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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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More Front Than Meyer

A new organisation dedicated to stripping owner drivers of union protections is a front for the shadowy Independent Contractors Australia.

The Owner Drivers Association has plied MPs with drinking mugs and propaganda in a bid to overturn drivers' exemptions from the Independent Contractors Act.

At least some Coalition MPs, including Wilson Tuckey, are lobbying on behalf of a group dedicated to deregulation of the transport industry.

Melbourne's Sun Herald alleges its six-figure campaign is under-written by courier companies who would benefit from drivers being stripped of collective protections.

Now Workers Online can reveal that the Owner Drivers Association is a front for the employer-instigated Independent Contractors Australia.

A co-founder of the ICA was Bob Day who doubles as the owner of one of Australia's biggest home building companies and heads the aggressive employer body, Housing Industry Australia.

Day and co-founder Ken Phillips are extreme right agitators, affiliated with HR Nicholls Society.

The only other person named on the ICA website is its new chairman, Angela MacRae. She is an economist who worked in the Prime Minister's Office before being appointed to the Federal Government's Taskforce on Reducing Red Tape for Business.

The lone human identified on the Owner Drivers Association website is "Media Contact" Don D'Cruz.

Until recently, he was a "research fellow" with the notorious IPA.

For lobbying purposes, the Owner Drivers Association claims to have 500 paid up members but its website reveals it was only formed last month - when the federal government announced owner drivers would be exempted from the Independent Contractors Act.

It's mission statement reads: "For too long, owner-drivers in Australia have had our real issues ignored. It's about time a single association was created to look after our interests."

Its mugs, delivered to federal politicians of all persuasions, carry the legend: "I choose to be an owner driver, proudly my own boss delivering your goods."

But its website concedes it is a "division of the Independent Contractors of Australia (Click here for access to the ICA website and all information on ICA).

"Membership of the ODA confers automatic membership of ICA and access to subscriber member information on," it says

D'Cruz refuses to release the names of any members, citing "privacy" reasons.

But CFMEU official, Dave Noonan, says outfits like the ICA owe it to democracy to come clean about membership and finances.

"It is clear that these are the people who give this government its instructions," Noonan said. "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.

"They should be required to publish membership lists and finances as trade are, by law."


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