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Issue No. 298 10 March 2006  

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


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.


 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!


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

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

 Howard, My Part In His Downfall
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Andrews Cops Legal Buffeting

Unions NSW has beaten off Kevin Andrews' attempt to deny workers a wage increase.

The state Industrial Relations Commission, last week, rejected submissions from the Workplace Relations Minister and supporting business groups that would have seen wage movements put on ice for another 18 months.

The Commission will begin hearing an application for a four percent State Wage Case from June 5.

Unions NSW secretary, John Robertson, said the ruling was evidence that people in NSW would be protected from the "worst excesses of the Howard Government's big business agenda.

"The Howard Government and major employer groups tried to block the application because they want to apply a low-wage US-style model through their so-called Fair Pay Commission," he said.

The NSW Commission took direct aim at Canberra's rationale for its Fair Pay Commission which will no longer be required to consider "fairness" in determining wage rates.

It said "fairness" would still be a factor in NSW deliberations.

"The difference between the two schemes was stark and this Commission's award-making powers, under the Act, are considerably broader than those of the AIRC," it said.

The decision came as unions and labor states scored a procedural victory in preliminary skirmishes to their constitutional challenge to the validity of Work Choices.

Largely because Canberra hasn't produced the regulations underpinning its workplace changes, challengers have been granted extra time to file submissions and Chief Justice Murray Gleeson has extended hearing dates.

At a directions hearing in Canberra, counsel for the federal government argued the states, and unions, should have to file their submissions before seeing the regulations.

NSW is expected to lead the challenge, backed by all other states, to the commonwealth's Constitutional ability to use corporations powers to override state industrial laws.

NSW Industrial Minister, John Della Bosca, said the directions hearing ruling was significant.

"It's a political minefield because once they draft the regulations their real intentions to cut wages and living standards will be clear," he said.

"It is also obviously a legal minefield if they are abusing the corporations law."


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