||Issue No. 124||15 February 2002|
Chickens Come Home
Unions: Winning the Heartland
Interview: Swan's Song
Corporate: Lessons from Enron
Politics: What We Did Last Summer
History: Solidarity in Song
International: A Tale of Two Cities
Poetry: Nobody Told Me
Review: Labor and the Rings
Satire: Rafter Named Bermudan Of The Year For Tax Purposes
The Locker Room
Week in Review
'International Labour's Year in Review' - A Re-View
Collins Gets Cryptic
Chickens Come Home
Our cricketers missed the one-day finals, nary a local tennis player made it through the First Round of the Australian Open and our only winter Olympic medal hope did her knee in training!
For John Howard it hasn't been much better, snubbed by the Indonesians, harangued by the UN, ignored by the Americans and now having to face the full ugly picture of how his government lied, spied and cheated its way back into power.
Meanwhile, the Christmas bushfires that engulfed the State seemed inextricably drawn towards seats that voted Liberal - Lindsay, Macquarie, Macarthur, Berowra and Gilmore all copping the heat.
And the ALP continued to tie itself in knots, trying to convince itself its 'me-too' policy on mandatory detention was morally defensible and that the only thing that kept them out of power was too much union influence.
The chickens are coming home to roost and no-one appears very comfortable or relaxed right now.
Cosmic design or otherwise, there's a lot of cleaning up to do if we want to create a society we can be proud to be part of.
Like so often before, it's been left to the union movement to lead the way out of the wilderness, to humanize our refugee policies and immigration policies through its support of Labor for Refugees and commitment to a workplace harmony campaign.
As the Labor Council's polling shows, this is an issue that will require the sort of leadership that political parties seem unable to provide any more, to advocate a position not because it is popular but because it is right..
The refugee issue is not the only struggle the union movement is engaged in - it's currently on the front foot over Reasonable Working hours - while defending workers from latest Abbott attacks via his laughably named 'Fair Dismissals' Bill.
But - despite the criticism of the likes of Mark Latham - it is core union business, because it is about resisting the same politics of division that turns workers against each other and into the hands of the boss.
It is about treating others with the same dignity, respect and compassion that we would see ourselves receive. And in the current climate, these qualities seem pretty thin on the ground.
If only for our national sporting self-esteem, we need to find a better way of dealing with our place in the world.
Maybe the national cricket selectors can teach us a thing or two - when you stop performing you sack the leader. If only it was so easy for the Australian public.
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