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Issue No. 355 01 December 2006  
E D I T O R I A L

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.

F E A T U R E S

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.

N E W S

 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

C O L U M N S

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

Parliament
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.

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

L E T T E R S
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 Boss With a Heart
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News

Final Hurdle for Medibank Sell-Off


The final hurdle for the sale of government-owned health insurer Medibank Private will be removed next week with a bill allowing its sale poised to pass through the Senate.

Consumers and workers will be worse off if Medibank Private, Australia's largest health insurer, goes under the hammer, according to the union-backed Save Medibank Alliance.

"A for-profit Medibank would put the interests of shareholders ahead of members," said campaign spokesperson Margaret Gillespie, of the CPSU.

A foreshadowed cost-cutting campaign - in the face of predicted rising premiums - would see member services plummet and jobs cut from across the insure, said Gillespie.

A recent report by accountancy firm CRA International claimed the sale could result in 7% 'increased efficiency', specifically by "rationalisation of management, call centre and customer service mechanisms".

The Howard Government - which intends to sell Medibank if reelected - will use its numbers in the Senate to push the bill through, said Gillespie.

The impact of the sale on the community has not been thoroughly investigated and there will be no avenues for parliamentary scrutiny or review of the sale beyond next week .


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