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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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Backlash on Job Cuts

The tide is turning against privatisation - and politicians who cut public sector jobs will be punished at the ballot box.

That's the message from NSW voters in key state seats, the public no longer believe the private sector delivers either better quality services or better value for money.

Wholesale public sector job cuts are on the political agenda, with the NSW Opposition vowing they would cut 29,000 public sector jobs - or one in three jobs across the sector excluding police, nurses and teachers - if they were to win power at the March 2007 election.

Meanwhile the Iemma Government is already talking about a round of 4,000 voluntary redundancies and is flirting with the idea of going further and breaking its commitment to no forced redundancies; given reported statements by Finance Minister Michael Costa that the public sector was bloated.

Launching a state wide 'Public Interest - Job Cuts = Service Cuts' campaign, PSA general secretary John Cahill said public services has reached a 'tipping point' and that any further cuts would severely compromise service delivery.

And he has warned that PSA members will refuse to carry out the duties of colleagues whose jobs are cut from the public sector by the current or any future state government.

When asked to choose between public or private sector on a range of services, voters sent the overwhelmingly message they would prefer public sector workers deal with:

- administrative support for police, nurses and teachers

- looking after public parks, gardens, state forests and national parks

- running jails

- caring for the elderly and disabled

- running hospitals and the health system generally

- running power stations

- running the sewage and water systems

- building and operating roads

- running buses and trains

- and operating and maintaining schools, hospitals and other government facilities.

Rather than privatising services, the majority of voters actually want to see more staff in key government departments such as public transport, police administration, child protection rural services and care of the elderly and disabled.

The findings, based on a poll of conducted by Auspoll for the Public Service Association over summer, will form the basis of a state wide PSA campaign to support public services over the coming 12 months.

Cahill says the findings send a potent message to both sides of politics that the days of bashing public servants are over.

"Politicians have had a lot of fun over the years in making a scapegoats of public servants, but more and more the public seems to be making the connection between public sector jobs and the provision of public services," Mr Cahill said.

"And when they look at the alternative - core services being carried out by the private sector - they see through the spin and recognise the only winners are big business.

"This shows that the public does respect and value the work that PSA members perform - and this is a something that we will be stressing over the coming 12 months."

The public opinion research shows that voters would punish either side that pushed the agenda with:

- 45 per cent less likely to vote Liberal if they cut 30,000 jobs from the NSW public service

- and 31 per cent less likely to vote for Labor if they were to cut 4,000 NSW public service.


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