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Issue No. 294 10 February 2006  
E D I T O R I A L

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.

F E A T U R E S

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.

N E W S

 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!

C O L U M N S

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.

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

L E T T E R S
 The Best for the Best
 Belated Merry Whatmas?
 The Grinch Who Stole Christmas
 I Think Therefore I Scam
 A Taxing Answer
 Leslie John Turner
WHAT YOU CAN DO
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News

STOP PRESS: Guest Worker Plan Goes to Water


Labor Premiers have succeeded in knocking back a plan by the Howard Government to water down scrutiny given to guest workers entering Australia.

The proposal to allow workers to be assessed on whether they met Australian standards in their country of origin was on the table at the Council of Australian Government meeting in Canberra.

Under the COAG agreement 'A New National Approach to Apprenticeships, Training and Skills Recognition' explicitly states there will be no change to skills accreditation.

"COAG has agreed to new arrangements to make it easier for migrants with skills to Australian standards to work as soon as they reach Australia. It does not involve any change to the migration policy," the document says.

CFMEU construction national secretary John Sutton welcomed the decision, but warned that there were on-going attempts by the federal government to undermine Australian trade standards.

"The importation of guest workers on short term visas in our trades is a sign of the failure of Howard Government to address Australia's skills crisis," Sutton says.

"Our commercial construction industry is one of the most productive in the world thanks to its properly trained and experienced workforce. Offshore accreditation can only lead to the erosion of these standards. Inadequately trained workers pose an additional risk for safety in this most dangerous industry.

Sutton called on the federal government to end its witch hunt of building unions and focus on supporting increased funding for the already existing Trade Recognition standards,.

"The union insists that any system of skills assessment must ensure migrant workers pass suitably rigorous skills testing, which fairly balances the interests of both the foreign worker and the Australian construction industry in general.


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