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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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Newcastle Rails Against Contracts

Newcastle will lose its Labor heartland tag if the NSW Government sends work on a new fleet of trains offshore, workers warn.

Members of the Australian Manufacturing Workers Union have unveiled billboards on Newcastle's main drag to remind MPs the Hunter "makes the best trains in the world right here".

RailCorp, owned by the NSW Government, is considering four bids for a tender to replace its fleet of 498 non-air conditioned carriages.

Short-listed candidates include Hunter Valley manufacturers United Rail Group and EDI, as well as offshore competitors Siemens and Bombardier.

According to the AMWU, sending work offshore puts not only 2000 jobs at risk, but also an important training ground for skills in a skill-starved nation.

AMWU delegate and spray painter at train manufacturer United Group Rail, Ian Saunders, said he was worried for his son's future if opportunities were exported.

"United Group Rail has been here for 100 years and has a family orientation," the 43-year-old said.

"I've got a brother and nephew who work here.

"But it's not just my own family, there are some families with two or three people working here."

Saunders said after four years of not hiring apprentices, United Rail Group was the biggest hirer of apprentices in the Hunter.

He said of the 340 current employees United Group Rail directly employs, 82 were apprentices.

"[NSW Government Minister and Patron of the Newcastle Knights Rugby League Club] Michael Costa has said the Hunter couldn't survive without the Newcastle Knights, we believe with manufacturing it's the same."

Two of the four faces on the billboards are apprentices, one of whose father has been working with United Group Rail for 41 years.

The AMWU has also produced postcards to send to Labor Premier Morris Iemma saying: "Newcastle has always had a strong Labor tradition. Don't put that tradition at risk."


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