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Issue No. 325 22 September 2006  

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.


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.


 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


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.

 Fair Crack
 Aussie Values DOA
 It’s Not Cricket
 Kim’s New Platforms
 Reaping What You Sow
 Roll Out the Tanks
 Auntie Hijacked
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Latest Import: Childcare Workers

Childcare centres may soon be staffed by guest workers after the Federal Government this week added childcare co-ordinators to the growing list of trades and professions eligible for skilled migrant visas.

But importing workers won't address the root cause of staff recruitment and retention problems in the childcare industry - low pay - and could exacerbate the situation.

Low pay rates and poor working conditions are the real reasons behind the high turnover of staff in childcare centres, says Sue Bellino of the LHMU Childcare Union.

"It may be the case that bringing in workers from overseas will drive wages down even further," she says.

Fixing the skills shortages in childcare requires significant investment in training, funding for more places in areas of high demand and wage increases that adequately reward training and hard work, says Bellino.

"There's always been a workforce here, but people want to work and earn a decent wage."

The ACTU has slammed the proposal, saying importing childcare workers would reduce the already limited career advancement opportunities for Australians.

Childcare co-ordinators have joined 35 other trades and professions, including tilers, pastry cooks and engineers, on the 'Migration Occupations in Demand List', making people with skills in those areas eligible for skilled migrant visas.

The construction industry has enthusiastically embraced the skilled visa program. But rather than filling genuine skills gaps, employers in the building game have exploited the scheme to import cheap workers who are often forced to work in unsafe and substandard conditions.

Opposition leader Kim Beazley has branded the inclusion of childcare workers on the skilled migration list a disgrace, and has committed Labor to paying the education costs for childcare students as a means of addressing the skills shortage.



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