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Issue No. 325 22 September 2006  
E D I T O R I A L

A Values Call
Opposition leader Kim Beazley has copped a bit of flak in the past week for his Aussie Values Pledge, but we reckon he got it at least half right.

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

 From Comrades to CUBs

 Workers Demand Right to Know

 Flying Kangaroo Eyes Passage to India

 It’s A Secret: Ballot Boosts ABC Campaign

 Brake WorkChoices, NSW Urged

 City or the Bush? It’s Telstra’s Call

 Compo Rights a Burning Issue

 2500 Get Coles Shoulder

 Hardie Payrise Stiffs Victims

 WorkChoices Reverse Somersault with Pike

 Qantas Workers Ground AWAs

 Latest Import: Childcare Workers

 Let Tem Eat Cake!

 Mugabe Thugs Mug Unionists

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
 Fair Crack
 Aussie Values DOA
 It’s Not Cricket
 Kim’s New Platforms
 Reaping What You Sow
 Roll Out the Tanks
 Auntie Hijacked
WHAT YOU CAN DO
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News

WorkChoices Reverse Somersault with Pike


Less than six months since the introduction of WorkChoices, John Howard been forced to change his cherished IR laws in response to the growing community concerns.

The Government today announced changes to regulations affecting sick leave and the cashing out leave entitlements in a move to ease community concerns over the impact of the extreme industrial laws on Australian workers.

The Australian described the Government's changes as a " clear response " to the Your Rights at Work campaign for fairer workplace laws - observing that " if John Howard wasn't in election mode before, he certainly is now."

This latest decision follows other recent examples poll-driven policy tweaking such as the privatising Medibank, Telstra and the Snowy.

Predictably, Workplace Minister Kevin Andrews denied claims of that the policy reversal was due to union pressure, instead trotting out the mantra that "the Government is always listening to the community."

Opposition IR spokesman Stephen Smith warned the public not to be fooled by the policy tinkering, labelling it a "manipulative political fix."

"These laws can't be amended, they can't be made good - they must be ripped up," Smith said.

ACTU President Sharan Burrow said the moves proved that the new workplace laws were "too extreme" and that the changes did not go far enough.

"They seem to involve only minor amendments to the Government's new watered-down sick leave provisions and while they promised to protect public holidays, data shows that public holiday entitlements were cut in 40% of all new AWA individual contracts," she said.

Citing research conducted by the Government's own IR watchdog, the Office of Workplace Services, Burrow explained that two thirds of WorkChoices individual contracts slashed penalty rates, overtime payments and leave loadings.

"More than half of these individual contracts cut shift loadings and around a quarter of new AWA individual contracts individual contracts contain no pay increases over the life of the contracts, which can last for up to five years," she said.

"These IR laws are grossly unfair to working families and this bit of window-dressing by Kevin Andrews doesn't change that."


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