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Issue No. 298 10 March 2006  
E D I T O R I A L

Home Truths
The truth has been breaking out in all sorts of strange places this week.

F E A T U R E S

Interview: Organising In Cyberspace
Workers Online speaks to the ACTU's Union Organiser of the Year, Greg Harvey from the RTBU, who has been using cutting edge ways to communicate with a blue-collar workforce spread across five states.

Industrial: How Low Is Low
Neale Towart looks at the much hyped link between minimum wages and employment

Industrial: Cloak and Dagger
The Howard Govwernment has begun rolling out workshops to inform employers on how to use WorkChoices. Sean Ambrose sneaked through the doors for Workers Online.

Unions: Bad Medicine
Nathan Brown reports on how Australia Postís dodgy Faculty Nominated Doctor system is leaving sick workers feeling worse.

History: Right Turn, Clyde
Bob Gould believes news of Clyde Cameronís demise may be premature

Economics: Long Division
Kenneth Davidson looks at a successful political strategy

International: Union Proud
A University of California librarian calls for union labels to increase worker visibility

Politics: Howardís Sick Joke
Phil Doyle looks at an attack on one of the great achievements of the union movement

Indigenous: The year of living dangerously
That mob in parliament house seems to be hopelessly out of touch with Indigenous Australia. So much so, that Graham Ring wonders if the House on the Hill is becoming a Ďcultural museumí.

Review: Lights, Camera, Strike!
Mandrake the Electrician has been down to the video store over the summer and rounded up the Top Ten Union Movies of all time.

Culture: News Front
If the owners are selling off papers, perhaps the unions should buy them says Mark Dobbie.

N E W S

 Wipeout: Minchin Surfs New Wave

 Scoop-idity: How The Truth Was Nicked

 Howard's Bastard Under Lock and Key

 Bank Shops Skilled Workers

 Debnam Dogs on Libs

 Jacko: "I'm Bad"

 Computer Strike Could Crash System

 Builders' Cleavage Strikes Gold

 Andrews Cops Legal Buffeting

 Brough Love for Women

 CFMEU Aids Escape

 Hunt on for Asbestos Crims

 Unions Counsel Queen

 Guests Get Pizza Topping

 Download a Pollie

 Activist's What's On!

C O L U M N S

The Soapbox
Australian Fascism
Rowan Cahill critiques Gerard Hendersonís unique take on history

Parliament
Westie Wing
Will Westie's Wings be clipped, or will the Hills Angels repent and deliver?

The Locker Room
The Heart Of The Matter
Phil Doyle rolls up the red carpet and celebrates the death of an old foe

L E T T E R S
 Howard, My Part In His Downfall
WHAT YOU CAN DO
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News

Wipeout: Minchin Surfs New Wave


If the Coalition scores another federal election victory, it will reprise Work Choices with a new attack on working families under a cloak of secrecy, senior Ministers confirm.

Finance Minister, Nick Minchin, told an audience of Right Wing activists his government wanted to bulldoze another round of workplace change over the opposition of Australian voters.

But, according to Labor Council NSW secretary, John Robertson, it was the reaction from Prime Minister, John Howard, which confirmed the agenda.

Speaking from India, Howard, sought to hose down controversy over Minchin's speech to the HR Nicholls Society.

"We won't be taking any more proposals in that area to the next election," the Prime Minister said.

Robertson said every Howard-watcher in Australia would pick up the nuance, intended for consumption by the Prime Minister's big-business constituency.

"Well, he didn't take Work Choices to the last election," Robertson said. "He sprang it on people without warning and Minchin has told their supporters why.

"Plausible deniability has been Howard's hallmark. To you and I it means fibbing, but to him it means creating wriggle room, for later.

"This statement is a classic."

In a candid presentation, Minchin told backers at the HR Nicholls Society annual dinner, the Coalition wanted to embark on a new round of workplace change.

He conceded that most Australians "violently disagreed" with Work Choices.

"Poll after poll demonstrated that the Australian people don't agree at all with anything we're doing on this," he admitted. "We have minority support for what we are doing."

Minchin broke with the party line by conceding there was a real possibility the High Court would veto the core of the legislation - because his government had stacked the bench.

Minchin said his administration had been appointing conservative High Court judges for 10 years and they might well take a conservative view of the intended use of corporations powers in the Constitution to override states rights.

Minchin turned up at the HR Nicholls Society to present its Charles Copeman Medal to the operator of a Melbourne company that refused to negotiate with a union and then closed down after a 10-week dispute was resolved.

Richard Colebatch pitched dozens of Melbourne people out of work and moved his entire operation to South Australia where he has no union agreement and employees are treated as independent contractors to keep them away from award entitlements.

Minchin, who asked forgiveness from HR Nicholls Society members because Work Choices did not go far enough, is a close ally of the Prime Minister.

Aggressive Chamber of Commerce and Industry boss, Peter Hendy, previously a chief of staff to former Howard Workplace Relations Minister Peter Reith, immediately endorsed the call for another round of workplace change.

Robertson said it was a "victory for democracy" that Minchin had let the cat out of the bag, even if he hadn't meant to.

"The Liberal Party is captive to the Business Council and Chambers of Commerce," Robertson said. "This is their agenda and the public is entitled to know what they are up to."


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