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Issue No. 312 23 June 2006  

Striking Out Rights
As Australian trade unionist prepare for the latest National Week of Action, broader consequences of the IR changes are becoming apparent. And they are not good for democracy.


Interview: Rock Solid
Bill Shorten gives the inside story on the Australian Workers Union's involvement in the Beaconsfield rescue.

Industrial: Eight Simple Rules for Employing My Teenage Daughter
Phil Oswald bought up his kids to believe in their rights; so when his 16-year old daughter was told to cop a pay cut she was never going to take it quietly.

Politics: The Johnnie Code
WorkChoices is encrypted deep in the PM's political DNA, writes Evan Jones

Energy: Fission Fantasies
Adam Ma’anit looks at the big business push behind the 'clean nuclear' debate that is sweeping the globe.

History: All The Way With Clarrie O'Shea
The WorkChoices Penal Powers are the latest in a long line of penal sanctions against trade unions, writes Neale Towart

International: Closer to Home
If Australia can forgive its debt to Iraq, why not to Indonesia and the Philippines, write Luke Fletcher and Karen Iles

Economics: Taking the Fizz
While the Treasurer has been popping the post-Budget champers, Frank Stilwell gives a more sober assessment.

Unions: Stronger Together
Amanada Tattersall looks at the possibilities of strengthening alliances between unions, environmental and community organisations

Review: Montezuma's Revenge
Tommy Lee Jones directs and stars in a film about racism and retribution, writes James Gallaway.

Poetry: Fair Go Gone
Employers in the land rejoice, for we are girt by greed.


 Tooheys Orders a Blue

 Safety Standards Go East

 Libs Laugh At Sacked Mum

 Stoner's Cognitive Faculties Functioning

 Rail Workers Gagged

 Post Delivers Threat

 Elderly Face WorkChoices Assault

 Good Yarn Hits Cyberspace

 Business Buckets WorkChoices

 Hands Off Our Vital Stats

 Telstra Plays Tag and Release

 Multi Yanks Howard's Chain

 Nurses Reject Low Road

 Micks Bone Up On WorkChoices

 Activist's What's On!


The Soapbox
The Beaconsfield Declaration
As the Prime Minister feted Brant Webb and Todd Russell, their colleagues were outside with a message to the rest of Australia.

The Locker Room
Run Like You Stole Something
Phil Doyle observes that there are some tough bastards out there.

The Westie Wing
That fun-loving friend of the workers, Ian West, reports from the red leather of the Bear Pit.

Class Action
Phil Bradley draws the lines between education funding and the current skills crisis.

 More Proof
 Fire Up
 Big Dog
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Business Buckets WorkChoices

A peak business group, representing over 5,000 small and large businesses, has slammed Workchoices at a government inquiry.

The Motor Traders Association told a NSW Legislative Council hearing into the effects of the new Howard laws that big business was a bigger problem for small business than unions, and that Workchoices was an inflexible administrative nightmare for "mum and dad" businesses across the state.

James McCall, chief executive of the MTA told the inquiry that WorkChoices would undermine efforts to increase the number of women in the industry because it would exacerbate family unfriendly hours, especially in car sales.

"The dealers do not want to open on Sunday because they lose money by opening on Sunday," says McCall. "Staff do not want to be there on Sunday, that is the reason they give for not pursuing a career in that area - the weekend work, but particularly the Sunday work."

McCall said that there were very few cars sold on a Sunday, that it was a time when buyers "kicked tyres", but pressure from manufacturers forced dealers to open.

The CEO of the MTA told the inquiry that the biggest threatr to small business didn't come from unioins, but from big business.

The complexity of the new laws and the cost of moving onto the new system was also an annoyance for small business according to McCall.

"If you get three lawyers in the room you will get four different opinions. The whole thing is very confusing for us as an association, let alone for our members.

"There may be a tendency for smaller mum and dad businesses to become proprietary companies. They do not want to, but they may well see some economic advantage in not going through that transition and incorporating."

The MTA praised the Australian Manufacturing Workers Union [AMWU), saying they are "a very positive and constructive contribution to the growth and the development of the industry".

The inquiry is continuing as Queensland commenced it's own inquiry, to be conducted by the Queensland Industrial Relations Commission (QIRC), who will examine the impact of the Howard Government's Work Choices legislation on workplaces, employees and employers.


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