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Issue No. 308 26 May 2006  

If the Answer is Nuclear ….
At least George Dubya still has some influence. Not in his own country, certainly not in Europe, not even in the former dominions of Latin America.


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


 Death Site Under Wraps

 Lets Get Physical, Building Bosses

 Retailers Spotlight Wage Cuts

 Sparkie Vote Will Go To the Wire

 More Front Than Meyer

 Nine Vanish in Melbourne Triangle

 Black is White, Andrews

 Kev Nicks from Kids

 Toothless Tiger Squeals

 High Standard Bugs Boss

 Labor Roots In Graft Allegations

 Security Posted

 ALP Urged to Front Up

 On the Road Again

 Activists 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.

 Spotlight on WorkChoices
 Noll On
 Riders on the Strom
 No Gerry Can
 Insight Fires Up
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Retailers Spotlight Wage Cuts

An AWA which strips employees of up to $90-a-week will become a blueprint for other retailers, according to a peak business group.

National Retailers Association (NRA) chief executive, Patrick McKendry, said other retailers would ape arts and craft chain Spotlight in embracing contracts, which eliminated weekend and penalty rates.

"Far from being defensive about it, the NRA applauds it because we think a lot of other retailers will follow Spotlight's lead," McKendry said.

But the union that covers retail employees, the SDA, says responsible employers have indicated they would stay away from condition-cutting AWAs.

"Retailers would do well to steer clear of this," SDA secretary Gerard Dwyer said.

Some of the retailers that have indicated they would support fair negotiations include Woolworths, Coles-Myer and Bunnings.

While condemning Spotlight's actions, Dwyer said the AWAs were legal under the Howard Government's WorkChoices laws.

The AWA, offered to new employers and some existing workers, trades away weekend and penalty rates - worth up to $93 per week - for an extra two cents an hour on the current base rate.

A Spotlight spokesman told the Australian newspaper said the company was just doing what it was told by legislators.

Questioned in Parliament about the contracts, Prime Minister John Howard said WorkChoices was good for the economy.

The ACTU said Howard's comments showed contempt for working families, already being slugged by petrol prices and higher interest rates.

"Mr. Howard's comments of support for Spotlight send a clear message to employers and working families - this Government is on the side of employers and profits, regardless of the costs to working families," policy officer George Wright said.

With 86 stores in Australia, Spotlight rakes in more than $600 million a year.

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