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Issue No. 295 17 February 2006  

Please Explain
It may become the defining irony of the Howard Era that a government that rode to power on the skirt of One Nation and hung there on the bridge of the Tampa is now opening our borders to hordes of low paid guest workers.


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.


 Local Jockey Odds Shorten

 Conscience II - RU4 Aussie Jobs?

 Online Porkies Spark Class Action

 Captain Cook Discovers WorkChoices

 Skippy's Escape Breaks Law

 PM's Pay Day

 STOP PRESS - 262 Day Strike Set To Finish

 Strike Sticks it to Glue Boss

 Fair Pay Chief Wages War

 Millionaires Score Tax Break

 Memo Costa: Remember Your Roots

 Gate Crashing Gourmet

 Australia Mum On Basic Rights

 Filipinos Pay for Packed House

 Son of Wal-Mart Pinged $2M

 Trust Me, I’m a Unionist

 Activist's Whats 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…

 AWB Kickbacks to Iraq
 The Black GST
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Conscience II - RU4 Aussie Jobs?

Thousands of young Australians wanting a trade could be left without a future, with Federal Parliament voting next month on a law to allow employers to source “temporary” apprentices from overseas.

ACTU President Sharan Burrow has called for a conscience vote on the proposal, which she says was “further evidence that the Government's temporary overseas worker program is out of control”.

"No where on the proposed visa application form is there a requirement that the employer advertise the job locally," she said.

Burrow said the Trade Skills Training Visa would encourage exploitation of workers from other countries in Australia.

Under the Visa, foreign workers are whacked $3000 in Government fees, as well as the full cost of tuition fees, living expenses, travel and health insurance.

And in a separate development the Council of Australian Government has agreed to free up the vetting process for overseas tradespeople after anticipated opposition from Labor state leaders never eventuated.

This means the federal government now has the power to off-shore skills vetting to foreign providers.

"Almost daily there are new examples coming to light of employers being issued visas by the Government to bring in temporary workers from overseas - many of whom are exploited with low pay and poor employment conditions," Burrow said.

"These overseas worker abuses highlight the ugly side of the Howard Government's deregulated job market."

The ACTU is calling on the Prime Minister to make sure employers look to Australians first when filling apprenticeships and to ensure temporary workers are on the same standards as other Australian workers.

The Prime Minister needs to intervene immediately to first make sure that employers look to fill these jobs with Australians

CFMEU NSW secretary Andrew Ferguson said construction sites around Sydney were turning people away for apprenticeships, proving that there is demand in Australia.


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