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Issue No. 355 01 December 2006  

Seven Year Itch
For the past seven years, over 335 issues, Workers Online has been chronicling events in the labour movement and passing our judgments on all things union.


Interview: Flying High
The Australian international Pilots Association has rejoined the ACTU and president Ian Woods is taking it into new airspace.

Unions: TUF on Toll
As transport giant Toll expands across the region, unions are working together to boost their bargaining power, writes Jackie Woods.

Industrial: Forward to the Past
Anti-union building laws draw their inspiration from a century ago, writes Neale Towart

Economics: Debt and the Economy
Household debt is at record levels. Interest rates are rising. Production of real things is not increasing. The military generates most demand. How long can it go on?

Obituary: The Charlatanry of Milton Friedman
Evan Jones busts some myths about the grand-daddy of free market economics

Environment: Low Voltage
Nuclear Power and Prime Ministerial Pronouncements are seriously short of a few volts, writes Neale Towart

Legal: The Fair Deal
Anthony Forsyth proposes a social partnership agenda for Australia

Review: A Little History
The Little History of Australian Unionism is exactly that; fifteen thousand words on the topic, writes Rowan Cahill.


 Global Campaign for Jailed Iranian Union Leader

 Bully Tactics Can’t Dull Protests

 Which Bank Slashes Work Rights?

 Sunday’s The Day For Future Rallies

 Carmel Saves Job, Loses Bonus

 Case Dismissed: No Justice in WorkChoices

 China (S)trains Procurement Policy

 Contracts Out on Sole Traders

 Car Companies Do The Dirty

 Historic Case Restores Security

 Final Hurdle for Medibank Sell-Off


The Soapbox
Address to the Nation
ACTU secretary Greg Combet's speech to the National Day of Action

The Westie Wing
Ian West recalls a time when the earth was flat, unions ran the country and Honest John Howard was the workers’ best friend.

Sick System
Punitive IR laws and a commercially-driven workers compensation scheme are conspiring to bully injured workers, writes Dr Con Costa.

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Tool Shed

Country Member Forgets

The Toolshed makes history with two National Party rogues in two weeks – and we haven’t even mentioned the AWB.


The toolshed is an interesting place.

Not just because of the menagerie of rabid right-wingers and corporate shysters that inhabit it, but sometimes the shed takes on a mystical aura one would expect of a New Orleans fortune-teller.

Witness! Last year the Toolshed predicted the then-National Farmers Federation President Peter Corish would one day speak of "how we need to lower wages because Australian consumers are actually earning too much".

Well, Corish has gone one better and done got the law chasing him after an employee on one of his farms, who was paid $13 an hour, claimed to be short-changed $15,000 while working on the farm.

The worker also claims to have lost $56,000 after being kicked off the farm in breach of the AWA.

Now, far be it from the Shed to judge the guilt or innocence of a man with a name like Corish, but the Office of Workplace Service investigation is going to be difficult.

It turns out that the AWA had not been registered with the relevant government department and has gone missing.

A disturbing thought.

After all, this is no Pa Kettle; this is a man who hoedowns around the corridors of power.

He is President of its Agriculture and Food Policy Reference Group, as well as National Water Commissioner, where he advises the Howard Government on drought policy.

Whether it is precipitation or payment, Corish seems to have a special interest in things that don't exist.

Speaking of which, Corish is also a hopeful to run for the National Party in the next Federal election.

Judging by the talent that frequents the National Party these days, he should fit in like a pig in the proverbial.

As President of the NFF, he represented Australian farmers by negotiating a free trade deal for the yanks and selling Telstra to the big end of town.

Both of which, the Shed understands, were official National Party policy.

While the Shed feels some sympathy for Coresh's workers, I suppose we can be thankful he Coresh in Canberra, well away from farm equipment.


The most inspiring interpretation of this week's tool get's a souvenir edition of Ship of Tools. Deface the Tool of the Week, click the button above to post your artwork, fill out the form and send your entry in and we'll post the winners next week in the Tool of the Week Gallery.


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