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Issue No. 315 14 July 2006  

Give Truth A Chance
Civic values - aah another boring conservative rant. Well, perhaps, but here goes.


Interview: The Month Of Living Dangerously
When the mobs took over the streets of Dili it was the people of East Timor that bore the brunt. Elisabeth Lino de Araujo from Union Aid Abroad-APHEDA was there to witness what happened.

Unions: Staying Mum
Penrith mums, Linda Everingham and Jo Jacobson, are at the heart of a grassroots campaign to boot Jackie Kelly, out of federal parliament. Jim Marr caught up with one half of the sister act.

Economics: Precious Metals
There's a lot of spin around AWAs in the mining industry, but Tony Maher argues all that glitters is not gold.

Industrial: The Cold 100
The Iemma Government has come up with 100 reasons why WorkChoices is a dud, with 100 examples of ripped off workers

History: The Vinegar Hill Mob
This month's Blacktown Rally was not the first time workers had stood up for their rights in the region, writes Andrew Moore.

Legal: Free Agents
Is an independent contractor a small businessperson or a worker? The answer depends upon whether the contractor is genuinely ‘independent’ or not, writes Even Jones.

Politics: Under The Influence
Bob Gould thinks Sonny Bill Williams is a hunk; he reveals all in a left wing view of The Bulletin’s 100 most influential Australians, questioning the relevance of some, and adding a few of his own.

International: How Swede It Was
Geoff Dow pays tribute to the passing of Rudolf Meidner, one of the architects of the Swedish model of capitalism.

Review: Keating's Men Slam Dance on Howard
These punk rockers are out to KO WorkChoices. Nathan Brown joins the fray.


 Howard's $30m Rip Off

 Jetstar Sells Job Interviews

 Jail or Jobs - Seamen Choose

 Vanstone Mum on Rorts

 WorkChoices Whacks Chalkies

 Telstra MIA in Bush

 WA Safety Rep On Mission

 Sallies Join Sack-A-Thon

 CFMEU Dips Out on Fullback

 Pollies Brush Sick, Kids

 Pollie Cries Like a Croc

 Training Minister Gives Himself an A

 25 Years On the Grass

 Activist's What's On!


The Soapbox
Work Choice: US Military Style
John Howard has learnt a few lessons on workers rights from his Texan buddy, writes Rowan Cahill.

Westie Wing
As Pru Goward slams into the glass ceiling of the NSW Liberal Party, Ian West considers how women are faring under the Howard-Costello Government.

The Locker Room
A World Away
Phil Doyle is pleased that a display of subtle beauty and athletic grace has been overtaken by some good old-fashioned mindless violence

 Real Hero
 Howard vs World
 Marching Orders
 Tough as ABC
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Vanstone Mum on Rorts

Immigration Minister Amanda Vanstone is being challenged to release a report that shows a Murray Bridge slaughterhouse rorted guest labour rules.

A five-month DIMA investigation into T&R Pastoral's use of 137 Asian meatworkers has disappeared down a bureaucratic back alley with consultants confirming its completetion but departmental officials denying it.

"We believe the report will back up what we've been saying all along - these people are not working within the terms of their visas," South Australian Meatworkers Union secretary, Graham Smith, told Workers Online.

"We are calling on the Minister to release the document."

DIMA was pressured into commissioning a report on T&R Pastoral's use of controversial 457 visas after the Meatworkers Union alleged they were being used to hold down local wages.

According to the union, the company employs immigrants as "skilled" workers but uses them to do "unskilled" labour that attracts the highest pay rates.

The meat industry recognises only one "skilled" occupation - slaughterman - but Smith says imported workers are predominantly engaged in boning and slicing.

"These are the high paid jobs in a meatworks," he explains. "And they are being denied to local workers.

"The upshot is the incentive to stay is being removed and the labour shortage, visas are supposed to address, is actually being made worse."

Smith says AWAs, imposed by meat companies, pay labourers around $600 a week but boners and slicers get closer to $1000.

DIMA agreed to investigate the claims and commissioned industry training organisation, MINTRAC, to prepare a report.

MINTRAC contracted the job to an independent assessor who spent five months investigating T&R's Murray Bridge operation.

Training Council chief executive, Jenny Kroonstuiver, told the Australian newspaper the report had been completed and handed to DIMA "several weeks ago".

But Vanstone's office says the "final" report has not been received.

"We just think they should come clean," Smith says.

"The fact is these people are supposed to be trade-equivalent slaughtermen, that's what their visas say. They are not working as slaughtermen, we know that and now DlIMA knows it too.

"The real question is - what is it going to do about it?"

Meanwhile, 70 Australian workers have been sacked from Conroy's Adelaide boning plant as a condition of its sale to T&R Pastoral.


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