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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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Skills Base Up In The Air

Maintenance workers are rejecting a push to strip thousands of dollars out of their family budgets by a chief executive who trousers $6.1 million a year.

Business Council heavyweight, Geoff Dixon, continues to dangle the threat of off-shoring 2500 heavy maintenance jobs over stalled EBA negotiations with the AMWU and AWU.

Dixon's strategy flies in the face of an assurance he gave workers that he would talk jobs with their unions once the Federal Government handed down its aviation policy.

Canberra announced, last month, that Singapore Airlines would continue to be frozen out of the lucrative Sydney-Los Angeles route.

But, as late as last week, Qantas spokespeople were refusing to be "pushed" into announcing whether or not they would make good on their threat to export Australian jobs to low-cost Asian workshops.

Angry Qantas maintenance workers staged noisy protests at Melbourne and Sydney airports, last week.

An airline bid for Section 127 orders against the workers was thrown out by the Industrial Relations Commission which said Qantas hadn't made out a case and that workers concerns were understandable.

Unions are unwilling to get down to the nitty-gritty of massive clawback claims while everybody's future is up in the air.

"We are not going to engage in bargaining that will reduce terms and conditions. Qantas is the world's most profitable airline with the best maintenance record," AMWU national official Glenn Thompson says.

"Maintenance workers are sick to death of being used as political pawns when the safety and reputation of the airline rests in their hands.

"We want Qantas to level with us, and enter discussions about the future of heavy maintenance.

"There are more effective ways of addressing costs than simply slashing jobs or cutting the living standards of Australian families."


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