you to come to Australia, if you don't work hard enough I will send you back to where you belong," the Times reported.

The LHMU says Canberra businesses have identified chef, Dario De Guzman, as a "ringleader" amongst the guest workers and moved to have him deported.

The row comes hot on the heels of a string of imported labour rorts uncovered by Workers Online in the hospitality, construction and resources sectors.

ACT Chamber of Commerce chief, Chris Peters, has rejected all allegations against the Canberra restaurants. He criticised Lundy for naming the businesses under Parliamentary privilege.

Lundy said she hoped her action would help bring justice to the workers and remind employers who chose to do the wrong thing that they would be challenged.


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