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Issue No. 303 21 April 2006  
E D I T O R I A L

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.

F E A T U R E S

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.

N E W S

 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!

C O L U M N S

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

Politics
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
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.

Obituary
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.

L E T T E R S
 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
WHAT YOU CAN DO
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News

Apprentices Assume Missionary Position


Employer lobbyists and religious welfare bodies have been deemed better at advising young workers about apprenticeships than experienced government officers.

The Howard Government this week stripped the NSW Department of Education and Training of $60 million in contracts to run apprentice advice centres - with the money going to its close political allies.

The DET's National Apprentice Centre's were knocked off by bidders aligned with business lobby cheer-leader Australian Industry Group and Mission Australia, the one religious group who likes WorkChoices so much it has joined the (un)Fair Pay Commission.,

The decision will lead to the loss of 270 jobs and has been branded a reward for political support of the Howard Government's industrial relations agenda by the NSW Public Service Association.

PSA General Secretary John Cahill has called for a review of the tendering process, with concerns that the government has penalised the NZSW Government for its support of collective bargaining..

"This appears to be a decision that puts politics ahead of the interests of young workers," Cahill says

"It seems bizarre that this service would be given to the employer lobby - the group responsible for the collapse in apprentice training in this country."

NSW Education Minister Carmel Tebbutt says Thousands of NSW apprentices and employers will be hurt by the Federal Government's cancellation of the Department of Education and Training's New Apprenticeships Centre (DETNAC) contract from 30 June 2006.

"For eight years DETNAC has helped build the NSW economy with its high-quality support to apprentices, trainees and employers," Tebbutt says.

"Last December, the Commonwealth Government's own assessment system gave DETNAC a 98% quality service rating and a 93% satisfaction rating among apprentices and employers that had used its services.

"It is unbelievable that the Federal Government will cut a service which, by its own rating system - is ranked higher than the national average for similar agencies."


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