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Issue No. 320 18 August 2006  
E D I T O R I A L

Fixing the WorkChoices Mess
While the Rights at Work campaign has galvanised opposition to the Howard Government’s WorkChoices legislation, the debate about what sort of system should replace it is just hotting up.

F E A T U R E S

Interview: A Life And Death Matter
Macquarie Street and Canberra are squaring off over safety in the workplace, NSW Minister for Industrial relations, John Della Bosca, explains what's at stake.

Unions: Fighting Back
When John Howard's building industry enforcer started threatening people's homes, one couple hit the road. Jim Marr met them in Sydney.

Industrial: What Cowra Means
The ruling on the Cowra abattoir case highlights the implications of the new IR rules, according to John Howe and Jill Murray

Environment: Scrambling for Energy Security
Howard Government hypocrisy is showcased in its climate change manoeuvring, Stuart Rosewarne writes:

Politics: Page Turner
A new book leaves no doubt about whether the faction came before the ego, Nathan Brown writes.

Economics: The State of Labour
The capacity of the state to shape the political economy and thus improve the social lives of the people must be reasserted, argues Geoff Dow.

International: Workers Blood For Oil
A new book by Abdullah Muhsin and Alan Johnson lifts the lid on the bloody reality of US backed democracy for Iraq's trade unions

History: Liberty in Spain
Worker Self-Management is good management. The proof in Spain was in Catalania, Andalusia and continues in the Basque Country, as Neale Towart explains.

Review: Go Roys, Make A Noise
Phil Doyle thought he'd find nostalgia, but instead Vulgar Press' new book, Maroon & Blue is a penetrating insight into the suburban mind under stress.

N E W S

 Spin Bowls Fair Pay

 “Battler” Liberal on Safety

 Radio Rentals Launches Hit

 Under the Pump

 Privacy Goes East

 Which Bank Tossed Out of Court

 Mum Lashes Feds

 Sack Boss a Loser

 Let's Fly AWA

 Star City Bangs Wages Drum

 Prof Offers AWA Lesson

 Howard Stands By His Men

 Wife Miscarries After Attack

 Activist's What's On!

C O L U M N S

The Locker Room
Ruled Out
Phil Doyle plays by the rules

Fiction
Tommy's Apprentice
Chapter One - Tommy and "The Boy"

Politics
Westie Wing
Ian West wonders what might happen if the NSW Coalition actually did win power next March at the State elections.

L E T T E R S
 Love Me Slender
WHAT YOU CAN DO
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News

Mum Lashes Feds


The widow of a man killed on the Cross City Tunnel has slammed federal government moves to undermine safety laws as a “slap in the face” for her two children.

"They have lost their father and the Australian Government is trying to let employers off the hook for killing workers," says Marlene Shores. "Safety laws need to be toughened and penalties increased for those that do the wrong thing, not making it easier for employers to profit while killing working people.

"Unions are the best protection working people have in creating a safe workplace, if they strip away the rights of unions it is working people that will suffer."

Ronnie Shores was 43 when he was killed on the Cross City Tunnel job.

The CFMEU is currently prosecuting builder Baulderstone Hornibrook over the incident.

Unions NSW secretary John Robertson accused the Federal Government of colluding with the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry to water down proposed national OHS laws.

The ACCI tried to claim four guiding principles underpinning any proposed federal OHS laws were merely a "guide".

When the Feds appeared to agree with them NSW premier Maurice Iemma withdrew NSW representatives from a national working party on the new laws.

NSW Minister for Industrial Relations, John Della Bosca, said the Iemma Government would not allow national discussions on workplace safety laws to be hijacked by the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

"NSW is willing to discuss harmonisation of Australia's workplace safety laws as long as those discussions are based on the principle that safety standards will not be reduced," says Della Bosca. "I cannot stand by as this Liberal Party lobby group, headed by Peter Reith's former chief of staff, attempts to impose a Work Choices approach to workplace safety."

All governments previously agreed on the four principles that NSW is insisting upon:

1/ The use of a tripartite approach, where the concerns and suggestions of the States, unions and employer groups are properly considered;

2/ Observance of COAG's directive that there is no reduction in safety standards or current levels of support for injured workers;

3/ A considered analysis of the implications for compliance efforts required by employers, and regulators to ensure any increased consistency extends to enforcement of standards; and

4/ Proper consideration be given to the resource implications for employers, and also regulators involved in administering any increase in uniform laws.


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