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Issue No. 324 15 September 2006  

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.


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.


 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!


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.

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

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

 Tony Terrific
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Super-Size Me

John Howard's decision to raise super rates for new MPs to 15.4% renewed calls for the Government to increase community standards and boost the retirement savings of all Australians.

The West led the charge to increase the 9% minimum, with UnionsWA secretary Dave Robinson calling for an additional 6% in super contributions.

Under the UnionsWA plan, employers would kick in an extra 3%, with individual workers making up the shortfall, to bring total contributions to 15%.

At the other end of the spectrum, the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry let the cat out of the bag when a secret briefing paper was leaked this week.

The corporate cheerleaders voiced fears that the sweetened deal for MPs might stir inspire a push for a new community standard of 15.4%.

The chamber opposes any increase in employer contributions, with ACCI's Peter Hendy claiming it would be an additional tax on business.

Hendy's claims earned a withering rebuke today from the architect of the 1992 superannuation guarantee charge, ex-Prime Minister Paul Keating.

In a letter to the Financial Review, Keating described the ACCI as "nothing more than a branch office of the Liberal Party" and former Reith staffer Hendy as a "propagandist", dismissing his claims as "exaggerated" and "untrue".

Earlier during the week, Keating reminded television audiences of his 1996 election promise to increase contributions to 15%, by increasing contributions by 3% with the Government matching the rise dollar for dollar through a 3% tax cut paid directly into retirement savings.

"At 15 per cent with an average earnings rate of six per cent, you join the workforce at 20 and you retire at 60, you'd go out on about average weekly earnings," he said.

"But at nine per cent, if you joined it at 20 and retired at 60 you'd probably go out on 45 per cent of average weekly earnings.

"If (The Coalition) had agreed to do as they said at the '96 election and honour the tax cuts that I had proposed to pay as super, we would be now heading to $2 trillion of superannuation assets. That's $2,000 billion for 20 million of us.

"As it is, we are heading for $1,000 billion but of course no thanks to them," he said.

"Now, what the Treasurer is doing now is saying, 'Look, you can actually invest a million, a million bucks before July 2007 - if you're in a good enough position to invest a million.

"But if you're an ordinary wage plug, a battler - if you're a battler, we won't even let you save 15 per cent.' In other words - and we've lost a decade of saving."


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