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Issue No. 305 05 May 2006  
E D I T O R I A L

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.

F E A T U R E S

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

N E W S

 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!

C O L U M N S

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.

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

L E T T E R S
 Restaurant a Rip Off
WHAT YOU CAN DO
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News

Unmask the Puppeteers, Union Demands


Unions are challenging the organisation sponsoring John Howard’s latest assault on workplace rights to come out of the shadows and subject itself to public scrutiny.

CFMEU assistant national secretary, Dave Noonan, said Independent Contractors Australia (ICA) should publish accounts and membership lists, as unions are required to do, by law.

Kevin Andrews is expected to fulfil an ICA wishlist when he introduces independent contractors legislation to parliament.

Worker representatives expect the bill to deny contractors the right to union representation, and to shift the burden of entitlements such as super, holiday pay, sick pay and insurance from employers to hundreds of thousands of dependent workers.

"It is clear that the people who give this government its instructions are pushing this line," Noonan says. "They want another massive transfer of costs from corporations to Australian citizens.

"We are entitled to know who these people are but nobody knows who funds them or who supports them."

ICA is hellbent on turning employees into contractors but all that's known about the organisation is the identity of three front people with the federal government's ear. They are:

- Economist Angela MacRae. ICA chairman who was formerly attached to the Prime Minister's Office and is a member of the Treasurer's Taskforce on Reducing the Regulatory Burden on Business that floated the idea of denying super payments to more than a million low-paid Australians.

- Building Compay owner, Bob Day, who doubles as president of the aggressively anti-union Housing Industry Association (HIA) and is a member of the federal government's Work for the Dole Advisory Committee.

- ICA executive director, Ken Phillips, who recently published a book called Independence and the Death of Employment.

The identities of funders or supporters isn't revealed on their website or in their literature.

Unions fear contracting legislation will greenlight massive tax evasion, as well removing basic workplace rights from another large group of Australians.

The government's own Building Industry Royal Commission heard evidence from the ATO that millions of dollars a year was being evaded by sham contractors.

Last year, WA roof tilers joined the CFMEU to overcome a cartel of building products firms, and the CEPU spearheaded a successful campaign by broadband and pay tv technicians against some of the country's biggest corporates.

Andrews will deny those groups the right to choose union representation, and also intends taking them beyond the reach of state industrial laws through which they can access unfair contracts remedies.


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