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Issue No. 333 17 November 2006  
E D I T O R I A L

Altered States
OK, so it wasn't unpredictable to see the High Court bow down at the altar of expanded federal powers this week, but in ruling this way our most senior judges have betrayed something more profound.

F E A T U R E S

Interview: Common Ground
Nature Conservation Council director Cate Faehrmann on the fight against global warming and how unions and greens can learn from each other.

Industrial: A Low Act
The Low Paid. The Fair Pay Commission knows who pays them. We can do something about it as they will not.

Unions: The Number of the Least
Forget 666 - 457 is looming as the scariest number for Aussie workers and their families, Jim Marr writes.

Politics: The Smoking Gun
Hayek's henchman, Raplph Harris, goes to free market heaven, writes Evan Jones

Economics: Microcredit, Compulsory Superannuation and Inequality
They are supposed to ensure the wealth of well-being of individuals. Whats wrong with that? asks Neale Towart

Environment: Low Voltage
Nuclear Power and Prime Ministerial pronouncements are seriously short of a few volts, wrties Neal Towart

History: The Art of Social Justice
Tom Martin was a terrific cartoonist and part of a great tradition in labour movement history and culture, swrties Neale Towart.

Review: Work’s Unhealthy Appetite
It pays the bills – usually – but going to work should come with a warning, wrties Jackie Woods.

Culture: A Forgotten Poet
There is little information on the public record about the radical working class poet Ernest Antony, writes Rowan Cahill.

N E W S

 Westpac Banks on Aussies, No Joshing

 Coal Miners Go Green

 TAFE Chiefs Want WorkChoices Cut

 “Elephant” Knocks Over Unicentre

 Bosses Strike Fair Deals

 NSW Swings to Rights

 Sparks Fly Over Electrical Interference

 States Quarantine Remaining Rights

 Carpeted Victorians Fight AWAs

 Golden Geese Rule - Have a Gander

 Super Result for Industry Funds

 Smithfield Packers Shelved

C O L U M N S

The Soapbox
Robbo Goes Green
John Robertson's speech to the Walk Against Warming

Parliament
The Westie Wing
Ian West takes a look at a former public institution and its contribution to NSW.

L E T T E R S
 Billionaires Club
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News

TAFE Chiefs Want WorkChoices Cut


TAFE directors are trying to line their own pockets by engineering a massive cost switch from employers to young job hunters.

TAFE Directors Australia (TDA) wants to ditch on-the-job apprenticeships for two-year classroom-based diplomas that would force potential trades people to pay its institutions for their training.

The radical proposal, which appears to fly in the face of policies of Labor Governments that oversee TAFEs nationwide, was launched at the TDA conference in Adelaide, this week.

The scheme has been lashed by the AMWU as "part and parcel of John Howard's WorkChoices agenda".

National president, Julius Roe, said evidence showed the TDA's core contention, that traditional apprenticeships were outdated, was "just plain wrong".

He said trade apprenticeships had increased over the last two years in the face of a lack of federal government support.

"There are many more young Australians looking for apprenticeships than places available. The key is to offer them places, not wreck the system," Roe said.

"It is extremely disappointing to see TAFE directors join John Howard's attack on the trades.

"This approach will lead to partially trained workers who don't have the necessary practical experience and learning. It will remove all obligations on employers to contribute to the development of skills and training and shift that burden to students and the public."

The proposal was unveiled barely a month after an arm of TAFE NSW was sprung training Chinese workers for a labour hire outfit that appeared set to use them to undercut Australian wages and conditions.

The NSW Government moved to shut down TAFE Global's arrangement with Skillforce International which claimed "our China office has the ability to tap into this large labour market and source qualified workers".

It used the TAFE brand to sell the skills of a range of Chinese workers to Australian businesses "including, but not limited to, fitters, plant mechanics, metal fabricators, boilermakers, welders, structural steel tradespersons, sheet metal workers, shipwrights, boat builders, carpenters, plasterers, bricklayers, roof tilers, wall tilers, floor tilers, stonemasons, painters and decorators, floor finishers, mining personnel, drillers, maintenance technicians, mechanical fitters, butchers, boners, slaughtermen, bakers and pastry cooks."

In fact, Workers Online understands, Skillforce International is still marketing itself under the TAFE Global logo which bears a striking resemblance to the official TAFE NSW logo.


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