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Issue No. 296 24 February 2006  

Sad Sacks
It has been a sad spectacle watching a Labor Government run down public servants, as they have in NSW this week.


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.


 Taskforce Shrugs Bashed Teen Worker

 Abattoir Blues

 Car Plant Puts Pedal to Metal

 Call Me Now: Rev Kev

 Fat Boss Sings

 Unions Back After This Break

 Public Cuts Must Be Last

 Apprentices Grow Up

 ‘Castle Win Keeps Trains On Track

 Chicken Worker Stuffed

 ‘Revolving Gangplank' at Sydney Ferries

 NSW Councils Short $21 billion

 Activists 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…

 Lest We Forget
 For Whom the Toll Bells
 Unfinished Business
 Labor Sells Hydro
 Stop the Hordes
 Packer Whacker
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‘Castle Win Keeps Trains On Track

Rail workers and the Newcastle community have hailed a decision by the State Government to reverse plans to close the rail line through the centre of Newcastle.

Several reports had supported the plan, arguing that buses from an interchange at Hamilton would provide a better service, but rail unions and the local community had pointed out that a bus is not a train.

NSW Premier Morris Iemma apparently heeded the concerns, deciding to drop the plan to remove the heavy rail link and instead invest $20 million in the rail service.

The decision comes as the Combined Pensioners & Superannuants Association of NSW Inc (CPSA) and the Rail, Tram and Bus Union (RTBU) are calling on NSW Premier Morris Iemma to scrap the NSW Pensioner Travel vouchers booking fee.

Effective from Wednesday 1 March 2006, NSW pensioners wishing to use their NSW Pensioner Travel Vouchers for travel on CountryLink Services will be required to pay a booking fee of $10 or 15% of the full adult fare,

"We cannot believe the Iemma Government not only has the audacity to reduce public transport services that older people, especially those in rural areas, rely on, but also then tax us for a greatly inferior service," says CPSA State Secretary Bob Jay.

"This is one of the most outrageous and underhanded things I have seen in my 30 years as a union official," says RTBU Secretary Nick Lewocki. "These are a group of people who have worked hard, paid their taxes and made significant contributions as members of our community. Now the Iemma Government has decided to tax them out of our public rail system."

The RTBU and CPSA are seeking an urgent meeting with the Premier in order to have this issue resolved immediately.


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