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Issue No. 323 08 September 2006  
E D I T O R I A L

Double Jeopardy
As more examples of the human misery that is WorkChoices comes to light, the Howard Government is constructing a devious defence strategy that further erodes the independence of the public service.

F E A T U R E S

Interview: Australia’s Most Wanted
The ACCC is the latest state agency to turn its guns on the construction union. National official, Dave Noonan, discusses the implications.

Industrial: The Fox and the Contractor
With new laws looming for “independent contractors”, Foxtel subbies have had the carpet pulled from under their feet, writes Nathan Brown.

Unions: Industrial Wasteland
A group of inner-Sydney veterans appear to be working to strip their families of retirement incomes. Jim Marr records their desperation.

International: Two Bob's Worth
German and British workers are participating in business decisions while WorkChoices locks Australians out of the conversation, writes Anthony Forsyth.

Economics: National Interest
John Howard claimed that interest rates would always be lower under a Coalition government than under Labor, Neale Towart crunchess the numbers.

Environment: The Real Dinosaur
Economic ignorance remains at the top and the critics are oblivious says Sol Power

History: Only In Spain?
The experiences of self management during the Civil War have been the one positive factor to come from that tragic event, and the Mondragon Cooperative Corporation thrives today.

Review: Clerk Off
Nathan Brown draws solace from some fellow social misfits.

N E W S

 All Work and No Pay

 Peking Ducks Safety Regs

 MPs Face Super Clean-Out

 Gas Man Won't Say What's Cooking

 Crane Boss Lifts Her Profile

 World Bank Hollers for Marshalls

 Pork Choices

 Medibank Sale Looking Crook

 Radio Rentals Off Air

 Finger Man Gives For Sale Sign

 Libs: Lay Off Our Oppressor

 Cleaners Mop Up a Big One

 15 Percent All Round - Super!

 Activist's What's On!

C O L U M N S

Legends
Westie Wing
MLC Ian West ventures beyond Macquarie St and into the desert of the eco rats.

The Soapbox
Testing Times
Former RLPA secretary and Newcastle Knights prop, Tony Butterfield, fires up over dawn raids.

Obituary
Dare to Win
The union movement has lost an inspirational leader of working men and women, writes Jeana Vithoulkas

Fiction
Tommy's Apprentice
Chapter Two - Tommy’s Tale.

L E T T E R S
 Wicked Ways
 Catch a Tube
WHAT YOU CAN DO
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News

Pork Choices


Federal politicians are feathering their nests in preparation for a bigger retirement egg, John Howard revealed this week.

On Tuesday the Prime Minister announced base pay rates for politicians would jump by a massive 7.1%, with his own salary increasing by $20,000 to $309,270.

Base salaries for politicians will rise by $7,800 to $118,950, more than double the yearly income of an average Australian worker, currently $54,236.

The pay hike is a 'no-strings-attached' increase - not subject to trade-offs such as longer working hours or productivity increases - in contrast to cost of wage rises for most workers.

Opposition leader Kim Beazley, who stands to trouser an extra $18,000, has indicated that the ALP will support the Government's decision.

The hand-outs continued two days later with Howard raising new MP's super to 15.4 per cent, reversing his 2004 decision to cut employer contributions to 9% when challenged by then Labor leader Latham.

There's a golden handshake to match the bigger nest egg with all MPs elected after 2001 due to receive a redundancy payment of $29,750 if they incur the wrath of voters and lose office.

Howard trotted out the 'pay peanuts, get monkeys' theory, claiming that failing to offer attractive pay and conditions would "further reduce the quality of the gene pool."

Unnamed senior Government figures muttered that if pay and super did not increase, politicians would be vulnerable to corruption.

Beazley again fell in with the PM, telling the media with an apparently straight face that the increase in super to 15.4% was "in line with community standards."

The gravy train rolled on with increases to MP travel allowances. Senior ministers will pocket an extra $78 for overnight travel and the Prime Minister will now have $505 a night to play with when he's on the road.

But wait, there's more. This week the Senate passed controversial legislation increasing annual printing allowances for MPs to $125,000.

With unspent allowance able to be rolled over to the next year, sitting MPs potentially have over $200,000 of taxpayers funds to spend on advertising during the election year. All coming soon to a mailbox near you.


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