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Issue No. 123 21 December 2001  

The Unmaking of History
The new millennium has got off to an ominous start. The fireworks, circuses and self-congratulation of 2000 were a thing of the past and we were left with the task of redefining ourselves in a new era.


Interview: Braveheart
Labor Council secretary John Robertson looks back on a turbulent year and forward to a dynamic 2002.

International: Global Year in Review
Labourstart's Eric Lee gives his take on a year where the world changed forever.

Unions: A Year at the Barricades
2001 was a year when workers were forced to fight for what they once took for granted.

Technology: Unions Online 2001
Social Change Online's Mark McGrath looks at the advances unions made in web development in 2001.

Republic: Terror Australis
ARM national director James Terrie asks where to now for the Republic?

Economics: 2001: Annus Horribilis
Frank Stilwell looks back at a troubled year and looks forward to the challenges for the labour movement.

Campaign Diary: Melanie and Me
Strewth's Steve Cannane went into the viper's nest on election night and emerged with an ordinary feeling.

Politics: Tony Moore's Final Word
Wide boys, spivs, spin doctors and hereditary idiots have hijacked a once great Australian institution.

Review: You Are the Weakest Program
Cultural theoritician Mark Morey deconstructs the televisual subplots of our collective consciousness.

Legal: The New McCarthyism
The �war on terrorism� declared in the wake of the American events of September 11 dramatically threatens Australian democratic life.


 Unions Take Lead in Refugee Rethink

 Workers Christmas Wish List

 Sparkie Snares Organiser of the Year Title

 Bosswatch Gets International Attention

 Bank Workers Get Serious in 2002

 Qantas's Warfare Agenda Exposed

 Cabin Crew Stand Up for Themselves

 Win for Medibank Workers

 City Council's Tactics Rival Worst in the World

 Dynamic New Start for Musos

 Unions in the Mosh Pit

 Scholarship Opportunity


The Soapbox
Into the Crystal Ball
What will happen in 2002? We asked some of the players in the world of industrial relations to look into the crystal ball.

The Locker Room
The 2002 Workers Online Sports Awards
There may have been no Olympics, but there were some stellar performances in 2001, from madass bad boys to terminated talents, these are the big ones.

Trades Hall
Neale Towart's Labour (Year in) Review
Sporting a Costa crew-cut, a new look Neale looks back on some issues of 2001 that look likely to the centres of debate for unions in 2002.

Tool Shed
Tool of the Year? You're Standing In It
After a year when Australians brought out the worst in themselves, we all stand condemned for a stint in the Tool Shed.

 A Fair Go For All
 The First Bastion
 Tom Collins' Christmas Wish
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Tony Moore's Final Word

Extracted from Strewth

Wide boys, spivs, spin doctors and hereditary idiots have hijacked a once great Australian institution.


Does Australia Deserve Better?


"The Working Class can kiss my arse, I've got the foreman's job at last".

Thus goes the unofficial anthem and possible epitaph of the ALP. Thanks to the wide boys, spivs, spin doctors and hereditary idiots who have hijacked a once great Australian institution. Strewth! thinks the Liberal party is fucked and this is how it always has been. But if the ALP is up shit creek as well, then we're all knee deep in it.

Labor has lost both its heartland and its headland. The weirdest part is that a so-called Labor Party hasn't got a clue about the working class. Like the media, the average ALP pollie or aparatchik only meets a blue collar worker when a tradesman fronts up at the back door or they bump into the office cleaner. Labor leaders go on about 'battlers' and 'true believers' but this is outdated nostalgia for the manual workers of their dad's day, a concept as outdated as Howard's mainstream. The only blokes wearing singlets and blundstones these days are slumming it actors or tap dogs. Your average working class lad from Bankstown wears synthetic tacky daks, is into Hip Hop and speaks Lebanese or Vietnamese. Less Henry Lawson and more Ali G. They're more likely to be down the mosque, the mall or the multiplex than spending time at a trade union meeting or the pub. These people deserve a fair dinkum worker's party, but Labor's leaders barely know they exist.

The ALP knows a fair bit about job creation. Pity they're mostly jobs for the boys. The hacks who've knackered Labor are a particularly unimaginative lot who will do anythingSI repeat anythingSfor a tedious job in a ministers office or in a union or in the public service. They will vote as they are told to and block all manner of great ideas just to ensure they are rewarded with the next job up the greasy pole. The greed of these lacklustre lackeys for the next 'job' is comparable to that of the dumb, spoilt sons of the rich lusting over the next board position or OneTel scam. Except that coming from humbler pens, the ALP piglets squeal with excitement into very meager troughs. The loyalty of ALP apparatchiks can be bought for pathetically small prizes - a 'researcher', or 'adviser' or 'organiser'. The hope is that one day they will be pre-selected for a seat, or get appointed to a glamorous job on, say, The Water Board. This is the scummy gene pool from which Mal Colston slid.

Worst of all are the Labor Lords, whose daddys leave them a union, a seat, a ministry or often all three. Born with a silver spanner in their gobs , these working class heroes have no claim to leadership other than the accident of birth. It's time we had a national Labor leader whose mummy didn't force them to the front of Gough's choir in the It's Time commercial.

The tragedy is that the politically numerate have triumphed over the politically literate. The genuine firebrands, characters and thinkers are being frustrated by Labor's hereditary peers and backroom boys, who are shoe-horned into electorates and ministries. But Beazley's loss has upset their future career plans, and the once unassailable NSW Right is looking like a clapped out hooker in a boarded up brothel. The ALP says its wants generational change and new ideas. Yet the leadership is firmly under the control of museum relics from the eighties. Forget the evil John Howard and awful Peter Costello. Australia deserves better than Simon Crean.


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