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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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Filipinos Pay for Packed House

Filipino guest workers in Brisbane are being forced to live in overcrowded houses, where they are being overcharged for rent and food.

The Australian Manufacturing Workers Union helped five of the workers find new jobs, after finding out about their conditions.

"There were ten people living in a four-bedroom house," AMWU Queensland secretary Andrew Dettmer said. "Some were sleeping on the floor."

The Filipino workers were on contract with an engineering company for 12 months and were missing out on overtime, as well as having their pays skimmed by the boss.

"The company was taking out $150 for rent, $100 for food, and also charging inflated interest on the ticket for a one-way flight from Manila."

"When they kicked up about it the boss tried to get them on a bus to the airport."

Dettmer met the workers last week to talk about the situation.

Five of the 10 workers who were brought over will now be working at a unionised site in Queensland.

"They will be working, I hope - and they will be working in a unionised workplace - at the going rate under a certified agreement," Dettmer said.

"I'm also hopeful we will be able to recover lost wages."

Dettmer said the problem came back to the Federal Government's controversial section 457 visas.

"We've been complaining about them for some time."

"Companies should be looking at attracting people from here and, if they're not, they should be asking 'why am I not attracting people?'," Dettmer said.

"It's also part of a continuing racist government agenda to not let people have permanent visas."

Section 457 visas, or long stay visas, allow business to bring specialist workers into the country on the basis that their skills are not available in Australia.


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