||Issue No. 319||11 August 2006|
Good Versus Evil
Interview: A Life And Death Matter
Unions: Fighting Back
Industrial: What Cowra Means
Environment: Scrambling for Energy Security
Politics: Page Turner
Economics: The State of Labour
International: Workers Blood For Oil
History: Liberty in Spain
Review: Go Roys, Make A Noise
The Locker Room
The Cruellest Cut
Hockey Wields Stick
Human Services Minister, Joe Hockey, was dropped into the industrial relations scrum, a day after it was revealed a department under his watch, Centrelink, cut disability payments to a seriously ill Perth teenager.
Hockey's appointment as "Minister assisting the Minister for Workplace Relations" is part of a Government shake up, which includes a backbench taskforce, to sell the unpopular laws.
Victorian Liberal MP Phil Barresi, a former human resources manager and vocal WorkChoices supporter, will chair the taskforce.
Other inclusions are: Tasmanian Senator Guy Barnett, NSW Senator Fiona Nash, Queensland MP Margaret May, South Australian MP Patrick Secker and West Australian Senator David Johnson.
Prime Minister John Howard said the move did not mean the government was rattled by opposition to the Industrial Relations laws.
"I don't apologise for building up the firepower, if you like, in a very important battle, that's good tactics," Howard said.
Unions NSW Assistant Secretary Mark Lennon said the Government's extra manpower would not change the fact that people knew they are being ripped off under WorkChoices.
Hockey was forced into an embarrassing backdown last week after it was revealed Centrelink ruled Leukeamia sufferer Matthew Pearce, who is so weak he has to be washed and dressed by his mother, was fit to work.
Pearce's mother was sent a letter saying she could not receive a disability support payment, as her son had failed an assessment test.
The Government's welfare policies, which force disabled people into the workforce, have been blamed for the situation arising.
Pearce's mother, Vicki, said she raised her situation with her local Labor MP because she feared other families were in the same situation.
"I can't be the only parent out there with a problem like this," she said.
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