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Issue No. 303 21 April 2006  

Brand Spanking
It took the Easter Bunny, a couple of diplomatic crises and a bit of classic Howard wedge politics to shift industrial relations off the front pages, but if you think the story is over, forget it.


Interview: Head On
John Buchanan has been warning that WorkChoices would be a car crash. Now he surveys the damage.

Unions: Do You Have a Moment?
CFMEU Mining national secretary Tony Maher lets fly at the new industrial laws.

Industrial: Vital Signs
In his new book, Craig Emerson argues that destroying unionism will not be in Australia's long term interests.

Economics: Taxing Times
Frank Stilwell argues that there are progressive alternatives to the slash and burn approach to tax reform.

Environment: It Ain’t Necessarily So
Don't let anyone tell you that jobs and the environment are opposities, argues Neale Towart.

History: Melbourne’s Hours
Neale Towart reluctantly pays homage to Victoria's celebration of the eight hour day.

Immigration: Opening the Floodgates
John Howard is deciding more and more foreign workers should come into this country - without the rights of citizenship, writes John Sutton,

Review: Pollie Fiction
For someone barely 25 years Sarah Doyle has an enviable track record in theatre behind her.

Poetry: The Cabal
Poetry returns to Workers Online with this rollicking ode to employer power.


 Costello Plans Super Swindle

 Control Freak Turns Hand to AWAs

 ‘Clean Start’ Sweeps Into Action

 Fleas Leave Andrews Scratching

 The $130 Question: What is He On?

 Howard Stings Liberal Mum

 Apprentices Assume Missionary Position

 $80,000 for Friendly Act

 David Phoenix Rises Again

 Rights At Work Worth Playing For

 Qantas Sackings Grounded

 Eight Hours Play

 TWU Boss Gaoled

 Activist's What's On!


Democracy in Action
Former NSW Premier Neville Wran's speech to commemorate 150 years of responsible government.

The Westie Wing
There has been activity aplenty in the NSW Parliament this month, reports Ian West.

The Soapbox
From Chaver to Cobber
John Robertson, Unions NSW Secretary, hosting Passover at Sydney Trades Hall discovers the first comrades followed a bloke called Moses.

Postcard from New Orleans
Mark Brenner surveys the long-term impact of Hurricane Katrina on the regions workers.

The Locker Room
My Country Right Or In Lane Five
Phil Doyle observes the golden shower at the recent Commonwealth Games, and asks what it means for the last great unpredictable drama.

Vale Bill Hartley
Unlike some of his comrades, Bill Hartley never departed from his position as a radical nor did he die rich in assets, writes Bob Scates.

 Say No To Optus
 Lying Lies And The Lying Liars Who Tell Them II
 What Tax Cuts?
 Belly Says It’s Time
 A Word Of Warning Stop
 Mexican Revolution
 Well That Clears That Up Then
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Costello Plans Super Swindle

Peter Costello is mulling a plan to snatch billions of dollars a year from working women.

A federal government taskforce wants millions of low-income earning women denied superannuation in a bid to cut “red tape” for business.

The Taskforce on Reducing Regulatory Burdens on Business has called for the income threshold for employer superannuation contributions to be lifted from $450 a month to $800 a month.

The taskforce, operating under the auspices of the Productivity Commission, issued recommendation 5.49, buried on page 126 of the "Rethinking Regulation" Report, in January.

The move would shut over a million Australian workers, including over 14% of women, out of retirement savings.

"This makes a mockery of the Howard government's claim that it is good for working women," says Unions NSW assistant secretary Mark Lennon. "Now they face the double whammy of a bleak retirement after having their working conditions reduced under workchoices.

"On top of all that it is poor policy as it runs 180 degrees from the government's stated intention of increasing retirement savings."

Superannuation fund trustees have also warned the government against lifting the threshold.

"It is a backward step to push up the threshold," says vice president of the Australian Institute of Superannuation Trustees, Andrew Whiley. "Denying many low paid and casual workers from receiving any 9% superannuation guarantee at all, and a double blow for women workers given their lower levels of superannuation savings and higher concentrations in casual/part time employment.

"If a cave- in occurs in to that minority part of business that resents super, sees it as a tax, and wants removed for low paid casuals, the super savings of the worst off will go backwards."

Whiley said efficient systems were in place for over a decade to ensure that the low paid could receive superannuation. He expressed concern that the decision would aggravate community concerns aroused by the Work Choices legislation, especially regarding the erosion of minimum standards for wages and conditions.


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