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Issue No. 324 15 September 2006  
E D I T O R I A L

Democracy Rules
The hysterical response to the ACTU’s blueprint to restore industrial democracy to the Australian workplace only serves to underline what a brazen grab for employer privilege the Howard Government’s changes to IR really are.

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

 Medibank Sale "Critical"

 Broken Down and Packaged for Export

 Child's Play: New Low for Spooks

 Judge Lashes Building Laws

 Buy Gum and Masticate on "Associates"

 Bosses on the Barbie

 No Secrets On Union Agenda

 OWS: Better Never Than Late

 Youth Workers Beat AWAs

 Kiwis Demand Shelf Respect

 Meat Man Steaks Claim

 Heinemann Chooses Its Laws

 Air Safety Crashes

 Super-Size Me

 Less is More for Dixon

 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
 Tony Terrific
WHAT YOU CAN DO
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News

Medibank Sale "Critical"


The fight to save Medibank is far from over despite the Government's recent face-saving backdown this week, says the Save Medibank Alliance.

As Coalition MPs get ready to vote on legislation enabling the sale; unions, policy holders and other activists will step up their opposition.

According to CPSU spokesman Stephen Jones it would be "reckless" for politicians to vote on enabling legislation without knowing the form or the timing of the sale.

"Deferring a public float until after T3 does nothing to change the Federal Government's plan to push through legislation to privatise Medibank next month," Jones said.

"That leaves Medibank Private members and staff in limbo. And it does nothing to relieve community concerns about upward pressure on premiums. Once this legislation is passed the Government will be free to push the sale through when they think it is politically expedient."

Private health insurance industry experts, consumer groups, the AMA, and Chronic Illness Alliance, have all opposed Government claims that the Medibank sale will lower premiums through increased competition and efficiency.

"Even Medibank - in a 1996 Productivity Commission inquiry - has admitted the interests of members are best served when funds "view their members as 'shareholders' for whom the delivery of lower prices is a dividend," said Jones

Recent opinion polls indicate strong opposition to the sale of Medibank.

The Save Medibank alliance has begun lobbying Government MPs and Senators outlining concerns and will campaign on the issue in marginal seats.

Contact the Alliance at: http://www.savemedibank.net.au


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