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Issue No. 307 19 May 2006  
E D I T O R I A L

Open for Business?
While our focus in recent months has rightly been on the federal political arena, the first skirmish in the battle for rights for NSW workers will occur at the state election, due in just nine months.

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

 Laughing All The Way To MacBank

 Perth Apartments Go Like a Bomb

 AWAs - Just Say No!

 Andrews Puts Contracts on Families

 Safety Laws Mine New Depths

 Builder Threatens Homes

 Beazley to Halt Maxi-Scam

 Umpire Stumps Minister

 Worker Dumped Over Casual Affair

 Councils Trash Workers

 Union Journo Escapes Fiji

 Canucks Crash Howard’s Party

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
 Psychometric Testing for Bullies
 Pleased with Beazley
 What is Working Class
 National Day of Protest
 Tax Cuts
 Solidarity
 Independent Contractors
 Drought Proofing
 Higher Profile for Labor
WHAT YOU CAN DO
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News

Andrews Puts Contracts on Families


Employers will use federal government's Independent Contractors Act to launch an assault on surviving workplace rights, including access to family friendly conditions.

Master Builders Association chief, Brian Seidler, confirmed the agenda at a NSW Industrial Relations Society Convention, last week.

Seidler said building industry employers would use the Independent Contractors Act to get rid of rostered days off.

"There is a major push in the industry to get rid of RDOs, and the ICA would be used to do just that," Seidler said. "I make no bones about that."

Seidler predicted the ICA would be "far more detrimental" to construction unions that the suite of anti-worker industry-specific Acts, already in force.

These include Howard Government laws that force building workers to attend interrogation sessions, on pain of gaol, and introduce a standing commission, policed by 150 lawyers and form police officers, to defend employer interests.

These moves have seen construction unions tied up in a string of expensive court actions. Even on the many occasions the taxpayer funded prosecutions have been thrown out, unions have sustained heavy financial costs.

The Independent Contractors Act is expected to deny contractors the right to be represented by unions; to declare dependent contractors independent, and to move them out of the jurisdiction of industrial instruments or industrial commissions.

Dr John Buchanan, from Sydney University's Workplace Research Centre, said the full scope of Howard Government industrial relations changes would not be apparent until the contractor provisions were unveiled.

He predicted details, due to be made public next month, would make apparent what the "choice" element of WorkChoices really meant.

He said the ICA would "free" contractors, within market constraints, but leave everyone in the IR system bound up by "micro-regulation".


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