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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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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.

Events at home and abroad conspired to ask us to respond to crises in new ways - from the dot-com crash to the battle for compo, from the S11 attacks to the Khaki election .

The great tragedy of 2001 was that all too often it seemed we were working from a blank slate rather than making use of our greatest asset, our collective history.

It was as if we had ruled a line through the experience of the past 100 years; that the sense of solid ground that had characterized the post-war era had been junked with the old calendar.

Our enlightened engagement with our Asian neighbors was cast adrift somewhere in the Indian Ocean, our aspirations to be an open and tolerant society marooned with it.

In its place sits a new isolationism that seeks to quarantine our affluence from the rest of the world and a leader prepared to push any race button to hold onto power.

When the election was called it was if we were in 1950 when a White Australia feared the yellow peril, rather than the year after we had celebrated the diversity of the global village.

There was a similar time-warp to the political and industrial struggles that consumed the union movement, as if a century of labour movement solidarity counted for nought.

Labor MPs crossing a picket of State Parliament opting for the interest of the employer over the worker, then turning around and accusing the unions of demeaning their precious Democracy.

Thousands of workers thrown on the scrap heap, told that entitlements they had lawfully accrued were no longer there's as the architects of corporate failure skipped town with their massive 'performance' bonuses.

And most bizarrely of all, the Labor Party, licking its wounds from losing an election that appeared 'unloseable' dealing with its hurt by turning on its only true ally - the union movement.

If there is a common theme in all these sad occurrences it is that events do not occur in a vacuum; they are part of the sweep of history that can only ever be defined in hindsight.

When we look back on 2001 what will we see? A society that got so caught up in the issues of the day that it forgot where it had come from; that in rejecting its building blocks of egalitarianism and decency now seems more fragile than ever before.

It's an adage that is sometimes sadly dismissed as a clich�: those who choose to ignore their history are doomed to repeat it.

Let's make sure that in 2002 we reassert our heritage -starting with the fundamental benefit of working together for our collective good.


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