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Issue No. 333 17 November 2006  

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.


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.


 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


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

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

 Billionaires Club
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Golden Geese Rule - Have a Gander

Federal Government is driving down the living standards of Aussie battlers while an elite group of its supporters pockets million dollar salary hikes.

Average weekly earnings increased by just 2.8 percent in the year to August, as the big end of town helped itself to average 12 percent salary raises.

The Australian Financial Review's eight annual study of executive salaries showed that average CEO salaries, across Australia's 300 largest companies, had jumped from $1.9 a year to $2.1 million.

Topping the list was Macquarie Bank boss , Alan Moss, who helped himself to more than $21.2 million, an increase of 14.3 percent on last year's "earnings".

Macquarie Bank paid four of its executives more than $14 million with annual increases of up to 37.7 percent.

New Telstra CEO, Sol Trujillo, who has authorised sweeping job cuts and presided over the loss of billions of dollars in company value, took home $8.71 million for his efforts.

Every one of the 30 top paid Australian executives made more than $7 million.

Meanwhile, responsibility for the smallest average annual earnings increase for the rest of us in seven years, has been sheeted home to WorkChoices.

ABN Amro chief economist, Kieran Davies, attributed the "surprisingly small" rise to federal industrial relations reforms, according to the Australian newspaper.

"We think the changed behaviour of wages is due to industrial relations reforms breaking down pattern-bargaining across industries and reducing the bargaining power of workers," he said.

Annual inflation is expected to come in at between three and four percent.

The disconnect between super rich executives, earning more than $80,000 a day, and the rest of Australia has prompted Unions NSW secretary, John Robertson, to call for a "serious rethink".

Robertson said average CEO salaries at Australia's 50 largest companies had ballooned from 20 to 70 times the average wage in 20 years.

Robertson wants a community debate about that situation.

"It's a complex issue that involves the mix between shareholders, wage-earners and executives," he said.

"But, what is clear, is that executive salaries are running rampant, often with no connection to the profitability of a company. And there is little evidence of executive pay being linked to company performance.

"It is equally clear that the federal government is using WorkChoices to hold the rest of us down.

"I think it could be useful to actually link executive pay to wages - it would certainly remove the incentive for CEOs to cut the average family's income."


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