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Issue No. 305 05 May 2006  

Contract With Australia
If WorkChoices is the legislative expression of the Howard Government’s ideological hatred of unions, the Independent Contractors Act is the product of an altogether more dangerous form of ideological zealotry.


Interview: Out of the Bedroom
Reverend Jim Wallis is leading a crusade to take the moral debate into the public arena.

Industrial: Cloak and Dagger
The Howard Government has begun a series of workshops to sell its WorkChoice vsision. Sean Ambrose sneaked through the doors for Workers Online.

Unions: Lockout!
Jim Comerford’s eyewitness account of the 15-month Lockout of 10,000 New South Wales miners in1929-1930 records the inside story of Australia’s most bloody and bitter industrial conflict

Legal: The Fantasy of Choice
Professor Ron McCallum argues the WorkChoices laws are built on a fundamental fiction.

Politics: Labor Pains
Labor has dealt itself out of the crucial workplace relations debate by failing to articulate a credible policy alternative to Howard’s new WorkChoices legislation, argues Mark Heearn and Grant Michelson

Economics: Economics and the Public Purpose
Evan Jones pays tribute to John Kenneth Galbraith, a big man who never stopped arguing that economics should serve the public good, not create public squalor.

Corporate: House of Horrors
Anthony Keenan takes a tour of Sydney’s notorious, Asbestos House, courtesy of Gideon Haig.

History: Clash Of Cultures
Neale Towart with a new take on Mayday through the words of a punk icon

International: Childs Play
An ILO report into Child Labour shows some progress is being made to curb this gobal scurge .

Culture: Folk You Mate!
Phil Doyle dodges Morris Dancers to find signs of Working Life at the National Folk Festival in Canberra over the Easter Weekend.

Review: Last Holeproof Hero
Finally, a superhero who has worked out how to wear his underpants. Nathan Brown ogles V for Vendetta


 Andrews Axes Safety

 Plant Fission for Cost Savings

 Spotless Bosses Blame Howard

 Aussie Bushman Pronounced Dead

 Who's Smirking Now?

 Yellow Bosses See Red

 Amber Light on Howard's Way

 Secret Police Spook Mum

 Wally Pollies Set for Cracker

 Qantas to Parachute In Pilots

 Unmask the Puppeteers, Union Demands

 Cleaners Mop Up

 Cane Toads Hop Into Johnny

 King of Onkaparinga Cries Poor

 Activist's What's On!


The Soapbox
Albo's Meltdown
Labor's environment spokesman Antony Albanese argues that Chrernobyl is one reason why the ALP should stand firm on nuclear.

The Locker Room
A Sort Of Homecoming
Phil Doyle plays to the whistle.

The Westie Wing
Our favourite MP, Ian West reports from Macquarie Street on some strange collective acction.

 Restaurant a Rip Off
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Andrews Axes Safety

Kevin Andrews is denying occupational health and training safety to tens of thousands of Australian workers.

In the wake of the Minister's attempts to score political points off the Beaconsfield mining tragedy, he is being urged to “fess up” on what WorkChoices will mean for workplace safety.

CFMEU assistant national secretary, Dave Noonan, says Andrews law specifically ...

- makes it an offence to include union OH&S training in agreements, even where the employer agrees, and

- provides for $33,000 fines if workers ask for paid leave to attend training meetings, either run by unions or attended by union members

Noonan says, traditionally, in high-risk occupations, including construction, that's exactly where the bulk of OH&S training is done.

"What (Opposition Leader) Kim Beazley said during the week is demonstrably true," Noonan says. "It's there, in black and white, in Andrews' own legislation.

"For Kevin Andrews to play semantics with workers lives, like this, is a disgrace."

Andrews' own anti-worker attack dog, the Office of the Employment Advocate, appears to have sided with Noonan and Beazley.

It has been objecting to workplace agreements on the grounds that OH&S clauses are "prohibited content", under Andrews' new regime.

As recently as April 19, the OEA wrote to Newslands Coal, in Queensland, objecting to an agreement with a clause that allowed workers to attend union-backed safety courses.

Noonan says the reality for construction is that if unions are forbidden from running health and safety training, workers won't be trained.

Currently, across Australia, the CFMEU runs safety inductions for new starters and a myriad of safety training courses, including modules on asbestos removal, safe scaffolding and rigging, safe use of equipment including cranes, material hoists and elevated work platforms; specialist safety rep training, and first aid.

"Unions have made occupational health and safety their priority because we have seen members and workmates die and be horribly injured," he said.

"Thousands and thousands of workers, in our industry, have undergone union occupational health and safety training, along with vocational training.

"We have been successful, over the years, in building health and safety into the fabric of our industry."

Noonan said, if anything, Beazley's criticism of WorkChoices, on OH&S grounds, did not go far enough.


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