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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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Aussie Bushman Pronounced Dead

The iconic Australian bushman has been pronounced dead, killed off by farmers and the Howard Government.

“Rural workers were once able to make a living in shearing, grain handling, fencing and the like, but the conditions, the pay and the continuity just isn't there anymore,” said Mick Madden from the Australian Workers Union.

"Now, skilled and dangerous jobs are being done by backpackers and guest workers.

"The worst thing we ever did in this country was give farmers convicts, ever since then they've expected free labour."

Madden has slammed moves to use backpackers in the shearing industry, where there is a shortage of workers.

"In the early 90s there were over 4,000 shearers in New South Wales, now there'd be lucky to be 400," said Madden. "The industry is crying out for shearers because when the rains come and the wool price goes up, there will not be enough shearers to get the wool off.

"Instead of training young people for these jobs the federal government and the Farmers Federation have turned to cheap labour.

"Why should young people from working families in regional Australia who are trying to get a start in life be ignored, while overseas backpackers from wealthy families are given drinking money."

Madden said the suggestion to use backpackers as shearers was laughable and showed how out of touch the National Party and the Farmers Federation was with the realities of hard work

"It takes three to four years to train a shearer, two to three to even earn more money than a roustabout," said Madden.

Madden pointed to the fruit industry, where backpackers have broken down safety conditions, rates of pay and accommodation standards.

"There needs to be award rates of pay," said Madden. "As we've seen from the Beaconsfield tragedy, there needs to be union run safety inductions. In the rural sector there isn't even informal safety inductions.


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