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Issue No. 297 03 March 2006  

Howard's Decayed
Geoff Dixon is shorthand for the Howard decade.


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.


 Mum Rains on Howard's Parade

 Aussie Rorts on Korean Tele

 Hardcorp Romp: All the Goss

 Holiday Win for Thousands

 Della Exposes Rip-Offs

 Robbo Heffered

 Commission Plugs Job Cuts

 Sweatshop Workers Hit the Catwalk

 Libs Beg For Worker's Dosh

 Skills Base Up In The Air

 Bakers Deal Short On Bread

 Captain Cook Runs Away

 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…

 Belly Tells It Like It Is
 What's Going On?
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Sweatshop Workers Hit the Catwalk

Melbourne's fashionistas discovered sweatshops were out of fashion when scores of textile workers rallyied outside a hotel where 600 industry figures were having breakfast.

The Textile Clothing and Footwear Union of Australia (TCFUA) says about 300,000 outworkers were employed in Australia's textile industry, and were paid as little as $3 per hour, in a breach of the Clothing Trades Award.

The union is launching a Federal Court action against 27 companies accused of exploitation.

TCFUA state secretary Michele O'Neil alleged the clothes companies were breaching laws designed to prevent exploitation of outworkers, garment makers who work in their homes.

"We want to bring attention to the industry that it needs to clean up its act," says O'Neil. "I think most shoppers and consumers would be really shocked to find that in 2006 we still have this problem in Australia.

"That we have workers who work long hours, day and night, for garments that sell for hundreds and sometimes thousands of dollars and the worker gets $10-$20 for that garment."

The factories and companies which produce clothes for the fashion houses are accused of having gaps in their records.

Mrs O'Neil said the records were supposed to show who the companies were sub-contracting work to and what these people were paid.

In 2004, the Federal Court handed textile company Lotus Cove a $20,000 fine for breaches of the Workplace Relations Act relating to outworkers.

"People think 'I want to buy this product because it was made here'," Ms O'Neil said. "We want people to support the Australian fashion industry but not at the expense of exploited workers."


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