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Issue No. 313 30 June 2006  

Spin Cycle
As another successful Week of Action comes to an end, we have again been exposed to the Howard Government’s defence of its IR laws, perhaps the flimsiest in Australian political history.


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.


 Bold Post Spy at Rally

 NRL Throws Tradition a Dummy

 Ballarat Derails AWA Push

 Graphic Glimpse Behind the Veil

 Biz Blows Cover

 John Howard Vs God (0:1)

 Andrews A Bit Rich on Wages

 Sydney Backs Booze Deliverers

 Record Numbers in Blacktown

 Hardie Busted Over Burn Victim

 Sacked Mum Has Last Laugh

 Unions: Book Dodgy AWA Bosses

 Jobs War Gathers Pace

 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.

 Man-Goat Love Drug Link
 Dare To Dream
 Better Get A Lawyer
 The Last Laugh
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Andrews A Bit Rich on Wages

Liberal pollies who fought $20 increases for the lowest-paid people in NSW are trousering salary hikes, starting at $355 a week - with more to come.

In the same week that the NSW Industrial Relations Commission ruled 500,000 minimum wage people were entitled to four percent increases, federal politicians took seven percent, and confirmed they would also snare a special 2.5 percent adjustment.

The federal government, which has the power to halt the cash grab, endorsed controversial Remuneration Tribunal restructuring of senior salary structures.

Without negotiation, the series of adjustments, will see backbenchers pay rise from &111,150 to more than $130,000 by July, 2008.

The Prime Minister's salary will jump to more than $309,000.

The government tries to pass off the increases as a decision of an independent authority but, under the Remuneration and Allowances Act, the decision to apply tribunal decisions to MPs is taken by Workplace Relations Minister, Kevin Andrews.

It was Andrews, on behalf of the federal government, who vigorously opposed the NSW minimum wage case before apologising for his behaviour towards the IRC and withdrawing from the case.

The NSW Commission rejected calls from Andrews and big business to adjourn its hearings.

Unions NSW secretary, John Robertson, hailed the full bench decision to reject those entreaties but warned the adjustment could be the last of its kind.

State Opposition leader, Peter Debnam, is pledged to handing the NSW IR system over to Canberra and WorkChoices.

"This decision shows the advantage of maintaining a strong independent umpire with the legal authority to consider fairness for working families as well as the interests of business," Robertson said.

The federal government has specifically excluded "fairness" from the considerations of its new wage fixing body.


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