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Issue No. 321 25 August 2006  

Crude Politics
It is one of the great mysteries of Australian politics that the Prime Minister has managed to emerge unscathed from one of the most profound geo-political misadventures since history was first recorded.


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.


 Howard Amps Up Repression

 Andrews on the Fiddle

 Robbo Flags Mobile Holidays

 Shop Group Maroons Kids

 Condition Critical

 BHP Confronts Chilean Resistance

 The Thin Yellow Line

 Safety Goes to the Dogs

 Pollies Wings Clipped By Junket Ban

 Technicians Win Action Ballot

 Academics Take Contract Lessons

 Hardie, Ha, Ha - Directors Laughing

 Amcor Sends Hundreds Packing

 Warren Goes to Ground

 Activist's What's On!


The Locker Room
Ruled Out
Phil Doyle plays by the rules

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

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

 Seek and Ye Shall Find
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Condition Critical

Medibank Private is following the leads of Qantas and Telstra by imposing individual contracts on staff in the lead-up to privatisation.

Market-friendly AWAs have started to roll out across the 1500-strong Medibank workforce, located in over 100 locations across the country.

The individual contracts average the 38 hour week over 12 months, remove limits on the days or times an employee can be directed to work and cut overtime payments for late night or weekend work.

The targeting of working conditions is made easier by increased powers employers have under WorkChoices, according to CPSU National Secretary Stephen Jones.

"With women forming the majority of our members, often working in branches with small staff numbers, balancing work and family life is a top concern and a constant juggling act.

"These AWAs make it easier for staff to be directed to work whenever management wish, while removing incentives like overtime that will strike a real blow on already stretched family budgets," he said.

With the Government making no secret of its plans to sell off the national health insurer, maximising the share price before any sale by driving down labour costs is proving a powerful incentive to management.

"It's a classic case of workers being hit with a double-whammy - much tougher bargaining laws due to WorkChoices and the proposed sale of Medibank," Jones said.

"Not only will any sale of Medibank have a negative impact on workers, we believe the sale will be bad news for the community, Medibank members, premiums and the health system in general.

"Not one of Medibank's three million members has even been consulted about the plans to privatise.".

In response, the CPSU has kicked off a national campaign that raises questions over the Government's plans to sell the latest piece of the family silver.

Since releasing a survey this week about the planned sale, Jones said the union had received hundreds of responses.

Find out more on the campaign to save Medibank by visiting


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